Category: Resources

Why No One Reads Your Emails + How to Fix It

Why No One Reads Your Emails + How to Fix It

 

This blog post is going to change the way you send pitch emails forever. If you are lucky you will have caught the post in time to make it to “NET 30” the webinar on how to sell wholesale and be able to download the “12 Subject Headers to Get Your Emails Opened”. Enticing, yes? Read on.

 

I know you.

 

You are a brand owner looking to increase sales. I meet people like you everyday. You spend a lot of time developing your product, executing on marketing, and worrying about making more sales. If you are in the business of writing pitch emails ( emails to retail buyers, press, influencers and editors) then you know how frustrating it can be to spend a lot of time on getting everything perfect, writing you pitch email, then closing your eyes and pressing send. That moment you press send you have sent your pitch into the world and you want validation. You want the buyers to write you back and the editors to come a ringing. But, 99% of the time you send these emails you get crickets. Why is that? Why is no one opening? Then panic sets in, does no one like the product? Is it the pictures? What about the price?

 

The top 3 reasons why no one reads your emails are:

 

  1. Poor Subject Headers
  2. Too Long
  3. Too General

 

The Fixes

 

You need to change your mindset + take action to create an email that warrants an open or a response. Ask yourself before you write your next email, why should anyone care about what i am writing? How is this relevant to them? How am I helping them? Once you master the confidence your reader (buyer, editor, press, influencer, customer) will respond accordingly.

 

  • Poor subject headers: Be casual and confident. I cannot stress enough the power of not overselling in your subject header. Headers like “New Brand: FW 17” or “S/S 18 WRTW” is too general and to be honest will generate stress by your audience. Try something more approachable like “Hi”. You will be surprised at how many people actually open this. It’s usually a near 90% open rate every time.
  • Too long: If you email is too lengthy no one will read it. We are used to skimming! You should bullet point, italicize and bold key words and phrases you want to emphasize. You should also get clear on exactly you want them to do. Do you want someone to write you back? Set up appointment? Maybe you want to prep them for your follow up email or phone call. Get clear on what you want to say, why its relevant and what you want them to do. Try to do this all in 3 paragraphs.
  • Too general: How many times do you get an email that has nothing to do with you? That is called bad marketing. Don’t do that to the people you are trying to pitch to! Personalize each email and please don’t use Mailchimp or another auto-responder to send out mass emails when you are trying to create a personal connection. Make sure you nail the following: name, company, why you are a good fit for them specifically, what is interesting about your brand that they would find interesting.

Curious on how to track your opens? Make sure you have your corporate email running through Gmail and download Streak ASAP. This will allow you to track, schedule and optimize your email forever. You can send me a thank you email for turning you onto it 🙂

The Truth About Fashion Business Cards

The Truth about Fashion Business Cards

Who doesn’t love getting fresh business cards? There are so many options these days: embossing, extra smooth, textured. You might even have a slight obsession a la Patrick Bateman (American Psycho) “Look at that subtle off-white coloring; the tasteful thickness of it… Oh my God, it even has a watermark.”

These days business cards come in packs of 25 and 50 making it super easy to buy. But, did you know these little costs can add up? For every $50 you spend on business cards you might be able to add that to your digital marketing budget. Before you place your next business card order ask yourself:

1. Do I have an event or upcoming opportunity to hand these out?
2. Will these cards be used to go out with sales kits or customer orders?
3. Have I finalized my branding and company identity? Am I proud of what my branding says about my business?

If you answered YES to any of these then you are ready to create fashion business cards for your brand. Here are some innovative ways to do smart business cards.

1. Use your business cards as a smart marketing tool by adding a special code on it. Maybe it gets someone a free gift or discount when they enter it on your site.
2. Show a lifestyle image from your lookbook on the front of the business cards for the particular season you are selling. Buy in small quantities so you can re-up next season.
3. Illustrate one of your brand values on the front. This could be a picture of your team, your factory, a word or tagline that has high impact. Until your brand name is well known, you want people to associate your brand with something that resonates.

There are lots of other ways to get creative with fashion business cards, but please never spend a dollar on them unless you have a plan to get rid of them! If you need to revisit your cash flow, marketing and sales strategies give me a ring and lets get to work (syama@scalingretail.com). No more spending money on things that don’t work for you.

How to Plan for Your Photoshoot

Your brand hinges on amazing images to communicate the lifestyle, brand and products you are selling. This is one area I never suggest cutting corners. You can do this on a budget, but don’t go all the way cheap.Planning  for a photoshoot is a daunting task, but one you have to do it at least twice a year. Here is my checklist for a successful photoshoot.

