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How to make your business resilient

 

A resilient business is a business that can handle change and thrive from it. Its a business what is able to grow and adapt when the business conditions change. Its a business that will make it through tough time - its won't crumble and fail.

I recently attended a talk on how to raise resilient children. It was a fabulous, eye opening talk given by a very experienced physiologist. It got me thinking about how the same principles would apply in business. I think every entrepreneur and small business owner wants to think that their business can handle anything and can stand the test of time.

The three criteria that need to exist for a child to be resilient are:

  1. They have to believe in something greater than themselves
  2. They have to one other person who has said to them "I believe in you"
  3. They have to had encountered adversity

So in the case of a business this could mean:

Greater Purpose and Self Belief

1. As a business owner you need to believe in something greater than yourself. I think it also means that you have to have faith in your own ability and that you need to have a greater purpose that what you are doing in your business.

Reassurance

2. As business owners we all need support. I have had unwavering support from my husband. He has never doubted me or criticized me. He makes me believe that I can do anything. When I have faced challenges in the past we has walked beside as me I have tried to sort through the issues. Do you have someone who believes in you and gives you reassurance?

Adversity

Adversity is a business context would mean facing business challenges and overcoming them. So often entrepreneurs that are successful in their first business fail in their second when the going gets tough because they don't have the skills to deal with adversity. Knowing how to deal with adversity helps you to get up on difficult mornings. It gives you the confidence to know that you can deal with any situation.

Are you resilient? Is your business resilient?

 

 

 

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How to perfect your cart abandonment emails

A large percentage of your customers may drop out late in the checkout process because they never intended to make a purchase. The ‘browsers’.

Even though a user has left your site there are still ways to engage with them to bring them back.  

Looking at SaleCycle stats, in 2013 48.1% of cart abandonment emails were clicked on and from there, 33.3% of these users went on to purchase the product.

On top of this, the order value increased by 58% for purchases from cart abandonment emails rather than direct sales off the website.

With stats like these, it’s obvious how beneficial a simple cart abandonment email is. You can either remind a user of the items they had left in their basket or even offer them a percentage discount to encourage them to follow through with the purchase.

A few good examples of cart abandonment emails are:

Boohoo
So what does Boohoo do right?

  1. The message comes from the Head of Customer Care himself. It adds a personal touch to the email.
  2. It asks a question ‘if there was something we could do to help?’, so it encourages a conversation if there were any issues.
  3. The ‘Did You Know’ section is a reminder of the benefits from purchasing through Boohoo.
  4. The products are listed in Cart view, for easy viewing and to remind the user of their potential purchases.
boohoo.jpg

DoogyLoot
The content that you use in your email is also crucial to engage with your users and encourage them to return to their cart. A good example of content in cart abandonment emails is Doggy Loot. If your branding has a persona, incorporate it into your email! Text like ‘Don’t let your items run away!’ and ‘Fetch your items now’ add that personal touch!

Grove
It’s also important to create a sense of urgency in the cart abandonment email, that either a sale is about to end or that the product will sell out fast. Grove does a good example of this informing the customers of a cart expiry date to increase the chance of them clicking on it straight away.

grove.png

What We’ve Learnt
So from the examples above, what should you include in your cart abandonment email:

  1. Give it a personal touch, by including your brand persona and including a key message by a head of customer support department.
  2. Encourage them to contact you if there are any issues.
  3. A list of the items that were in the cart at the time.
  4. A sense or urgency, whether through a sale or expiry time.

Source : Pinterest

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Google Adwords Vs Google Analytics

Google Analytics and Google AdWords are designed to provide you with a complete picture of the customer journey from the first time they search for you or view your ad, to their first and any subsequent visits, registering interest in your site and hopefully the eventual purchase of a product.

It’s a long journey, and to help tracking along the way Google provides two distinct, yet easily integrated systems. The Google AdWords platform, as the name suggests, provides advertising opportunities that you see in Google search results. Google Analytics is more about visitor behaviour and helps you understand what’s happening with traffic once it gets to your site.

While both platforms are great at what they are designed to do, they both have their relative strengths and weaknesses. AdWords, for instance, is a ‘Google only’ ad platform and isn’t able to provide conversion tracking on sources outside of Google (e.g. organic sources or traffic from other advertising platforms). AdWords also can’t provide the same level of on-site user behaviour as Analytics. Conversely, Analytics can’t provide the same rich level of data on advertising data that AdWords can.

So given the value of each of these platforms, how can they be combined to get the most out of each? First up, linking an Analytics and AdWords account is a relatively straightforward process. There are plenty of ‘how-to’ guides available online if you haven’t already taken this step.

