If you have any sort of online shopping cart, registration, sign-up or customer enquiry process you must complete that interaction within a few minutes.

This is especially so if they abandon the process.

Whether it's responding to a customer enquiry for more information or re-marketing to customers after they have failed to complete the shopping process, all benefit from rapid response.

The research continues to show that the quicker you respond the higher the likelihood of closing the deal.

And that makes sense.

If the customer has just been on your website, tried to register or buy something, or filled in a contact form, then that is when their interest is at its highest.

That's when you should call them. That's when you should remarket to them.

Call Me Now or Lose Me

The longer you wait the colder and less interested they become. It's only natural, it's human behaviour.

They move on to other things and they soon forget about you, other things attract and gain their interest. Or even worse, they've already spent their money on something else.

If you wait more than an hour you basically have to recreate their shopping experience from scratch, so your back to cold calling, which never really works.

If you wait more than 24 hours you've actively undermined your brand: “What, you took this long to call me? Obviously you don't care much about me or your product.”

Real estate agents spring to mind, but that's another story.

A recent study by Inside Sales http://blogs.omniture.com/2008/08/13/creating-a-successful-lead-nurturing-strategy-part-iv-when-should-i-call/ showed that the odds of just getting in touch with a lead from a contact form drops by 100x in the first 30 minutes, and ideally you should call them in the first 5 minutes.

That's basically immediately.

So if you have web contact forms on your website they really need to be going straight to the sales teams' email or smart phone.

And it should be company policy that they call the lead straight away.

Abandoned Shopping Carts

When it comes to shopping carts, there's a fair bit of debate as to how long online marketers should wait before emailing an abandoned cart shopper.

Many are saying you should wait 24 hours, but many others are saying do it within the first hour for the same reasons listed above.

That's when customers are most interested. The longer you leave it the less interested they get.

I know this is a fine line and many will see it as being overzealous, even pushy marketing. The best thing to do is to run some tests to see what time frames are the most effective.

Of course it also depends what you're selling. It's probably easier and more appropriate to remarket low value items sooner, while high value items may need to take a bit more time.

But that's the beauty of the web; you can test all these things to see what works best.

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