You have the sense not to make these mistakes, but some big companies unfortunately did make them. ¬†If you do make these mistakes, or even smaller ones, you can easily recover from them, so don’t be worried if one happens to you.
What have other companies done? ¬†Check ‘em out:
1. ¬†Atlanta Journal-Constitution – Bad Sense of Humor
A Georgia man won $1 million in the lottery. ¬†So, the newspaper decided to make a joke and Tweet: ¬†[Lottery winner name] can get 40 acres and a whole lotta mules. ¬†If you use humor, be careful, and don’t base it on stereotypes.
2. ¬†NYU Lecturer Slams Obese People – Just Plain Wrong
In his Tweet, he said, “Dear obese Phd applicants, if you don’t have the willpower to stop eating carbs, you won’t have the willpower to do a dissertation.
Don’t slam your customers or anyone else for any reason, ever.
3. ¬†Applebee’s Mishandles an Incident
One customer wrote on a check to a waitress, “I give God 10%, why should you get 18?” ¬†She got upset, understandably, and posted the note on one of her social media accounts. ¬†Applebee’s caused more tension though, by firing the waitress, which outraged the public.
Lesson to learn: ¬†If you do something wrong, take responsibility, handle it in a fair way, and make sure the public knows only what it needs to know regarding the situation.
4. ¬†Facebook Fails to Follow through on a Promise
The company offers a bounty to individuals who identify hacks and security leaks, figuring that will inspire them to come forward to the company rather than selling the idea to other hackers. ¬†So, Khalil Shreateh, showed one problem to Facebook – he was able to post on other user’s timelines. ¬†For whatever reason, Facebook called the problem a “bug,” and refused to pay his bounty. ¬†So, he did it to Mark Zuckerberg. ¬†Facebook never paid him, but he did get $13,000 donated by people from across the web.
Lesson: ¬†if you offer a reward, follow through on it.
5. ¬†Don’t Try to Profit from Tragedy Like Epicurious¬†
Remember the Boston marathon bombings? ¬†Epicurious started out with compassion when they tweeted¬†‚ÄėBoston our hearts are with you.” ¬†So far so good, ¬†but then they followed that up with a special offer: ¬†”Here‚Äôs a bowl of breakfast energy we could all use to start today.”
Just don’t do that, please.
Hopefully you have the sense not to make these mistakes. ¬†And if you’r ever not sure about what you’re going to do, run it by a few other people first and see what they think. ¬†Better to not cause any problems at all than to have to clean up a big PR mess.
Have you ever used a press release to market ¬†your e-commerce products? ¬†Normally, you think of press releases as being used by large, reputable companies that make a big move.
But actually, press releases work well for companies of all sizes, and even if you’re flying solo behind the computer screen there!
How do you use them? ¬†A few tips:
1. ¬†They’re not for Link Building
Yes, SEO companies still use press releases to get links, but Google has publicly said the links they accumulate do not count for SEO purposes. ¬†Some SEO pros claim they still do, and they might be right. ¬†However, when Google says something publicly, it happens…eventually.
So yeah, those links might still count today, but they’re counting less, and someday they won’t count at all. ¬†However, if you write a great story, people may read it and link to your site from their own. ¬†So, in that sense, you can get some links. ¬†But, don’t write them purely to get links.
2. ¬†Find a Story
You always have a story going on at your business…you just have to know where to find one. ¬†If you can’t think of anything, read this list of 64 ideas.
In general, you can write a press release every time you offer a new product. ¬†That might be too frequent, though, so write one every time you release one of your most prominent products. ¬†Another great press release idea would be to offer a special discount.
But remember, press releases use their own special language and format, so follow this style guide when you write yours.
3. ¬†Release them Monthly
PRWeb is probably the best bang for the buck when writing a press release. ¬†You can submit a press release for $99. ¬†OnlinePRNews.com is another good one. ¬†You can submit press releases for free there…but you can’t provide links in those. ¬†It’s a little more affordable – just $79 for releasing one.
You can pay more for wider distribution options at both sites. ¬†Generally, monthly is a good rule for distributing press releases.
4. ¬†You MUST Have a Powerful Story
Because it’s so easy to write and distribute press releases, anyone with internet access can create one and get it published. ¬†And, many still believe they’re great for building links.
So what that means is there’s a ton of boring drivel out there. ¬†If you want the story to get noticed, you must have a very powerful one in place. ¬†If you’re not sure how to write a press release, or you’re uncomfortable doing one, consider hiring a professional writer or agency to help.
If you follow those steps, you have a great opportunity to get more business with your press releases.
