College Classes for eCommerce
So you’ve got an awesome website that has everything you could have dreamed of – except for visitors. Going back to school can help you learn new and updated skills that could lead to a serious bump in traffic. Yes, there are college classes for eCommerce help. You don’t need an advanced degree, but if you pick them well, a few courses could change your online life.
You’re never too old or too young to learn more so you can work smarter.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing, sometimes called modern marketing or digital marketing, is a lot more than tweeting about an update to your website and hoping someone clicks. It’s a multi-faceted skill that entails breaking down social media platforms into niche categories through searches and filters to find new customers, keeping existing customers informed and connected, integrating your website and social media accounts, and much more.
The good news is, you can learn it in school. Even a single course in social media marketing is almost certain to improve your traffic. The customer service hotline is a dying entity, as is the newsletter. You’re more likely to both reach and hear from your potential customers on Facebook or Twitter than almost anywhere else.
This is what makes Social Media Marketing one of the top college classes for ecommerce!
Newsletters never go viral. Neither do pieces of direct mail or emails or Facebook posts. When it comes to getting across a message, making an impact and having your message shared organically, there is simply nothing like video.
If you don’t have a video presence on your website, you’re fighting for traffic with one hand behind your back. Video is extremely powerful, but making good video takes skill, technique, and equipment. An A/V class will not only give you the knowledge you need, but will acquaint you with other people interested in the craft who may have some equipment or be interested in working a project with you.
No video is better than bad video. Learn how to do it right and you’ll see why Audio/Video classes are college classes for ecommerce!
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a process by which website owners and designers use keywords, metadata, links, and structure to achieve higher rankings in search engines. Study after study shows that when people enter a string of words into Google, the overwhelming majority click the first link that appears. Significantly fewer click the second, and almost no one clicks anything after that.
Search engines work hard to put the sites they consider to be authoritative and credible near the top. Taking a class in the complicated but learnable process of SEO can get your site to the top, which makes SEO classes amongst the best college classes for ecommerce!
Sociology is the study of how humans behave in groups. A rudimentary understanding of what drives people can give you irreplaceable insight into what drives them to your website. Behind every keyboard is a human being reacting to both thought and base instinct on the road to your website. Take the time to learn about the brain behind the traffic numbers. If you run a website, you are inherently in the people business.
Drawing more traffic to your website takes skill that can be learned through education.
Education can move your website from good to great. Not only will it give you skills you can apply to the real world, but education in general expands your mind and improves your quality of life. Take a few college classes for ecommerce and see the difference they make in your thought processes and profits!
What do you think are the best college classes for ecommerce? We’d love to hear your opinions in the comment section below.
Guest blogger Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. He writes about adult education and the best business degree careers.
Alter Your Budget So You Can Hire an SEO Expert
The fourth quarter is when most businesses take real stock of their situations. CEOs and entrepreneurs look at what they accomplished in quarters one through three and what they need to do in quarter four to end the year “on top.” It’s also when they figure out what has been working and what changes need to be made. One of the most common things you will hear is “We really need to step up our web presence.” An SEO expert can help with that.
The best way to elevate web presence is to step up your SEO. The best way to do this, particularly if you’ve never really dived into the web optimization waters, is to hire an SEO expert to get you up to speed. Unfortunately, SEO experts are rarely cheap hires. Hiring one typically requires some budget tweaking.
Here are some of the things you can do with your annual budget to help you find the money to get an expert at your table.
Expertise doesn’t come cheap!
1. Find an Expert
Unlike other types of contractors, the rates for an SEO expert vary wildly depending upon how intensive you want their work to be. Spend this fourth quarter meeting with a potential SEO expert so you can get a feel for what it would be like to work with each of those people as well as how much they would charge you to improve your SEO and step up your web presence game.
When you find the person you want to hire, you can get a quote and set up a contract. This will give you the amount of money you will want to clear in your budget.
2. Retainers vs. Itemized Fees
Consider hiring someone on retainer. This might seem more expensive at the get go, but it evens out over time – particularly since getting your expert to work on your business site won’t require a series of emails, contracts, and other details to be seen to before the work can start.
It also frees up your budget a bit in that some experts will break up retainer fees by month or by quarter. This requires you to come up with less money in a single go, which makes finding that money in your budget a little bit easier.
3. Check Out Your Annual Spending
It’s something you do every year anyway – look at what you spent over the course of the year and whether or not there are any savings to be had or trimming that needs to be done. As you figure out where to cut and trim in the various departments of your business, consider, instead of simply trying to reduce spending overall, reallocating your “trimmings” to your SEO expert budget.
