Samovar as Change Agent
This is a guest post from Joshua J., as leader of our Samovar’s ecommerce strategy.We would love to hear any feedback you have.
We believe that connecting deeply to the present moment, to ourselves, and to others is good for all involved. We practice this way through the ritual joy of tea drinking. There are many paths to living a full and meaningful life, and our path is not for everyone. But every satisfied Samovarian is a living, breathing, drinking, proof that our message resonates.
One consequence of making contributions that benefit society as a whole is accumulation of wealth. (Although the inverse is not true–not every accumulation of wealth is a sign of benefiting society.) Money is just a representation of energy. We need energy in order to sustain our work, to find and create new opportunities, to source new products from small farmers, to create jobs here in America. Managing and growing our finances is an essential responsibility in order for us to achieve our mission. I believe that life is essentially a meritocracy where the most effective variations of life are rewarded the most.
Our ecommerce engine is already fairly efficient. Sure, there’s room for improvement, but while becoming more efficient will reduce waste it will not increase growth. We need to increase traffic to our site in order to increase potential revenue. An increase in revenue will reflect directly that more people are benefitting from our experience, from our tea, and from our Way.
We need to increase conversions from traffic in order to increase actual revenue.
- I believe we can increase traffic by incorporating some key principles into our current actions.
- The message is free. It’s in our blog, our newsletter, and all the pages of our site. The mementos (tea, tea ware, meals, event tickets) have a cost.
- Our fans and our guests are our best salesforce. The best way to get the message out is to let our most avid friends & fans promote Samovar to their friends & fans. In the pre-internet world, the cost to spread a message was an obstacle for those without resources. Now, information flows at near zero cost. This gives anyone with an internet connection a level of power that is unprecedented in the history of civilization. By identifying our most intimate friends & fans and treating them to an experience that is truly delightful (fun, entertaining, mood-altering, generous, kind, appreciative). I believe we can give them authentic reasons to share their experiences with people who are most likely to become our next best friends & fans.
- Keeping it real. I believe each person is special, and it’s no surprise that they want to feel special. Getting mail from a corporation doesn’t feel special. Getting mail from a friend does. Getting our subscribers to recognize us as their friend means that they will care what we have to say. Keeping it real means getting real peoples signatures on the newsletters, and writing the messages in the first person. I believe the only reason not to do this is fear. When the mail comes from “the corporation” then there’s no room for finger pointing. When it’s got your name on it, it’s scary. What if people don’t like it? What if it generates unsubscribes? Furthermore, I believe this fear is an opportunity. Anything that is scary (for reasons that do not threaten anyone’s life) that we can overcome is one the sign of a competitive advantage.
- Make it worthwhile. Do & share something people care about. Something different. Something news-worthy. Something special. Think about how we can help our people, help their people.
- Treat our most loyal and frequent customers extra special, because they’ve shown us they care.
- Reach out to new customers with special and really personal attention – because they’ve taken a risk with us.
- Hand written thank you notes. (Typed? With wax seals?) * Send free tea as a gift to promote easy sharing with their friends.
- Personal phone calls to ask about their experiences.
- Emails that are from real people, with real reply to addresses, to ask about their experiences (how did you like the tea? was it what you expected? how did you brew it? have any questions about it?).
- Applying coupons to orders that have already been placed. If we get repeat business that will mean a lot more than getting people to pay full price when others are getting a discount. Plus, we can encourage those customers to get on our mailing list so they don’t miss future incentives.
- More blog posts
- More email newsletters. People read email. If we can write mail they want to read, then they will continue to remember why they are a fan. Plus, by giving them ideas, information, and experiences that they appreciate directly in their email, we make it easy for them to share this with their friends.
- Blog & Newsletter Content. Coming up with content is Hard Work. I think it should follow a set of themes that we identify explicitly and then be planned out in advance. I see this effort, at least in the beginning as a collaborative effort with 2-3 people brainstorming, researching, and writing the content. Messages do not have to be long, but they should be memorable.
Joshua, Mandala Designs LLC