4 Best Business Phone Services in 2018 Perfect for Small Businesses
Adding your phone number to your WordPress powered website can pave the way for your business. By linking these two you can avail the convenience of receiving customer’s calls. However, the addition of a business phone service will give you more than just one benefit. You will be able to track the duration of the call, overall usage and much more. Operations like call routing, tracking caller ID etc. will also become extremely easy. Following is a list of the best business phone services that are apt for small businesses: More
Congratulations on putting up your first online store. After months of planning and preparation, you’ve actually pulled it off. Now comes the harder part—generating your first sale. It’s particularly harder for a new online store to win a customer trust. After all, many online customers prefer seeing reviews or customers from other people before buying something from a web store.
So the question is—how do you convince a prospective customer to trust you when your business has yet to make a sale online? Here are several tips that you should keep in mind:More
Online shopping has been the rage for the past few years but did you know that online sales surprisingly represented just 9% of total retail sales in 2017? This means that 91 percent of retail sales are still spent in traditional, brick-and-mortar stores. What does this tell you? First, online shopping maybe convenient but majority of shoppers still prefer in-person shopping because they can physically see the product being sold. Second, there are brick-and-mortar marketing strategies that e-commerce has to replicate in order to get a bigger slice of the pie, so to speak.
Brick and mortar marketing technique 1: Visual merchandising
Do you know that large retail stores spend a lot of resources for visual merchandising? They have personnel which prepare reports that detail which products should be put in prime locations like racks and front windows. And these seemingly simple decisions yield increased sales.
This kind of attention must also be paid to a website’s homepage. Updating the website’s home page should be as regular as updating the display windows at brick and mortar stores. A refreshed home page gives prospective customers another good reason to visit the store. It also leaves an impression that there is a new, exciting product being offered by the online store.
Brick and mortar marketing technique 2: The fitting room
One reason why many people still prefer to go to traditional retail stores is because they can always try a product they are interested in. This is particularly true in clothes.
However, technology can help online stores in overcoming this particular weakness. There are now virtual fit assistants being rolled out by websites that can replicate fitting rooms in brick and mortar stores. These virtual assistants can eliminate guesswork by predicting the size based on the height, weight and bust size of the customers.
Many online merchants overlook the importance of copy in their e-commerce stores. They think that conversion is hinged mainly on optimization, design tricks and other gimmicks. But copy is very important as it tells the story of the business and defines the goods or services offered by the online firm. Here are three tips to make copy work for an online business:
Prepare copy that talks to the target audience
This may be so basic but many marketers and online business owners tend to forget that they should write to please their customers, and not their brand. The ideal copy on an e-commerce site should sound as if the customer is seated next to the website owner. It should be conversational with a relaxed tone. If the copy is written in that way, then customers will be pulled in and encouraged to explore the site even further. When writing for customers, online marketers should consider the nature of the product they’re selling and the kind of person likely to purchase. For example, a store selling electronic products should present the specifications and features of the items on sale.
The copy should have powerful words
The website copy should be exciting for customers to notice it. This is the challenge for marketers—how can they make their product sound appealing or exciting for prospective buyers? Here’s one tip—step back for a bit and understand what the product offers to customers. For example, does a certain pill improve the health of a person? Can an electronic product make life easier for the customer?
The copy should let customers speak
Website copy should not always be about the brand taking a hard-sell approach in marketing its products. It can also use customer testimonials; allowing current consumers to vouch for the company and the products or services it offers.
After several weeks of preparation, your new web store has gone online. Now you’re faced with this challenge—getting your first sale. It would be easier to make a sale if your business has been existing at some time, like a brick and mortar store that had expanded online. Yet things are different for new entrepreneurs who’ve just put up their own online stores. It can really be difficult to get that first sale. Here are some tips to get you started:
Start your own blog to make a sale
Blogging is not only a way for people to express themselves. For online entrepreneurs, it’s a must to have a blog because it’s one way to entice people to visit the site regularly even if they’re not inclined to buy anything yet. Blogging can also help your site to rank highly on search engines. When a prospective customer looks for products online, your site stands to have a greater chance of being seen by that person.