If only it were this easy!
Where can you trim your budget? Here are some common areas:
4. Office Supplies
How much money did you spend over the last year on basic office supplies? Did you actually use everything you purchased, or do you have a huge stockpile that would last ten years because you worried about running out of something?
Consider reducing the money you spend on supplies by at least 20%. If you aren’t already enrolled in membership programs at places like Staples and Office Depot, enroll now so you’ll have lots of coupons and discounts you can use to your advantage.
5. Printing and Copying
Consider going as close to paperless as you can. Because you’re trying to find money in your budget, you probably don’t want to spend the money required to switch from a paper-based to a paperless office place. Still, there are things you can do to reduce your printing and copying costs.
Ask people to share files instead of making copies. Keep documents on a cloud-based server so your employees can access them digitally in the field instead of having to print out forms, etc., to take with them to client meetings. Just these two things can probably save you at least 20 to 30% in printing/copying costs over the course of the next year.
6. Superfluous Employees
It’s wonderful to create jobs and keep people employed, especially in this economy. But do you really need to employ a professional landscaping staff to keep up the six plants you have in your office building? Surely you can water them yourself – or switch from live to silk and just dust them once in a while!
7. Consider Telecommuting
Allowing employees to telecommute is quickly growing in popularity. There are lots of benefits to allowing employees to telecommute even a couple of days each week. Your employees will be happier and, often, more productive. For you, it is a money saver because most employees will agree to a reduced salary in exchange for the ability to telecommute part or full time.
Note: It’s probably not a good idea, though, to cut a cleaning crew’s budget. Cleanliness is important to your professional reputation!
Reconfiguring a budget to find funds for something is never fun or easy. It is, however, often necessary. Work with your accountant and sales teams to figure out ways to both cut spending and improve profits so hiring that all-important SEO expert is possible.
Have you had good luck with an SEO expert? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Guest author Erin Steiner is a freelance writer from Portland who covers topics including (but not limited to) budgeting tools.
Link building is not the same as it used to be. Though your website’s SEO still very much depends on backlinks, there are several changes that have happened to link building post-Penguin. With every update, you need to keep up with the new expectations and know how to avoid dangerous blog links. First released on April 24, 2012, Google’s Penguin is a recent algorithm update that analyzes the quality of links pointing back to websites and penalizes those that indulge in any kind of link scheme or practices that they consider questionable or dangerous blog links.
Save yourself from dangerous blog links!
If you want to improve the SEO of your website or regain lost traffic due to a Penguin penalty, you should quickly understand the types of links that are harmful or dangerous and those that carry quality, even if you feel they are legitimate.
Given below are different types of dangerous blog links that you should always avoid while building links for your blog.
Swapped or Reciprocal Links
A few years ago, reciprocal linking was one of the most effective link building tactics to improve SEO. After Google released its Penguin update, however, reciprocal linking is no more acceptable. Instead, they’re now considered dangerous blog links. It’s only because most of the webmasters started to take advantage of the technique and manipulate this link building technique by swapping links in a large number. If you are planning or already building links through swapping links in bulk, you should avoid it right away. You may even get penalized if you’re doing it with the best intentions.
One of the most dangerous blog links that you should always avoid building is paid links. Whether you buy links or sell links, it’s a bad practice and should be avoided at all cost. Very recently, several UK news websites were penalized by Google only because they were selling links to pass PageRank. Paid links are always considered dangerous blog links.
You may be surprised to know that even directory links are on Google’s radar. But you shouldn’t worry as not every directory link is spammy. What you should actually avoid is mass-submitting to junk online directories. Google has already de-indexed those directors that nobody uses.
Even if you build links through directories, you should pick only the high quality ones and avoid automated or bulk submission, which make it look like you’re trying to index dangerous blog links.
Blog Network Links
Building links for your blog via link networks is also very dangerous. A few years ago, there were many systems that used to build links for websites or blogs through their own blog networks. After Google de-indexed many of these blog networks, this practice was tagged as black-hat. If you remember, Build My Rank (a popular blog network) tumbled down for the same reason. Blog network links are dangerous blog links.
Every blog belongs to a niche or industry. While building links for your blog, you should always keep your niche in mind. Many webmasters, in order to improve their SEO, would start acquiring backlinks from just any website regardless of the niche or industry they belong. This is unethical and dangerous. If you want your website safe from Penguin search penalty, you should never get links that are irrelevant or unrelated to your own niche.