So you decided to start an e-commerce company? ¬†Well, you can save a ton of time and effort by learning from others who’ve been there first.
That doesn’t mean your company will become a dominant market leader, but you can save yourself a ton of money and stress in the meantime.
What should you do?
Check out some tips:
Okay, so the big e-retailers like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy have no product focus whatsoever. ¬†But they do focus on one thing: ¬†providing a great overall shopping experience. ¬†For example, they make sure every page on their site loads fast, the checkout process runs smooth, and that returns aren’t a hassle.
You can’t compete with these guys on price, but you can focus on one thing: ¬†a niche for your goods. ¬†Then, because your products have a higher quality and are sold to a select market, you can charge higher prices and get regular business.
2. ¬†Do Customer Service Even Better than the Big Guys
Because you’re small, you have the decision-making power to do things for your customers that no other business can do. ¬†If your customer needs to have a certain product today for a legitimate reason, drive to their front door and deliver it yourself. ¬†You can’d do that for everyone, but you get the idea – go the extra mile.
3. ¬†Have a Very Consistent Public Message
Amazon does this very well. ¬†Jeff Bezos keeps strict wraps on all ¬†public communications from Amazon. ¬†They communicate the same thing: ¬†Amazon is the cheapest, friendliest place to buy the products you need.
However your company appears publicly, decide on your core value proposition like Amazon, and then promote that message everywhere you go.
4. ¬†Make Payment Convenient
Approximately 30% of all online transactions are done through Paypal. ¬†Yeah, the fees are somewhat nasty, but convenience for the customer should trump convenience for your company’s finances.
5. ¬†Collect Contact Information¬†
…and do so in a way that doesn’t bother your customers. ¬†Invite them to stay in touch after they purchase by sending a follow-up e-mail. ¬†Give them the option during the process, but don’t require them to do so.
The more you can stay in touch, the better, and especially so for a niche-based small business. ¬†When you do send e-mails, make sure it’s done at a regular interval that’s not too obnoxious. ¬†Once a week or so is good, and then an e-mail here or there that talks about the latest sales works well too.
So if you follow those tips, that helps your store get off the ground and stay in business during the early days.
Ever tried to write a blog article 1,000 or even 1,500 words long?
Why would you even write an article that long?
Well, on August 6, 2013, Google released its “In-Depth” articles update, which gives preferential treatment to articles at least 1,500 words long.
You’ve known for some time Google wants in-depth content, and now you know exactly what it’s looking for. ¬†It helps too if you have authorship set up on the posts you publish, and you update the schema metadata.
So how do you write incredibly long blog articles of at least 1,500 words? ¬†A few tips:
1. ¬†Write product reviews/ultimate guides. ¬†If you really think about all the information you know regarding certain products you have, then you have several good ideas for 1,500 word articles like these. ¬†Make your posts a mental dump of everything you know about the product that could possibly help the reader.
What are some lesser known uses? ¬†How do you maintain the product? ¬†Answer questions like these in a blog post.
2. ¬†Include illustrations. ¬†When you include simple graphics, you’ll have the opportunity to explain what they mean. ¬†Create in-depth images that show what to do and why, and maybe what not to do, and then explain the steps you should (or should not) take.
3. ¬†View blogging as essential to your business. ¬†Blogging’s not something that you do when you have time. ¬†You need to have some sort of regular calendar and schedule. ¬† People, and Google, expect your business to regularly release valuable, interesting information.
Take it just as seriously as you do planning your company’s finances.
4. ¬†Only write when you have something valuable to say. ¬†For some, it’s easy to view blogging as something mechanical. ¬†You churn out this many words, and then Google ranks you and you get more visitors.
That’s not what blogging is all about. ¬†In reality, blogging involves providing as much value as you possibly can to your readers. ¬†Tell them stuff you know only from your experience – that means it’s original and can’t be found anywhere else.
When you run out of ideas, stop writing, and if you don’t make it to 1,500 words, be okay with ¬†that.
5. ¬†Hire someone else. ¬†You recognize the value of specialists – so view blogging as it’s own specialty. ¬†If you don’t like to write, don’t have the time, or realize there’s pros out there who can do it better, look for a professional blogger or freelance writer.
You can hire freelancers on a contract basis, so they get treated just like any other vendor. ¬†Then, they can manage your blog and social profiles, while you pay attention to the more interesting aspects of your company. ¬†It takes years of experience – even to write blog articles that garner massive attention, so treat blogging with respect it deserves.
