Yes, email marketing is still valuable!

Email marketing has the ability to reach people anywhere at anytime. When people wake up in the morning the first thing they do is check their inbox. Because of mobile devices, people have the ability to have access to their email at their fingertips and check their emails at any time.

When it comes to marketing, the main focus is touch points and relationship building. Email marketing combines both. Email marketing is easy, effective, and relatively inexpensive. It is generally one of the most cost-effective ways for businesses to reach people. Email marketing can be used for acquiring new customers, building brand awareness, increasing online sales, as well as fostering trust with your customers.

The people you have on your email list are already several steps down the customer journey because they have found your business and agreed to hear from you. This is why email marketing is valuable for building relationships with leads, current customers and your past customers because they have signed up for your email list and given you an opportunity to speak directly to them at a time that is best for them.

Email marketing also allows for segmentation and customization. When sending out an email, you can segment your entire customer audience into lists, and send a custom email message that resonates with that specific list. The more information you can collect about your email recipients, the more opportunities you will have to tailor your emails to what your recipients want to see. By narrowing your focus and sending emails to segmented lists, the recipients of these emails will likely resonate more with the email message and your email campaign will receive better results. Email marketing is transactional by nature, so you can use emails to drive traffic to your website and ultimately increase your sales and conversions.

Not only is email marketing great for building relationships and increasing sales and conversions, it is also great for SEO. Creating a blog post to go along with your email campaign will naturally help with your SEO and will add value to your readers because your emails are taking on a more valuable relationship-based focus in comparison to only using emails to sell new product. Updating your website regularly with these blogs will help generate traffic to your website.

Now that you know the importance of email marketing and how your business can use it to grow, it’s time to implement an email marketing plan!

Receiving a notification for a negative review can be a frightening thing for a business. Living in the world of online media has given consumers constant access to a keyboard at the tip of their fingers. Online media has opened up two-way communication directly between the consumer and the business allowing for the consumer to go online and say whatever they want, whenever they want, for everyone else to see! It sounds scary, but with the right approach, you can easily turn your bad reviews into opportunities to attract loyal customers.

Whether you receive a negative review online through social media or a product review on your website, it’s equally important to address the review as quickly as you can. From the moment a customer leaves a review, you are left with a crucial window of time to put together a response. By making the customer a priority and by responding, you’ve publically taken responsibility for their negative experience, and you’ve also created a great opportunity to showcase transparency for the rest of your audience.

When it comes to crafting a response for your negative review, it’s important to keep these four things in mind:

  1. Resist taking the complaint personally. It’s important to avoid confrontation and make any excuses. Instead, be polite and caring – it will go a long way with your audience.
  2. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and recognize how they’re feeling in this upsetting situation. Showing empathy and letting your customer know you value their thoughts and feedback will demonstrate to your customer just how seriously you are taking their complaint.
  3. An apology is the foundation for crafting a successful response. Focus on apologizing for the situation itself or for the portion of the situation related to your business, and then focus on how the situation made the customer feel. Aim to look for opportunities to make the situation right and to show you care about your customers. Remember, any interaction with your audience is an opportunity to impress and delight – even when it comes to negative reviews! Other customers or potential clients will assess your business based on how you reply to the customer posting something negative.
  4. Identify the source of the problem and offer a solution. If a product is defective, offer to replace it. If there’s an issue with a customer placing an order online, offer a discount code to use towards their next purchase. If someone isn’t satisfied with a product, stand behind your product and offer a full refund.

Your customers usually aren’t leaving negative reviews because they have nothing better to do with their time. Writing a negative review takes a lot of effort, and if someone has gone out of their way to write one for your business, it usually means they have been upset by a bad experience and are now looking to you for a solution. As a business owner, you’re ultimately responsible for every negative and positive experience your customers have. Remember, as tempting as it is to ignore or delete negative comments or reviews, it’s always best to get ahead of the situation and deal with it. By accepting responsibility and taking action to fix the situation, you can build a glowing online reputation for your business and keep your customers coming back again and again.