Article Directory Links
Popular article directories like Ezine Articles, Article Base and Go Articles have lost their weight to a great extent. As people began to manipulate these article directories to build tons of links quickly, content farms were created. It’s due to this reason that Google degraded the search rankings of many popular article directory websites.
If you are using duplicate, spun or low quality articles and submitting them to article directories to build lots of links for your blog quickly, you should stop it without any delay or a penalty is just round the corner.
Whether it’s a website or blog, you should build links in a way that doesn’t violate the latest Google quality guidelines. Most importantly, you should make the process of link building look natural to search engines. If you manipulate link building, use spammy tactics or build links in an unnatural way, one search algorithmic update is enough to mark your website or blog for having dangerous blog links and send it’s rank down the gutter.
Find your target audience and focus your marketing dollar in their direction.
What’s your idea of running an online business? There are many who think running an eCommerce store is simply posting and selling products. Sadly though, it’s a lot more complicated in today’s world of eCommerce. No matter what niche you belong to, there’s tough competition for attracting customers so you need to find your target audience and develop a strategy around them. Why? Because nowadays, every single niche has hundreds of thousands of online stores, each one of them vying for customers’ attention. With these odds, being able to find your target audience is more important than ever before.
Developing an effective marketing and sales strategy is important for success and starts with learning how to find your target audience. You should not jump into marketing and sales strategies unless you know who your best customers will be, where they belong and what their key demographics are? Don’t waste marketing dollars by trying to sell to everyone. Find your target audience and make every dollar count!
A target audience is just a specific group of people who are most likely to be interested in the products you have to offer. The demographics of a target audience will change with each product line you push. For example, a collage aged audience might be interested in current retail trends while new parents will be interested in baby products. As an SMB, small to medium sized business owner, you can’t sell to everyone and attempting to will break your bank. To sell more in less time, you’ll always need to find your target audience, those people who are ready to buy what you are selling.
Now, the big question remains… how to find your target audience. Well, you should start with these important questions –
- What is my product?
- What problems does my product solve?
- Who could have the problems that my product solves?
- To whom will my product appeal the most?
- How will customers use my product?
These questions are just the starting point. As you ask yourself more questions like these and get deeper and deeper, you’ll be able to identify the type of people (or businesses) who your product will suit the best. As soon as you have the picture of the ideal customer for your e-commerce business, you’ll need to extend your research further to know the finer details like their age, gender, occupation, educational qualification, marital status, interests etc.
There are several benefits of identifying your target audience and your whole business will operate around them. When you know the target audience for your e-commerce business, it will becomes easier to make important business decisions. Whether it’s about designing your online store or improving your online marketing strategies, you will be able to achieve success with all of these issues only when you know who you are selling your products to.
Finding your target audience helps you a great deal when it comes to making decisions about the ancillary service of your business. When you are aware of who to sell, you can easily decide out where to sell, when to sell and how to sell. At the same time, it will become easier for you to attend the right kind of functions as well as enter into the right kind of partnerships. Unless and until you find your target audience, you’ll make mistakes with all these key decisions which in turn will make a negative impact on your business and profits.
It’s best to stay one step ahead and know who you’re selling to and what they like… before you start selling! If you are having low profits or spending too much in marketing, you need to quickly break out of the mold, identify your idea customer base, and try to find out as many details about them as possible. The more you know about them, the better strategies you’ll be able to create.
Did you find your target audience before or after you launched your online store? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
To stay competitive, build audience engagement goals and keep an eye on social media tips!
The old rules for marketing are dead! Social media has swept over modern-day marketing for online businesses and brick and mortar SMBs. Online business owners, especially, are having to keep up and make many changes to stay competitive so keeping up with social media tips is an important consideration.
Social media marketing is an effective way to reach a target audience. If you thought social media websites were only for connecting with family and friends, think again! Today, you simply can’t get ahead of the competition unless you embrace social media and include it in your overall marketing plan.
Social media continues to evolve so to get the most out of your social media marketing efforts, you should take a strategic approach and keep up with emerging trends. Given below are some of the most powerful social media tips you can use in the 2nd half of 2013 (and beyond) to take your small business to the next level.
- Know Your Goals
There are different purposes or goals that you can achieve by effectively using social media platforms. As a small business owner, you may want to generate more leads. Or you may plan to drive more traffic to your company or e-commerce website. Many businesses use social media to promote their brand and build a community of loyal followers. Likewise, you too need to know your goals really well. Unless you know your specific goals before you jump on to the social media bandwagon, you’ll only shoot arrows in the dark. Not knowing your goals also makes it impossible to track the progress of your efforts. So, make sure you have clearly-defined and realistic goals. If you feel you could use a little guidance, check your eCommerce software as the top shopping cart software usually has social media tools that can help! And don’t forget one important sourse, the company site of your eCommerce software should have a blog that is full of social media tips!
