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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

How to say ‘thank you’ the online way.

Are your last impressions good enough for your prospects and customers? Let’s do an analysis to figure that out. Saying thank you in the physical world is an art that calls for the fusion of diplomacy and verbal communication expertise. But in the digital world, it is both an art and a science! In other words, it is an intelligent interplay of strategy, creativity and technology.
The ‘digital’ customer is no different than a ‘brick & mortar’ customer. Both have the same emotions and expectations. Let’s now look at the myriad scenarios where a business or a professional with online presence has to say thank you the online way. Whenever a prospect or customer performs an action that was anticipated, the business is expected to reciprocate––either by thanking the person or by offering something handy in return. The aforementioned action could be an enquiry about a product/service, instruction to send a sales person, a request for a free trial or an online purchase itself! When it comes to responding to the prospect’s action, majority of the businesses don’t go beyond a simple page that says, ‘Thank you for your interest. We’ll get back to you soon!’. That’s because the number of form fills is often considered as the yardstick for measuring the success of an online initiative. But the question is: Will that suffice in the long run? Certainly not…
Saying thank you––and getting away––is just about meeting expectations. But in today’s ‘dog-eat-dog’ world of business, where the stakeholders are hitching their business wagons to the stars, ‘exceeding expectations’ is the new mantra for success. Can a ‘thank you’ page help? Why not? Of course, we aren’t talking about those run of the mill pages that exist for the sake of mere online presence. We are talking about thank you pages that raise eyebrows and touch hearts! A good thank you page should ideally help increase credibility and decrease post purchase anxiety.
Let us now delve into the components of a thank you page that makes a visitor say wow! At a macro level, the page has to be visually appealing. The expression of gratitude should be prominent. This message should be followed by more information on what has just happened (submitted for internal review, forwarded to the experts, registration confirmed, etc.) and what is expected to happen (a team member to revert, product delivery within a specific time frame, etc.). The next message in the sequence is the assurance that the information will be used in a responsible manner.
There are so many ways to turbo charge your thank you page. Here are some tested and trusted techniques to do it right…
Inspiring downloads
Since the visitor has already evinced interest, a free download like a desktop calendar or productivity enhancement widget would be accepted with alacrity.The intellectually inclined ones are likely to opt for a whitepaper, case study or data sheet.
Interesting incentives
Today’s smart, net savvy customer always expects a steal of a deal from every transaction. So it goes without saying that he’ll be open to the idea of bookmarking a discount coupon or a freebie offer for future purchases. Exclusive customer offers with a deadline are likely to work better.
Relevant options
Customers connect better with businesses that understand their preferences. A thank you page can be an excellent cross selling platform. For instance, a Bluetooth headset offer might pique the interest of a customer who has just bought a smart phone online. Whether it’s a list of related offerings or a link to the offerings page itself, the strategy is certainly a value add.

If the trust has been built early enough, some customers might be magnanimous enough to refer their friends and peers. Smart online marketers and loyalty management companies even throw in the incentive offer here. Because you can’t always expect everybody to put in that extra effort, without a benefit! Whichever way it is done, the navigation has to be simple and user friendly!
The social connection
Social media cannot be ignored by today’s businesses. Though the main website or the landing page might have the icons, it’s wiser to have them on the thank you page too. If the reason is convincing enough, the customer wouldn't mind following, adding, accepting or bookmarking a business to stay informed.
It is now quite obvious that the design of a thank you page cannot be an afterthought. It is in fact a crucial step towards building stronger customer relationships. If the last impression is as good as, or even better than, the first impression, the task of retaining the customer is likely to be a walk in the park! That’s not all… a thank you page that stuns the visitor can also be a starting point for another relationship. Well, you know how!
Got a lead generation campaign in the pipeline? Then get back to work on your existing thank you pages… across your websites, newsletters and landing pages. Thank you for taking time off to read this article.

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About Me

Bangalore, Karnataka, India
I am a creative wordsmith experienced in direct mail, email, online and print media communication. I wield Masters degrees in Journalism and Social Work. I have also completed the Advanced Program in Digital Marketing (NIIT Imperia). My current area of focus is copywriting and online marketing. You may write to me at mcjsasi@gmail.com