Shipping, Packaging, and Email Marketing Platforms Webinar
Hello everyone and thanks for joining us this week for our Digitize NS Webinar.
As always, I hope you have been enjoying the course so far and have brought any and all questions you may have. For anyone wishing to catch up on our webinar from last week or one from previous weeks, we’re happy to provide a link at the end. As with all of our Digitize NS webinars, this will be recorded for later playback if you wanted extra time with a certain section or for listening on the go.
For those who may be joining us for the first time, we’ve been exploring a fictional entrepreneur named Joe who runs a local business making sweaters.
Joe has owned his business for over 20 years and is located in Downtown Dartmouth. Joe has been selling at the Halifax & Dartmouth Farmer’s Markets in addition to his shop, but he is seeing a decline in business. To tackle this issue, he has decided to take his storefront online to open up his consumer base.
To date, Joe has successfully launched his own website full of content he created himself and sent his first email blast from a customer list he created and launched a Facebook Page for his business
Today’s webinar is going to focus on Joe:
- Email Platforms
Before we dive in, however, let’s refresh ourselves on where Joe left off.
Check in with Joe
When we last left Joe, he had:
- He had completed his strategy by:
- Building his online store with its own domain name (www.joessweaters.ca)
- Sending out his first email blast
- Launched his Facebook Page
Here is a diagram of Joe’s strategy with the objectives he wants to achieve outlined as Step One, Two and Three. As of last week, Joe has successfully completed the strategy and is beginning to dig deeper into fully building out what he has already established.
Today we’re going to discuss a conversion related aspect of Joe’s website – shipping and packaging, as well as searching for a mass email platform that can provide better analytics. Let’s start with shipping
When Joe first started his quest for Digitization, a large end goal was to start shipping his product both provincially and nationally. After launching his website, Joe allowed for local orders to be placed and delivered but now he wants to expand that service.
Shipping is a large subject for any entrepreneur looking to expand their business – there is a lot to consider, and the broader your client base the more you’ll need to account for.
So far, Joe has only set his sights on shipping domestically which will still require a deep into looking what his shipping costs will be and if there is demand.
It is important to note that getting your product into the hands of customers is only one reason to set up shipping services for your business. If Joe has connections to other small-business owners in Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, or Yellowknife there is also the option to building an agreement to have a selection of his sweaters sold in a separate store. This will still require Joe to have a shipping plan to get his product into the hands of his buyer.
A possible solution to for the shipping costs to charge either a flat rate for to increase the price of his online sweaters to compensate for the shipping costs. Another solution is to offer free shipping over a certain price, such as any orders over $75 or $100 so that Joe can recoup some of the costs.
Luckily for Joe, quite a few e-commerce building websites such as the one he used to build his website, offer solutions in their platform to work with local postal services to get the best rates. These rates, as I am sure many of you know, vary depending on the size of the product you are sending, the speed in which it needs to reach its destination, and a number of individual packages you are sending.
It would also be in Joe’s interests to contact the mail service he wishes to us and set up a business account – these accounts offer a wide range of services, from pick up to discounted shipping rates.
In Joe’s case, he will be sending wool sweater which can weigh anywhere from 275 – 445 grams (depending on how heavy/cozy you want this sweater to be). The next step is finding out the dimensions such as the height, weight, depth of the sweater – but before we answer we question, we need to also consider packaging.
Packaging can say more than you may think about your product. Think about items you have ordered online before and how they arrived – was it in a plain beige box? Maybe the packing tape with branded with the company’s logo.
If it was a higher-end item, perhaps it was in a colour-branded box with a logo, branded wrapping paper with a letter thanking them for their purchase. Maybe the box it was delivered in was unique in shape or styling, with a shiny foil logo or a ribbon.
While you should by no means feel as though you need to push your budget to get a few nice-looking packages, it is important to consider presentation – and how it can be done in many ways. For example, Joe has a small budget and but still wants to represent his brand well. The best way to do this may be to seek a minimalistic look with a generic apparel box that can easily be purchased in bulk online with his logo stamped on the top with black ink (along with the address of his Facebook page).
As Joe is a one-man team, the hours it will take to put the packaging and orders together needs to be planned for. He can also consider writing and printing a number small cards to put inside the box that thanks the customer for their purchase and encourages them to review the order on his Facebook page.
These small touches can go a long way, as it adds personalization while asking for feedback so others can see the quality of his product. Don’t forget that these boxes will be stored in a shipping box, so it is alright to not go overboard on styling.
