Inspiring Loyalty Takes More Than Being Pretty

A new University of Melbourne survey found that Internet shoppers are more trusting of attractive websites but that doesn’t necessarily make them loyal.

Internet shoppers are beginning to trust websites that are more physically attractive but they are becoming less loyal and will shop from a variety of sources, a new study from the University of Melbourne has found.

Source: Smart Company

The goal then for any online business should be to look at ways of engaging with your audience and encouraging a long term relationship. This should be the goal of all businesses – bricks and mortar and online – however with the endless competition online it is vital in this market to stay alive.

This loyalty can be encouraged through loyalty programs, newsletters, blogs, Facebook and other social media outlets. I’ve seen many successful online businesses and the two things they have in common is they reward their most loyal shoppers and they actively engage in the conversation.

Two online businesses that do this well are About A Boy and They have completely different business models but they both understand that they need to engage and reward their customers to encourage repeat business.

About A Boy is an online etailer that sells gorgeous clothes for boys. Owner Katie actively communicates with her loyal customers and offers pre-orders and specials to her subscribers on Facebook and her mailing list before putting them on her site for everyone. She also actively engages with her customers and creates a conversation that makes you feel special. This personalised service encourages customers to return to About A Boy again and again.

I’ve talked about Strawberrynet before. Run out of Hong Kong, Strawberrynet doesn’t offer much in the way of personalisation but boy do they reward you for repeat purchases. Each purchase receives a discount which incrementally increases until your 20th order when you receive a lifetime 10% discount. It’s been highly successful and like About A Boy encourages customers to return on a regular basis.

If you run an online business what can you to to encourage loyalty and repeat purchases from your customer?

5 Steps To Get Your Local Business Online

A web presence is a major part of the marketing mix for most large companies these days. However I find many small businesses have still not taken the plunge.

With the rapid growth of local search and a tendency to research everything online a website is a must for smaller businesses in today’s competitive market. In fact research firm BIA/Kelsey notes that the website now serves as the core of local business marketing linking to all other forms of advertising including print, the Yellow Pages, mobile, SEO/SEM, social media and e-mail/direct mail.

Here are 5 steps to get your local business online.

1. Create a Website

There is no excuse for not having a website. The last thing you want is for a potential customer to type your name into Google or another search engine and not find you. Instant failure.

Your website should also serve as the hub to other parts of your marketing mix including direct mail, social media sites, print ads, review websites and the Yellow Pages. It’s where you can provide additional information on your products and services, provide customer support and news.

2. Provide Up to Date Information

Once you have your website make sure that it’s kept up to date. There’s nothing worse than a website with outdated information. There are a wide variety of CMS’s (Content Management Systems) out there that allow you to update your content rather than go back to your web designer for each little change.

3. Include Contact Details

Contact information, including your address and telephone number, is vital to ensure search engines and local sites pick up you website. They also clearly tell prospects where to find you and how to get in touch. Ensure they are prominently displayed on every page of your website.

4. Launch a Blog

I love blogs. I really love them. They are a fabulous way to keep in touch with your prospects and customers and the search engines just love them.

They are a great way to establish yourself as an expert in your field and to give prospects a glimpse of who you are. My Essential Guide to Business Blogging is a must read if you’re branching out into the blogosphere.

5. Get Social

I’m sure you’ve heard of Facebook and Twitter by now. These, and other social media sites, are the next big thing. People are talking about you and you can ether join in the conversation or close up shop. Join the large social networking sites and any others relevant to your industry and start talking.

With more and more people using the internet to find products and services can you afford not to have an online presence?

Web Design Case Study: Pampered Mummies Yarraville

Pampered Mummies is a down to earth child friendly cafe, hair and beauty salon located in Yarraville, Melbourne.


Trina Paskins, the owner of Pampered Mummies, wanted a website that could give prospective customers a feel for what Pampered Mummies was all about. She also wanted to be able to display and update her hair and beauty price lists and communicate with her customers via her website in a timely fashion.


The solution was to develop a website using a custom WordPress theme. This would allow us to incorporate a blog into the site and enable Trina to communicate with her clients and update the pricing herself.

I also used the services of my photographer husband, Raoul Wegat, to provide a strong visual focus for the website. Photographs could then be used throughout the site giving prospective clients a feel for Pampered Mummies and what they could expect when visiting.


The result is a beautiful website that provides a wealth of information for clients and prospective clients alike. It gives visitors a clear idea about what Pampered Mummies has to offer them and why they should visit.

I love using WordPress CMS (content management system) as it’s easy to use and doesn’t overwhelm my clients. In fact Trina has already picked it up and has already started communicating through her blog.

Treen is thrilled with the result and has even started blogging!

Visit the Website

The Folly of Facebook For Business

As many of you know, I have been in the web design/marketing business for a long time. In that time I have seen lots of fads come and go. Remember Excite, Looksmart, Orkut and MySpace? I do. And the latest – Facebook. Don’t get me wrong, Facebook as a social media tool is amazing, and it has lots of useful applications, but lately I’m seeing more and more pure Facebook businesses and it has me scratching my head. As a social media tool, and part of your marketing arsenal, Facebook is great – but to run a business solely from it. Not so much.

Let me back track, a number of years ago I used to follow Google index updates religiously. Websites and businesses lived and died by these updates. In fact loosing your rankings put many businesses out of business. The savvy operators pretty quickly cottoned on that to rely on a third party, who you have no control over, to get customers and make money wasn’t smart. So they diversified. Also known as not putting all your eggs in one basket. I see the situation with Facebook exactly the same way.

Facebook started as a social media application that enabled people to connect and have a conversation. Over time, as usually happens online, people found ways to advertise their business and make money from it. In itself that’s fine. but remember, Facebook is a business too and so far don’t seem to have made much of a ROI. I have no doubt that at some stage they will put into place some sort of advertising fee structure and rules for commercial pages. In fact I’d bet my house on it. If Facebook is your sole means of advertising your wares where does that leave you?

Not convinced? Recently I heard of a business who managed to build over 2500 “Likers” to their Facebook page. Unfortunately they did something to annoy Facebook and their page was deactivated. All that effort and hard work. Gone. And as they had no commercial arrangement there was no one to complain too.

The point of this being – don’t rely on Facebook to build your business. Use it to engage and communicate with your customers but use it as a supplement to your website. Your website is owned by you. You control it, and you decide what can and can’t be done on it. And that can’t be taken away from you.