Once linked, you’ll be able to take advantage of features not available in a stand-alone set up such as:

  • Analysis of campaign/keyword performance by real revenue and cost amounts in Google Analytics
  • Importing goals from Google Analytics into AdWords
  • Using Google Analytics metrics such as bounce rate, time on site and % new visits in AdWords
  • The ability to undertake remarketing with Google Analytics
  • Viewing AdWords data in rich reports such as Google Analytics Multi-Channel Funnels
the bottom line is that if you haven’t combined your Analytics and AdWords accounts you need to.

So whether you link your AdWords account to your Analytics account or vice versa, the bottom line is that if you haven’t combined your Analytics and AdWords accounts you need to. Without doing so you won’t be able to extract the information you need on your online spend at the level required to make the best possible decisions when it comes to allocating your online spend.

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The Ultimate Guide to Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding has been one of the best things ever to happen to artists and entrepreneurs.

Every year since 2010 artists have received more funds from crowdfunding than they have from the National Endowment of Arts. Meanwhile, it’s propelled new businesses, like Oculus Rift, which raised $2.4 million dollars on Kickstarter before being acquired by Facebook for $2 billion; and Pebble, one of the early trendsetters in smartwatches.

This “pennies from many” model allows many more people to pursue their creative and entrepreneurial visions. For prospective entrepreneurs, crowdfunding is an exciting way to generate attention, validate an idea, and perhaps most importantly, raise capital without going into debt.

But running a successful campaign is no walk in the park. That’s why we’ve put an infographic that gives you an overview of the two major crowdfunding platforms and the characteristics of successful campaigns. You’ll find in these two pieces everything you need to know about the right sort of product to crowdfund and how to transition to an enduring campaign afterwards, with data-driven advice on optimizing your campaign page.

In addition to up-to-date and novel advice, this guide includes in-depth interviews with four entrepreneurs who got their start with successful campaigns. These include interviews with Canary Home Securities, which raised $2 million to become Indiegogo’s most-funded hardware project; and Catan Boards, which raised 1,400% of its funding goal.

Today, we present The Ultimate Guide to Crowdfunding, as well as Crowdfunding 101, an infographic with the data analysis of 400,000 campaigns. Take a look

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8 Reasons To Do Pop - Up Shop

Pop-up shops are the Snapchat of retail; Most of their magic comes from their temporary and "get-it-while-it-lasts" nature. 

In fact, according to Specialty Retail, pop-ups are expected to be a $8 billion a year industry, and has everyone from Warby Parker to popular boy band One Direction trying to get in on the action.

Not only can the location of a pop-up vary but brands use them for a wide array of purposes, from creating an unforgettable and branded experience for consumers that generate buzz and brand awareness, to quickly testing and experimenting in what used to be costly retail waters. In essence, pop-ups are transforming the way we shop.

Over the last few months, we've been busy creating resources to help merchants who might have only sold exclusively online to consider thinking about pop-ups shops as another sales channel. From picking and negotiating the perfect location, designing the store interior and displays, to marketing and evaluating your success, we hope to provide everything you'll need to get started.

Regardless of whether you're considering your first pop-up or have a few under your belt, here are eight reasons why every ecommerce merchant should give pop-up shops a chance.

Source:pinterest,shopify

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Free Advertising Methods When Money Is Not Enough

Become en expert
Submit articles related to your business to the local paper, trade journals and professional organization’s newsletters. Choose a topic that reflects your expertise on the subject and make sure your business is mentioned.

Aim to be one of the great public speakers
Professional meeting planners are always looking for presenters and workshop leaders for conferences. Research contact names in the Directory of Meeting Planners or start with your local Chamber of Commerce or Rotary Club. If, like most people, you dread the thought of public speaking, join your local club; this is also a great way to meet potential customers. When you do get the opportunity to make a presentation, be sure to collect business cards for a drawing to win a book or other prize related to your business.

Reward Referrals
One of the best ways to get new customers is to enlist the help of your current ones. Offer a reward of free merchandise or services for any lead that turns into new business. If you publish a catalogue, include a card where customers can provide the name and address of someone else who might want to receive one. When you get a new customer from a referral, be sure to send the source a personalized thank you note along with their reward.

Set up a newsletter
It’s crucial to keep in touch with your current customers as well as potential ones, and what could be easier than sending out a regular newsletter? After you obtain permission from the recipients, you can describe new products, offer coupons and provide links to articles online your customers might be interested in reading. Keep it simple with pure text or include photos and other graphics

Start a blog or contribute to a forum
This can be a great way to drive traffic to your website and keep a conversation going with your customers. There are several free blogging sites to get you started, I recommend Blogger , WordPress or Tumblr . Here you should post any type of news, promotional messages or information related to your product or services. Another way to get your name out there is to contribute to online discussion groups (without making it obvious you’re advertising). Find the forums that relate to your business by typing in keywords at the top online group websites. I recommend Google , Yahoo groups. Be very careful when using forums to advertise. Many discourage users from bombarding discussions with their own links or promoting their business. Find a forum built for this type of promotion, otherwise you could lose credibility.