- Identify Your Target Audience
Before you choose and join social media websites, there’s one more thing that you must know – your target audience. No matter what niche you belong to, there’s always a specific group of people that’s most interested in the products or services you sell. It’s meaningless to sell to just anyone and trying to will only waste your marketing dollars. Even when you are starting to use social media, you must identify who your target audience is so that you can choose the right social media websites and put your online marketing efforts on the right track. In fact, you should try to find out as much about your target market or audience as possible. The more you know about your target audience, the better strategy you’ll be able to create for your social media marketing. If you need extra help, there should be plenty of social media tips online that can help you narrow in on your target audience.
- Limit Social Media Channels
As more and more social media websites appear on the scene, you might feel tempted to join each of them. It’s not a good idea to start using too many social media websites at once, unless you have a social media manager, as it’s a time consuming task. First and foremost, your target audience probably has preferences on their social media source, and you should figure out where they hang out. Second, using too many social media platforms can easily ruin your focus. Remember these – strategy, focus and execution. While using social media, one of the most important tips is to choose the platforms carefully so that you can get the most out of your efforts.
- ‘Engagement’ is the Word
In the year 2013 and beyond, you should start your social media marketing with a new, changed mindset. Most of the small business owners think that social media is for direct promotion of products or services and miss the ‘social’ part of it. As soon as you approach social media with this mindset, you have put yourself on the wrong track. Always keep in mind that social media is not for direct selling. While using social media, you need to focus your attention on engaging your target audience and building your online reputation. If you are able to create engagement among your audience, the rest will follow automatically. Start paying attention to the ‘social’ part of social media. Social media tips will keep you going with creative ways to build your online reputation and engage your target audience.
- ‘Authority Status’
One of the most important social media tips for all the business-owners out there is to focus on achieving the authority status. Via every quality piece of content that you share with your target audience via social media channels, you need to prove that you are truly the best resource in your specific niche. That’s how you create loyal and repeat customers. This will help your business in a number of ways, including better ranking with search engines, a loyal following and being respected in your niche.
- Track, Track, Track!
If there’s one common mistake that most of the small business or e-commerce business owners make is that they ignore the the importance of analytics. No matter what your goals are or what social media channels you have chosen to use, you should always have an accurate measurement system in place so that you know where you are headed and how you can improve.
Social Media Tips are frequently being updated so keep an eye on a reliable source, such as our ZippyCart e-Commerce News Blog, and keep your goals up-to-date!
Do you have social media tips to share? We’d love to hear them in the comments below!
Every company now seems to be on the email marketing bandwagon and with good business justification. Email is one of the most efficient marketing communications tools available today with current and potential customers, partially because it is very cost effective. With such popularity, inboxes are now saturated with messages, the vast majority of which are poorly written and border on spam.
Make your emails stand out in customer inboxes.
How can you cut through the email noise to reach your target audience?
Here is a quick Email Marketing 101 crash course in how to write the perfect email for your customers.
- Create Value for the Customer
Human beings are a self-centered species, and none more so than customers! Readers of your emails really only care about themselves and what matters to them. It’s about them, not us. So the sooner you become customer-centric and see email marketing as a way to create value for the customer, the quicker your revenue will increase and your profits skyrocket.
When writing emails, put yourself in the reader’s place and ask how much your message matters. If the answer is even slightly negative, think about how to improve the value to the reader. You might provide education in a topic area, offer special email-only discounts, or create a sense of community with dialogue. The value will be different depending upon your industry and products or services, but the underlying concept is the same.
Rather than the occasional email with a message sent out of context, develop a yearlong email marketing campaign that builds excitement about your messages appearing in the recipient’s inbox. Nothing generates customer interest like success stories and the hope they will also be featured online. So creating a contest for the most unusual use of your product or the highest number of services provided or anything else you can dream up will give the campaign longevity.
Or you can center a campaign around user group experiences with tips for using your product most effectively. Each issue of the email blast will help your customers better implement your product and show potential customers why they need to purchase from you. You can create a team of users who benefit from the emails but who also help you!
- Use a Professional Editor
Professional writers and editors can turn your dry marketing writing into engaging copy that pulls customers into your sphere of influence. Don’t underestimate the power of going with the pros. Just because your computer came with Microsoft Word does not mean you can write. Do what you do best in your business and hire out the rest.