Build an email subscription list
Another major part of your online content strategy that you should focus on is email marketing. As such, learn how you to build your email list as this can yield that one individual or party who’ll make the first purchase from your site.
Once you’ve built up your email list, you can start priming your prospective clients by creating a drip campaign. Start by sending them a welcome message then follow it up with promotional emails. Just make sure that you don’t spam their inboxes. Consumers may not be going to your website everyday but they’ll likely be checking your emails. Offer them something on discount and you could be getting your first sale soon.
Tap social influencers to help you make a sale
One of the top trends in online marketing is influencer marketing, or tapping the so-called social influencers. These are people who have a significant following on social media, with high engagement rates but reasonably priced pay rates.
Send your products to these social media darlings. For a few hundred dollars, you can expose your products to a bigger audience. Hopefully, this can translate to a sale in the coming days.
Many people dream of earning a living from home. Multi-level marketing or MLM programs have always appealed to those people. MLM has had a bad reputation because of numerous reports of scams. Still, there are still individuals who’ve found success with it. This could lead you to ask— how do you know that a MLM company is legit or not?
Is the MLM company trustworthy?
One of the first questions you need to ask is whether the MLM organization is trustworthy or not. To find out more about the reputation of the firm, do an extensive research. What are people saying about them online? You can go to online discussion forums and review sites such as www.ecosecretariat.org. Is the firm accessible? Is it transparent about its business practices?
The appeal of MLM Is that it is less expensive to get into it than other business opportunities such as starting a new business. For example, anyone can join the organization with a minimum investment fee of $100. The low cost of getting into MLM is one of the reasons why people are enticed to join it.
What is the MLM company selling?
You should also know more about the products that the MLM company is selling. After all, you will also be selling those goods or commodities so you need to get the assurance that those products are of good quality.
What is the MLM company’s compensation plan?
There are different compensation plans offered by MLM companies. Obviously, you should review the plan being offered by the MLM firm you are interested in. Make sure you understand the nitty gritty of the plan. Ideally, you should get a commission for every product sold, and not only on membership alone.
With the bad reputation that MLM has gotten, many people have expressed skepticism about the money they could make with MLM. But some studies have shown that an MLM rep can make an average of $25,000 a year.
Email marketing was once deemed ineffective by many small business owners. But don’t look now as studies continue showing the change in customer preferences. It seems that many clients online prefer receiving promotional materials via email. Moreover, return on investment on email is impressive—it is estimated that every dollar spent on email marketing can yield $44 in return. If you own a small business online, here are some email marketing tips that you should keep in mind:
Email marketing tip 1: Make signing up easy
This one is obvious. If you’re to grow your firm’s email list, then you must make it easy for anyone to sign up. Make sure there are subscribe forms found throughout your website. Place them in noticeable areas such as the homepage, in widget areas, in the footer section or within the blog content.
Email marketing tip 2: Incentivize
Aside from making it easy for visitors to sign up, you also need to encourage people to sign up. How? By offering incentives. Something of value like an e-book, coupon, or even a checklist can be given away to people who sign up for your email list. People will feel more confident revealing their email addresses if they get something in return. Thus giving an incentive is always a proven way to encourage people to sign up.
Email marketing 3: Change the content
Subscribers won’t like it if you send out the same content in every email. This underscores the need to vary your content. There’s no shortage of content ideas for your email marketing campaigns. For example, you can invite local customers to an event that your business is hosting. This may be a seminar or product demo. You can also send emails to customers about a new product or service that your business is launching.
