posted in BigCommerce
There are some major changes anticipated for many ecommerce businesses in the early part of next year. As of the first of February 2015, many small to mid-sized online retailers will need to make a major transition of ecommerce platforms from Magento Go and ProStores to a new platform. BigCommerce has been named the Go To Hosted Solution of Choice by both Magento Go and ProStores. This means that anyone moving from either of those platforms will receive free help with the migration of their stores to the BigCommerce platform. While options will continue to be available for larger enterprises, the smaller businesses will need to migrate their ecommerce stores to Magento Enterprise or BigCommerce. If you’re one of those stores facing this major change, you might be wondering what steps you need to take to transition your online business so that you and your customers will have a seamless experience throughout the process.
Steps to a Successful Transition
Even though the transition does not entail the movement of physical merchandise, it will still require you to give some attention to detail to ensure a smooth experience for everyone concerned. Some may think that the movement of data from one location to another is simply a matter of cutting and pasting the information into the new platform. Unless you have a handful of products, that most definitely won’t be the case. Even if it were, you would still need to think of your customers every step of the way so that the entire experience will not impact the performance of your existing online business.
This entails giving special attention to other aspects of your new site like research, site design, customer shopping experience, development, deployment, security, and other issues that may not be readily noticed.
When considering the discovery phase of your migration program, think about everything needed to launch your new site. It is the perfect time for you to thoroughly evaluate your current business strategies in this area and determine if certain changes can help to improve your overall sales performance. You could take this time to look closely at other similar sites and see what methods might be used to enhance your own. Use this time to consider more than the obvious; perhaps it’s time to restructure your catalog, improve your navigational structure, or even shipping options. The migration may be the ideal time to add on some new features that you have not yet implemented into your system. What you learn during this discovery phase can serve as the groundwork for your new ecommerce store.
The fact that you have to move your store creates the opportune time to tweak your design elements. Of course, your existing site design can be rebuilt on the BigCommerce platform, however, there is just as much work in building a new site as there is rebuilding your existing site. Taking that into consideration, you want to make sure that the new design for your store will accurately match the needs of your customers. If you’ve already been in business for some time, chances are you’ve recognized many of your customer needs and thought of ways to make their shopping experience more rewarding. Your store needs to be tailored to their expectations and migration time is the perfect opportunity to make that happen.
3. Migrate Your Data
Even though your new move will be merely moving data from one site to another, it is not a step that you should take lightly. You will in fact have to navigate between the existing system and the new one; this will include importing products, customer information, orders and 301 redirects to ensure that your site doesn’t lose any search momentum or rankings. For other points of concern regarding store migration to BigCommerce, click here.
Moving products: try not to consider your product catalog as a string of information but think of it the way your customer sees it. Product data could include any number of things like images, product numbers, descriptions, and prices, all of which needs to be displayed in a way that is easily accessible to the customer and with actionable items above the fold.
Once all of the information has been successfully migrated you need to deploy and test your site before you’re ready for a full-scale opening. You want to make sure that your new site is tested for a number of different things; function, compatibility, and conversion. Remember that once you switch to your new platform your URL will change, so you also want to know if your new site is going to be picked up by the new web browsers so that your customers will be able to find you once you move. 301 redirects will be an essential part of this.
Another feature of your new ecommerce site that should not be neglected is security. Your customers need to feel that their personal information is protected and not exposed to unauthorized users at any point in the transition. BigCommere is a completely secure and compliant ecommerce platform, so that it allows for effective payment processing without putting their personal data at risk. The merchant you use to accept payments should have a security policy implemented for any number of situations and it’s always a good idea to highlight your secure merchant partner badges.
Once your new site is in full-swing, you will still need to keep a close eye on its progress. Often, trends will appear over time that may not be readily seen after the first few days of a launch. Always be prepared to tweak and make any adjustments to the system as you and your customers grow together with your new site.
As you develop your new site, review the changes you’ve made and monitor its progress on a continuous basis. You want to make sure that the new site not only meets your customers’ expectations but also meets the needs of your business as well.
There are many aspects and features that must be considered when you’re migrating an ecommerce store. While it may not be the most complicated element of running your business, for it to be a true success, you will need to give your personal attention to many important details that could range from the choice of color and design to how potential customers will find you. If you take the time and the extra care needed to plan every aspect of the transition, you’ll find that making the switch to your new platform will enhance your business and even give you a better return on your investment.
posted in Case Studies
Many people discover that just because they have an eCommerce website, doesn’t necessarily mean people will buy from them. There are many factors that influence a potential customer’s purchasing decisions, but let’s focus on navigation specifically; as it had a very big impact on this client’s site.