If you’re looking to create blog articles that build your business, rather than just acting as words present to make Google happy, those are the tips to follow to get the most out of your blog.
The world of e-commerce design is basically unlimited. ¬†Because it’s such a creative endeavor, there’s a million things you could do right (or wrong).
What are some of the latest mistakes that could happen? ¬†Check these out:
1. ¬†Unclear Value Proposition
Your visitors should immediately understand the reason to buy from your company and none other. ¬†Sounds strange, but some e-commerce sites make you guess. ¬†If you use sliders on your home page, for example, communicate your value prop on the first one. ¬†Say, “Browse Our Luxurious Men’s and Women’s Hats.” ¬†That way, people know who you’re selling to right away – those with higher incomes who like quality items.
2. ¬†Too Many Sliders
They take a long time to go by, even if you have a 1-second delay. ¬†Equip your home page with at most 3 sliders. ¬†Have you ever seen those websites with 5 or more?
3. ¬†Think Text Isn’t Important? ¬†Think Again…
The Nielsen Group found something quite astonishing…that on a particular full Amazon page with many listings of flat-panel TVs, people spent more time reading the text below than viewing the photos (read the full story here). ¬†Specifically, they 82% of their time reading the text versus 18% viewing the television.
When you think about it, though, it makes sense. ¬†All you can tell about a TV by looking at it is its size. ¬†You have to read the specs to get to know the difference between various televisions.
So that should tell you something: ¬†your product descriptions need to absolutely rock the house.
4. ¬†Poor Photo Quality
So yes, photos do help sell, but you have to use them in the right way. ¬†What is the “right” way? ¬†A study performed by Visual Website Optimizer found that when large images, combined with a product description that comes up when you move your mouse over the image, was the winning combo.
So, make sure the images appear flawless, if possible.
5. ¬†An Out-of-Date Website¬†
People do judge a book by it’s cover…and especially so when it comes to websites. ¬†Have your design updated every 3 years at the least. ¬† Remember, your site doesn’t have to be flawless…it just has to appear new.
6. ¬†Slow Load Times
Not only does Google not like slow load times, but your visitors don’t appreciate slow load times much either. ¬†Every page should load in under two seconds! ¬†Make sure ¬†you have a reasonably fast host, as that makes a huge difference as well. ¬†Pay as much as you can afford, without breaking the bank, for hosting.
So if you watch out for those things, you’ll put your website in a good position right from the start. ¬†And remember, don’t hesitate to ask your visitors, family, or friends for their impressions of your website.
So today, we’re going to give you a real broad overview of different ways you can use video to create more sales for your website. ¬†If you’re consistent with your production, you’ll be okay.
If you need some ideas for getting started, here are a few:
1. ¬†Host the Video on Your Site (If Possible)
This isn’t a must, but it helps you a ton if you can do it. ¬†When you use embedded YouTube videos, that gives people another way to click off of your website. ¬†Plus, if you can host the video yourself, you can reap more SEO benefits from doing so.
2. ¬†If You Put a Video on Your Home Page…
Which is a good idea, there are a couple of things you can do to make sure it converts well. ¬†For one, do not feature you or your employees. ¬†That’s a great video for the about page, which is where people want to go when they’re ready to get to know you more.
On the home page, it works best to feature some of your main products and the benefits they offer, or customer testimonials discussing the results they’ve been able to achieve with the help of your product. ¬†That’s going to connect with your customers and give them a reason to buy from you versus the other guy.
3. ¬†Add Video to Your Landing Pages & Product Pages
Unbounce performed a study which showed adding a video to a page increased the page’s conversion rate from 6.5% to 11.0%. ¬†Your individual results will vary, but the point is clear: ¬†adding video increases your conversion rate.
4. ¬†Add a Video to Your E-mail Signature
Videos get clicked more often than anything else, so why not add them to your e-mail signature? ¬†When you follow-up with various customers, they’ll have a reason to check your site out and learn more, which increases your sales.
5. ¬†Put Video in Your Blog – And Add a Transcript
Diverse content in your blog increases reader interest. ¬†And when you write out a text transcript, that increases your SEO benefit because you have additional content at your blog. ¬†Plus, for people who don’t want to watch a video, you have some nice text in place for them to read instead.
6. ¬†Create How-Tos
Just like the title of this article, creating video how-tos offer a ton of value to your customers. ¬†You can even use them twice – once in your blog and later on again in your newsletter. ¬†They also work as a nice way to follow up with customers after they’ve purchased from you.
Video Gives you a Huge Edge on the Competition¬†
When all is said and done, video is a great way to move ahead of your competitors. ¬†Just 9% of small businesses with 24-99 employees use video!