Digital marketing has been the rage for the past several years. It’s become an imperative for any business, big or small, to employ digital marketing tactics in order to stay ahead of the competition. Below are some of the trends your business should be doing:
Digital marketing trend 1: Mobilfication
A growing number of online shoppers are buying using their mobile devices. It’s no surprise that mobile will continue to be a priority for many digital marketers in the years to come. It is also the reason why websites should be mobile-ready or viewable on mobile devices. Here’s one way to put mobilfication in motion: send several messages to your prospective customers a month.
Digital marketing trend 2: Chatbots
Chatbots have been the rage as of late. These are computer programs that can respond to comments or questions of customers. These are used for engaging customers, answering their common issues and closing businesses. Setting up a bot correctly can do a lot of wonders to businesses. It’s hard for the ordinary individual or customer if they’re talking to a real person or a bot. Chatbots can be used on messenger apps like Facebook Messenger. These tools enjoy high open rates, sometimes hovering the 80% mark. This means sending a thousand messages via the chatbot tool could yield 800 persons seeing your message; which is far better than sending emails.
Digital marketing trend 3: Videos
The rise in popularity of Facebook Live and Instagram videos highlights how vital video is in reaching out to a wider audience. Video has the ability to tell compelling stories. It can help your business to get its message across and in the process, lead to higher sales. One research suggests that video on a sale page can increase conversions by up to 80%.
With the intense competition online, digital marketers need to step up their game if they want their businesses or clients to stay relevant. One way to do so is to generate leads through digital marketing.
Lead generation is an important activity for every business. It’s cost-efficient and highly effective. In fact, one study indicates that 88 percent of buyers online research about a product or service first before making a purchase. If you’re clueless on lead generation and how to get started in this area, here are some lead generation tools that you can try:
Facebook Ads for Lead Generation
This is a special feature that’s particularly designed for generating leads for businesses. It is the best means of running lead generation campaigns on the popular social media website. People interested in your product or service can fill out a form in the ad with their contact details, so you can follow up with them.
LinkedIn Ads for Lead Generation
LinkedIn may not be as widely popular as Facebook but it’s an effective vehicle for targeting professionals. Its Sales Navigator is a new tool that helps brand promotes their products and generate leads. There’s also the Lead Gen Forms that offers a new way for generating leads and collecting information on prospective buyers.
Twitter is another social media site known for driving traffic as well as generating leads. Its Twitter Ads is also an effective way of getting your tweets seen by a larger audience, which is very useful if you are trying to generate more new leads. Moreover, Twitter ads is very cost-effective which makes it highly recommended to firms with small budget.
It’s a platform that’s very useful for marketers wanting to reach out to a larger audience. It’s also one of the better lead-generation channels for any business. Answering questions and being active in the community will get your brand the attention, and potentially leads as a result.
Competitive analysis is something that’s often the farthest in the minds of small merchants. In fact, many of them don’t even have an idea what it is. In a nutshell, it’s having knowledge of the firm’s business strategy and how it matches up to the competition.
For small businesses, creating a competitive analysis need not be time-consuming or overly elaborate. Identifying basic things about the competition can help a small firm focus on their product/service planning, marketing, and sales in areas that can give the company an edge over the competition.
The following are some of the basic questions that small merchants need to ask in formulating a competitive analysis for their respective firms:
Competitive analysis question 1: Who’s the competitor?
This should be easy to answer for most business owners. In identifying competition, business owners should not only focus on direct competitors but also their indirect competitors. For example, a laptop maker should list tablet manufacturers as indirect competitors because these firms are going after the same type of customer.
Question 2: Which of the company’s products/service are different from those of the competitors?
List down all the products and services of the firm and then ask- in what way are these different from those offered by the competition? Does the competition offer something that the firm doesn’t? Business owners should also recognize customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction by checking their social media sites. Or find out if the competition has been getting rave reviews online.
Question 3: What are the threats posed by the competition to the business?
This entails identification of the strengths and weaknesses of the competition. After doing so, the business owner can then compare these to his/her own firm’s strengths and weaknesses. This is important as the business owner will learn about things that can affect the operations of the firm.