One of the first things we look at when assessing an existing site is its architecture or navigational structure. A good piece of advice we follow is to make sure a customer is never more than one click away from any page they want or need to visit. Renovated Hardware began their eCommerce site redesign with a developer on the BigCommerce platform. After many struggles and a re-launch of a barely functional site, their page views quickly declined, conversions dropped, and overall traffic was in a spiral downward.
When Renovated Hardware came to Pixel, they were understandably frustrated and angry – which is to be expected after spending a lot of money on a failed business upgrade. While Pixel was reviewing Renovated Hardware’s site, it was quickly apparent they had a complete lack of navigational structure; which ultimately killed their online business.
You can see in the following image that the category landing page only utilized a long list of top-tier categories. Clicking one would take you to another landing page with a long list of sub-categories before finally directing users to individual product pages. The truly unfortunate part of this was that there was no way to get back to the main category or sub-category pages without using the back button; this was tedious at best, and ultimately led to customers giving up and leaving the site. Most people didn’t even bother to drill down all the way to their desired product.
RH wanted to scrap everything and start from scratch with brand new concepts. After initial discussions with RH, we laid out a clear plan of attack for creating an easy to navigate website that would quickly funnel traffic to the appropriate landing page or product.
Starting with the home page, we set up slides for promotional items, image quick nav items for their main categories – memory, hardware and optics – and also included promotional banners. All of these items can be easily edited and managed from the main backend admin area of Big Commerce, their eCommerce cart platform.
For this site, the trickiest part of setting up a clean and intuitive navigation came into play at the category level due to the wide variety of memory variations. We needed to set up a multi-level top tier category and sub-category structure that could be easily viewed without jumping between different pages. This also needed to work dynamically, driven by categories in the admin area, otherwise the site would have been a hard-coded and unmanageable nightmare for the client, once again making it ineffective. We achieved both using a collapsible category listing structure, which enabled users to quickly browse to their desired products.
Again, you will notice that through the side navigation, top nav and category landing pages, users can navigate to any page of the website with just one click or even request a quote from any landing page. This functionality transitions seamlessly from desktop to mobile device.
In summary, the main cause of problems with the original site design and layout was the navigation. This is why creating a strategy and plan of attack when building a website so important. By focusing on creating an intuitive website structure we were able to increase page views over 70%, decrease bounce rate from 85% to 42% within the first two weeks of our re-design launch. “The Pixel team understood both my needs and concerns and then acted quickly with the design and implementation of the new site. The end result exceeded my expectations and I appreciate the fact that when I had questions they were always there to take my call.” ~ Robert
by pixelposted in Design Resources
So you’re going to school in hopes of landing an awesome job in graphic design? That’s great! But, are you really leveraging every opportunity to increase your chances of this happening upon graduation? Truth is, many (if not most) college grads enter the real world with the misconception that a degree and a portfolio of school assignments will get them a job at the firm of their choice. The harsh reality they face is that it takes much more than this to compete in today’s pool of graphic design talent.
You could be one of the most skilled designers in the world, but if you don’t work to build your personal brand while you’re in school, you’ll more than likely run into some trouble when it comes to finding a job. So how can you go about creating a personal brand that will sell potential employers on what you can do? First and foremost, start early and work hard! Or, more specifically, start doing the following five things during your studies to prep for graduation:
1. Develop Soft Skills
The ability to provide impressive examples of your work is one thing. Being able to sell potential employers in an interview is another. This is where soft skills come in. Soft skills include your ability to listen, problem solve, communicate and present. Refining these skills while you’re in school will put you leaps and bounds ahead of other applicants who have trouble interacting with interviewers. Jobs in customer service and sales are great places to start developing these skills. They force you to think fast and resolve issues on the spot. They also require that you sell a product or service, similar to the way you’ll need to sell employers (and ultimately clients) on your work.
2. Seek Opportunities for Experience
This can’t be stressed enough. On-the-job experience is invaluable in terms of landing a secure job after graduation. Employers want to know that you have the ability to produce great work on real-life projects. The great thing is, there are tons of opportunities for students looking to expand their skill sets and get some hands-on experience in design! Some of these include:
- Unpaid Internships
Although you’re working for free here, the value of the experience you’ll gain will be more than worth the time you’ve invested. Not only will your internship projects be great portfolio-builders, they’ll also show future employers that you’re capable of working with a team to achieve client objectives. A good internship will also provide you with your first opportunity to get your foot in the door at the firm of your choice.
