Latest SEL Column: Being a Small, Online Retailer

Filed in Miscellaneous by Matt McGee on July 31, 2008 2 Comments

Small is BeautifulMy most recent “Small Is Beautiful” column was published today on Search Engine Land — it’s a profile of an online-only retailer called Here’s the link to the SEL column:

A Small Business Marketing Success Story:

I spent a lot of time in the Q&A asking company president Anthony Holloway about the use of product ratings and reviews on their site. Why? From an SEO perspective, because retail sites often struggle with creating unique content on product pages, and reviews can help solve that issue. From a usability/conversion perspective, because reviews help shoppers decide what products to buy.

There’s a question in the column where I ask Anthony how they get customers to leave so many ratings and reviews, and he says they send an email 20-30 days after the order is placed. I couldn’t fit it into the SEL column, but here’s what one of those emails looks like:

email screenshot

(you can click that for a larger version)

Things I like about the email:

  1. You can’t tell because I blurred it, but the email is addressed to Firstname Lastname, so there’s a personal touch at the start.
  2. After a quick “thank you”, the second sentence gets right to the Call-to-Action – “Please rate what you bought.”
  3. It shows the exact product you ordered with an image, not just a text-based description of what you ordered.
  4. It’s signed by the company president.

If you didn’t already click through to read the column, here’s the link again: A Small Business Marketing Success Story:

BTW, I’m always looking for more case studies and examples of small businesses that are successfully marketing online. Please contact me if you are, or if you know of a business that has a good story to tell — a story that others can learn from. Thanks!

Comments (2)

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  1. Erika says:

    That’s nice work. I can appreciate something attractive, simple, and easy to use. This is sort of like the perfect “after” shot between a before & after shot of a marketing makeover.

  2. David Mihm says:

    Super interview, Matt! Anthony’s really got a great strategy for success–customer service should always be at the center. I really love their blog as well; that content would play SO well on a lot of the smaller social media sites…

    (Small world–I played several HS golf tournaments at Sycamore Hills in Anthony’s hometown of Paris).

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