The Importance of Your eCommerce Site for Your Business

It is plain to see why a poorly designed website can be a major problem to online businesses, most especially during the holiday season, which covers 20% to 40% of the yearly sales.

In this regard, those who need data validation can refer to the stats that explain the importance of your brand’s presence on the Internet:

  • Before people shop at a physical store, they often check websites of online stores.
  • Customers search online for the prices and availability of goods so they would know whether to shop online or at physical stores.
  • During an economic crisis, consumers exercise caution when shopping online to stretch their budget, resulting to an increase of website traffic.
  • Shoppers that tend to purchase downloadable gifts like eBooks, music and FB credits, among others, will likely buy more.

Optimize Your Online Site Immediately

Now that you are aware of your site’s importance, what should you do before the holiday season approaches? It is never too late to try some of these strategies:

Prepare for unexpected traffic.Plan ahead of time to make sure that your site can manage all the orders. Anticipate peak loads, observe the responsiveness of your site and assess application performance way before Cyber Monday.

Increase the speed of your site. Use a CDN (content delivery network) for a speedy delivery of relevant content with videos and images to your consumers.

During the holidays, most shoppers use their mobile devices to search online before heading for the stores. Therefore, it would be wise to incorporate an in-store experience with info regarding your well-timed and relevant personalized website and mobile apps.

Find ways to let the customers easily find your products on the web. To improve exposure, submit a feed to the top online shopping comparison engine, Google Product Search. Try the Amazon Marketplace or add pay-per-click ads to Amazon Product Ads’ product and category pages. This way, shoppers will be able to view your ads when they find products that are similar to yours.

Though social media is not the main channel for searching, it has targeted the mainstream and has therefore gained importance, specifically to GenY shoppers. Transform visitors into sales channels by including social sharing in product pages. Display good customer service in public by resolving issues with customers on networking sites like Facebook or Twitter.

People who are low on budget usually search online before buying, so it is a good idea to follow the example of various sites in making it fun, simple and efficient to shop on the web. Provide product filters, rich product details, comparison tools, well-designed navigation and recommendations. Enhance the images of your best-selling products, emphasize your value propositions and make sure that shipping and return policies are clear.

Fix your leaky conversion funnel immediately by adding simple and cost-efficient website usability and feedback tools.

Whenever possible, ask for the visitor’s email address and try to squeeze a lot of value out of each sign-up.

Try to employ remarketing campaigns so you can target consumers who take time to buy.

Branding Vs Advertising Vs Promotions Vs Marketing Vs Public Relations

Many people are confused as to the differences between branding, advertising, promotions, and public relations. For that matter, the actual process of “marketing’ is misunderstood just the same. To give you a basic understanding, marketing is not a one time event or activity, it is a process, a combination of things which blend together. By definition, marketing is the act of mixing product, price, place, and promotion. But first, on to…

Branding.

A great example of branding is Apple. iMac, iPod, iTouch, iPhone, iTunes. Get the point? Apple has created a massive brand strategy using the “i” element. Think of the Ritz-Carlton, LifeTime Family Fitness, Hilton Hotels, and what do you see? First class service, luxurious amenities, excellent service? Now, how about Best Western, 24-Hour Fitness, Motel 6? What kind of “Brand” is each of those? Can you see the contrast? What is your company brand? Are you sure? If you think you’re a high-end facility, do you show it? Would you see the front desk clerk at the Ritz-Carlton wearing a button promoting the frequent guest club? Would you see a front desk clerk at a Motel 6 wearing a $1000 suit? Does everything you do, say, print, write, and provide consistent with your brand message? If not, you may want to consider who your true target audience is, and work at ensuring you continue to provide services that directly relate to them.

Advertising

Advertising is the actual process of displaying your message. Advertising on the radio… Advertising on tv… The one act of making something happen. Tie your Advertising and your Branding together, you have the Marketing Process. If you are just “advertising” without any direction, any goal, any unity, then you’re just a lost puppy wandering aimlessly hoping someone will give you a good home.

Promotions

A promotion is typically a one-time event for a specific purpose or goal. Whereas marketing is ongoing, a promotion can be a one-day, one week, one-month, or even one-hour event. In retail, a “SALE” is typically a promotion. Car dealerships offering Zero percent interest is a limited time promotion. They typically have a specific start and end date, and have a very clear understanding of the R.O.I. (Return on Investment) any particular promotion should achieve to make it a success.

Public Relations

P.R., or Public Relations, typically revolves around un-paid news sources and focuses on your business as it relates to the community. If you see a positive, or hopefully positive, story on the news or an article in the newspaper, this is the type of press a Public Relations firm may help you get. They have strong relationships with the news media and often feed them stories about their clients, in hopes of some free press. You, too, can harness the power of free press and public relations, although it can be difficult at times to get noticed, which is the PR firm’s strongpoint.