- Work Study
Most schools offer programs that place students in on and off-campus positions that are relevant to their degrees. These positions pay a low wage that is funded by the government and is intended to help students pay for their schooling. Speak with your counselor and/or career services to determine your eligibility for this. Working with your school to get in on this program can help you find awesome opportunities to develop your skill and build your portfolio while earning a little extra money.
- Junior Positions
There are a lot of smaller companies looking for help with design projects. While they may not be able to afford the services of a larger firm, they’re looking for a talented in-house designer to help them out. Check classifieds, ask around at career services and get active on LinkedIn to scope out these opportunities. Junior positions are a great way to start working in the field on a more consistent basis, prior to graduation.
3. Become a Team Player
We’d all like to think that our ideas are the greatest ideas that have ever been…Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. It takes a team to produce the best finished product possible. That being said, learning to take criticism in stride is crucial to your success in the design world. Clients, art directors, and coworkers will critique your work, and it will be up to you to make the necessary changes without holding a grudge.
It will also be important for you to work as a team and listen to input from others to improve your work and achieve optimal results.
The most important thing to learn here is that a critique isn’t a bad thing. In fact, a critique gives you a great opportunity to learn and grow from the expertise others have to share. Develop a thick skin and be open to feedback from clients, peers, and leaders. Even if you’re the only designer in the room, anyone there can have a good idea.
4. Follow Industry Leaders and Trends
You can’t design well without seeing what others have designed well. Thanks to social media, finding the work of industry leaders is easier than ever! Following top design firms and designers will give you the guidance you need to produce work that is of higher quality and appeal. Checking design blogs on a consistent basis will also be of utmost importance in keeping with the times. Design is constantly evolving to include new trends and standards. It’s your job to stay on top of them to produce your best work.
5. Take Advantage of Electives
While it may be tempting to take a few bowling and yoga classes to finish out your college career with electives, there’s a significant advantage to taking courses in marketing and communications instead. The information you’ll receive in these courses will prep you for the production of strategic work that will be expected of you in an agency.
Marketing for non-majors and courses in advertising will prove invaluable in your future work at a firm. Some schools even offer programs that allow students to work in an agency setting, producing real work for real clients while earning credit and making connections. Look for interesting opportunities within your school’s communication and marketing departments to increase your skill and build more value in your personal brand.
Overall, branching out and developing both hard and soft skills early on is the most effective step in securing an awesome job in design – and each tip listed above is a great way you can get started on a successful career while you’re in school. You’ll have to work hard and be persistent, but eventually, the effort you put in will pay off as you develop your talents in design, advertising/marketing, and working with a team. Good Luck!
Author: Cosette Jarrett
Cosette Jarrett is a marketing specialist at Red Olive, a digital agency located in Salt Lake City, Utah. She specializes in social media and content marketing, working closely with the Utah SEO team to develop and execute marketing solutions and social strategy. The tips in this post were provided by Red Olive’s Creative Director, Brad Hoen and Art Director, Chris Grayson.
One of the key strategies in online marketing is knowing how to run an effective email campaign. For the novice in the world of email marketing, this is a method that is best left to the big boy conglomerates to utilize. Not true, many small and mid-sized companies are seeing the advantages from this highly effective marketing tool.
It may surprise you to learn that as many as 77% of consumers actually have opted to receive permission-based emails over many other marketing strategies. The fact that an email is an invitation for customers to visit your site makes it more personal than any other method of online communication. It’s the most effective way to keep your name in front of them all the time. The challenge that you face though, is how to create an email campaign that will be engaging, unobtrusive, and effective all at the same time. Here are some tips that will help your first email marketing campaign not suck.
Know Your Message
One of the first things you need to run an effective email campaign is to know the message you want to send. A constant barrage of messages about what you offer may not be enough to keep potential consumers engaged. Instead, focus on things that your customers will relate to; your availability, rewards programs, referrals, how you’re different from your competitors, and to build a relationship.
If you’re interested in increasing your bottom line, building a brand reputation, demonstrating your interest in your consumers and motivating your readers to follow you, you need to be able to deliver that message in your email campaign. The key is that your message has to be of value to the reader. Promotions and campaigns have their places in the email marketing effort but your customers are going to be more interested in how valuable they are to them.
Before you can even begin to send out your newly developed email campaign you need to have a list. Start with your present customers and those whom you already have their email addresses. Add an email signup to your website so that you can build that list with people that are actually inviting you to communicate with them. At this point you have two choices before you; A) do you end out a blanket email to everyone? Or B) do you segment your list and send out a separate campaign to different groups, tailoring the message to specific interests? Research has shown that those who send out a segmented list actually attract 15% more clicks than the blanket email campaigns. Although segmented messages may be a little more work, you can expect more results in return.
