Elena Prokopets – Tweak Your Biz https://tweakyourbiz.com Business, Marketing, Entrepreneur Articles. Sat, 11 Aug 2018 16:00:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 https://tweakyourbiz.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/cropped-tyb_trans-32x32.png Elena Prokopets – Tweak Your Biz https://tweakyourbiz.com 32 32 10 Ways Early Stage Startups Can Rock Customer Service https://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/2017/06/26/10-ways-early-stage-startups-can-rock-customer-service https://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/2017/06/26/10-ways-early-stage-startups-can-rock-customer-service#respond Mon, 26 Jun 2017 18:00:22 +0000 http://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/?p=33117 Sales and marketing, product development, legal, financials … There are plenty of things to think about when your startup is in its infancy. So much so that one important element is often treated as an afterthought. That element is customer service. It’s understandable why your focus is on those other factors. You’re trying to grow […]

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Sales and marketing, product development, legal, financials …

There are plenty of things to think about when your startup is in its infancy. So much so that one important element is often treated as an afterthought.

That element is customer service.

It’s understandable why your focus is on those other factors. You’re trying to grow a business and become profitable. However, the truth is this: getting customer service right is just as important as generating leads. As a startup, you are in a unique position to build a customer service strategy as you build your company. Here are ten ways you can rock customer service right from the start.

#1. Solicit Feedback From Your Customers

Whenever possible, ask your customers for feedback. Place surveys on your website. Add a comment box to order and subscription forms. Post questions on social media.

By actively soliciting customers for their thoughts, you are accomplishing two things. First, you are communicating to them that their thoughts matter to you. You’re also gaining valuable insights into what people are thinking about your company and its products.

#2. Create Scripts That Focus on Empathy: Then Empower Your Team

When done poorly, customer service scripts can seem robotic and a bit tone deaf. However, if you focus on making them informative and empathetic, they can work quite well. Scripts allow you to streamline many of your more common and easier customer service interactions.

Just remember that it’s important to let anyone acting in a customer service capacity know that going off script in order to provide great service is okay as well. Efficiency and procedure should never trump the creation of an excellent customer experience.

#3. Let People Know Who They Are Speaking With

This is one way in which early stage startups can really impress customers. When founders also wear the customer service ‘hat’, it can make the customer experience quite impressive. Team members should give their name along with their position when responding to customer service inquiries.

For example:

“Hi, I’m John Smith! I’m the Chief Operations Officer at ABC Design. Can you please describe your problem to me?”

When your company has grown to a team of 500 people and you have a designated support team, you won’t be able to do that very often. Take advantage of this while your company is small.

#4. Find Ways to Add Value

Give away a free product. Offer a customer a deep discount. Send out a free gift when someone places an order. Give an access code out to some gated content. Give out a free product upgrade. Invite a customer to Beta test an upcoming product. In other words, find ways to give customers something that has tangible value to them.

No, you won’t be able to do this all of the time for every customer. That would be foolish from a financial perspective as well as a customer service perspective. However, if you create an amazing experience for the right customer, you can push them from ordinary consumer to brand loyalist. The next step from there is brand ambassadorship.

#5. Make Note of The Questions People Ask

What customers tell you during customer service interactions is extraordinarily important. Don’t forget that what they ask you is important as well. Customer questions can help you to identify areas where people are getting stuck or confused.

If you can identify these areas, you can then take steps to improve them. This might include changing documentation, tweaking product design, or adding items to your knowledge base.

#6. Remember That Customer Service is Everywhere

Never make the mistake of treating email, phone, and online chat as your only customer service channels. Any place where you or one of your team members may interact with customers or potential customers is a customer service channel.

All social media pages are a customer service channel. The sales floor is a customer service channel. Events are customer service channels. In fact, these channels can be even more important than traditional ones because your interactions are often public. Take the opportunity to demonstrate knowledge, empathy, and responsiveness.

#7. Prioritize Product Quality And Infrastructure

No product is going to go to market that is absolutely perfect. What’s important to remember is that the closer you get, the fewer customer service headaches you will have in the first place. Doing rigorous testing and plenty of market research in the early stages will help.

Infrastructure is important as well. Making the right choices when it comes to web hosting, payment processing, etc. will put you on the best path from the beginning. After all, these are the areas receiving the most of customer complaints. Do plenty of research and consider all of your options.

#8. Take The Time to Get Feedback From Your Sales People

While they may not technically be customer service staff, sales people get a lot of feedback from customers and potential customers. Most importantly, they can tell you why the customers who make it all the way through the funnel did so, and why those that didn’t dropped out.

This also applies to anyone else who happens to be in a customer facing position. For example, if you have a front desk person, ask them what they have seen. They can be a great barometer of overall customer sentiment.

#9. Don’t Hesitate to Escalate

An important part of delivering great customer service is understanding two things. First, you must be able to recognize when you are in above your pay grade. The other is being aware enough that you know when the customer is reaching their frustration tolerance.

When either of these things  happens, do not hesitate to escalate the issue to someone with more expertise, or to loop in a third or fourth person to help. This not only results in faster problem solving, it communicates to the customer that you are treating their issue with a sense of urgency.

#10. Use or Create a CRM That Allows You to Wow With Personalized CX

Whether you buy a CRM package or create one of your own, make sure that it contains or can be customized to contain data that allows you to create personalized customer experiences. Consider collecting and storing information such as:

  1. Hobbies And Interests
  2. Favorite Thing About Your Product
  3. Customer Service Notes (Good And Bad)
  4. Birthday And Customer Anniversary Dates
  5. How They Learned About Your Product

You can then take this information along with other data, e.g. purchase history, to reach out to customers on important dates, offer relevant giveaways, and create personalized experiences both online and in person.

Now is the perfect time to lay the groundwork for an amazing customer service strategy. It’s also the best time to create amazing customer experiences and build critical customer relationships. You can begin by using the ten techniques on this list.

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The Definitive Guide to Promoting Your Local Business https://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/2017/05/23/the-definitive-guide-to-promoting-your-local-business https://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/2017/05/23/the-definitive-guide-to-promoting-your-local-business#comments Tue, 23 May 2017 06:00:34 +0000 http://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/?p=32753 The challenge is getting your neighbors to bypass larger companies and do business with you instead. The way to accomplish this is by creating and executing an effective plan for promoting your local business.

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Locally owned businesses are the backbone of the economy. When they succeed, entire communities benefit. The challenge is getting your neighbors to bypass larger companies and do business with you instead. The way to accomplish this is by creating and executing an effective plan for promoting your local business.

The following guide will help you to accomplish this both online and offline promotion techniques.

Effective Online Promotion Strategies

You should be prepared to localize your online marketing strategy. This will round out your overall promotion strategy and ensure that your message gets out to as wide an audience as possible. Try the following to successfully promote your business online:

Optimize For Google+ Local

Google+ isn’t just a social network ran by Google. The service can largely benefit your marketing as it’s could be used to improve your website visibility to people searching for their products and services on Google. After all, around 50% of customers will Google your business at least one day prior to visiting it and 1 out of 3 local searches happen right before the visit.