Shipping products from one location to another can be a long journey where many incidents can happen – boxes can tear, be mishandled, or get wet and dirty. For this reason, Joe will also be required to order another set of corrugated boxes of similar sizing that will protect his branded packaging. These will not only serve as a protect shell, but also where he will place the shipping information.
While I am sure the first question many of you may have is ‘How much will this cost’, that will be a matter of shopping around. Many online services allow you to order corrugated boxes in bulk, while smaller more personalized boxes just like Joe can be ordered in bulk and personalized with a custom stamp. If you run an establishment that orders supplies and gets regular shipments, you can recoup some cost by recycling some of the boxes you receive as well – thought only if they are in a good condition.
Email Marketing Platforms
Next – you may remember from our previous webinar, we talked about creating goals and objectives. We created SMART goals for all off Joe’s new platforms such as Facebook and his website – the issue we encountered however, is that he couldn’t make a strong goal with his email plans. This was because he was using a regular email platform, one that everyone uses everyone as oppose to an email marketing platform.
What is an email marketing platform, you ask? Quite simply, it is software designed to help design and send out mass marketing emails with a variety of tools built in such as survey creation and A/B split testing. Moreover, they can also provide statistics on sent campaigns such as how many of the emails were opened, how many receivers opted out, what links receivers clicked on and more. There are numerous services that provide this that you can find online, but we’re going to talk about what you should look for in one.
A great place to start is simply – is there an annual plan or is it free, and if it is free, is there an email limit?
Many email platforms offer free plans up until a certain number of contacts while also allowing unlimited sends. If Joe’s contact list is initially smaller (such as below 60 contact) and he can use the service for free – more power to him!
Another element to look at is features – what can this platform do to make sure Joe’s message is heard? A/B Split testing is a great tool to look for as it offers the chance to send our different versions of the same email to see which resonates more powerfully with his audiences and produces more clicks/sales. This form of testing can not only improve his email send results, but allow Joe to see what his customers are looking for.
Another feature to look out for is survey or form creation. This tool will do just as it says, allowing you to create surveys and forms to send out via email or even use social media to gather data on specific items, interests, or topics. Depending on the questions you ask or the information you are hunting for, you can figure out how to best appeal to your customers and gain more in the process if you offer a discount or coupon to anyone who finishes and submits the form.
Email templates are also a handy feature to have as it will allow Joe to quickly create aesthetic pleasing, brand consistent email without having to start from scratch. If Joe has the time, he can even create his own template and save it so he doesn’t need to worry about creating a new email each time.
Those are just a few of the features to look for – but overall, the driving reason to use an email marketing platform is the analytics and results. These can help Joe better understand what emails he is sending are pushing customers towards his site, which do not perform as well, what type of information his audience responses to best and more so he can better coordinate his promotion.
To review, let’s go over what we’ve covered today:
- When it comes to shipping – it can be easy to get overwhelmed, but many e-commerce websites come with already packaged solutions. If you just starting, make sure to identify the demand that is required and try to offset the price of shipping by increasing the price of online stock, more offering free shipping after a customer spends a certain amount. The sizing, weight, and more will all play into how much shipping will cost and opening up a business account with a mailing company will help guide you in setting up pickup times and securing discounts.
- Next we touched on the importance of packaging – remember to stay and operate within your cost constraints. A simple box with your logo, branding and information on the front will more than suffice with a thank you card inside for a personal touch. Also, do not forget to use corrugated boxes to place your packaged items into to protect them.
- Finally – we talked email marketing platforms and touched on key features you should look for. A/B testing, survey builders, and templates all serve to help your business. If you don’t have many email contacts yet – don’t worry, that could play into your favor! The point of email marketing platforms is to help enhance your email promotions by allowing you to receive strong analytics on link clicks, conversions, and open rates so you know you’re getting a return for the time you are investing.
Well – Joe has successfully completed his three-step strategy, but this is not the end of his story. Join us next week where we’ll be doing a comprehensive review of the past 9 weeks to reinforce and add to existing content while giving you the ability to stop and ask questions.
Until then, please put any questions you may have in the chat or feel free to email me at Jay – J A Y @ Simplycast.com.
Next week, we’ll be doing a comprehensive review of the past nine weeks. If there is a specific subject you’d like to learn more about or be highlighted, don’t hesitate to let me know.