Develop Your Campaign
Your campaign should have a name so that you can easily identify it when the responses start to come in. If you’re promoting a specific product or service then you can give it a promotional identification. If it’s a regular mailing you can identify it by date. This is important if you’re planning on sending several different campaigns or you’re going to be doing this on a regular basis. You’ll want to be able to identify which campaigns are producing results and which ones are not.
Develop an email subject line that is intriguing enough to motivate them to open it. Many have found success in using a question to draw their readers in while others use a humorous phrase. Many computers now have filters that will reroute your email to the spam folder if you use certain trigger words so watch your wording carefully. This is not a step that you can afford to do without. Email services like MailChimp have discovered that around 93% of companies that invest time in developing their subject line get a higher open rate than those that don’t.
Writing and Editing
Writing can be a difficult process if you’ve never had to do it. Each word has value so you want to make sure that every one counts. Be sure that the font style fits with your brand name. Include your contact information and your focus should be on what you can do for the customer and not on what you want them to do. Make sure that you check for mistakes and grammatical errors. They can be very easy to do but not always easy to catch.
Once your campaign has been launched, keep close records of the results and analyze them carefully. Find out what worked and what didn’t and make the needed adjustments before you begin on another route. Email campaigns can be very effective at bringing new customers to your doors if you invest the time to do it just right. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll want to do a special campaign on a regular basis and you’ll soon see the results of a rising client base that can be extremely effective in building up your bottom line.
posted in BigCommerce
One of the best ways to boost your business is with testimonials from satisfied customers and product reviews. Statistics have shown that more than 70% of consumers will consult a product review before they decide on a purchase and 63% of consumers will buy from a site that includes product ratings and reviews on their website or blog. Clearly, an extremely effective way to increase sales is to build trust in your customers through effective use of customer reviews.
Here are 10 ways you can do this effectively.
1. Place At Least A Few Reviews on Your Home Page
While reviews for a specific product can be placed on the product page, you can draw the consumer in with a few well-selected ones right on the front page of your site. You want to be sure that the appeal for your product or service is placed front and center.
2. Join the Same Sites As Your Customers
We live in a society where people communicate in many different ways. That’s why social networking actually works. Being a part of the same social lines of communication as your customers makes your presence more accessible and will encourage more people to participate in writing reviews about your products and/or services.
3. Follow Up
If you want repeat customers make sure that you follow up with customers after they have made a purchase. They will be more inclined to write a review when their purchase is still fresh in their minds. You can even set up an automated follow up letter requesting a review so you don’t have to worry about it.
4. Ask Questions
In order to ask good questions you need to know what kind of answers you’re looking for. Learn about your target audience, their interests, concerns, and challenges in your particular industry. Once you know these questions you’ll be able to land some very effective testimonials.
5. Keep in Touch with Those Who Give You Great Reviews
If you notice that someone has given you an excellent review on one of the social media sites, make sure that you thank them and request permission to share their review on your website and social media platforms. This not only instills a strong relationship that will keep your customer coming back but puts out a positive message that will encourage new customers to reach out for that relationship too.
6. Keep in Touch with Those That Have Made a Negative Review About Your Service
Negative reviews also need to be addressed. With most eCommerce platforms such as BigCommerce, you have control over what reviews to show publicly and those that should be addressed, but maybe not shown if you know what I mean... That being said, you should always try to contact those with an unfavorable response to your product and/or service to try to remedy the problems. These types of reviews can be viewed as an opportunity for you to make some adjustments in your business, a warning sign of potential problems, and a chance to learn from your clients. One thing for sure, if a negative review is allowed to hit the mainstream social networking outlets, it could be devastating to your establishment. The sooner you address it the better your chances of turning it around. One thing for sure, it’s not going to go away unless you do something about it.
7. Hold a Contest
Running a contest is an excellent way to encourage your customers to write a review. There are many different ways to encourage people to write about your business or service. A slogan campaign, a hashtag promotion, or even a posting on Facebook can be very effective in making your business look good to a newcomer.
8. Start a Rewards Program
Incentives are great motivators when it comes to getting results. Offering customers a 10% off coupon for a review can produce surprising results. Better yet, don’t even tell them ahead of time and reward them afterwards and you’ll increase their loyalty to you indefinitely.
9. A Pictures Says a 1000 Words
When a customer posts a favorable review on their site ask for a photo to add to it. This not only makes the customer feel valued but it increases your level of credibility in the review itself. If the review has been posted on a social media site or another website, make sure you add the link to that site next to the review.