Here are a few tips for optimizing for Google+ Local:

  1. Claim your listing. Google puts business locations on the map and in search engine results, but  many owners never bother to claim the business as their own.
  2. Review information such as hours of operation and make sure it’s accurate.
  3. Encourage happy customers to leave positive reviews on Google and other sites.
  4. Encourage them to upload pictures as well.
  5. Complete your Google My Business Profile.
  6. Make sure you are in the right categories.
  7. Include a valid phone number to reach you as 70% of mobile searchers tend to call a business straight from search results.

Newsjack Your Local Press

Newsjacking is simply taking trending news stories and finding ways to associate your company with those stories. By doing so, you can often get the attention of local press. In fact, it can be easier than you think as they are often eager to find new story angles or to get an expert to weigh in.

Keep in mind that this is by nature an opportunistic strategy. You have to be aware of what is going on in your local area, and ready to jump on the opportunity to pitch to local media the minute it arises. Keeping up with your local news outlets, local government, commerce association, and other entities on social media is a good place to start. You can also search Facebook and Twitter for local news and events.

Develop a Great Local Content Strategy

You will need to add to your content strategy to optimize it for local audiences. This starts with determining who your target audience is in your community, and learning about them. Where do they hang out? What are their interests? How can you meet their needs? Then, make your content relevant.

You’ll also want to optimize for local search. One way to do this is to use long tail keywords that are optimized for local search. Try to incorporate your town name, local sports teams, etc, e.g. ‘licensed contractor in Manchester’ vs. simply ‘licensed contractor’.

Participate in Local Facebook Groups

One way to build a local audience on Facebook is to join local groups, and participate in them. There are many communities that have ‘sell anything groups’. These are groups where businesses and individuals are free to advertise products and services for sale. These are perfect for direct, promotional efforts.

Other groups are based around common interests or concerns. By participating in these, you can establish thought leadership, and introduce yourself as an active member of your local community.

Effective Offline Promotion Strategies

Not every potential customer is active online. In addition to this, local businesses are more likely to thrive when they create a real, trustworthy presence in the community. Because of this, at least a portion of your promotion efforts must happen offline. Here are a few proven strategies to try:

Partnering With Other Businesses For Cross Promotional Efforts

If you can find other non competing businesses to work with, you can partner up and do some powerful things together. The key is to find local businesses that have a similar client base, but don’t offer any competing products and services. If you can find a willing partner with a complementary product, that’s even better. Here are a few examples:

  1. A local remodeling company partnering with a hometown insurance agent.
  2. A sports bar working with the local, minor league sports team.
  3. A small art gallery teaming up with a local cafe.

These partnerships don’t need to be complex. Working from the examples above you could:

  1. Create an agreement between the insurance agent and remodeling company where the insurance agent lists the contractor as a recommended business. At the same time the contractor agrees to give the insurance agent advertising space on their website.
  2. The sports bar could offer game night specials with discounts for patrons showing ticket stubs from that evening’s game.
  3. The art gallery could lend unique local art pieces to the local cafe. In turn, the cafe could agree to provide artist information to customers who express an interest in purchasing a piece or simply seeing more.

Sponsoring Events

If you ever played little league sports as a kid, chances are your team was sponsored by a local business. Businesses did this back then as a way to advertise and to create goodwill in the community. This strategy still works today.

However, today sponsorship isn’t limited to sports alone. Businesses can now sponsor robotics clubs, junior volunteer groups, academic teams, marching bands, and more. The best place to begin is contacting your local schools, churches, athletic fields, scouting organizations, etc.

Sponsoring charity events is another option. Most local communities usually have at least a few things in the works at any given time. These could be charity golf tournaments, trivia nights, silent auctions, or dinners. By adding your name as a sponsor, your business gets some free advertising. You become associated with a good deed.

Optimizing Your Street Signs And Other Offline Copy

Never underestimate the power of foot traffic. The customer who is drawn to walk into your place of business as they are out and about could mean landing an important sale today. They could also become a lifelong customer. One of the best ways to draw customers in is with great signage.

Think it’s not that important? This case study shows a shoe repair store that increased their walk in traffic by nearly fifty percent after giving their tired, old, sandwich board sign an upgrade. It may be a good idea to take a second look at your signs and other offline advertising copy. The more attractive they are, the better.

Try putting these strategies into play. Before you know it, you just might see an amazing response from your local community.

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How To Come Up With The Perfect Ecommerce Product https://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/2017/04/21/how-to-come-up-with-the-perfect-ecommerce-product https://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/2017/04/21/how-to-come-up-with-the-perfect-ecommerce-product#respond Fri, 21 Apr 2017 18:00:40 +0000 http://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/?p=32367 There are great lessons to be learned in this short guide that will help you find your perfect eCommerce product.

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You are itching to start an eCommerce business. All you need is a great product idea, and off you go. It sounds so simple. But before you decide to manufacture the “next best” of anything, take a breath and follow a logical pattern of thought. Lots of eCommerce businesses has fizzled, because founders did not consider some of the following key factors.

For purposes of this article, Dollar Shave Club and Headbands of Hope will be used as examples, because both of these entrepreneurs took into consideration all of the key factors before they launched. There are great lessons to be learned in this short guide that will help you find your perfect eCommerce product.

Check Out The Size of Your Potential Market

You are looking for a large demographic that will not be difficult to “reach” and who will see your product as unique, valuable, or solving a problem they have. If your target market is too small, then your chances of success are small too.

Razors. Everybody needs them. So what? They are found in every grocery and drugstore across the world. When Michael Durbin and Mark Levine decided to sell them online, they knew they had a huge demographic, and they began by selecting a market of men only.

Children with cancer. It’s heart-wrenching, and who doesn’t want to help make the lives of these small sufferers better in some way if they can? Jessica Ekstrom wanted to do something on a big scale, and she knew there was a huge demographic out there that did as well.

Check Out The Competition

The fact that there is competition, even strong competition, is okay. It means that there is a market for your product. You will just have to find some way to reach that market and have a “twist,” or an improvement on your current competition. What can you do differently?

Dollar Shave Club’s twist was to provide a subscription-based product. Men could sign up for a few dollars a month and have their razors delivered to their homes – no more “forgetting” to buy razors or making a special trip to the store to get them.

Headbands of Hope had a “twist” – a cause. Buy a headband, and one would be donated to a little girl with cancer; and $1 would go to cancer research. A simple idea, but one that has turned the company into a huge success. Lots of businesses sell headbands as a part of their product lines, but helping a child with cancer? This was a winner.

Is Your Product Just a Fad or Does It Have Staying Power?

Pet rocks were a fad. They made the business owners lots of money, and then they were gone. If you want to be in business for just a short time, then come up with the next pet rock, and hope it makes a huge splash so you can retire early. But this is risky business indeed. Your “fad” could be a total bust, and you are back at square one having spent money and time.

If you want to be in a business that has the potential for staying power, then choose a product that research shows has lasted over time. You can make improvements or have your own twist on it, but you know that people will always be looking for it.

This was the case with both razors and headbands. While Ekstrom says she would love to be put out of business by a cure, until then, people who want to do good, even in a small way, will continue to come.