Now do you feel ready to tackle potential negative comments in the future? We hope so!

4 Tips to Determine what your Store should Offer for Black Friday!

So your business has decided that it wants to participate in Black Friday but you are not sure what you should offer? It can be a tough decision because the stakes are high, the discounts are deep, and the potential is huge. Follow these 4 tips to help you decide what your business should offer on one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

  1. Tip 1:
    Find the right product to offer by considering items (or services) you have extra margin on. You can reduce your selling price on items you’ve previously purchased on discount through your suppliers and still maintain a decent margin versus marking down items that you purchased at your regular cost. If you sell services, then consider which services you have the greatest markup on. Offering an item or service on discount for a limited time will allow your business to take advantage of the increased traffic from Black Friday shoppers.
  2. Tip 2:
    Take advantage of extra stock sitting in your inventory. In many cases, retailers inadvertently overbuy from time to time. You can use Black Friday as an opportunity to clear out any inventory you have too much of. *Bonus tip: Think in advance about buying one product in bulk that you can offer at a discounted rate for your next sale. Buying in bulk allows you to pass along the savings to your customer! Win-win!
  3. Tip 3:
    Offer a discount on products that are exclusive to your store. Do you offer any brands or styles exclusive to your business only? Promoting a product that no one else carries is always a good option. When you mark your product on sale for Black Friday, consumers won’t be able to find it anywhere else and they won’t be able to price compare your product to other retailers, making your price look amazing.
  4. Tip 4:
    Reward your email subscribers by giving them first access to your exclusive Black Friday deal. Create an email marketing campaign to send in advance to your loyal email subscribers. Make sure your email includes a clear message with a clear call to action. Black Friday is a great opportunity to reestablish relationships with your previous customers and get them to become a repeat customer to your business! Your email open rates should increase drastically on Black Friday, as everyone is looking for the deepest discounts and the greatest deals.

Participating in this major shopping day will give your business the chance to take advantage of one of the busiest shopping days of the year to attract customers and get a jumpstart on holiday sales.

Happy Black Friday!

What is Black Friday all About?

Black Friday has grown to be the unofficial kick-off to the holiday shopping season.  While it hasn’t always been that way in Canada, it dates all the way back to the early 1960’s in Philadelphia. Retailers at the time would offer discounts on the Friday after Thanksgiving, causing a horde of shoppers to descend from the suburbs into the city to take advantage of slashed prices. As shoppers flooded the city, traffic cops were required to work overtime to deal with the masses of discount-savvy shoppers. From that point on, the day after American Thanksgiving has been known as Black Friday.  For years after, retailers would even open their doors as early as 12 am to increase shopping hours and profits!

This major shopping day eventually caught on in Canada, and now Canadians take it as seriously as they take Boxing Day. Known as a one-day shopping event, Black Friday has now evolved to have sales start days in advance and extend into the weekend. The days of customers lining up outside stores to score deeply discounted items and exclusive sales for one day only is slowly going away.

As Black Friday continues to evolve, the ecommerce world has evolved right alongside with it.  What was once an exclusive Black Friday deal, is now a deal that many consumers expect to see carry through the weekend to the following Monday! Yep, that’s right, another day consumers expect to see deals. Cyber Monday deals are for online shoppers, and for the shoppers who just want to avoid the crowds and shop from the comforts of their own home.

With Black Friday approaching quickly, shoppers are starting to do their research and put their wish lists together. Now that you know what Black Friday is all about, ask yourself, is your company going to do something for Black Friday?

Couponing is fun, especially when you are the shopper.

Offering coupons and other discounts to your customers and potential customers can be a good idea, under certain circumstances, but you should be aware of a few things before you decide to use couponing as your promotions strategy.