Sponsor and charity
Any time you do anything for a charity such as sponsoring an event or donating free materials, make sure the press knows about it ahead of time. They might send a reporter to cover the occasion, but if not, send them photos to publish afterwards

Social media Advertising
It is to no surprise that social media is playing a social role now in the business field due to it’s large database of active people. If businesses know how to use that power they can make millions with minimal efforts. Facebook, Google +, Twitter, Pinterest have large number of global population active during the day. With the right message, banners, keywords there is lot of power to exploit.
In this article we tried to give 7 free advertising methods but by no means these aren’t enough. If you don’t make a plan and a budget for advertising you’re in big trouble. This methods have their place and their contribution in the business advertising but without the plan and the budget your business is flying on autopilot.

Feel Free to comment to know more about free advertising methods.

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10 Social Media Accounts You Can Learn From

Social media is by far one of the best ways that you can market your business. A large percentage of the population are now using social media in some capacity, around 73% of adults as of September 2013. It is for this reason that you need to be active on social media and using it to grow your business. 

But how do you choose which social media platform to use? This is a great question because every social media outlet is different. Some work differently than others because of the kind of audience they attract. For example, a popular Twitter account may not work so well on LinkedIn.

You need to spend a bit of time working out which social media platform is going to be the most beneficial for your business and what kind of audience it mostly attracts. A great way to help you work out which outlet to use is to analyze the following 10 social media accounts below and how they use these platforms to effectively promote and grow their businesses.

How To Market Your Horse Business (Facebook)
Facebook is the most popular social media platform in the world, in particular among teens. The problem is in making your message stand out amongst all of the noise on Facebook.

There is one shining example of this and that is an account called How To Market Your Horse Business. 

This account has won numerous awards since its inception such as 2012 Social Media Examiner’s Top 10 Facebook Business Page, and has been featured as “9 Businesses Doing Facebook Right”, “5 Facebook Pages We All Aspire To”, to name just a couple of their many accolades.

The reason that this is a page you should learn from is because it found its niche and offers advice from an industry leader. They also do a great job of user engagement and this is something that every Facebook page should be doing. It also does a great job visually of branding itself with the cover photo both horse and marketing related. If you want to learn how to market your business via Facebook then this is a great place to start.

Taco Bell (Twitter)
Twitter is another giant of the social media world being the second most popular platform globally. There are some 58 million tweets that are being sent everyday so it can seem difficult to make yourself stand out.

Taco Bell is one food giant that has earned their reputation on Twitter and this is because of the way they post tweets. They keep everything lighthearted and comical. It’s fun and entertaining, and gives people a great experience. Even when users criticize them they still respond with a witty comeback and don’t take it personally. 

This is not all they do well though. They also use hashtags properly, promote new products, and have fun with holidays and other events. They do everything well from engaging their users, connecting with influencers, understanding their niche, etc. This kind of interaction is great for the kind of younger audience Twitter attracts.

There is a very good reason they won Ad Age’s coveted Marketer of the Year Award for 2013 so learn from Taco Bell’s example. 

AppleOne (LinkedIn)
LinkedIn is by far the most popular professional network online with a registered user base of 300 million people in over 200 countries and territories. However, LinkedIn is different to Facebook and Twitter, generally attracts a different type of audience so your approach needs to be different.

AppleOne is an employment company that was founded in 1964 and they are a great example of using and managing a LinkedIn page. One thing they do particularly well is excluding images and rich media. This makes their page stand out when they do share an interesting article with a high quality image that grabs your attention. They also do a great job at explaining what they do on their profile.

They have done such a good job with their page that it was included in the Best LinkedIn Company Pages 2013.

Blue Bottle (Instagram)
Instagram is a great social media platform for your business especially if you rely on images. This is another hugely popular social media platform with 200 million active users who share 60 million pictures per day. 

One brand that you should take notice of on Instagram is Blue Bottle Cafe. The reason this works so well for them is because it allows them to showcase their pastries and lattes with great designs. They also upload photos of their employees in their cafe. This allows you to get a sense of what the cafe is like and helps to add some personalisation to their business.

Blue Bottle Cafe is a great example to follow if you are a business that could use images to promote your business.

Travel Channel (Pinterest)
Pinterest is another image based social media platform and this one has been growing rapidly in popularity. This is a great platform to be focusing on if you have a business that has anything to do with images so things like travel, food, DIY, etc. This outlet has 70 million registered users who check out pages 2.5 billion times per month.