You can check out Google Trends to see how your product idea is faring – it will give you a search history for similar items, as well as a whole lot more.

How Available is the Product Locally?

There are just some products that may not be available to consumers in their local markets. Take clothing that is made adaptable for physically handicapped or with other special needs. One example is clothing for seniors with special health needs. While a lot of seniors resist shopping online, their kids don’t, and as they age, kids are more often around.

In both of the examples being used here, the products were readily available locally, so this was not a consideration. But it might be for you if you can think of a product that would fill this need. (how about something left-handed people?)

Pricing

What kind of markup do you envision? Remember, it is not just about the cost of the making of the product. It is about storing inventory, about shipping (most online consumers are excited about free shipping), about marketing, about packaging, and a host of other little costs that all add up and eat into profit.  You will need to sit down and figure out the cost of getting your product from raw material to consumer and then decide how much profit you need on each item to be a reasonable venture. If it will cost more than what consumers can purchase locally, then you will want to re-think – unless, of course, you are bringing more to the table.

Everyone can buy razors and headbands locally. The convenience and the cause are what make the difference.

Setting Up Your Store

This can be a costly endeavor if you choose to use consultants, designers and developers. Again, start small. Use a cost-effective site like Shopify and it will walk you through the entire process, providing everything from your site to your purchasing process, to checking for fraud, etc. Everything on one place, doing what you don’t want to spend a lot of time and money on right now.

Beware of Too Much Variety in Inventory

When you are starting out, keep it simple. You can always scale later. You are not going to be a large online clothing retailer with many items and sizes that you have to keep in stock. Managing a large inventory without the funds and staff will kill you. Start small.

Durbin and Levine began with just razors. Over time, they have obviously scaled and now offer all sorts of personal care products too. Note, this was done over time.

Ekstrom began with just headbands. She has now expanded into other items to. Again, over time.

Consider Subscriptions

If your product is consumable and/or wears out, consider a subscription-based model. Many e-commerce business have found this successful, just as Dollar Shave Club.

Having repeat customers, either through a subscription or because your product has a shelf-life, is always a good thing.

Think About Weight, Size, and Perishability

The smaller your product and the less it weighs the better. Consumer love free shipping, and lightweight products are best for you. And think of the storage requirements. If your product line is simple and small, you will save yourself a lot.

And perishable products will not be a good bet unless you have some real expertise. Packing a quiche in dry ice for shipment may not be your best bet right now.

The most important factor when considering a product for e-commerce is your market and the problem you can solve or the passion you can fill for them by your offering. The other considerations are just business decisions that will need to be wisely made.

Get your thoughts organized around filling a need for a large demographic. Then review these nine considerations. If you can meet most of them, it’s time to take the leap. As you finalize your plans and set up your business, you will then need to develop expertise in marketing. But the first step is complete. You have a solid product.

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9 Essential Visual Marketing Tips To Leverage This Year https://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/2017/04/10/9-essential-visual-marketing-tips-to-leverage-this-year https://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/2017/04/10/9-essential-visual-marketing-tips-to-leverage-this-year#respond Mon, 10 Apr 2017 12:00:04 +0000 http://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/?p=32123 Content marketers need to keep very current on the latest technology and trends in visuals, because this in an area that is evolving very quickly.

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You’ve probably figured it out already. If you are not using visual content in your marketing, your readership may be lagging. Even the most boring niches have found ways to add visual content, some for several years now. And if you check out your personal social media pages, that vast majority of posts have visual content.

Today’s consumer of products, services, and social connections insists upon visual content in order to stay interested. “Show me, don’t tell me,” seems to be the mantra of the day. If you are not yet convinced, one single statistic tells it all. Content with images and other visuals gets 94% more views than that without them.

The other wonderful thing about visual content is that there are now amazing tools to create it. So, no excuse. If you are going to stay relevant, attract visitors who can then convert to leads and paying customers, you should not publish a piece of content without a visual from this day forward.

Hold on One Minute

Before you take that last statement “to the bank,” remember the other “rules” by which you must play as your content, any content:

  1. Know what your audience wants and needs. If, for example, you intend to craft a humorous piece of content, do you know the types of humor you audience loves? What might offend them?
  2. Content should never be seen as an ad or hard sell. That’s why native content is so in use today. You can inform, entertain, and inspire your audience, but your product or service takes a “back seat.”
  3. Content offers and asks – it never makes demands.
  4. Content is best delivered in small, snackable chunks of content – visuals are perfect for this, of course, because they can make a point and they will also break up that text.
  5. Content must keep your brand identity pure.

With this in mind, here are nine immediately usable tactics for visual content.

The Tweet

A lot of tweets just get ignored, because the social platform is so heavily used. By putting an intriguing, humorous, or inspirational visual in your tweet, your audience stops and takes a second look. When they do, there is a much greater chance that the text will be read. You can use a tweet with a visual to drive people to another piece of content by asking an intriguing question or pointing them to another piece of content that will be of interest. Embedding a visual is simple.

  1. Log in to your account
  2. Go to settings and click “design.”
  3. Go to “Customize Your Own”
  4. A box will appear prompting you to create your design. You can upload a picture, drawing, or other image (you will be prompted to “choose file”). Add your text and you’re done – post it

While cover images are important on Twitter, such as this brand new one from Uber:

Images as a part of a tweet can engage more often. GE created custom comics as a part of a tweet series about women in STEM:

You can also create a collage on Twitter. Just compose a new tweet, click to “add photos,” and then click “add more” – you can put up to four photos or images in your post.

Give Your Product or Service Reality

One of the best kinds of native advertising is to tell stories about real people. This takes some time, but happy customers like the idea of being featured. Put out a call for photos or videos of people using your product/service. They will respond. Your story does not have to be long and involved. ModCloth features women wearing its clothing on all of its social media platforms.

Use the Same Cover Image Across All Platforms

Brand consistency is important, and people will remember your brand by that one image. This is a short and simple tactic with no further explanation needed. Your brand, your logo, and a singular image for every cover.

SlideShare – It’s Still Amazingly Popular

If you have not posted content on SlideShare, you should consider it seriously. Think about this: it is one of the top 100 visited sites; it has 18+ million pieces of content (slide shows), and crosses 40 categories. You can upload presentations, documents, videos, and slide presentations. Even better, you can imbed share buttons and get that content all over other platforms.

Ana Hoffman, expert in web traffic generation has shared her own case study of her experience with SlideShare, and it is a pretty compelling argument to get on board. She also provides strategies to “win” using this content medium. The key to getting loads of traffic however, is to create a stunning slide deck in the first place. Browse some creative presentation templates, choose enticing background images from Pexels and polish it up with great typography.

Market The Same Image or Text on Multiple Platforms

You know where your audience hangs out online. Usually there are two or three platforms you are going to use based upon that information. When you create a great post and insert an amazing visual, use that visual across platforms your audience uses.

The alternative is this: if you have a theme, let’s say one of a joke a day or an inspiring quote of the day, use that same text across platforms with a different visual for each.