Plenty of customers shop based almost entirely on price. These people also love to use coupons. These people are what make offering coupons seem like a good idea because, well, they use them! You offer a discount and people come into your business, giving you the impression that they work. The trouble is that often these people are just as easily swayed AWAY from your business as they were swayed TO your business.

There are many customers who are not as motivated by coupons because they are more brand and experience based shoppers. They value the relationship and trust that your brand has created with them. Ideally, these are the types of customers that you want to attract so if you can create a coupon that entices relationship shoppers to do business with you, then couponing might be a valuable tool for you.

Ask yourself these kinds of questions:

  • How can I create a coupon or special discount that encourages my target shopper to try my business, or to try a new or add-on item/service?
  • Thinking of my relationship-based customers, what kind of coupon would they find valuable, that would encourage them to buy a complementary item or service from us?

Other tips about coupons:

  • Always put an end date, and make it tight.
  • Create a tracking method, whether it’s digital and in the backend of our website, or in the coupon/POS code. Be sure you can analyze results.
  • Make it eye catching and similar to a sale ad. Use bright red or orange. Put the offer or deal as the main message and make it stand out!
  • Include important details or hyperlinks so shoppers can quickly figure out how and where to shop and redeem their coupon.


Coupon wisely my friends.

So you don’t know what to say in your blog?

Take it easy. The answer is in front of you.

Content marketing is so important in today’s digital world that having a blog or an e-newsletter is necessary for most organizations. Some of us liked high school English class but many of us just tried to coast through never imaging that one day you might have “write blog posts” added to your job task list.

This is not English class. Think of a blog post like a conversation that you might have with one of your customers if he or she were standing in your store. Try these things below to fabricate an imaginary conversation with a customer. Use contents of that imaginary chat to give you an idea for your 200 – 250 word blog post.

Your customer walks in and asks you about why product ______ is important.

She walks in and says, “What is the latest trend in product category _____.”

He strolls up to you and wants to know the story behind a particular brand you sell.

A customer inquires about how to care for product _____ after she buys it.

He says, “Tell me a little bit about who owns this company.”

IF this doesn’t help, take a visit to your store floor and chat with 3 customers right now to see what intrigues them about your products or service.

Collect your answers to your imaginary conversation and put them into a 200-250 word summary written in language that you would use to speak with your customers. And just like that, you found something to write about.

Is a marketing strategy necessary?


Not really.

You can run a business for decades without a marketing strategy.

You can also run a marathon on the wrong road.

Without a conscious decision to create your own marketing strategy, your daily actions and the decisions of others in your company, form your strategy. By default, everything you do, becomes your strategy.  It’s one method of doing marketing that works for some.

We suggest you consider another method. Take the time out of your daily duties to work on your marketing strategy. Your business will thank you because when you have a smart plan, your business begins to run on the right road, making all your efforts so much more worthwhile.

Plan your target market. Do some research to ensure you are on track. Establish your brand character. Define it. Live it. Be aware of your pricing & promotional strategy and stick to it.  Laser in on your relevant key messages and share them relentlessly.  Stick to your knitting and stick to running on the right road.

It’s better when you have a marketing strategy.

Digital marketing is more than social media

So often when we meet with clients and we discuss what they are doing for digital marketing, they reply with something like, “Yeah, we know we need to do more with social media.”

What does digital marketing mean to you?

To us, it is the way people interact with one another using today’s technology and digitally-based pathways of communication…. digital communication is part of our daily life.  So digital marketing is everything that is related to how people communicate, using technology.  So, that’s a lot.

Consider how your business communicates in these areas:

* Social media (Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc)  * SEO online search ranking * AdWords and other online advertising * retargeting * email campaigns * websites including mobile * podcasts * streaming audio * text messages * digital brochures * in-store video loops and more!

Digital marketing is just another set of pathways to communicate and share your brand message with your customers. Successful digital marketing is just like successful traditional marketing: it is most important to have a relevant and valuable message for customers. Digital is a new set of communication pathways.

Content is still king.