One of the top brands you should learn from on here is Travel Channel. What they do great here is break up their boards. For example they have a board for Europe, castles, destinations, hotels, and they even have a board for foods around the world. They have found their niche within the travel industry and they have a specific audience that they market to. 

This is a great account that you can learn from if you want to create an account on Pinterest.

Dutch Photo Walk (Google Plus)
Everyone knows how popular Google is but not everyone knows how popular Plus is. Google Plus has over 540 million users who share and post content every month. 

Google Plus has amazing potential because of its ability to connect with YouTube, maps, and search. There is one account in particular that has realised this amazing potential and that is Dutch Photo Walk. 

This account is by a group of people who love to take scenic walks throughout the Netherlands. They then take pictures and share them on Google which is a great way to connect with users. They go one step further though and create a Hangout where people discuss the post-walk. 

They understand Google Plus well and are a great example of how you can use this platform to connect with other Google services and products. 

The White House (Tumblr)
Tumblr is growing in popularity especially in regards to mobile usage. It might come as a surprise to many people but one account that uses Tumblr well is the White House. 

Some people may not find the White House all that interesting but what they do well is post great content. One day you might see the Marine One taking off from the front lawn, the next you might see a picture of all the living Presidents chatting. 

Another thing they do well is tapping into the spirit of holidays and events. For example their image of eggs in front of the White House with the caption: GET EGGCITED: Today’s the White House Easter Egg Roll. This helps people get into the spirit of any events that may be presently occurring.

The reason why the White House account is so effective is because they share content in a way that is witty, fun, and effective. Not only that but it shows users a behind the scenes look at the White House which piques curiosity for many people.

Jethro Ames (Vine)
Vine is a new social media platform but one that has immense potential for future growth. Since Vine began in April 2013 it has become the most downloaded app in the App store. Video is going to be an important piece of content in the future with predictions that by 2016 55% of internet traffic will consist of video.

If you are looking for a great example of how to use Vine then take a look at Jethro Ames. This guy has perfected the stop-motion video clip and he’s become so good at it that many brands such as GE, The Coffee Bean, Comedy Central, etc, have hired him to work on their videos.

Ames has become such a well known figure on Vine because of his trademark style. He keeps things simple, engaging, and shareable. His trademark style that he has become so well known for is pretty simple to. He takes things like Pac-Man and uses them to play with food. Basically he’ll take something that is nostalgic and use it in his own style for creating his videos. It’s a simple but effective technique that he has made his own.

16 Handles (Snapchat)
Snapchat is another image based social media platform that is enjoying growing success. There are roughly 26 million users in the US who share 400 million snaps per day.

Whilst some brands are hesitant to embrace Snapchat, others are more keen to jump on board. For example, the account 16 Handles is one company that has jumped on board and they are having great success with Snapchat. They are a New York City yoghurt shop that have used Snapchat successfully for running promotions. In fact, they are the first company to run a Snapchat marketing campaign with its ‘Snappy New Year’ campaign.

This was a simple idea they used that got users engaged. What they did was ask users to take a picture of themselves eating yoghurt and send it to the 16 Handles Snapchat account. Their reward for participating was a coupon that gave them 16-100% off a purchase. The promotion was successful for the company as they had 1,400 interactions.

Snapchat is a platform that is new for marketers but 16 Handles were able to take a tried and trusted tactic- a competition, and apply it to a new format with success. They are a great example of how to use this platform to promote a business.

Absolut (Whatsapp)
Over 450 million people use this app every month with 70% active per day. In four years this app has outgrown Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Skype, and Twitter. This represents great opportunity for marketers especially when you consider how popular mobile usage is nowadays.

Absolut Vodka was the first brand to run a marketing campaign using this app. It promoted the launch of its new Limited Edition Absolut Unique in Argentina. Included as part of its promotion, the company offered two tickets for the public to its exclusive launch party. What they had to do was convince a fictional character called “Sven” through Whatsapp that they were worthy of entry. It was fun, it was engaging, and it worked. More than 1000 messages via audio, images, and video were sent. They also got around 600 new customers because of the buzz it generated.

This is great example of how to use Whatsapp for promotional purposes. 

In Conclusion
Social media is something you should absolutely be using to market and grow your business. If you don’t then you are putting yourself behind every other business in your industry that is. If you are unfamiliar with these social media platforms and how to use them to grow your business then you can use the examples above. They are all examples of social media done well and you can learn a lot from them.

 

 

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Making The Most Of Your Website!

Are you wondering why your website is not driving results you had hoped for, after finally it’s been built.
That could be because you are tumbling into one of the four big traps business owners often overlook on a start-up website.  Let me share with you some points to consider, and a little advise on how you can right your wrongs online.

