Mindful marketing co founder, and host of Secrets To Scaling Your E-Commerce Brand, Jordan West drops by the Pitstop garage to talk to Lucas about how Gated Launches can actually increase customer interest
While common sense would say if you want to make a sale then your store should never close its door on potential shoppers, marketing expert Jordan West says that actually, it can be incredibly helpful to your bottom line and drive customer engagement.
Gated Launches are the secret weapon to generating excitement and FOMO, the fear of missing out, two major factors to getting modern shoppers through the door and past the checkout.
"What is a gated launch?"
A gated launch is when a store closes all sales and advertising temporarily, often for 24 hours, allowing access only to those special customers who have been invited. Instead of locking the front door and only letting a few people inside, like a brick & mortar store, online gated launches lock all traffic on the site down, blocking shoppers from browsing the site unless they have a special passcode or sign-in to a registered account.
"Who do I allow in, and how do my customers get access?"
While the sense of exclusivity is important to a gated launch, it's all for nothing if you can't get those curious shoppers into the VIP experience. Allow ample opportunities for customers to join your exclusive access list, in exchange for further brand engagement, such as by:
- Joining and promoting a Facebook VIP group for your brand
- Signing up for SMS promotions
- Downloading and signing into an app for your brand
You don't want to make it impossible for shoppers to find the password and gain access, you just want to make sure those gaining access are committed customers. Clearly state how they can gain access, and watch as both your lists and profit margins grow.
DONT FORGET: Notify your customers far ahead of time that you're going to have a gated launch for the next sale or product release. You want to build that excitement and engagement, so that they can't wait to sign in with the exclusive password, not have them trying to go about their normal shopping experience and suddenly find themselves barred from their favourite store.
Building Communities That Care
Host of Secrets To Scaling Your E-Commerce Brand & co-founder of Mindful Marketing, Jordan West, explains how VIP groups & consumer communities can give you so much more than just a list of reliable shoppers.
When setting up your gated event, a VIP customer group can be an excellent way to get guaranteed attendees quick, but according to marketing specialist Jordan West, that's just a fraction of the potential profit-driving power groups & communities can bring if you know how to use them.
Building your Community
"What counts as a VIP group?"
- Your email list does not count as a VIP group, it is far too broad, impersonal and easy to miss, block or ignore. These are the customers who took the extra step above and beyond, signing up for SMS, joining official forums and sites, or signing into official apps. An in-group customer is a proven and interested customer
"How do I build my VIP group?"
- The best VIP communities are made by the community themselves, not the brand or product the community gathers around. Simply set up the space, entice customers to join, provide light moderation and allow them to make it into the kind of community they want to have
"Where should I set up my group?"
- Facebook remains the best option for a basic, universally accessible private or public communities with all the important tools for promotion and moderation. There are of course many other options, some free and some at cost, focussed around a wide variety of mediums. Choose what feels right for your customers, and listen to their feedback
"What else can VIP groups do for my brand?"
- Far more than just an available contact list, VIP community members are deeply committed to your brand, and will provide innumerable amounts of free promotional material, positive exposure, product testing and customer support, amounting to thousands of dollars in free material, coverage and assistance. Even a small community is capable of explosively exponential exposure, and provide a positive and supportive space for their brand loyalty to grow
SMS Outreach Do's & Dont's
Mindful Marketing co-founder, and host of Secrets To Scaling Your E-Commerce Brand, Jordan West, returns to Pitstop to talk about some of the SMS strategies the experts use.
If you haven't jumped onto the SMS bandwagon for customer outreach yet, there is good news, you're not too late. But, time is running out to get a headstart on collecting numbers and being an early adopter among your competitors.
Luckily, mindful marketer Jordan West has a crash course on how to use SMS to grow your brand's customer community.
"How does SMS differ from email?"
Your first instinct when using text messaging for consumer outreach may be to just recycle your email content.
SMS is a text-based medium, and any message you chose to send should be optimized for a customer to read on any device that receives text. Treat it like a VIP channel, and only provide the best service you can.
- Don't send pictures, videos, or multi-media links
- Do treat the conversation as casual and friendly
- Don't send too many messages and annoy the customer, stick to a few a month maximum
- Do let them know up front what to expect in terms of content and frequency
- Don't make international customers pay to receive or respond to SMS
Try to only text your customer when you have something to say, such as a new product announcement. If you feel this doesn't provide you with enough contact, consider launching more new products to have something to announce rather than bothering a customer when you have nothing new to offer.
It may seem counter-intuitive to be forgotten by consumers, but it will make what messages you do send all the more valuable, and likely to be opened.