Be particularly vigilant of sending SPAM!
- Do Not Ignore Anti-SPAM Laws
At one time or another, we all have thought spammers must continue doing what they do because somebody must be buying from them. Well, yes, but it’s a numbers game, and even if less then 1% of email recipients purchase, spammers make money. Not so for a legitimate business.
There are specific requirements laid out in the CAN-SPAM legislation that requires email marketing to follow guidelines or be fined. Check out how you must comply and stay legal. In addition, there is nothing any potential customer hates more than spam, so avoid it at all costs.
By first and foremost staying customer-centric with email that engages customers and potential buyers, your email marketing campaign will be a winner!
Guest blogger Sarah Boisvert writes on business topics such as marketing, sales, social media, and mobile platforms. She has profiled business leaders such as Steve Wynn and Steve Jobs and covers new technologies such as 3D printing.
Photo #1 Credit: “Piled Envelopes Shows Computer Mail Outbox Communication” by Stuart Miles via freedigitalphotos.net
Photo #2 Credit: “Caution – Do Not Send Spam” by Vlado via freedigitalphotos.net
There is nothing a customer loves more, or a potential customer wants to see, than an indication that your business is professional, tech savvy, thorough, and connected. Newsletters and emails are great, but when it comes to customer outreach, quality business presentations signal that you — and your company — are serious and engaged.
Follow these tips to create Quality Business Presentations that pops and send it in a way that builds customer engagement and loyalty.
Quality Business Presentations make your company look professional and savvy.
PowerPoint Pros and Cons
PowerPoint is a Microsoft application, which is also available on Macs, that can make a basic presentation brilliant, or jumble and over-complicate a perfectly good, simple demonstration. Packed with powerful animation tools, PowerPoint offers a unique ability to bring presentations to life with graphic imagery. However, using it well is a skill that takes time to learn, and an amateurish, bush-league presentation is worse than no presentation at all.
If you know the basics of PowerPoint, you can build your own quality business presentations. Take a week or so before your deadline and download the latest software, familiarizing yourself with any updates and changes. You don’t need to buy new templates — there are free ones available that will guarantee your presentation is unique and sleek.
Make use of video tutorials that will walk you through the finer points of building quality business presentations. This will separate the wannabes from the pros.
Be honest with yourself and know your limits. If you’re not computer savvy, if you’re not a visual, artistic person, that’s OK. Part of what makes a great business owner great is knowing his or her boundaries and hiring the right people. For a very nominal fee, you can hire professional freelancers to discuss your needs, make and present a draft, and then revise as necessary.
If you’re not a design wiz, find someone who is and ask for help.
When it comes time to share your quality business presentations, there is no better way to decide than to pick up the phone. By asking your customers how they would like to receive presentations, you accomplish two goals. First, you solve the immediate task of getting the presentation to the place they’re most likely to actually look at it.
Perhaps more importantly, however, you’re showing your customers that you get it. They, like you, receive stacks of junk mail, spam, and solicitations in their email inbox, on their Facebook wall, and on their Twitter feed every day. By actually asking what they want, you put yourself in a separate category of business people who take their customers’ needs seriously.
A great presentation can wow your existing customers, lure new ones, and make a statement about your business, which will enhance your reputation. Put technology to work by building a great one and then building your buyer base by sending it out through the right channels.
Guest blogger Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. He writes about social media, business reputation management, and customer outreach.
Ask your current readership to pin your blog posts–they will want to help!
Pinterest is a place where collections of beautiful imagery and amazing content abound. It is also a great way to engage a new and relevant readership in your blog. But best of all, online business owners can use Pinterest to drive traffic to your blog is a great way to generate traffic and keep in touch with your target audience.
Here, we’ll share some tips on how to inspire new traffic to your blog by engaging them on Pinterest.
Make sure your Pinterest profile articulates why people should read your blog. When people click through to learn more about you, make sure it’s clear why you are writing the blog and why readers should follow. Are you an expert in a certain field? Why should they want to know more? We can use Pinterest to drive traffic by making your boards clear and precise.
Pin your best blog content so that it is ‘repinned.’ If someone repins a post of yours to their own Pinterest page, it is likely that at least some of their fans will be interested in what you have posted and will want to read more. When your post is repinned, readers can easily pop right over to your blog from Pinterest. We can use Pinterest to drive traffic by posting content that others are interested it!