Making customers click too much?
Blame it on society’s increasingly shortened attention span, but most websites overestimate the number of hoops their customers are willing to jump through in order to get to the products or service they are looking for.
Every single click is an action point. When different actions distract people, they don’t click on the one button you want them to.
A little advice : Decide what action you want customers to take, whether it’s making a call, finding your address, or placing an order, and emphasize that button over all others

Thinking about mobile last?
According to the National Small Business Association survey, only 1 out of 5 business owners has a mobile (responsive) website. That is progress, however, most of those business owners are not making the best use of the fact that they have a mobile website, because they are still designing for the web. As mobile traffic becomes increasingly important, entrepreneurs should begin designing their website with “ mobile ready” first in mind.

A good mobile website, should look like an app, users should be able to navigate it by swiping, rather than clicking, a motion that is native to the mobile phone. There should also be a constant action point visible to users, so they do not have to zoon in and out to get what they want and where you want them to be.
A little advice : start by thinking about your mobile website and them bring that experience to the Web, it can fix a lot of other problems.

Using overly complex, jargon-laden description?
Entrepreneurs, excellent though they may be, are often terrible at explaining what they actually do. Face- to-face, there is time for clarification. On a website, there is not.
Most business owners can suffer from simply knowing too much. They try to tell everything they know about themselves or their services to users in a short period of time, and in the end users can be confused about who they are and what they offer.

A little advise : try to distil your value proposition into one sentence, keeping in mind that once you hook a customer with a clear, concise itch, you will likely have time to expand later.

Too much content?
Different from trap No. 3, this is not a matter of what you are writing but how much you are writing.
Thinking about mobile first should alleviate this problem, because mobile website have less space. Instead, whenever possible, use a video, diagram, or other type of media to get your message across.

A little advise : if it is just your website, and not an article or something people want to read , the less text you have, the better and more beautiful it will be

 

 

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Customize Your Site

Over recent years, online businesses have invested in e-commerce practices that force on accessibility and functionality. While these are crucial elements to a website’s success, they often disregard the emotional and intuitive experience that brands factor into their physical locations. In store, all sense of the customers can be triggered through highly designed visual, audio and olfactory elements that touch on the customers at an emotional level – your online store must attempt to do the same, At the end of the day, your website is a supermarket or a warehouse, it’s reflection of the brand’s identify.

This is why digital visual merchandising is paramount to your brand’s success. If done well, the aesthetic of your website can foster crucial emotional connections between customer and brand, instead of simply facilitating transactions. Online shoppers may not be able to touch your products, but this does not mean that they cannot form an emotional attachment. There are strategies that your company can employ in order to encourage an individual’s interactivity, allowing them to get a feel for your brand, not just a feel for your website.

The well structured homepage
Waiting for a webpage to load may not feel the same as wandering through a luxury boutique, but if done the right way, it can be just as memorable. Your homepage is your first impression, your chance to grab the attention of your online customer, and leave them wanting more. Strong headings, clean backgrounds and quality photography are key in showing your customer what you do, and how you do it. An online shopper needs to know that you have got the goods—your homepage needs to let them know you do, as overtly as possible.

Sales campaigns
Many successful online stores, feature frequent sales campaigns in order to continually reward their online customer. No matter how small, online promotions have the potential to show your customer a little of who you are, and most importantly what it is you value. If you offer free shipping, you understand your customer values a fuss free shopping experience; if you regularly deliver free samples, you’re interested in knowing what your customer thinks about your product. Clever online promotion—such as two for one sales or VIP discounts—allow a brand to earn an online shopper’s loyalty, a feat which is harder to achieve in the absence of human interaction.

Keep your customer informed
A customer can see a picture online, but they can’t always read ingredients, or zoom in on care labels. Make sure that the information you provide about your products (generally alongside them en route to checkout) is detailed, in depth, and accurate. Customers require dimensions, textures, sizes and care instructions to help them make a decision on whether or not to buy. In store your customer can call on the shop assistant for further information— but this is a little trickier online. While online chat options with brand representatives are becoming more and more common, they may not be able to provide the level of detail a salesperson can provide you in store. At the end of the day, your online shopper will thank you for giving them the correct information in the correct context - product information as they’re browsing the online store, and shipping information as they decide to make a purchase. Answering questions before they are posed shows you care about their online experience, just as much as you do when they’re in store.

A picture tells your customer a thousand words they need to know
Your online imagery can make or break the success of your digital visual merchandising strategy. Not only do your photographs need to be of optimum quality, they also need to make your products more desirable. It might seem obvious, but you will need to employ the skills of a professional photographer. They can provide your company with unique, original and high resolution images of your products to be uploaded to your website for potential customers to view (and zoom in on) at their leisure. Remember, your online shopper can find your product, but they can’t feel it. Images need to highlight each and every one of the products features, from top to bottom, front to back.