10. Be Warm and Fuzzy
The more you interact with your customers the more likely they will feel connected to you. Give your customers a reason to write back. Making it a natural part of an ongoing conversation will go a long way in getting that positive review that you’re looking for. It could be as simple as writing a thank you note or a response to a contact request but the give and take relationship can make a major difference in how many reviews you get.
The difference between hiring the right people and hiring the wrong people can literally mean a team that supports and fosters your success or a team that sinks your ship.
Having to hire a new employee for your small business, no matter if it is your first secretary or your 10th cashier, means that your business is growing, you are delegating, and you are having a big-picture mentality, all of which are great things. But hiring someone new can be daunting no matter what stage of business you are at, especially when introducing a new person to the work environment can easily change the dynamics. Hiring the wrong person is a lot like giving your business cancer; it can start small and barely noticeable but quickly evolves into a soul sucking disease.
The stakes can be high when you are recruiting, and the rule of thumb in the industry is that the wrong employee can cost you upwards of 3 to 4 times his or her annual salary. This means that a $25,000 employee can cost you $50,000, and a $75,000 employee can end up costing your company $150,000. You also have to factor in the cost of lost business, a lost opportunity cost, potential customers and momentum, and once that happens you have to start all over again looking for a replacement. Don’t sink your own ship. Here are a few ways to avoid this problem before it even starts.
Hiring Too Quickly
One of the biggest mistakes many employers do is to hire a new person after only one interview. It can be tempting to rush the interview process, because you’re short on time and desperately need the additional help. However, hiring the wrong person is far from helpful. Having the person come in a few times gives you a chance to see if they present the same way each time, and you may get a different feeling about them once you see them again. Meeting on a separate occasion will give you ample time to see how you really feel about a person or at the very least detect any red flags.
Believe me, if there are any red flags no matter how insignificant they might seem at the time, do yourself a favor and move on to the next candidate. I can speak from experience on this subject. I totally botched a couple of early hires for my business; one of which turned our close knit office environment into a place of fear and anxiety. Morale was down, production took a nose dive, I actually dreaded coming into my own office to face this individual each day. Then I would go home and lose sleep worrying about what damage would come next. What did I do wrong? I tried to make something that was clearly broken work, because it was much easier to make excuses in the beginning rather than cutting out the disease before it spread. Hiring the wrong person costs much more than just the price of a salary – act quickly.
When the perspective employee is in for the second interview, ask him questions that are different from last time, but similar, to see how consistent the person is. If the person seems to be uncomfortable with how the process is going, drag it out even further. You want to make him or here understand how crucial it is for you to hire the right person for the job, and will want someone that can follow your cues and be on the same wavelength. These are things that make it tough to fight the right hire from just one interview.
Talking Too Much About the Job
During the primary interview, you want to try to feel out the candidate. If you spend too much time talking about the work involved and what the person will be doing, you will miss out on this great opportunity. Instead, talk about the philosophy your company has, and its culture. Tell the prospect how important it is for him or her to be a team player. Hire the person that seems interested in the workings of the company, and is excited about getting involved, not the candidate that seems bored and wants to rush through the interview process. This will ensure that you hire the right person for the job the first time, and will save you money in the long run.
Google and Facebook are Your Friends
We’ve all heard the stories about employers checking Facebook profiles to weed out potential problem candidates. Right or wrong there’s a reason that they do that. Insight into a person’s personality can tell you a lot about their true nature and how it will impact the work place. Often times true personality can be buried in interviews. While most people view Facebook profiles as a personal and private arena, many people leave their profiles open for all to access. While peeping on someone’s Facebook page does seem a bit creepy to me at the very least you should run several Google searches on the applicants’ name. You’d be surprised what can come up even when their background check comes through squeaky clean. In some instances you might even find previous lawsuits against previous employers. Ya, you’d want to dodge that bullet.
What Should You Do if You Hire A Bad Seed?
Act Quickly to Stop The Spread of Disease!
Yes, I know it sounds harsh, but avoidance is the enemy when red flags start popping up. If you hire the wrong person, chances are you will start recognizing this within weeks and almost certainly within 90 days. Act quickly with corrective actions for anything such as; attitude, work ethic, job performance, and insubordination. Don’t be cruel, but let the individual know that they are underperforming or their attitude is not appropriate for the workplace. Document all corrective measures and then move quickly to terminate. No, it’s not fun to fire someone, but it’s even worse to allow problems to fester and spread throughout the workplace. Cut out the cancer now!
posted in Content Marketing
How can I engage my customers? This has got to be one of the most frequently asked questions from my eCommerce clients. The truth is and there is no magical secret to engaging them. In my recent article: “Learn How to Engage Your Online Customers to Grow Your Business”, I talked about the fundamentals of uncovering why your customers need you. In this follow up post I will 6 ways that will really boost your customer engagement.