Get Comfortable with Video

Short videos (no more than 90 seconds) can capture an audience quickly. If you add humor or inspiration, it will go even further. Check out the explainer video that was created for Dollar Shave Club. It is on its home page, but has made the rounds of all social media platforms, including YouTube, with the same impact. That video cost $2,500 and it has reaped amazing rewards.

 

“How To” videos can also capture your audience if your product/service requires some instruction for customers. And if your customers send in videos, all the better. Feature them on your website, your blog and on all of your social platforms.

Check out these stats on videos from DigitalSherpa.

  1. 80% of Internet users remember watching a video ad within the past 30 days
  2. 50% of Internet users have accessed YouTube and watched business-related videos an average of once a week.
  3. 64% of visitors to a website are likely to buy something after having watch a video

And one of the best things about video? It’s so easy to get a call-to-action in them.

Use a Variety of Visuals

Don’t get stuck on just one form of visual. Mix them up – use photos, memes, infographics (great tools for creating these now, even interactive ones); take impromptu pictures in real time and post them with a great caption. Or better, post a photo and ask your followers to caption it, awarding a prize for the winner. Not to beat a dead horse, but ModCloth has contests for followers to name a clothing item – the winner gets the item.

Create Animated Gifs

These are so easy to do, and can be posted anywhere. An animated gif is a couple of images that play in a loop. You’ve seen them on your Facebook page – most are humorous, but content marketers often use them to advertise sales, new products/services, etc.

There are good tools to create gifs now, and they don’t have much of a learning curve.

Create Flipagrams

Photo albums have also become quite popular, especially if a retailer has a number of products but not enough for a catalogue. The problem with albums is that visitors have to click and click and they probably will not stick around long enough to do that. A Flipagram is just a way to feature all of those photos as a video – no work on the part of the viewer – nice.

No one wants to read walls of text anymore, and given that mobile devices have surpassed PC’s for reading/viewing content, visuals will be the method by which users get information, education, and their entertainment. They are just no longer an option. Content marketers need to keep very current on the latest technology and trends in visuals, because this in an area that is evolving very quickly.

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11 Ways to Maximize Your Trade Show Exhibition Results https://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/2017/03/06/11-ways-to-maximize-your-trade-show-exhibition-results https://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/2017/03/06/11-ways-to-maximize-your-trade-show-exhibition-results#respond Mon, 06 Mar 2017 13:00:18 +0000 http://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/?p=31800 The good news is that you are largely in control of your trade show exhibiting success. Follow these eleven tips to maximize your trade show exhibition results.

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No matter what stage of growth your business is in, participating as an exhibitor in trade shows can net amazing results for any company. However, just like any other advertising campaign, trade show marketing can be a huge waste of time, resources and money. The good news is that you are largely in control of your trade show exhibiting success. Follow these eleven tips to maximize your trade show exhibition results.

#1. Pair a Great Demo with a Great Pitch

Of course you want to demonstrate your product in a way that wows people who visit your booth, but what you have to say matters as well. Spend plenty of time effectively creating and rehearsing an amazing pitch.

Then, always be prepared to go off script. Expo attendees aren’t known for listening quietly while you speak. They’ll interrupt, ask questions and have you double back and repeat things. Once you’ve created your pitch, mine it for the most important catch phrases and taglines. If you find yourself straying from the pitch, take the time needed to tweak and perfect your work, so nothing gets left out.

#2. Maximize Your Chances of Making Connections

Don’t focus solely on the show attendees that visit your exhibit booth. There are networking possibilities all over large convention centers and smaller conference halls. If your expo includes an opening gala, make sure to attend. Get to know as many industry leaders as possible. It’s also smart to know your competition, introduce yourself to the other companies exhibiting at your trade show. Offer your unique industry knowledge to people around you that will find it useful. You will find that many people will do the same in return. Carve out some time to walk around the trade show hall. Find exhibit booth layouts that would interest people who would also be attracted to your products, and chat people up as they wait in line.

#3. Find Ways to Let Visitors Interact

If you can, have your product demos available for show attendees to touch, hold and interact with. The more you interact with exhibition visitors the easier it will be to keep them engaged. If it’s not feasible to have your actual product on hand, at least bring in a model or sample.

If it’s not logistically possible to have your products on hand, create an interactive experience using digital technology. For example, if you’re in the home improvement business, bring along a VR headset so that customers can ‘walk through’ your latest, custom interior project.

#4. Create Your Own Buzz

Popular trendy restaurants in cities always have long waits. It’s human nature that when people see a line, or hear about constant long wait times, they too will want to jump on the bandwagon. If you can find a way to create a line into your booth space, that tells show attendees you have the hot product or that your exhibit is the place to be, you’ll receive more attention at your trade show than ever imagined.

One way to accomplish this is to invite as many people as possible to come to the event and pose as interested visitors. The illusion of a crowded popular exhibit can quickly turn into a display booth that’s actually buzzing with life and activity.

#5. Welcome People Into Your Space

Consider this. If someone rings the doorbell and you’re happy to see them, what do you do? You invite them inside. If you want them to go away, they don’t make it past the front door. Don’t meet your customers at the door.

Many exhibitors make the mistake of placing their convention hall folding table across the front of their booth, creating a barrier feeling for the show attendees. It’s important to “leave the front of the booth open”, which simply means keeping your booth space open and inviting for guests to walk right in. If you have pamphlets or other items to give out, place them in a free-standing portable literature stand takes up a fraction of space compared to a large folding table.

Next, make the exhibit design inviting. Your branding should be visually appealing. Use attractive colors and unique images. Pay attention to popular branding trends such as LED backlit signage. Provide seating if you have space for a comfortable lounge area. Have coffee, tea, and water bottles available.

#6. Use Giveaways That Are Useful And Visible

Many people dismiss promo giveaways as cheap throwaways after the show, but there’s a reason that giveaway items and trade shows go  hand in hand. They work. The trick is coming up with giveaways that are unique and a usable product that people need in their everyday lives.

Nobody needs another keychain, branded koozie, or basic pen. On the other hand, string backpack bags, insulated coffee mugs, and cell phone car chargers are very popular. Another category that’s starting to become a popular promo item is food, and edible items can work well too. Here’s another tip. If you do give away insulated mugs, have a drink dispenser and ice machine on hand. This will ensure your booth visitors fill up, and then carry your branded giveaway all over the convention, which means free exposure for you.

#7. Know When to Splurge on Real Estate

If you find the perfect annual exhibition for your company, often the best choice is to splurge your marketing dollars to obtain the best location for you exhibit space. Ideally, you’ll get enough prospects from only attending a select few trade shows while staying in budget. Just keep in mind that when it comes to your booth, real estate is everything. For example, if you upgrade from a standard 10×10 space located on the floor space back side, to a 10×10 corner booth space located in the front, the amount of foot traffic your exhibit will see dramatically increases. Being located in a corner space, guarantees floor traffic and visibility from two sides instead of just one.

Think hard about where you are trying to cut costs. It might be worth going over budget to have your booth placed right next to a VIP area, entertainment stage or popular lounging spot. Always try to select the best show floor location, it can easily mean double or triple the foot traffic.

#8. Consider Partnering With Complementary Brands

Easily obtain a complete list of exhibitors months before the show, to look for products or brands that complement yours. Then, simply reach out to their marketing team. See if there’s a way to combine your products or services in a way that will help both parties reach as many potential customers as possible.