Ask your current blog followers to ‘pin’ your posts. Generally, fans of your blog will want to see you succeed. A simple request to help spread the word about your blog by pinning the occasional post is not too much to ask, and you will likely find a willing audience. We can use Pinterest to drive traffic by simply asking for repins of content that your target audience has appreciated.
Remember that they are your supporters and follow you because they like you. But also be sure that your fans understand how to pin your post. Leave instructions on the blog for how to do so. Pinterest has a great tutorial to help them–alternately, you can leave a “Pin it” button next to each blog post so that they don’t have to do any extra work themselves.
Follow others with similar interests. When they see you are following them, there is a chance those will similar boards will want to learn more about you if they find you have related interests, and will potentially click through to your blog if what they see is compelling. We can use Pinterest to drive traffic by following people in our interest area!
Make sure to use an eye-catching and relevant image with your blog. Imagery is the secret of Pinterest. Copy is in such small font on Pinterest boards that the image associated with your blog post really needs to be eye-catching so that potential readers will want to see the copy associated with that beautiful image that caught their eye. Then hopefully they will click through to read your blog post. We can use Pinterest to drive traffic by using the most appealing imagery!
Alt text for your imagery is important. There is a great ‘Search’ tool on Pinterest, so make sure you use descriptive, keyword-rich alt text for your imagery so that your blog posts are more readily searchable. We can use Pinterest to drive traffic by remembering to fill in the Alt Text for your photos.
Provide extra links to your blog where possible and make sure that the domain name is memorable.
Provide extra links to your blog. Aside from the fact that the Pinterest image will link to your blog, provide a link to your blog both in your profile and in the engaging description underneath your image that talks about the blog. This makes it all the more likely that you will get traffic to your blog. Make sure that the domain name of your blog is memorable, too, in case the link winds up not being a hyperlink. We can use Pinterest to drive traffic by adding extra links to your blog, aside from the photo link.
When utilized in the appropriate manner, Pinterest is a fantastic tool to attract new traffic to your blog. Be sure to use eye-catching imagery in association with each post you pin so that people, when they do find the image, are curious enough to read the copy associated with it, and thus click through to your blog. Additionally, request the assistance of your current blog audience–chances are, they will want to help support you by sharing your work.
Guest author Cara Aley is a freelance writer who covers a wide variety of topics from used office furniture to digital marketing strategies and online reputation management.
By Amanda Walters
June 10, 2013
ZippyCart’s Shopping Cart Software Reviews will help you find eCommerce solutions that provide tools to help in engaging your audience.
When you embark on setting up your business, or even if you are simply focusing on growing your brand, you need to make sure you are engaging your audience. Without engagement, you cannot truly know your audience, you cannot see where you are going right or wrong.
The obvious way to engage is socially. You can get started on building this up yourself; exploring and experimenting are key. If you are setting up a Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn page, make sure you have engaging content to post before you start focus on engaging your audience. If you already have your social networking pages set up, this will not be a problem. Use the tools within these to find out who your online audience is, you can then begin tailoring the content you send out in order to get the feedback and growth you desire.
In order to make money from these mediums, you need to have in the region of approximately 10,000 likes/followers, or a smaller target audience that is extremely motivated to spend on your product. Once you have grown your quality followers, you can set up a content marketing strategy. This should be insightful information that will bear relevance to your target audience and keep them engaged in your brand. It is not just about selling your product, you want to appear trustworthy and interesting while being a useful source of information that people can come back to.
Once you have achieved a greater following you will need to make sure you have the correct tools on your website in order to convert traffic into sales. If you need help with your feature lineup, ZippyCart’s comparison chart and expert ecommerce software reviews can help online merchants find the tools they need by reviewing the best shopping cart solution for their needs.
Over a period of time, you will be able to follow analytics to learn when your audience is most likely to click on your links. From these stats, work out how to best to structure your content and achieve a higher click through rate. You can also find out what type of images your audience prefers and how to keep your engagement levels up.
Facebook and Pinterest are the leaders when it comes to making money from your social networking pages. Also, through the use of content targeting, Facebook allows you to essentially split test between males and females, people in the UK versus USA and so on.
Interactive content and applications are fantastic, as they give greater flexibility to explain or engage your users. Interactive content can be as simple as an interface to link images and text together, or as complex as a 3D product configuration, allowing on-line customers to customize products in real-time.
Not only will engaging your audience bring about greater traffic, conversions, but also enable you to enhance your products from the feedback you get.
Guest author Amanda Walters is a journalist, blogger, poet and an artist. Having written for various websites including Huffington Post, DailyWaffle and having her concrete poetry work exhibited at university events in the UK. She loves to network, working with an array of clients including You The Designer and dhub, as well as attending events across the UK.