The key to being successful in a business is knowing your audience. In today’s modern world of Internet and Google searchers, marketers have learned that knowing where your audience spends their time online is a necessity to be successful. With that being said, if you read on below, you will find a few tips to tell you How to engage your customers online.
Know Exactly Where Your Customers Spend Their Time
Studies show that most Internet browsers spend a lot of their time on social media sites. Sites like Facebook, Google Plus, and Twitter have tons of traffic and you need to capitalize on that to have a successful business. If your customers are spending key amounts of time on social media sites, it stands to reason that this is where you need to use your marketing strategies. This means that you need to include a very healthy dose of social media in your marketing along with the traditional email and other marketing strategies.
Provide Exciting Targeted Content
It seems that mobile browsing is a big thing these days as well. So, you want any content that you post to be short, to the point, but still entertaining. Videos work well, as do articles that don’t have tons of meaningless fluff. Articles that have three to five sentences per paragraph keep a reader’s attention better than most and you need to be sure to write an engaging title that will draw your reader in.
If you just can’t seem uncover topics that are intriguing, remember, the best content is content that your audience can relate to. Hang out where your customers hang out online. This goes back to knowing exactly where your customers spend their time and what their needs are. If this isn’t your cup of tea, you can also hire a professional content writer to do this type of thing for you, as they are trained in exactly this type of research.
Facebook and YouTube
Studies show that Facebook and YouTube get more traffic in a day than a combination of many other sites put together. This should tell you something about your marketing strategy. Identify your target audience and then post things that will draw them in on these sites.
Other sites that tend to have a lot of online traffic are:
- Google Search
- Yahoo Mail
- Craigs list
- Yahoo Homepage
- Google Plus
Target these few sites and you should see your business grow in no time at all.
Focus a Lot of Energy on Facebook Itself
The last published data for Facebook shows that it has 845 million viewers a month. That is a lot of viewers and a lot of potential customers for your business. Studies show that Facebook dominates social media in two other ways as well. These are:
- Facebook is the premier player among when it comes to web properties. In other world’s they dominate the Internet with the time that people spend on their site. This equals customer engagement for you and your business, if you use the marketing strategies outlined.
- Facebook has a very impressive mindshare percentage that makes it number one in the industry and the perfect place to advertise for customers to grow your business.
- Targeting Your Facebook Ads: Jon Loomer wrote a really good post on how to dial in your likely audience for better conversion on Facebook. Read it Here.
Take Video Seriously
According to studies, Internet users tend to watch videos more often than they do anything else online. Maybe it is the learning as you go method that causes this, but the results are amazing. In order to succeed in your business, you need to start taking video seriously. Get away from the old-fashioned marketing ideas and make sure that you post some entertaining videos that are chockfull of good, valuable information on social media sites.
Learn from the Best
Do your research to be sure that you are doing your marketing the right way. Target people in your industry and study what marketing strategies they are using to make their businesses so successful.
Follow the tips above for engaging your customers online and you will be successful in no time at all.
posted in eCommerce Website Design
Learn How to Enable Ecommerce Tracking in Google Analytics To Help Your Business Grow
When you’re creating and running an online business, you’re going to have to do more than just manufacture your product. You’ll need to make sure that you’re marketing your product to those people who are likely to buy it and that you’re marketing efforts are effective. One of the best ways to do this is through enabling e-commerce tracking in Google Analytics.
Why Enable Tracking?
Tracking will show you what your customers are doing. It will show you what kinds of products are more popular on your site, how many of each product your customers are buying, and how long it takes them to purchase after they first visit your site. This will allow you to learn what products are your big sellers so that you can make sure they’re well promoted when you’re working on bringing more customers to your business. It will allow you to streamline your ordering process for products you need to make your own products and will enable you to be sure you’re not going to run out of a best seller at the hight of your sales. By keeping your products in stock, you keep your customers happy.
How Do You Enable Tracking?
Before you begin tracking how your customers find your site, you’re going to need to enable tracking on your website. This isn’t very difficult, but it can lead to many more sales. The steps for How to Enable Ecommerce Tracking in Google Analytics are:
- On the Google Analytic page, go to “Admin” on the menu bar.
- Next, use the menus to select Account, then Property, and then finally View.
- Click to view the Ecommerce Settings, and then make sure the toggle is set to the “On” position.
- Before exiting the page, make sure to save this setting.