Marketing

Marketing is the process that drives all the above elements. It directs the feel, image, and tone of the advertising, promotions and public relations. To each of these elements, there are experts in each of these fields. You can hire a company just to handle your branding, and another to handle your advertising, marketing, and yet another for your public relations. Of course, as a small business owner, you may not always have the budget for such companies. You can learn how to achieve the same results at http://TheMarketingWire.com and get the latest in marketing news, education and resources to help build and grow your business.

Using Digital Printing to Promote Your Business

Promoting your business may not be as hard as you first think. If well thought out, the daily running of your business can have a major impact on your marketing. Business people travel around on a day to day basis doing business. Customers also travel around and will take note of a well positioned advert, maybe on your building, on an employee, on a vehicle or by a local attraction.

There is a recession going on. Businesses can not afford to stop promoting themselves. Astute businesses will be looking for ways to market themselves at lower cost. One very effective technique is to create an offer, discount or enhanced service to promote your business to new customers and promote this using mobile advertising. Clever advertising has a call to action, for example a website or telephone number.

Digital printing is a very broad term, which covers a variety of products. The main point for business owners to bear in mind is that digital printing generally means that marketing activities can be undertaken in much smaller campaigns and at lower cost than at any other time in the past.

Magnetic Signs
Magnetic signs come in all shapes and sizes. Magnetic signs are very versatile; You can have several graphics and messages to enable you to choose different messages for different jobs.

Foamex Printing
A foamex display is like mobile exhibition stand that can be put up at any opportunity to promote your business in a useful context. This need not be restricted to work related opportunities, why not have a really eye catching board made up for your car window so that your car can promote your business while you are doing your shopping? This will not appeal to everyone but there are certain products and services for which it may be an excellent strategy.

Window Manifestation
Having an eye catching window graphic is a technique often overlooked by business owners. This is particularly the case if your business is positioned in a busy thoroughfare or junction. Window displays work in the same way that television adverts do and people who regularly pass will start to register the message given by your window manifestation in a subliminal way. This is very powerful.

The initial outlay to have a window professionally covered is not as expensive as you may think and considered over the many years that it will serve your business it can only be a great investment.

Exhibition Graphics
You may be surprised to see exhibition graphics included in a list of low cost ways to promote your business. Large exhibitions may well be an excellent forum for promoting a business but we all know that they are not a small financial commitment.

A business can create a small portable exhibition stand which can be taken to locations such as leisure centers, hotel receptions and golf clubs to create a smaller exhibition scenario at a fraction of the cost.

Everyday will give the determined business owner an opportunity to promote his business at relatively low cost utilizing fundamental day to day things that would need to be paid for anyway. Maximize your impact, utilize your assets, let your business do some marketing for you.

Facebook Advertising Best Practices

The popularity of Facebook, with it's almost half a billion active users, and the time that its individual users spend on this site (estimated to be almost an hour), has made Facebook marketing the next big thing in online advertising. You can expand your customer base and probably even have an opportunity to reach out to others which are new to your niche.

Facebook fan pages are effective vehicles to have your message throughout to lots of viewers and increase your web presence. You can even create a separate Facebook account for your business, separate from your personal account and have a separate fan page for this account.

A good practice in advertising on Facebook is to identify what your goal is with this ad campaign. If you aim to get highly targeted traffic to your site you can have the pay per click as an option, but if you want to promote more of your brand, then it would be better for paying per impression because it can display a well created and Interesting image ad.

A good practice also, is to keep your content pages fresh and regularly updated frequently so that viewers will be interested and be motivated to come back on a regular basis. Adding and sharing content can give extra mileage for your Facebook page.

Facebook fans new or old should be encouraged to participate in your fan page. By keeping your page regularly updated, you can encourage them to interact and share information since this can give them opportunities to get information that they have not encountered before and even share it to other people.

By keeping your visitors involved all the way when they are in your page can be good for your Facebook marketing efforts. Sending your visitors to your interesting landing pages can make them more familiar with your products as well as being acquainted with your pages.

For the ads that you placed in Facebook also, you have to make these clear with concise and direct texts that will be understood to your targeted clients. You have to make sure that your products will stand out when placed side by side with competition by highlighting unique features that can clearly benefit customers.

Making ads on Facebook that have strong and unique call-to-action phrases can make your ads different from all the others. These strong and compelling words can make them go to your landing page by making a click on your ads.

An attractive and interesting image ad that is relevant and appropriate for your products or services is also a good advertising practice in Facebook. Remember that your ad is specifically aimed at getting the viewers attention and these people may not be interested in your product in the first place, so you have to make ads that can really attract customers' attention.