Better yet, don’t just give them a visual, give them a visualisation. When posting images to your online store, consider featuring models either using or wearing your product. If you’re in the business of fashion, your collections should be featured being worn by male or female models, styled in appropriate outfits, in a setting that evokes a certain feel. If your product is one which can’t be worn, models are still of use. Have them holding your gadget, or using it on screen—this will show the relative product of your product, a very useful trick for all types of items from earrings to electric drills. Featuring your products in this fashion gives your potential buyer a stronger connection to the item, a connection which is harder to make when the product is sitting idle and flat on a screen. For this reason, the inclusion of video footage may also be something to consider, perhaps to show the swing of a skirt, or the drape of a jacket. Regardless of whether they are parading or posing; models are relatable, they promote a lifestyle, not just a product.

Give your online shopper the customer service they deserve
We are living in a material world, and in one way or another, we are all material girls. Unfortunately, this doesn’t make us more decisive, or more aware of what we want. As quickly as we love something, we may decide we hate it. As quickly as we unwrap something, we may also break it. What’s going to happen then? Your terms and conditions are just as important as any other brand copy on your website, such as slogans and product descriptions. Publishing this information in a clear and succinct manner is crucial. Without a shop assistant to quiz at point of sale, the online shopper needs access to a detailed returns policy as well as the particulars of shipping charges. As vocal inflection is absent online, polite and practical web communication relies heavily on carefully considered copy, ideally written by a professional copywriter.

Do judge a site by its cover
You might not be able to paint your website, adorn it with ornaments, or dress its front windows, but it should always look its best. Accessibility and functionality may save your customer from needless hassle as they browse, but digital visual merchandising is paramount to your brand’s online success. Without the ability to touch your product, the online shopper must be offered alternate ways to get a feel for what they’re buying, and in doing so, form a connection to it. Consumers are incredibly visual creatures; it’s important that your website stimulates these ocular senses. Begin with a well structured and welcoming home page, add some high resolution quality visualisations, and top it off with high quality customer service. Still not sure how? Lucky for you, Boutique business consulting have their finger on the pulse. From trends in e-commerce to current opinion on buyer behaviour, we’re up to speed on all the latest research, and we’re ready to help, so get your cover right. Boutique Business Consulting knows e-commerce. Contact us.

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16 Instagram Tips for Business

Instagram is a powerful branding tool for businesses of all types. This mobile social media platform has been having a huge growth of users lately and has surpassed 200 Million users making it presently the fastest growing network. Some businesses have a hard time initially with Instagram but with these Instagram tips for businesses, you’re sure to grow your brand while avoiding any consequences.

  1. Make your profile public – If you’re trying to use Instagram for business, your profile better be set to being PUBLIC. I knew one woman with a small business that changed her personal Instagram account to her business account and didn’t understand why she wasn’t seeing results. She has initially set her account to private and forgot. Make sure everything is public.
  2. Make the most of your bio – Your bio is one of the most important elements on Instagram if you are going to use it for business. Use a reliable image for your picture that matches others you’ve used on social media. If possible, use the same username as you do on Twitter and Facebook. This will make you easier to find, tag and mention.
  3. Bio URL – The URL in your bio is the ONLY outbound link possible on Instagram, so make sure you are making the most of it. One thing to remember is that you can change it as frequently as you’d like, so do so as needed. You can make it go to your homepage, blog, landing page and more.
  4. Blend videos with your photos – Most companies never post videos, they might get a bit less engagement (photos are 1.5X more) but they tend to have a greater brand impact. Only 6% of brands post videos, I say stand out from the pack. Don’t be a stat chaser and post some videos!
  5. Remember to use #hashtags – Hashtags are the best way to be discovered by new users, make sure to use them. Unlike Twitter, people tend to use more hashtags on Instagram. My rule of thumb is to use as many relevant hashtags as you’d like but don’t go crazy (over 7 and you’re starting to look spammy.) Relevancy is the key when using hashtags, don’t just newsjack hashtags.
  6. Variety is the spice of life – You ever meet someone that only talks about themselves? Chances are if they’re your friends, they might not stay that way for long. Same thing goes for social media. Talk about topical events, share other people’s posts, and mix things up. Remember to try and entertain people first. Don’t ever be too promotional.
  7. Take better photos & use less filters – There are some basic rules to photography you can follow for better pictures. Think about your composition for a few seconds before you take a shot. Try and avoid leaning on filters every time to correct bad photographs. I like filters just don’t overdo it.
  8. Respond to comments – If someone takes the time out of their day to cooperate with you, respond accordingly. Thank them for any praise and answer any questions they might have. Remember, social media is about engaging with others and establishing relationships.
  9. Follow your followers back – Everyone likes to grow their following, try and follow back your new followers; this goes especially for when you feel that they are a good fit for you.
  10. Showcase your employees – People love to get a behind the scene look from companies. It’s also a great way to show appreciation for your workers. If it’s someone’s birthday and they are blowing out candles, post it on Instagram.
  11. Feature Instagram channel on Facebook – Did you know Facebook provides a way to feature your Instagram photos on your page? Just click here to add a tab to your Facebook page.
  12. Show appreciation to your followers – If your followers take a great picture of your product or service, ask them if you would be allowed to share it. Give them a little shout out and share their picture on Instagram or even your other social channels.
  13. Embed photos on your website – Instagram now allows you to embed photos from both your fans and your own account. This is another way to show your application to people.
  14. Show your brands story – Try and convey a true sense of your brand to your followers. If your company has a long history, look to the past for inspiration. Get creative and be authentic.
  15. Work with other brands – Even if you’re a local nail boutique, you can reach out to other brands (you don’t need to be a multinational.) Try your vendors that supply your nail polish, if you do work for a local events company reach out to them. Cross marketing is free and helps everyone involved.
  16. Ask questions – Questions always have the highest engagement. Interact with your customers within your comments section by asking them questions such as, how they use your products. Ask questions about their lifestyles to engage with them!