- WordPress: Google Analyitics for WordPress by Yoast (this plugin makes it easy)
- BigCommerce: Watch the video tutorial below to set up your Google analytics.
Once your e-commerce tracking is turned on you will need to add a little bit of code to your website. Google has this code available on your Google Analytics page and it’s created specifically for your site. You will have a choice of using code for a website, Android apps or IOS apps.
After you have tracking turned on, you can wait a little while for some of the information to become available. With a lot of customers visiting your site, the tracking should have many statistics in a short amount of time. If you don’t have many customers yet, you may have to wait a little bit to get definitive information. You’ll be able to view all of the statistics for your site so that you can be sure that your marketing efforts are paying off and your customers like your products.
Cutroni.com has a pretty good collection of in-depth articles to help Ecommerce store owners get their analytics dialed in the right way along with generating reports and sifting through the data.
If you run a business where you make your own candle at home to sell online, there are a variety of different candles you may sell. From bee’s wax to candles with various scents, you’re going to want to know what products are selling so that you can make more of them. While you can judge this based on sales alone, you may want to be able to predict trends so that you can prepare extra candles ahead of time without worrying that you’re making too many.
For instance, with Google Analytics, you may be able to figure out that in the summer you sell a wine bottle candle in a margarita scent the most. You can prepare for the summer by purchasing extra wine bottles and creating more candles ahead of the summer rush. If summer is the only time you use wine bottles and you prefer mason jars in the winter, you can get an idea of how many wine bottles you may need before summer hits so you won’t have to order too many or make another order if you run out. You can avoid having to make rush orders which may have higher shipping charges as well.
Grow Your Business
When you’re running a business, you need to be aware of all aspects of your business to keep your customer base growing. By analyzing the information Google makes available to you, you can make sure that you have enough product on hand at all times and see what products of yours the customers prefer. Whether you’re making your own candles, sewing your own items, or you have any other small business, these results can help keep your business running smoothly throughout the year.
If you have plenty of customer traffic to your site every day, that’s great — you’ve won the first battle! But now you have to figure out how to keep them coming back time and time again. In my recent post, “eCommerce Tools That Will Increase Your Sales & Retention”, I provided some essential tools to help boost your online sales and retention. In this follow up post, I’m going to cover some
The term “User Retention” has been coined to mean the amount of customers coming back to your site and using your goods regularly. One of the most fundamental components to customer retention is having a great product. Everybody thinks they have a great product, and even if you do have an awesome one-of-a-kind product that does amazing things, that doesn’t guarantee your company will grow to where you want it to be. If you want to keep them coming back make sure that you don’t neglect the following:
Email has long been one of the very best ways to reach out to your customers and get them to come back. Even though newsletters can be annoying for some people, they are by far the most popular way to keep in touch with your customers. When people sign up to get updates and promotions from your company, they’re telling you that want and expect to hear from you with some great deals so they can buy some more. Don’t disappoint them. Email newsletters are an easy and cost effective way of reminding people about the goods and services you offer, any changes or improvements your company has made, along with any promotions that they might want to take advantage of. A good newsletter can be a welcoming site to someone opening their inbox, so take the time to prepare something that will be of great value to the reader. With a newsletter you don’t always want to go for the hard sell, you need to provide interest. Try and make them exciting and engaging, varying content, headlines, and sending frequency until you find the right combination that will help you gain the best results. Also, remember that email marketing doesn’t have to be a ginormous production. Some of the most effective email outreach can be very simple and to the point like this email campaign for West County Gardner. (shown below)
More Than Just Great Products
Now, I’ve actually used West County Gardner’s products, and they are truly great, but when planning for ways of increasing user retention, don’t put all your focus into your products. You want to think about your customers’ likes and dislikes, and who they care about, even where they work and play. You want to appreciate the things they want and need, and by putting the work in to finding out these things, you can tailor your content to the things you know will be of interest to them. By showing them that you know what they need, your customers will come back not just for your products and services, but because they feel they are understood. Some business owners create unique content and features for their most frequent users, with the goal being to become part of their customers’ everyday lives, not just some faceless entity.
Outstanding Customer Support
If you want to make sure that you retain the customers that you do have and keep them coming back for repeat business, you want to make sure that your customer service is top-notch. I can’t stress this point enough. If you’ve ever run a business then you’ve most likely disappointed someone at some point in time. How you handle both happy and unhappy customers speaks volumes about the way you do business and how people view your business. Great customer support comes with the goal of making sure every customer feels important and valued, and that their questions are answered in a polite, timely manner. When a user has a concern, handle it immediately, or you can create specific emails that give them the information they seek before they ever even ask.