  1. Plan in advance, especially if you have a budget.
  2. Develop your mood boards on pinterest or ppt. There should be one for hair/makeup, one for models, one for photoshoot art direction and one for locations if you are looking to do it somewhere specific.
  3. You will need in total around 200 images. Thats a combination of lifestyle shots, product shots, behind the scenes, and photos to use for social media. You should make an exact list though: #of pics for website, # for social media # for lookbook etc. Communicate this with your photographer beforehand so you can negotiate pricing.
  4. Budget costs appropriately.
    • If you don’t have any amazing photographer friends, not many of us do, then you should plan on $2,000 for a two day shoot with a good photographer. I’ve spoken about this in the past, and its true that you get what you pay for. You should expect 30-50 edited pictures at the minimum from a 2 day lifestyle shoot, and a higher amount of pictures if you are in studio.
    • There are lots of places to find models, but you probably want good ones. That means that you won’t want to just put up a post on Craigslist. If you are on a budget plan to spend between $250-$500 per day on a model that has experience and can move in front of a camera. Make sure you meet them in person and do fittings before the shoot. Don’t make decisions just based on their cards.
    • Hair & Makeup. Try to double up on this. Find someone who has both hair and makeup experience to work with you the entire 2 days of the shoot. Shoot for $500/day.
    • Assistant. Yes, you will need someone to help you prep, grab coffee’s keep everything organized. Don’t underestimate the power of help. You won’t be able to manage everything. If you have a friend that can help, amazing. If not, plan to spend $10-$20 an hour.
    • Food/Transport/Location. If you plan on shooting at a hotel, you might need a permit, double check. Any Uber’s that you and the team take around town, guess who is paying? Coffee, candy, sandwiches – anything you need to keep everyone pepped and happy.
  5. Prep everything you need for the day of at least 4-5 days in advance. Make sure you have things like: tape, safety pins, hangers, clamps, bobby pins. Its the little things that can trip you up on the day of.

Good luck on your next photoshoot! You are making a great investment in your brand by deciding to do this well.

What is the best way to increase the conversion rate of a website without spending too much money?

Answer by Syama Meagher:

I like everyone’s answers here. To add-  create meaningful content around the topics your customers want to read about, not things you think are interesting. Have you done an empathy map yet? Draw inspiration from those answers. Syndicate that content everywhere.

Also, make it super easy have your customer do what you want them to do. If you are selling a product, push them through the funnel with easy calls to action and link selling (Converting Clicks to Cash: Fashion Ecommerce for Beginners) If you are creating educational material make it easy to get to.

View Answer on Quora

Video: Retail Roundup: Amazon Kindle POS & Small Business Fashion & Retail


Audio Only:

www.ScalingRetail.com

@ScalingRetail

With the launch of the Amazon Kindle POS system its a great opportunity to talk about new technologies in the POS (Point of Sale) space for small businesses. How do small retailers & brands choose the right system? Watch on.

 

Hi, this is Syama Meagher from Scaling Retail. I’d like to welcome you to this week’s retail roundup. This week we’re going to discuss the new Kindle POS system that Amazon is launching.

You know, if you’re familiar with POS systems, and you’re a vendor or small retailer, chances are you’ve spent quite some time agonizing over which systems to use. Potentially, you’re working off of an iPad, or maybe you’re working off your iPhone and using such applications as Square, or even Paypal. With so much recent technology being introduced into the market of POS for a small business, it often times leaves someone thinking, “Where should I start? Where should I go? What’s going to be the best use of inventory management for me, and how can I best take advantage of all these new products in the marketplace?”

Well, of course you’re going to take a look and see all the return on investments, not only how much you’re going to spend for initial setup, because obviously you have to buy the technology, but also looking at your continuing operating costs. How much is it going to cost you to manage that inventory and manage that type of system month after month.

Now, with all the recent additions, I’d have to say that one of the ones I’m the most excited about has to be the POS systems that integrate online and offline. Imagine being able to have your brick and mortar store, as well as being to have your online inventory for your ecommerce business, and being able to work on both of those in terms of being able to build up their sales strategies, but having those inventory be pulling from the same place. Because, of course, if you’re a small business, chances are you don’t get all the luxury to be able to allocate a certain amount of merchandise particularly for ecommerce, and then another amount of merchandise particularly for brick and mortar.

Now, how does this work if you’re a vendor? Well, if you’re a brand, hopefully you’re taking advantage of all the new ways that you can access your customer. Meaning, with the integration of having a POS system that you can work with online and offline, you can manage your inventory and take advantage of things, like pop up shops, trade shows in terms of immediate selling, as well as taking a look at things, such as trunk shows and other types of events.