If you cannot come up with a plan for working together at the show, you can still benefit by agreeing to send referral leads to each other during the show when possible. The more industry contacts you have at your trade show, the more possible benefits you may be rewarded.

#9. Be on Your Toes at Closing Time

How many times have you walked past a exhibit or brand of interest and made a mental note to double back and check it out later? Probably many times. It’s very likely that you’ll have a few show attendees show up to your display booth at the last minute, stating they’ve been meaning to stop by to get more information on your products and services. If your expo marketing team shuts down early because closing time is near, you’ll miss out on last minute leads that could have turned out to be your best lifelong clients.

#10. Make VIP Clients Feel Special

Trade shows provide great opportunities to reach out to potential new customers and business partners. They can also serve as a way to strengthen your relationships with your most valued clients. Remember that consumers look forward to these events just as much as exhibitors do.

Round up some extra tickets or event invitations. Then, pass them out to some of your most loyal clients. They’ll be grateful for your gift that shows great custom appreciation, and will be more than happy to attend any popular event. They’ll also be more likely to think of you when it comes to referrals.

#11. Don’t Waste Time Following Up

Quick follow up is always key. Don’t wait a month or longer to start contacting people. It’s human nature to quickly forget about events that store in your short term memory. To make sure this is prevented, only give people a couple of days to recover from the event, before you start reaching out.

Before starting your followups, sort your leads into relevant categories. Here is an example:

  1. Potential Partners
  2. Potential Clients – High Funnel
  3. Potential Clients – Mid Funnel
  4. Potential Clients – Low Funnel
  5. Existing Clients Ready to Upgrade

This allows you to target each contact with the right message. You might even choose to send some contacts directly to your sales representative that focuses on one call closes.

Getting the most out of your trade show marketing requires covering all of your bases. Always create an attractive and welcoming trade show booth. Focus on keeping visitors engaged as long as possible. Be prepared to reach out to the same show attendees as your competition. However, creative trade show graphics and promotional branding, combined with precise quick prospect follow up, will help guarantee you generate the largest return on your marketing investment as possible.

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How Small Business Can Leverage Pinterest https://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/2017/01/05/how-small-business-can-leverage-pinterest https://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/2017/01/05/how-small-business-can-leverage-pinterest#respond Thu, 05 Jan 2017 13:00:07 +0000 http://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/?p=31140 Pinterest is an absolutely legitimate place for small business owners to create buzz for their brands. Keep reading for a few tips that you can use to leverage Pinterest for your small business

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You have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, a blog, even Tumblr covered. So, what’s next? It may be time to get your business active on Pinterest! Yes, Pinterest. It’s been a long time since this versatile social media platform was reserved for crafters and DIY fans. Today it is an absolutely legitimate place for small business owners to create buzz for their brands. Keep reading for a few tips that you can use to

See What Kind of Content Gets Traction

One of the many beautiful things about Pinterest is that it will let you know who has started following you, and who is repinning your pins and when. This is a great way to track which boards and which pins are really gaining traction. It may be a bit of a poor man’s analysis, but it will let you know what content is working best.

Curate Content With a Quickness

Once you become active on Pinterest, be sure to install the Pin It plugin. This allows you to automatically pin interesting content to one of your boards. As soon as you see an image, video, article, recipe, whatever, just hit the button and pin it. It’s an amazingly quick way to offer up new content to your followers.

Use The Buy Now Button

Not long ago, if you posted one of your products on Pinterest, you had to wait for customers to navigate their way back to your website or e-commerce store in order to make a purchase. Now, you can activate the Buy Now option.

This means that when someone browsing your pins sees something that they like, they simply hit buy now and then continue with the purchase. Even better, Pinterest does not collect a commission on these sales.

Highlight Your Products And New Ways to Use Them

It isn’t unusual for small business owners to dedicate an entire page on their website to a single product. If it’s big enough, some will even create an entire microsite around one product. Imagine taking this a step further and creating a pinterest board dedicated to one of your products.

You could use the board to highlight images of the product. You could even pin product demonstration videos, and product instructions or troubleshooting tips. What about taking things to an even more creative level? You could use pins to demonstrate potential uses that and product ‘hacks’ that your customers may have never considered. Traveling Vineyard’s Pinterest is an amazing example of taking a product, in this case, wine, and introducing people to new and creative ways to think about and use that product.

How Small Business Can Leverage Pinterest

Connect With Pinners Like You Would Influencers Elsewhere

In some ways, Pinterest is just like other social media platforms. It’s all about developing relationships and creating growth. When you are on Facebook or Twitter, you reach out to influencers and others that you believe will provide interesting content for your audience and whose audience members will also be interested in what you have to say.

Search Pinterest using keywords that are relevant to your industry. This will help you to find both users and boards that have content that your followers will enjoy. Start following influencers, and you will likely get followed in return.

Combine Multiple Small Business Offerings Into an Online Catalog

Many small business owners are diversifying. For example, instead of owning a single business, someone might go into direct sales working with multiple suppliers and selling a variety of products. If you are involved in a family business, different family members might focus on a different customer base or product offerings.

If this sounds like your small business model, your Pinterest can be the ideal location to curate everything into a single online catalog of sorts. Then, followers can purchase your items directly from Pinterest or head to your Etsy shop or website to buy what they want. In fact, you could even strip down your website a bit, and keep your product related content entirely on Pinterest.

Crowdsource Relevant Content

Pinterest is a great platform for giving your followers a voice as well. If you are already crowdsourcing, stories, videos, images, or other content from your customers, Pinterest is a great place to keep all of that great content.

For example, let’s say that you create a community board on your website, ala Modcloth where customers can share relevant content:

In order to keep things ‘fresh’ on your website, you can cycle content off of your community board and over to a dedicated board on pinterest after a few weeks or months. This ensures that content remains visible to interested followers, and that your website content doesn’t go stale.

Pin Your Blog Posts And Other Content

Of course, your crowdsourced content isn’t the only content that deserves a permanent home. Be sure to pin your blog posts, articles, press releases, and other newsworthy content. This gives you own more point of contact when it comes to reaching new audience members with your messaging.

In Closing: A Few Extra Tips

Now that we’ve covered a few ideas that small business owners can use, let’s go over a few tips to help ensure that you can get the most out of Pinterest for your small business.

  1. Remember That You Can Pin Videos as Well as Images
  2. Use a Great Cover Image For Each of Your Boards
  3. Create Board Categories That Make Sense to Your Audience
  4. Use Alt Tags And Captions on Your Images
  5. Use Relevant Keywords to Create Great Hashtags
  6. Use Pinterest Analytics
  7. Complete Your Profile Information
  8. Attach Your Pinterest to Your Other Social Media Accounts

By following these best practices and incorporating some of the tips above, you will find that Pinterest is a great platform for sharing content and creating engagement with your audience.

Image: KIEV, UKRAINE – MAY 09, 2015: Pinterest logotype on pc screen. Pinterest is photo sharing website.