Show Your Appreciation
Of course you know that it is imperative to keep good relations with your customers to increase the rate of user retention, and one of the best ways you can do this is to reach out to them on a personal level. In the early stages, this will be a little easier since your customer base will be smaller. This is a great opportunity for you, because it really makes an impression when an owner or CEO reaches out to their customers. Once your company has gained some recognition and grown a bit, many choose to contact only those users that do frequent or large amounts of business. Contact can be as simple as sending an email from a person email address instead of a large mail out, and can do wonders for your retention rate.
Sadly, you can’t make a customer stay if he is ready to move on, and even though you try your best, some will cancel their subscription or stop using your products. Take this time to try and learn from them the reasons they are leaving in hopes that you can prevent others from doing the same. Many times by offering a freebie, discount, or a new and improved product, you might convince them to stay, but if that doesn’t work, try and learn from them as much as possible about their experience and what you could have done differently. You can use all customer feedback to make changes for the better.
posted in Content Marketing
It’s almost impossible to run a business anymore without an online presence. We all know how obsolete the phone book is and each year online marketing outpaces traditional media. It’s clear that customers look for websites that provide all of the information they need motivating a decisive call to action. The biggest part of motivating your audience to action is learning to engage your customers so they will become repeat customers.
Learning how to engage your customers online takes some planning but isn’t as hard as it may seem. You’re going to want to do many different things, but below you will find a few core elements that will help you engage your audience. There are certainly companies that can help you with this, but you know your business and product better than anyone, so you will want to work closely with anyone helping you regarding the upkeep of your website and social media to be sure your customers know you’re actually involved. Some of the things you will want to consider when you are trying to engage your audience are:
Why Do They Need You?
Are you the only person offering this product or service? Chances are you’re not, so what is it about you that a customer really wants? Perhaps, your customers need fast delivery and you can provide that. Perhaps, you offer much better price incentive for people to return to your site. Any business can see success by understanding who their customer is, what products they buy, where they shop and socialize you will be completing the first step of engaging your audience by understanding what will bring them to your website. You will then be able to engage them further by reaching out to them in places they frequent in order to foster a close relationship with them. Understanding how you can help your audience will build a much more personal engagement.
Help Them Learn
Most businesses have a hard time seeing beyond simply offering a product or service. It can be a difficult thing for a business owner to give away free information, but a customer usually begins a search online for a business by asking the search engine how they do something or who can do something for them. Your website needs to answer their questions. For example, if your business does electrical work, an average customer may want to know how to fix a broken light switch. When they search for this, you’re going to want your website to be the one that explains how to do this. They will then see that you do electrical work and, since you were so knowledgable about the light switches, they’ll know your business will be able to fix larger problems for them, such as rewiring an older home. They’ll be more likely to come back to your site to call you for help. The more they can learn from a website, the more they will return for more information.
The number one way to earn more customers is through word of mouth. Customers prefer to work with businesses that have been recommended to them. With the online presence being important to customers, social media is the new way to get customers through word of mouth. Engaging them on social media helps to spread the word about your business. For example, if one person likes your business on Facebook, their friends who may not have heard of you will then see your business, and they may like your Facebook page so they can refer to it when they need your services. It can also be a helpful way to engage customers by asking and answering questions.
Asking and Answering Questions
On social media such as Twitter and Facebook, it’s important to ask your customers questions. When your customers see the questions posted they’ll not only be reminded of your business, but they’ll also engage by answering the questions. This can get conversations started and your business will begin to feel like an old friend, not a stranger they may be reluctant to work with. You’ll be closer to your audience and they’ll be more inclined to call you when they need help. On the other side, they’ll be able to use your social media outlets to ask their own questions, and answering their questions can also help foster the feeling of closeness with your business. Customers appreciate the timely answer to questions on social media sites, and chances are they aren’t the only one with the question.
Another way to help you build an authority presence through asking and answering questions is to use to make use of some of the most popular Q&A sites such as: Quara, Yahoo answers, Answers.com, and wikihow.
Learning how to engage your customers online is more than just building a simple website. By identifying, understanding and providing helpful answers to your customers, you can begin seeing an increase in your total number of customers. This entails using social media and adding new material to your site on a regular basis so that your customers can always visit your site to learn something new, ask any questions they may have, and most importantly contact you when they need the services you offer. By engaging your customers online, they will not only become repeat customers, but they will help to bring new customers to you. Creating content for your site is easy, creating content to build a truly informative and helpful website is the real trick. To do this your customers need to know that they can rely on you. Build trust and the word will spread.