Google has made more changes to their PPC ads.
Google has put the brakes on the use of phone numbers in PPC ads. Like many of the changes made by Google, the announcement was made very quietly. The change was put into effect starting April 1, 2013. If you want to include phone numbers in your PPC ads, you will have to use call extensions.
According to Google, regardless of the device used, whether it is a tablet, desktop computer, or a mobile device, the new change to PPC ads will create a safer and more consistent experience for the user.
Like other changes made by Google, most people have questions about this change. For instance, can a phone number in an ad really make it unsafe? And what about businesses that include their phone number as part of their logo or business name? Could this actually be a ploy to make more money for Google?
Changes to the PPC Ad’s Appearance
When you add a call extension to your PPC ad, a tiny phone icon will be displayed next to the ad. When the icon is clicked, you will be charged.
1 – You can use a Google forwarding number free of charge.
2 – If you are using Google’s forwarding number, there is a minimum click requirement as well as a minimum number of calls to show call extensions.
Call extensions can have a direct impact on PPC budgets. Based on the requirements of minimum number of calls and clicks before a call extension can be shown, many businesses may experience declines in website traffic and sales.
Pulling it Together
So what does all this really mean? Many people theorize that this is nothing more than a tactic Google is using to make more money. Basically, when someone clicks on a phone number in your ad on a mobile device, you will be charged the same as you would for any other click on the ad. Keep in mind that the phone number will only show up on devices capable of making calls.
This is just another thing to keep in mind when creating a PPC ad campaign. Granted, it makes it a little more challenging and a little more interesting. Sometimes change is good, and sometimes you just have to adjust!
Guest author Debbie Allen is a content writer, blogger, and online marketer. Besides writing on business topics, Debbie also writes about prominent industry leaders such as Steve Wynn.
Image courtesy of Janaka Dharmasena at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
By Glen B
June 3, 2013
What steps do SEO Specialists need to consider for the 2nd half of 2013?
The year 2012 was one heck of an exciting and thrilling ride for all Search Engine Optimization Specialists as the challenge of keeping website SEO strategies Panda Proof is a top priority. The year 2013 has welcomed ecommerce website entrepreneurs, web designers and developers, and internet marketing specialists with more challenges for ecommerce growth. People are increasingly not limiting themselves to only desktop PCs and laptops, but enjoying other mobile devices like smartphones, android phones, and tablets, as well. What are the best SEO tips and what steps do SEO Specialists need to consider with these developments in technology and as well as in search engines in mind?
Here are some of the Best SEO Tips for 2013 ecommerce.
- Track your SERP ranks, evaluate your backlinks, and research for new possible keywords.
The most important task in SEO is creating a background as to where your website is in terms of SERP rankings, quantity and quality of backlinks, list of strategies done so far, and new possible keywords that you can work on. Tools like the Google Analytics, Google Webmasters, Google AdWords Keyword Tool, SEO Powersuite Rank Tracker, and any spreadsheet software can already help you fulfill this step. By way of creating a solid background as to where your website is in terms of rankings, it paves way to developing smarter strategies and decisions that improve the website traffic and increase website leads.
- Decide on what to do with the data that you have and put it to action.
The data that you have coming from the tools that you use will only be just plain data when you do not do anything about it. Translate the data into knowledge, process the knowledge into an insight, develop strategies to create actions for the insight that you have, and evaluate results. Check on how your traffic increased every time you publish a new blog entry and evaluate what sorts of blog entries your audience engage themselves more into (reviewing on traffic scores and bounce rates will help you out on this).
- Improve your website content, most especially the information you write on your product pages.
The Product Title, Product Image description and alternate text, and the product description when optimized will not only help increase search engine rankings on the keywords you are using but as well as help increase interest from your audience that may lead them to buy the product.
- Use high quality product images.
More and more ecommerce website owners are now aware about providing the best product images in their websites because it affects the purchasing decisions of their audience. However, high quality product images may also mean huge-sized images that may slow down the website speed. To make sure that this does not happen, it is best to use images with sizes that are exact and not assign a code to increase or reduce sizes. A jQuery product gallery plugin is also helpful in creating a professional look to the images that you provide, and too, this will allow you to place different faces of the product to let customers see it on different sides. Online shopping tools also have the ability to allow customers to see the product image in a better view by zooming in and out. Whatever your budget suits you, for as long as it does not affect the quality of your website, it will be good enough.