Enjoy your competitive advantage…
How have you used video on your e-commerce site? ¬†Let us know in the comments below:
Social media, of course, plays a large role in how well your e-commerce site sells. ¬†However, every company – even very big brands – makes mistakes that harm the success of their social media efforts.
What are some of those mistakes to avoid, so you don’t have to pay the disastrous consequences? ¬†Here are a few:
1. ¬†No Plan in Place
How frequently are you planning to update each network? ¬†What types of media will you use? ¬†What’s the demographic present on each network?
Whatever you do, make sure you have a plan. ¬†Remember, your plan won’t be perfect the first time around, so don’t worry about getting it right the first time. ¬†Instead, get a plan down and revise repeatedly until you find the one that gets the most engagement and shares.
Did someone have something nasty to say about your company? ¬†Don’t ignore it – that makes it look like you don’t care. ¬†Instead, address the issue, and make sure the resolution is noted publicly on your social media profiles.
Zappos, a very successful online clothing retailer, has a policy of ,”The customer is right…even if they’re wrong.” ¬†Do what you have to in order to make the customer happy now, as reputation is everything in business.
3. ¬†Respond within a Week via Social Media¬†
If you have an inquiry through your social media accounts, do beware that customers expect a fast response. ¬†50%, according to research by Lithium Technologies, give you a week to respond before they’ll never do business with you again. ¬†53% want a response within the hour.
4. ¬†Don’t Forget to Use it to Generate Leads
Social media’s fun and entertaining and people love it, but do remember that you want to drive real business value with your social media accounts. ¬†Keep in mind the 80/20 rule: ¬†that 20% of your posts should be related to your business. ¬†Use at least some of those posts to tell people about specials available at your website.
5. ¬†Promote Products Your Customers Want…
What are some of the top sellers according to your analytics? ¬†Promote those on your social channels. ¬†Sounds crazy, but many businesses offer the same promotion again and again.
6. ¬†Using Too Many Channels
Just starting out? ¬†Use Facebook for sure, and maybe also Twitter. ¬†Once you get a couple channels built up with an engaged following, then you can make the decision to expand. ¬†If you try to do 4-6 channels all at once, you’ll get completely confused and overwhelmed.
Remember, it’s only worth doing if you can do it well.
So those are some social media mistakes companies large and small make. ¬†Are you making any of these, and if so, are you ready to take a new course of action?
Jeff Bezos knew he had a good idea when he started Amazon, but did he know it would work out this well? ¬†Probably not.
Like everything digital, e-commerce has evolved greatly over time, to the point where Bezos wants to use drones to deliver customer’s purchases within 30 minutes!
This sounds crazy now, but in a few years, it could be the norm.
So what’s the future hold for e-commerce? ¬†A few predictions:
1. ¬†Total Product Customization
What a great way to compete with physical stores! ¬†Practically, the only reason to go to them is to get your hands on the product, and see if it’s the right size. ¬†Competition in the future may evolve to the point where you can get whatever piece of clothing you want however you want it. ¬†No more having to go from store to store trying to find that perfect size or color.
2. ¬†Digital Shopping Attendants
So, when you go into a physical store, if the place has great customer service, someone greets you and shows you to where you need to go. ¬†With bandwidths increasing significantly across the globe, instead of just seeing a chat box and picture, you’ll be greeted by someone in real-time, just like when you talk to them on Skype.
3. ¬†Recommendations Based on Products You Own
…But that you didn’t necessarily purchase from the store. ¬†For example, if you have an e-commerce store you love visiting time and again, you fill out some of the major products you own on your store profile. ¬†You may not have purchased those products at the store, but when you visit, it’ll be able to give you purchase recommendations based on what you currently own.
4. ¬†More Digital Coupon Use
Most consumers find digital coupons incredibly helpful. ¬†One thing you don’t know about digital coupons though, is that they very often help customers learn about new products that they would not otherwise have purchased (according to a comScore report). ¬†They’re more environmentally friendly than their digital counterparts, so expect to see their demand increase in the future.
5. ¬†Fingerprints Replace Credit Cards
Your customers will have a digital account synced directly with their fingerprint, making checkout faster, safer, and more secure than ever. ¬†The technology may not be fully developed right now, but it will be in the future – the next five years or so.
So those are five predictions for the future of e-commerce. ¬†What are your thoughts? ¬†Let us know in the comments below:
No part of your business is so small that you should overlook it. ¬†Your tagline communicates instantly who you are, what you do, your company’s personality, and the primary benefit you offer to your customers.
