Odyssey bloghelping you leverage the potential of the internet

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?

Basic Guide to Editing your Website

29. December 2009 18:33

CMS content tree

Making changes to your website when you have a Content Management System (CMS) couldn’t be easier!

When your website goes live you will be issued with a unique username and password to access to your control panel.

Once you’ve logged in you’ll see a content tree on the left-hand side that represents the pages and hierarchy of your website.

By right-clicking the Home icon with your mouse you’ll access a menu that will allow you to reorder the pages on your website navigation.

By right-clicking an individual web page underneath the home page you’ll be able to revert any changes you make to that page to a previous version just in case you make a change and then need to undo it.


The Web Page Editor

Selecting a page in the tree will allow you to edit that page in the main editor (see below) which is as easy as typing a letter in a word processor like Microsoft® Word.

You’ll be able to modify the text on your web pages, change the style of the text, add and change pictures, insert tables, bullet lists and links etc.

CMS editor

The Editor Toolbar

The editor toolbar is very simple to learn.  Apart from the usual bold, delete, anchor and insert image icons, the three icons on the left are worth explaining further.
The save button Save button saves your changes, but doesn’t update the live site.  The second button Save and publish button saves your changes and publishes your changes to the live website.  The third iconPreview button along previews your changes so you can check them before you publish if you wish.

CMS toolbar

The Media Section

The Media section allows you to manage the files and pictures you upload to use on your website.  You access the Media section via the pane at the bottom left of your CMS window.  These will then be available to add to your web pages via the editor.

Media tree

Using WHOIS Domain Search

24. December 2009 15:16

WHOIS is an essential domain name researching tool.  It will help you determine the availability of a domain name.
If a domain name is already taken, it's often used to find out the owner or registrant's details or find out when the registration expires.

Eat at URL's diner

You can discover who owns a website by performing a WHOIS lookup on the domain, which can be useful if you want to enquire about the possible sale of a domain name that’s not currently available.

On many occasions domain names are purchased and go unused and therefore if you find a domain that is registered but not currently being used, you maybe able to negotiate a price with the WHOIS registrant.

Along with the registrants name and contact details a WHOIS search will usually return:

  • The domain registration date and expiry date
  • The current status of the domain
  • The domain’s name servers

There are a number of websites on the internet that let you query the WHOIS system.  To find information on a .UK domain name you can use the Nominet WHOIS service below.

The registrant listed on the WHOIS database is normally considered to be the webmaster for that domain, responsible for administering the domain/website and is not necessarily the owner.

Picture used under Creative Commons from Dawn Endico


Category: Domain Names