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4 Tips for Hiring a Winning Freelance Team https://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/2017/01/04/4-tips-for-hiring-a-winning-freelance-team https://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/2017/01/04/4-tips-for-hiring-a-winning-freelance-team#respond Wed, 04 Jan 2017 13:00:41 +0000 http://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/?p=30856 More and more working-age people want to be a freelancer or part of a freelance team. It’s what more and more companies want to do. And the growing trend says that both will have their wishes met for years to come.

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Freelancing. It’s what more and more working-age people want to do. Hiring freelancers. It’s what more and more companies want to do. And the growing trend says that both will have their wishes met for years to come. Many, in fact, already claim that

Securing That Freelance Dream Team

Business owners do not go into the arena of using distributed teams/freelancers without concern. They do not physically see their “employees” every day and gauge their work productivity; they worry about hiring the right people who can work well together in a remote environment, communicate, and support one another. All of this means developing a plan and a process for finding those “right” people. Here are 4 tips that should help.

Develop Your Set of Interview Questions in Advance

This will help you focus on the skills and traits that you know you will need. Of course, there are common interview questions that you would ask any interviewee, and those should be included. Beyond that, however, you will need to know what successful freelance experience is in the candidate’s background and who you may verify that success with. Beyond freelance experience, however, you will need to assess the candidate’s experience working remotely with a team. Again, you are looking for successes that you can verify.

Finding The Candidates

Now, where to look. Of course, you can check out some of the huge freelance job boards, but you might want to consider some more targeted sources.

  1. LinkedIn is a great source, and you can narrow your search pretty quickly just by reading resumes and asking for recommendations
  2. Use your network. If colleagues within your niche have had experience with individuals who have the skill sets you need, taking their recommendations can put you in a good position.
  3. Post your needs on other social media channels. Facebook groups, for example, provide excellent sources of individuals with specific skill sets that you need.
  4. As you hire a freelancer, ask for their recommendations for your additional specific needs. A content marketer, for example, may have worked with an amazing freelance IT pro in the Ukraine or web designer in India.
  5. Check out professional organizations. They tend to have their own smaller jobs boards that you can utilize.
  6. Access niche jobs boards – they are all over the web. Most have a global reach.

Conduct Your Interview via Skype of Other Such Platform

Employers can learn a lot about a person from a face-to-face interview. Facial expressions, non-verbal behaviors, etc. are important, and you want to “see” and talk with the candidate no matter where they are located. Always conduct your interviews with a tool that allows face-to-face sessions.

If you have already hired some of your distributed team members, bring them in on at least part of the interview. You want to see the interaction so that you can evaluate a candidate’s ability to communicate and “fit in” with the existing team. If the beginnings of rapport are observed pretty quickly, you probably have the right person.

Expectations in Writing

Prior to the interview, you have obviously posted the job requirements and skill sets you need. More than that, however, you need to provide any candidate with a full set of expectations that go beyond just the skills you need. Workplace policies are not just for in-house employees. What are our expectations in terms of communication? How will this individual report progress to both you and to other team members? When will there be meetings? How will you handle the time zone differences? All of these things need to be in writing, up front, so that there are no misunderstandings, should the person be hired.

Companies Love It

Obviously, there are some business niches that cannot go fully outsourced – we still need medical staff on site in hospitals; we still need workers on site in car plants, and we need sales clerks for shoppers who still enjoy the brick and mortar experience. But these niches, too, will be disrupted as technology marches forward, and the numbers of freelancers will increase.

There are big benefits to companies that can use freelancers:

  1. Affordability: when a company does not have to employ full-time staff with salaries, benefits, and workspace requirements, the overhead costs of doing business decrease.
  2. Greater Flexibility: Freelancers can be hired and terminated at will, without any concern for laws and regulations and the potential for lawsuits.
  3. Distributed Teams: Companies can look to find experts from all over the world to meet their business needs. These distributed teams can collaborate whenever the need arises, and yet work independently on their task responsibilities. When companies do not have to confine their employment search to a single metropolitan area, the potential to find just the right specialists increases.
  4. Improved Productivity: Distributed team members all have their parts to play in the overall mission and goals of a company. They also know that they can be terminated at will. Add to that the flexibility to determine hours that work best for them, they are more productive.

While many companies are experimenting with and using distributed teams for specific projects, others have adopted the model entirely – Automattic, Basecamp, and Buffer are just a few examples.

If you are new to outsourcing and/or developing a distributed team, you will not be the perfect leader/manager immediately. You will learn as you go. You will make hiring mistakes, and you will correct them quickly. But in the long run, you will ultimately learn how to put together effective and even amazing teams that will meet your mission and goals.

Image: Man working on desk and writing Freelance

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How To Find The Right App Developer For Your Project https://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/2016/12/20/how-to-find-the-right-app-developer-for-your-project https://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/2016/12/20/how-to-find-the-right-app-developer-for-your-project#respond Tue, 20 Dec 2016 07:00:52 +0000 http://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/?p=30712 If you are an individual with an idea but no development skills, you will have to find those skills to be an app developer. And if you are a small business already, do you need to hire more people?

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“There’s probably an app for that” – an expression that is used millions of times a day. But what if it turns out there isn’t an “app for that,” and now you want to build one? All of a sudden you are dreaming of making a bundle of bucks – after all, app downloads are approaching a

Don’t Call Anyone Yet

App development has become a big business, so you won’t have any problem finding people willing to charge ahead with your idea. But at this point, it is just an idea without details. No one can give you a pricing quote without the details, so sit back and answer the following questions.

Let’s suppose you are a “foodie” and you want to develop a comprehensive app for other foodies who love to cook. And let’s suppose you have done the research and there is no app that provides all that yours will. Ultimately you want it to do a bunch of things – provide substitutes for ingredients (e.g. how to make buttermilk when you don’t have any), metric conversions, etc.

  1. Have you developed your idea with a list of features you want it to have? No one can give you a quote without this.
  2. Do you want to develop an MVP (minimum viable product) to test in the market or do you want the “whole enchilada” up front? Your budget may somewhat determine this.
  3. If you are going with and MVP, what initial features do you want? Maybe you want that foodie app to begin with just ingredients substitutions. That seems to a big problem you can solve for others.
  4. Do you want an iPhone or Android app or both?
  5. Are there additional products you want other than just the app? A promotional website? An administrative panel? Marketing materials?
  6. Will you need continued services as features are added or updated?
  7. If you are a total newbie, do you want the developer to complete the process of submission and approval?
  8. What kind of a budget do you have? This is probably the toughest question to answer, especially if you are new to this industry. Hourly rates may vary from as low as $35 to $150/hour, depending upon geographical regions, and the total development can range from $5,000 for a simple app like ingredient substitutions to as much as $250,000 for a new social media app. Do the research and see where your app falls in general price ranges. At least you will have a general idea before you get quotes.
  9. Think about escrow. What, you say? Escrow is for home taxes and insurance payments being held by your mortgage company, right? Well, there are critical considerations for escrowing your app source code while it is developed too. After all development projects can last between 6 to 12+ months, and if anything goes wrong with the developer (e.g. they disappear or go bankrupt), you want to stay protected. You can use a software escrow vendor like EscrowTech to store your project while it’s being developed and release the code one the payment is transferred securely.

