Odyssey bloghelping you leverage the potential of the internet

7 benefits of using an Open Source CMS


16. January 2010 17:19

With both large and small organisations turning to open source content management solutions (CMS) including high profile websites like Whitehouse.gov, we look at the some of the benefits of using an open source CMS.

Floppy disk dismantled

  1. No propriety license fees - More development time and money can go on creating a beautiful website than on the CMS.
  2. High quality and stable software - Many hours of development have gone into building open source software by a community of skilled and dedicated programmers.
  3. Safe and secure - Generally if security holes are discovered software patches for open source software are released very quickly.
  4. Customisable - Because the source code is accessible, there are always plenty of plug-ins contributed by the community to add functionality to open source CMS.
  5. Large communities - Generally open source projects have a large active community who can help you solve problems.
  6. Source code is freely available - Should you ever need to tinker with the core software you have access to the code.
  7. Not locked into a single vendor - Other developers can easily extend or update your website should you ever need to.

Picture used under Creative Commons from Rob Hayes

What is the Telephone Preference Service?


12. January 2010 19:41

A telephone

In the UK it is unlawful to place a direct marketing call to an individual or organisation who has objected, either directly a company or with the central registration scheme - the TPS or CTPS.

The Telephone Preference Service enables individuals or organisations in the United Kingdom to register their objection to receiving direct marketing calls with a central service.

Telemarketing companies are able to receive a list of numbers that have been registered by subscribing to the TPS and or CTPS.

The regulations require that companies comply with an individual's request for suppression made to the central registration scheme within 28 days.

Who needs to comply with the regulations?

All businesses including charities and voluntary organisations who make direct marketing calls to both 'cold' lists and customer lists should be screened against the TPS data before telephone calls are made to ensure they comply with the regulations.

Does TPS apply to customers of a business?

The regulations cover all telephone calls whether they are customers or non-customers. If a customer has registered with TPS you can only call them if they have indicated that they do not object to you calling them.

What are the consequences of calling a number registered with the TPS/CTPS?

Should a subscriber registered with the TPS make a complaint about unsolicited direct marketing telephone calls from a business or other organisation, the Telephone Preference Service Limited (TPSL) will investigate the circumstances in which the call was made. A record of the complaint will be sent to the Information Commissioner's Office, who are responsible for enforcing the regulations.

A TPS subscriber can also contact the Information Commissioner’s Office directly to complain about an unsolicited direct marketing Telephone call which they have received.

How do I get the TPS/CTPS suppression list?

A number of options are available such as list cleaning services, call barring services along with services aimed at helping small companies comply with the regulations.
Visit the TPS website for further details www.TPSonline.org.uk

Picture used under Creative Commons from macinate

Understanding the Purchasing Cycle


7. January 2010 17:28

The customer buying cycle defines the stages a customer goes through while making a purchasing decision.

The purchasing cycle is important because customers need different information at each stage of the process.

In order to maximise the effectiveness of your website in generating revenue you need to optimise your website to help the customer at each stage.

The Purchasing Cycle

Lets look at each stage of the customer purchasing cycle.

 The purchasing cycle

Recognition of a Need

The customer has identified that they need a certain product or service.

This is where your marketing campaigns can be used to raise awareness of your products and services. Think email newsletters, search marketing campaigns etc…

Research Stage

This is the information gathering stage.  The customer maybe weeks or months away from making a purchase.

The internet is increasingly becoming a tool for product research, so it’s vital that you provide as much information on your website as possible to help potential customers at this stage.

Because a customer maybe months away from making a decision it's a good idea to try and make sure you can proactively contact them to remind them of your company’s products and services.

Try to get them to sign-up to email newsletters, request a call back at a specified time etc.

Analysis Stage

The customer has decided they need your product or service but they have not yet committed to purchasing it from your company.
They are now looking into the features and benefits of your product/service and comparing it to your competition.

You need to provide your customers with your unique selling proposition (USP) - Why should they purchase from you?

Consider the power of testimonials from previous customers to give people confidence in your company and its products and services.

Make it easy for the customer to compare the features of your product/service with your competitors solutions.

Provide detailed and accurate product specifications so the customer can determine whether it meets their needs.

Buying Stage

The customer has decided to purchase and is buying your product.

This is your opportunity to offer them special offers, convince them to purchase a different product or service or additional products.

Post Buying Stage

Product/Service has been purchased.  You will need to follow up the purchase with good customer service keep your customers satisfied.

Remember: Retaining existing customers is important as attracting new customers is much more difficult and costly in comparison.

Not Providing Good Product Information Can Drive Your Customers Away!


1. January 2010 13:42

In order to sell or promote products on the web you must provide good product information in order to give your customers confidence before they click the buy button.

When customers shop online they require more product information compared to shopping for the same items in brick and mortar shops as there is no tangible product to hold no salesperson to ask and no product displays to read.

As a result of poor product information many ecommerce websites are losing sales to competitors who are spending the time to make shopping online as painless as possible for their consumers.

Here’s an example of a few misleading ecommerce pages from a large UK clothing store.

Confusing product images

In this case the product has several images and a decent amount of product information.
However when would you realise that you were only buying the shirt and not the matching tie?

It doesn’t mention anywhere that the tie is not included or sold separately.

Conflicting product descriptions

Another item from the same store features a pair of suit trousers, but if you look more closely you’ll notice the conflicting product information.

Are they machine washable at 40 degrees or dry clean only?

After looking at these two products would you have confidence purchasing items from this store?