Instagram is a great social media platform for brands. Using some of these tips will sure to grow and improve your exposure.

Do you have any tips of your own? Post them below. We would love to hear about your experience.

     

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    Why are social networks working so well?

    That's an easy one!

    The answer is that we are all still CAVEMEN and are longing for a TRIBE!

    I explain why in about 2 minutes using a couple of cartoons.
    Cavemen do have some very basic needs.

    Our needs have evolved with time but are still basically the same!

    Humans found out that life is difficult (extremely sometimes!).

    Being member of a tribe makes life easier!

    Being member of a tribe learns you new stuff!

    You can also find your mate!

    That's why social networks are working so well!

    After all ... we are still the same ...

    CAVEMEN, and we love belonging to a TRIBE!
    Hope you liked this post.

     

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    What is Content Marketing?

    What is Content Marketing?

    For starters, content marketing is not exclusive to the web, it can be any marketing platform. It’s includes the creation and sharing of media or publishing content whose purpose is to acquire more customers or conversions. There are many different ways you can display content, including text, photos, videos, e-books, case studies, white papers, infographics and more. While this is the general definition, something you also need to consider is the character your content carries. With Google’s algorithms changing constantly content has evolved greatly. People are searching more, asking more questions, what you need to ask yourself is, “Am I answering their questions?” Companies in every industry and size have various content strategies. From Fortune 500 companies to startups the proof is in the content, not the pudding. While there are many different ways to market, you'll definitely be able to find a way to use it to your advantage and boost your online presence.

    Starting off as a copywriter and working my way up to Head of Content I understand just how important a good content marketing strategy really is for your overall business. With websites carrying such an expensive price tag (for a good, quality one at least...) you want to make sure you are getting the most bang for your buck. The last thing you want is to pay thousands of dollars for a site that is just filled with generic content lacking any sustenance or personality. Whether you are about to dive into a new web development project or you are just looking for new ways to improve your site’s traffic and conversions, rethinking your current content marketing strategy can help greatly. Here you’ll find tips on what to look out for, how to position your content and what to make sure you include in your site.

    Why is it so important?
    Let me put it this way, your content will definitely be one of the major determining factors in whether or not they convert, return, or even recommend your site to others. Keeping your target audience and visitors happy and engaged is your ultimate goal. Supplying them with the answers to their gnawing questions will be how you win them over.

    What is it's purpose?
    Though the main purpose is to gain new customers and conversions, you are  also providing your customers with a direct connection. The best way to do this while you increase conversions, traffic and boost your reputation is to fulfill a need. Your website needs more than just an overwhelming amount of focus keywords crammed in each section. Become your community’s go to resource, answer their questions and keep them engaged, all with a strong strategy..

    How has it changed in few years?
    In the last few years as Google updated their algorithms, content creation has changed greatly. Rather than it just being the vehicle to cram SEO keywords and pitching your products you now have the opportunity to establish a connection with your consumers. Instead of just taking up space on the web, use it wisely and surprise yourself with how much your traffic and conversions improve.

    Are you utilizing your content the right way?
    How does your content look right now? Are all of your pages extremely dense with keywords and no real material? Even if you have a good pagerank now, that won’t last long. Google’s geniuses know all about the loopholes that slipped past the last algorithm, so what may have worked for you months ago may not continue to work. So what’s the solution? Understanding the importance of your content marketing strategies and putting some serious thought into it!