Out into the World of App Developers

This may be easy or difficult. But getting the right app developer will determine success or failure. If you have used and are happy with a team, then you are all set. If, however, you are starting from scratch, you don’t want to spin your wheels figuring out where to even start to look. Begin with Clutch.co. This is probably the best directory of global app developers there is. You will find really objective information, interviews with clients of various development teams, costs, reputation – sort of an Angie’s list of app developers. You’ll be able to narrow your search to those developers who have focused on apps similar to yours and who fall within your budget parameters.

Now you are ready to make contact and ask the critical questions:

  1. Shoot off an inquiry email – see how quickly you get a response. Good development teams will respond pretty quickly.
  2. What experience does the developer have with apps similar to your idea?
  3. Will they be willing to get on Skype and discuss? This will give you a good idea of their communication skills, especially if they are located in a foreign locale.
  4. What kind of an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) do they have and can you see it right now?
  5. Will they be willing to put you in contact with a former client or two? Their site testimonials may be fine, but maybe not.
  6. Can they give you a quick summary of how they go about developing apps for their clients? What are the stages of development?
  7. What does their typical agreement/contract look like? Good developers have a general framework of one that will be tweaked for your circumstances.
  8. Are they solid in their understanding of the most current guidelines of app stores?
  9. What testing do they perform to ensure that there are no bugs? And if bugs appear after market, what are their guarantees?

Listen and Learn

During your discussion with potential developers, look for these signs of professionalism and behavior:

  1. Quick Response. Be sure to take in differences in time zones. If you are in the U.S. and send an inquiry to a development team in the Ukraine, for example, understand that they are anywhere from 7 – 9 hours ahead of your time. If you send an inquiry at 5:00 pm, it is way after office hours there.
  2. Do they ask you for important detail before stating that they can do it? Developers that answer “yes” without asking important questions of you might be a bit “sketchy.”
  3. Good developers are willing to talk about previous projects but will keep an NDA in place during those discussions. They will only put you in contact with clients who are willing to be identified.
  4. The team is willing to give you a video tour of their facilities, so that you can see developers and chat with them.
  5. They provide all legal documents up front and are willing to shoot them over to you immediately. This means that they have been developed and are standard.
  6. Their quote and deposit amount does not exceed 20-30%.
  7. They give you a breakdown of a timeline that includes all of the development stages and how long each will take. They are not promising a completed app in two weeks, for example.

Avoid Common Mistakes

  1. Watch time zones – If you are using a developer in a different part of the world, you must absolutely account for this in communication.
  2. Be sure to have a timeline for development that both of you agree upon. Really good developers will even build a “penalty” into their contracts if milestones are not met on time.
  3. Don’t forget about the testing – it must occur on all devices. And if you have geo-location features, they absolutely must work. Your developer should engage in simulated and real testing with actual users.

All of this may seem like a lot of work on your end, when you think that a developer should assume all of the work. Not so! You have to maintain an active role in every stage of this “game,” or you will have wasted your time and money. You may not know much about the technical aspects of app development, but you do know what you want that app to do. Stay on top throughout all stages.

Image: App Development Concept. App Development Drawn on Dark Wall. App Development in Multicolor. App Development Concept. Modern Illustration in Doodle Design of App Development.

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8 Strategies to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment Rates https://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/2016/12/07/8-strategies-to-reduce-shopping-cart-abandonment-rates https://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/2016/12/07/8-strategies-to-reduce-shopping-cart-abandonment-rates#respond Wed, 07 Dec 2016 13:00:00 +0000 http://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/?p=30907 If you follow these strategies, you can get people to trust you enough to complete their purchases and recover any shopping cart abandonment.

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Did you know that less than a third of the people who add items to their shopping cart actually complete their purchase? If you consider your own online shopping behaviors, that might not be so surprising. You may have added items to your shopping basket simply to keep track of what they would cost if you completed your purchase. You may have also added items with your cart, only to be distracted or frustrated. Your customers would probably describe similar circumstances.

You cannot get back every customer who abandons their shopping cart. Some of them never really intended to make a purchase in the first place. However, you can get enough back to make a big difference. To make this happen, just apply some of the following 8 strategies to shopping cart abandonment.

#1. Include a Progress Indicator: Then Let Customers Skip Steps

‘Are we there yet?’ This isn’t just a phrase uttered by impatient children on family road trips. People shopping online often find themselves wondering just how much more they have to do until they can complete their purchase. If you don’t provide that answer to them, they just might bail.

Try including a progress indicator on your checkout page. This will tell them where they are, and how many steps they need to complete before their purchase is finalized. Then, if there are steps that they can skip give them the option to do that. For example, you might want to use the checkout process to introduce people to your rewards program. On the other hand, forcing them to sign up might annoy them enough that they bounce. If it isn’t a necessary part of checking out, give them the option to click a ‘Not Today’ button.

#2. Make Sure Your Pages Load as Quickly as Possible

Page optimization is important everywhere. However, with your checkout pages, it is more important than ever. Take whatever steps you can to ensure that your page performance won’t be an issue. There is nothing quite as frustrating as waiting for a page to load in any case. If it happens when a customer is in the midst of checking out, you’ve basically given them a reason to abandon the entire process.

#3. Let Customers Checkout Using a Guest Profile

Have you ever thought about how nice it would be if you could surf into a website and buy something without making any future commitments? This means no signing up for anything or registering. You just surf in, pick out your merchandise, and make a payment. Of course you have thought of this!

So, why not offer this option to your own customers? After all, not every sale will result in a customer relationship. Some people really do just want to get in, spend, and get out. Promote confidence in your basket page by doing just that.

#4. Add Proof of Trust to Your Checkout Pages

Anybody with a modicum of common sense and internet shopping experience gets a little bit nervous when it comes time to share their credit card and personal information. Respect this fear and reassure your customers by providing them with proof that they can safely make a purchase from your website. Building trust is one the key aspects of boosting conversion rates.

You can do this by displaying widely recognized trust badges on your checkout pages. This might include proof that your checkout process is safe, that you are a registered member of the BBB, and that you have the endorsement of your local commerce association. Other indicators of proof can be customer testimonials, statistics from case studies, and endorsements from influencers.

#5. Reduce Form Size

This is common advice when it comes to landing pages. Unfortunately, it isn’t always applied to the checkout process. The less information you require people to enter the better. Remember that at this point, collecting information is desireable, but closing the deal is even more important. Give customers the easiest pathway to closing the deal as possible, and get rid of long forms.

#6. Offer Live Chat Support During The Checkout Process

Customer support is undoubtedly important no matter where a customer is in the sales funnel. It is for that reason that smart sales professionals offer their audience a way to chat live with them as they are in the midst of  making a purchase. After all, having someone on hand can make people as confident as possible when they are making a purchase sets up the ideal sales environment.

#7. Inform Customers of All Costs Up Front

When handled incorrectly, there may be no bigger factor than undisclosed costs when it comes to shopping  abandonment. Most specifically, shipping and handling costs are often the reason customers choose not to finalize their purchases.

