Monday, October 31, 2011

Social Media for Your Business

Did you know you can join Facebook and Twitter pages? When you allow your Facebook page to talk to your Twitter page you can catch customers in both areas at the same time, making it easier and more efficient to connect to your customers.

Try adding a helpful tip to your Facebook page, allowing it to automatically update to Twitter, and your business blog's widget. All in one post! Don't miss an opportunity to connect and stay close to your customer.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

It Takes Time

Since information appears online immediately, normal expectations are that customers will find and respond immediately too. But most things that are done online require some time to disseminate and for customers to begin reacting to the information.

Which means that if you're planning activities for the upcoming holiday season informational emails, suspense building cues on your website and blog should be occurring now.

Special events need to be added to customer's busy schedules as soon as possible. It can take about 30 days for information to filter through to action---even in a world of instant information.  

Monday, October 24, 2011

Navigation and Search Boxes

Website navigation is a tricky thing. No matter how simple you make it some people are bound to get lost eventually.

And that is why any issues mentioned, even casually, by your users should be communicated to your website consultant. The priority of every website is to assist your customers in finding out about your products, learning more about your organization, and perhaps even making a purchase.

The easier you make it for the customer to locate everything on your site, the more connections you will make with those customers.

And that brings up search boxes. I frequent a site that sells products with price tags of up to $10,000 or more. And yet, no matter what browser I'm using if I search their site I receive a blank page back without results---not even a sorry we don't have any results that match your criteria----only a blank.  Don't let this type of thing happen to your customers.

What does your search box give you?  

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Don't forget the Reason Behind Your Website

Whether you're a nonprofit bringing your services or message to the web or a small entrepreneur wishing to drum up some business without having to wear out a pair of shoes, don't forget your audience or how they will use your website.

Pictures of products and services in action, short and to the point descriptions of products go a long way towards introducing and familiarizing your audience with your product. Simple is the best. Sometimes it's best to leave out cute animations that may detract from the real business and purpose of your site (unless you're advertising cartoons to children.)

Whether you're looking to attract sponsors for your cause or attracting that next new business account don't forget your audience and don't distract them from the services you have to offer.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Tale of the Bison

This weekend I came upon a marvel of Internet marketing. Business groupings were made into tours that people could visit in a weekend afternoon drive. There were tours of wineries, places to shop, farmer's markets, flea markets, art galleries. All were on one website with links to individual sites as applicable. A virtual tour of a region---and it was all in my backyard.

I love bison. They're big lumbering creatures that man almost totally destroyed. I've traveled far and wide to view a bison---clear across the country, to the other side of the state, to three or four states over.

My love for bison doesn't stop at just observation either. I have tasted bison meat; it's good and better for you than beef or pork.

One of the virtual tours that I browsed this weekend included a bison farm---less than 15 miles away from my home. One that has been in business for over 5 years and that I only found because of the power of Internet marketing.        

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Giving a Customer a Great Experience

Some customers need a little more help than others. This is true even for online customers who may not be familiar with your business that has been delivering great service for over 30 years in the physical world. Conveying your business history on line is the first step towards allaying customer concerns.

Landing pages can contain a bit of history information with links to your about page to further clarify how your physical customer service continues to your website business. Having someone to respond to customer inquiries much as you do for your physical business is also important and a key to making customers comfortable enough to send you some business.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Compared to the Competition

I had the opportunity to compare websites last night. In one site I was entering book reviews on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Then I priced a repair item for my home on two different home center's sites.

The book review went smoothly on both websites. I was able to get to the page through a quick search. Once on the website, I entered the information to pull up the book I was reviewing and within minutes had completed my business. But there the comparison ended. On one site I spent a little more time perusing the offerings, even though I'm feeling a little broke, there were some new books that the one website was hawking just to me due to my search criteria. They didn't make a sale but they got my attention.

On to the home center sites. On the first site I entered my criteria and was able to review different product offerings and I could even purchase online.

But on the second site the search gave me a totally irrelevant list of 200+ items that I had to wade through before I finally found what I was interested in. And then the prices weren't listed and there was no opportunity to buy online even if I wanted to.

Search optimizations are necessary when putting up an e-commerce site and need to be tweaked as time goes on. Also, once your site is up and running, have a review of  the offerings that are suggested to customers to give customers a reason to return and make another purchase.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What you're good at....

As your business moves to doing business online the same business philosophy can be applied to your online presence.

A business that  offers education and personal service can add that touch online as well through blogs and forums.

Making sure that there is someone to respond to emails and online inquiries is important in an online world where people are used to and expect timely responses. Make use of the auto responder offered by your email provider to let customers know the time frame that they can expect a response.

 And all inquiries are chances to solve your potential customer's problem--- don't miss the opportunity.  

Monday, October 3, 2011

Ecommerce Summary

My last few posts have been all about comparing some online places to market your products without a website of your own.

Even though eBay is difficult, time consuming and expensive, eBay does get results, which is what it is all about.

Amazon and etsy also garner sales, at times, at a slower rate; and the fees are much more reasonable.

Your own website, properly search engine optimized may still be your best bet. Depending on what you sell a couple of sales commission fees saved from eBay may pay for a good portion of setting up your website.

And as more and more traffic is directed towards your site through social media, with proper management, you will see your web sales going up and your fees going down.