How do you come up with legendary taglines like Nike’s “Just Do It” or DeBeer’s “A Diamond is Forever?” ¬†Developing an iconic tagline like that might be impossible for you, but you can get close and attract more customers if you follow this process:
1. Understand that it is an Open-Ended Process
You won’t scribble down a few ideas in your extra time and magically stumble across the tagline your customers are dying to hear. ¬†It is going to be a process – there’s no doubt about that. ¬†You’ll have to brainstorm with your key personnel. ¬†Think about it when you’re in the shower that morning.
Tell your secretary you’d love to hear her thoughts. ¬†You don’t know where your tagline will come from, but it will arise – in its own time.
2. ¬†Be Clear
Your tagline isn’t the time to be creative – you don’t want to confuse people. ¬†Instead, you want to be simple, clear and to the point. ¬†Your tagline should be around 5-7 words or so.
3. ¬†Know Your Market
What problem do you solve for your market? ¬†That’s what your tagline should focus on. ¬†Disneyland is the “Happiest Place on Earth.” ¬†What is it that your market really wants? ¬†They want some sort of good feeling – so deliver it to them right away in your tagline.
To find your benefit, keeping asking the question, “So what?” ¬†Do you provide innovative technological products? ¬†The consumer’s going to say, “So what if they’re innovative – you can get that type of stuff just about anywhere!” ¬†That means your benefit is going to need to be more specific.
4. ¬†Run Your Ideas by Your Customers
Once you’ve got a few ideas, run them by your customers. ¬†You can do this digitally by sending out an e-mail survey, or if you have a physical location as well, just asking for feedback.
5. ¬†Add Some Personality
Your tagline doesn’t have to be serious – it should contain some personality to give your customers an idea of how you do things. ¬†Don’t go all the way to the other extreme and go completely off the wall either.
6. ¬†Make Sure it Doesn’t Repeat Your Brand Name’s Concepts
Keep it completely original – that’s one of the main keys. ¬†All words, ideas, and benefits should be unique.
Now it’s off to the races – and remember when you hit on the right one, that can be a significant leap forward for your business psychologically and financially.
There’s tough competition for e-commerce software, and with good reason. ¬†There’s so much to do when you set up an e-commerce website. ¬†You have to:
1. ¬†Get all your products and descriptions in place
2. ¬†Develop the major product categories
3. ¬†Operate a blog
4. ¬†Use social proof in key places throughout your website
5. ¬†Integrate your social media accounts with your website
6. ¬†Be able to accept all major credit cards
7. ¬†Have the ability to quickly manage product prices
8. ¬†Conduct keyword research and optimize every page on your website
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! ¬†So, why use Fortune3 out of all the options available? ¬†A few reasons:
1. ¬†It’s Easy to Use – You can manage your entire store from a web browser or an application you can download straight to your PC. ¬†If you know how to use Windows, you can get started creating your e-commerce website. ¬†You don’t have to be an experienced coder or know how HTML in-depth.
2. ¬†24/7/365 Unlimited Tech Support – You’re not going to know how to do everything right away, and besides, it saves you time and money to ask for help when you run into problems. ¬†We have a team of professionals standing by ready to answer all your questions.
3. ¬†Manage Your Site on the Go – We have mobile apps for iPhone and Android, so you can always manage your website wherever you go.
4. ¬†One-Page Checkout and Payment Processing – Your customers can quickly and easily pay with their preferred payment method. ¬†Paypal, Google Wallet, Amazon Checkout, and dozens of payment gateways are immediately available.
5. ¬†Fully Ready for Social Media – Quickly link your store to all of your major social media profiles, including LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
6. ¬†Live Shipping Integration – Give customers real-time quotes from all the biggest, most reputable shipping companies they know – ¬†DHL, Fedex, UPS, and USPS.
7. ¬†Fully Customizable – Need a unique design? ¬†Not a problem – you can customize every last detail of your website.
8. ¬†Reliable Hosting – Get 99.99% server uptime when you use us as your hosting service.
9. ¬†Fully Secure – Our suite is 100% PCI-compliant. ¬†256-bit SSL encryption keeps your customer’s information completely confidential.
So, those are the top reasosn to use our e-commerce software. ¬†And you get it all for a flat, predictable monthly rate, depending on the package you choose. ¬† ¬†We offer several different packages – beginning at $24.95 per month for 50 products and running all the way up to $899.95 per month for unlimited products.
Oh, and if you need to check it out first, be sure to try our FREE 30-day trial.