Think about it. You’ve found what you think is a great deal. You are ready to make a purchase. Then, just before you check out, you realize that your shipping costs will nearly double your payment. It’s only natural that you are going to feel ripped off.  Avoid this by disclosing these costs from the get go.

#8. Make it Easy For Customers to Recover Their Carts

There are so many reasons that customers abandon their carts. Distraction, and attempting to switch from one device to the next are just two of these reasons. When customers return to shop, remind them of what they have left behind, and provide them with a single click option to continue where they had left off. You can even employ email marketing strategies to reach out to these folks. For example, if they have abandoned their carts, you can renew their interest by reminding them that they have unpurchased merchandise the next time they visit your sight. You can also remind them that buying , can benefit them.

You will never be able to bring every person who abandons their shopping cart back to complete their purchase. However, if you follow these strategies, you can get people to trust you enough to complete their purchases. You can also design your checkout process to ensure that everything is as straightforward and easy to navigate as possible.

Image: Shopping Background

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How To Build a Great Lead Nurturing Email Strategy https://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/2016/11/15/how-to-build-a-great-lead-nurturing-email-strategy https://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/2016/11/15/how-to-build-a-great-lead-nurturing-email-strategy#respond Tue, 15 Nov 2016 19:50:24 +0000 http://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/?p=30672 You will find that email is a powerful lead-nurturing medium. Here are some tactics that will help you with your email strategy and do just that.

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A lot of skilled content marketers create amazing and valuable content for their readers, and through that generate lots of leads. Now the task becomes to move those leads further into the sales funnel and ultimately to paying customers.

Emails can be a powerful way to nurture leads, if done right. Why? Because you have control over staying connected to those leads in a way you don’t have with your blog or your social media channels. Leads have to take the initiative in order to access your content on those platforms. Your emails, on the other hand, arrive in the inbox that they check every day, and they only have to click to have your content personally delivered.

The trick, of course, is to get those emails opened and to have content that will engage and generate interest. There is a lot of clutter in inboxes these days, and you have to break through the monotony. When you do, you will find that email is a powerful lead-nurturing medium. Here are some tactics that will help you with your email strategy and do just that.

Begin with Some Effective Tools

Tools will not substitute for great content, but they can help you organize, personalize, segment your audiences, automate your delivery too. Here are a few tools that stand out:

Campaigner.com: While this tool provides several different sub-tools for email marketing, it’s segmentation feature is very good. You can divide your leads under various sales funnel stages based on the specific products or services they have demonstrated interest in, previously purchased, etc. Segmented emails are more personalized and the open-rates are better.

LeadIn: This is Hubspot’s free lead marketing tool. While it has many features, one is to analyze your leads and provide information about their web activity, social media profiles, etc. This will give you insights about what is important to them, their demographics, etc.

Agilecrm.com: Agile is a comprehensive CRM tool that includes web engagement, marketing automation, helpdesk, marketing via mobile, and email campaigns. Its email software includes templates, custom layouts, personalization and segmentation, and lead scoring, among other things.

ConstantContact.com: This tool focuses only on email marketing. There are numerous features – custom templates, personalization, automated delivery and tracking, analytics, surveys and coupon generation, etc.

Pardot.com: This tools is specifically for B2B enterprises and provides comprehensive marketing solutions that include email campaign.

Now for the Specific Tactics

All of the latest and best tools, while convenient and effective, cannot substitute for your efforts in crafting emails that really work, once all of the automation and tool features are in place. Here are seven proven tactics that will ensure you get the most “bang for your buck” as you nurture your email leads.

Use Personalization Carefully

You may have the names of your subscribers and you may be tempted to use them as soon as you have them. Resist this temptation. People are suspicious, and they really don’t want you to be too intimate too quickly. Relationships are built gradually, over time, and using first names in a subject line too early can be seen as possibly “sketchy.”

Initially, try to use other methods of personalization, rather than individual names. This is where segmentation comes in. If you can segment your email audiences by other criteria – demographic, what they demonstrated an interest in on your site, what they have already ordered, a freebie they got in return for giving up their email address, then you can personalize in a more generalized manner.

Segmenting audiences, and sending emails by products they have purchased with similar products that may be of interest, has proven to be very effective. In fact, a Temple University study found that 98% of customers who received these types of emails looked upon them favorably. So, if you sell music, and your customers are divided by types, using that type in the subject line personalizes your email but not in a sketchy way.

Subject Lines

This is a critical part of getting the “email opens.” There are several things to think about here:

  1. Don’t put your company name in the subject line – it already appears in the “sender” item, and it just wastes space (not to mention it is boring). You want a catchy, engaging subject line.
  2. Think in terms of a journalist writing a headline for an article – the subject line must both engender interest and show some type of value or benefit.
  3. Use action rather than boring, dull verbs. “Becoming a better marketer,” for example is boring. Replace that with, “Smash your competition with these 5 tactics” provides a great action verb as well as a real value.

When You Send Your Emails – It’s Important

People are busy during the day, and their inboxes can be filled up with all kinds of work-related and personal emails from friends. At night, however, fewer emails are sent, and yet people tend to have more time to go through them. Studies have shown that the best times are between 8 p.m. and 12 midnight, related to numbers of opens, click-throughs, and actual sales. Of course, you should use your own analytics to determine if this works for you. Weekends are also good. Do some testing to see what works best for you.

What Can You Give Away?

One of the best ways to give value right in your subject line is to offer something free – how about an e-book, a free trial, or a coupon for a deep discount?

Beauty on Mobile

Your emails will have to include visuals as well as text (more on that later), and because a large percentage of emails are now opened by mobile devices, they must be designed to look great on those devices. Here are a few tips:

  1. Use a one column template
  2. Use a larger font for small screens
  3. Follow guidelines for pixels for photos
  4. Remember fat fingers and also that most users scroll with their thumbs. Buttons should be large and perhaps toward the middle of the screen.

Look to Re-Activate Those “Lost” Subscribers

If your tracking tools are putting subscribers into an “Inactive” category, let’s say after 90 days of no opens or responses, then it might be time to “personalize” an email to them. You can provide a subject line about an exciting new product, program or service; if the holidays are coming up, you will want them know about huge savings and free shipping.

Your Content Matters a Lot

Obviously, the content of your emails is what will keep your leads opening them. Promising value and engaging and intriguing via your subject line is great, but the content must not disappoint. As you craft your content, think of the following:

  1. Particularly for B2B enterprises, case studies are really effective
  2. Share other really great content – powerpoints, videos, etc. Your readers may in fact share those emails with others and grow your email list in the process
  3. How-To’s are great – teaching something is always popular
  4. Tell Stories – of your customers, of yourself, of your team
  5. Use humor every once in a while, – people like to be entertained and you seem much more human
  6. Give tips – Promise them in your subject line and what their value is
  7. Offer coupons, discounts and other perks, especially to those who have abandoned their shopping carts, who have spent time looking at your products or services.

Use lots of visuals in your emails – no one wants to read blocks of text anymore.

The Right Tactics

You may have a great blog; your social media posts are getting lots of “play.” But if you are ignoring the power of nurturing leads through emails, you are ignoring proven methods of converting those leads into customers.

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