So, it’s important to think about your long-term strategy and having introduction of this Kindle POS system definitely begs us to think about how cheap are these types of things going to be. Obviously, when you have so many products to market, things start to get a little more competitive, so as a small business, you’re definitely in the advantageous position here. A lot of brands and companies are going to be vying for our business, and it’s really up to us and you to be critical in terms of where you spend your dollars. Hopefully, you’ve found a good POS system, and if you haven’t, definitely take a look at some of the ones that I’ve mentioned. Have a wonderful weekend.

Four Ways To Scale Your Business Responsibly

Interesting post from Open Forum. Partnerships are incredibly important when identifying resources and growth opportunities.

“This article was originally published on The Huffington Post.

With a third of entrepreneurs making growth a top priority in 2013, small business optimism is a bright spot amid ongoing economic uncertainties. Entrepreneurs’ confidence rose to 86 percent in the third quarter, according to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

For sustainable growth, however, that confidence needs to be supported by careful and strategic planning, experts say. Many growing businesses falter because they expand too rapidly, and lack the resources they need to meet growing demands.

Companies can grow responsibly without over-hiring by keeping an eye on trends in their particular industries and communities to understand the most relevant customer traffic, says Tameka Montgomery, Associate Administrator of the Office of Entrepreneurial Development at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). It’s also important to consider long-term impacts of those trends rather than reacting to short-term impulses. “If you can be forward-looking and strategic in your approach, as opposed to just being harried and frenetic, you can have better long-term sustainability,” she says.

Be Consistent

One danger of expanding too fast is inconsistent service delivery. “One factor that makes a small business successful is its ability to provide high quality service to its customers,” Montgomery says. Companies that aren’t prepared for fast growth and can’t consistently deliver quality goods and services will challenge customers’ confidence in their business, she adds.

Richard Lewis, Founder and CEO of Denver-based RTL Networks, Inc., has turned down contracts that his technology and energy solutions business couldn’t successfully fulfill. “I’ve never shied away from growing too fast, but I’m always aware of the limitations of our delivery infrastructure,” he says.

“We don’t want to be in a situation where we win a contract and can’t get everyone on board by the start date,” Lewis adds. “My advice is to have honest introspection on the ability of your company to deliver.”

Think Scale

Lewis turned his 11-year business into one of the country’s fastest growing companies by considering his future growth opportunities from day one. “From the very first contract and the very first employee, I constantly looked at everything as how will it work when we have a hundred contracts or a hundred employees,” he said.

RTL recently grew from 85 to 135 employees with the launch of the company’s new energy division. Today, as RTL considers contracts involving 20 to 30 employees, it still relies on business processes learned from Lewis’ experiences working for big corporations and the military to make successful growth decisions.

“It’s one thing to win a contract,” Lewis says. “It’s another thing to win a contract and have a system or process to measure how far that contract gets you toward a goal.”

Spend Wisely

Obtaining funding is essential to any growth strategy. But it’s just as important to spend the right money on the right types of investments, says Jim Blasingame, President of the Small Business Network, Inc., and host of The Small Business Advocate radio show.

“Make sure that you’re spending money in the right way and getting it from the right source,” he says, whether that’s cash flow from operations, retained earnings, or debt.

Consider the most strategic way to finance a long-term investment, such as new equipment, rather than raiding short-term operating cash, Blasingame explains.

No matter how much they grow, small businesses should always remember the relationship between cash and growth, Blasingame says. By extending credit to customers with terms that don’t meet the time limits you have to pay your own accounts, “you can succeed yourself right out of business,” he adds.

Have Good Relationships

Build good relationships with bankers and investors so they understand your business, and have regular meetings to let them known what opportunities your business is pursuing, Lewis says. “You want to keep them informed the whole time so they’re in it with you,” he said. “The relationship piece is incredibly important.”

Building partnerships with other businesses and consultants in your industry can also help you stretch your company’s resources until you’re ready to hire, says SCORE. The group’s experienced volunteer counselors can provide free advice on questions about growth or other small business issues.

The SBA’s regional development offices also help businesses assess whether or not they’re ready for growth by looking at their locality, industry, market share and internal capacity, adds Montgomery. “I honestly believe that the way business owners work through this is not to try to figure it out by themselves but to seek out an advisor or a mentor,” she says. “You’re not alone.”

Photo: Shutterstock

https://www.openforum.com/articles/four-ways-to-scale-your-business-responsibly/