    What are the benefits of content marketing?
    By using content marketing the correct way and taking the right amount of time to strategically position your pages, services and it’s continuity you can benefit more than just gaining more conversions. Your content can help you narrow down your audience, show what strategies are working, what areas need improvement and more. With the right content marketing strategy you can become a credible resource in your industry while staying ahead of the curve instead of constantly playing catch up with every new update.

    What can your content tell you?
    There’s a reason I keep saying its so important. With the right positioning and strategies you can identify various important components of your online presence and business. With the right analytics programs your content marketing can find your target audiences and narrow it down to specific areas. Working with your analytics program, you will also be able to see what pages are driving the traffic and which ones have the highest bounce rates. You can then pivot your content marketing strategy to address these weak points by finding what made your strong pages so visible. Was it the information available? The formating? The images? It could have even been for a long-tail keyword you were unaware of. All of these questions can be answered with the collaboration between your analytics and your content.



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    Do Mumtrepreneurs actually make money?

    mumtrepreneurs.jpg

    This week the Sydney Morning Herald wrote an article about whether mum's who start businesses from home really make money.

    Here is the article for you to read.  

    The answer seems to be that is depends. Some do make money and some don't. The ones that do advocate the following principals:

    1. Start with an affordable website - as you begin to work in your business you realise what functionality to need.  

    At BBC we believe you should start with a Cloud Hosted e-commerce package like BigCommerce, Shopify, Wordpress of SquareSpace. These platforms give you a lot of core functionality on day one. We believe you should start your business putting your best foot forward. We don't advocate building the site yourself using the website tools provided for free from hosting providers. If your website is cobbled together, inconsistent, error prone and unprofessional it will reflect badly on your brand. The cloud hosting options give the opportunity to look good on day one and offer your customers a sound buying experience.

    2. Make sure you can update the website yourself, don't rely and keep paying for your web developer to do it for you.  

    We totally agree with this statement. The e-commerce solutions we provide at BBC give our customers the ability to totally manage the site themselves. They can change the sliders, ad boxes and navigation all on their own. They can implement apps on their own which gives their site additional functionality. We fully train our customers so they can take over the full management of their site themselves.

     3. The key to profitability is to do everything yourself in the beginning.

    We also agree with this is principal. Doing everything yourself allows you to learn your business. It allows you to set up the business processes the way you want. However you are not an expert in every aspect of your business. Sometimes you need the help of an expert. This might be the case with search engine marketing or search engine optimisation. If you think you are out of your depth then speak to us. We can either help you or point you in the direction of some sound e-learning to help bridge the gap.

    4. You should outsource your graphic design to get your business identity right.

    We totally agree with this point. Your business identity is important. It is a reflection of you and how seriously you take your business. You want your customers to think you are a professional company that they can trust and rely on. A logo helps build this trust and brand identity. At Boutique Business Consulting we can create a logo for you from as little as $99. Contact us today if you need help creating your brand identity. We would argue that getting a designer to create elements of your website help to give your website a designed feel. We can create slider images from as little as $60 per slide. Ideally your website is totally designed for your brand.

    5. Successful mumtreprenuer businesses investment money in a quality website, proper branding, business cards and get training on how to run an online business - according to Business Coach Kathryn Hocking.

    We totally agree with this statement. We also couldn't agree more with getting training. As BBC we are developing tool kits to assist our clients through starting a business. In addition we have a library of recommended e-books that should be read. If you have the means you should attend a local college or TAFE course on running a business if you have never run a business before.

    6. Having a social media strategy is key. 

    Absolutely. You need to decide which social media platforms you are going to invest your efforts in. We recommend that everyone creates a Facebook, Twitter and Pintrest account. Youtube should also be explored if you can create video content. Each platform requires a slightly different strategy. We work with our clients to assist with developing their strategy. Social media takes time and effort but its worth the opportunity to engage with your target audience.

     

    A number of people have read this article and left comments. One comment I feel is worth expanding on - left by BuyAustralianMade.

    "There are a number of mumpreneurs who are BuyAustralianMade members making a profit, though for most it hasn't come easy. The product or service they are selling has to be what customers/clients wish to buy, not just something that the mumpreneur is good at making or likes making. After all not all customers can be friends or family just wanting to help out. Mumpreneurs who find a niche, give great value, engage with their customers, a reliable way of finding new customers/clients are well on the road to turning a profit and most have a very lean supply chain which allows competitive pricing."

    We couldn't agree with these comments more. You must find a niche. You must know who your customer is and how you need to speak to them. You need to address your customers wants not just their needs. You must form an emotional connection with them. We have two tool kits that help our clients develop their brand around their customer and help them find their niche. Contact us today if you want help honing your business to your customer.

     

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