- Increase the number of internal links by providing links to the weaker pages to the more important pages of your website.
This allows a stronger link flow which becomes more engaging from the customers’ point of view. One example is adding recommended links in product pages to other pages related to that product.
- Update your website or your ecommerce website’s blog with fresh and relevant content.
Fresh and relevant content also means having to endorse tools and other products similar to yours which you think will be interesting and helpful to your readers. This also helps you gain trust from other relevant websites and eventually link to your posts as well.
Some back linking techniques are really good in terms of positioning your website in SERP, well, quicker than you can. However, you need to be wary about some tools and services as these may also affect your website in a major way once search engine updates are made available. Keep in mind that SEO tips work best when you make your audience the priority (making sure that they are informed through optimizing your content and your entire website) than getting ranked in search engines.
Do you have an 2013 SEO tips to share?
Guest author Glen B is a part of the NetiDnow.com team which seeks to provide an ecommerce website builder to help business owners to create a website in minutes using a drag and drap interface.
Finding your target audience is an important step in setting up an online store!
By the ZippyCart eCom team
May 29, 2013
Do you run an online store? Thinking about starting one up? Ok, great… who’s your target audience? Please don’t give an answer like ‘all age groups 18-55’. If your answer is something this vague, you may need help with How to Find the Target Audience for Your Online Store. You can’t target everyone. That would be an impossible task that requires too many marketing dollars. You need to define your audience and narrow it to your specific niche… that’s what we call finding your ‘target audience’.
It’s very important to find your target audience early in the game. No matter how well you’ve set up your store or how amazing your product is, you can’t sell effectively if you don’t know who your target audience is. There are many factors that play into finding you’re the buyers for your specific market. We mentioned age group earlier but here are a few more, of the dozens more to consider…
- Geographical Location
- Academic Qualification
- Technical Capability
- Family Size
I’m citing these essential factors to make you aware as to how the traits of a target audience may vary from one niche to another. The one major benefit of figuring out your target audience is to be able to focus your marketing dollars and sell your products to those people who are actually interested. You can’t sell everything to everyone… you’ll go broke with too broad of a marketing campaign.
There are several huge benefits in determining who the target audience for your online business actually is. When you know your target audience really well and understand how they may think, it’s easier to reach out to them and figure out which platforms are right for your sales efforts. Knowing your target market also helps build brand loyalty and an appealing online reputation. You’ll be able to reach out and socialize with them in a way that’s appropriate and fun… which also increases sales, in the long run.
These strategies will put you in a better position to showcase yourself as an expert. In turn, your target audience will be attracted to news and posts from experts in their field of interest.
When you want to figure out the target audience for your online store, one surefire way of getting started is to have a closer look at your current customers or the existing customer base of your established competitors. Your best customers or the core target audiences actually come from your existing customer base. Study them… get to know them. You can reach out to them via email, social media and online surveys among others. The more you study or analyze your current customers, the more knowledge you’ll again about the kind of audience that will benefit your online business the most.
With the results of this study, you can also create the profile of an idea customer for your online store. By knowing the persona of your ideal customer, you can build an image in your head. Whether it’s the content on your e-commerce website, your email newsletters, social media or your blog, you’ll be able to communicate with the specific group of people that constitutes the target audience for your online business. It’s then when you can create a highly focused marketing campaign to maximize conversions.
Don’t sell everything to everyone just because seems a lot easier. Find your target audience, and watch your loyalty and profits soar. After all, the easy path is not the right path, most of the time.
By Mary Weinstein
May 13, 2013
Every sales quarter, CPC Strategy conducts a study on the top shopping channels, including Google Shopping on seller metrics such as traffic and revenue. For Q1, Google shopping traffic almost doubled.
CPC Strategy’s 2012 Ecommerce Industry Report compares Google Shopping against rival shopping engine Amazon Product Ads. It analyzes the sales data of more than 200 online retailers with a buying power of more than $5 billion.
- Google Shopping conversion rates dropped for the fourth straight quarter, decreasing from 3.0931% in Q4 2011 to 2.4018% in Q4 2012, a YoY decrease of 22.35%.
- In Q4 2011 Google Shopping was sending merchants 79% of the traffic Amazon Product Ads was sending. In Q4 2012, Google Shopping now sends merchants nearly double the traffic that Amazon Product Ads does, 96.08% more.
- Google Shopping was on average 32.77% more cost-effective for merchants during Q3 and Q4 2012 than Amazon Product Ads.
To read more, feel free to head over to this Q4 CSE Rankings article
Google Shopping is a shopping engine which warrants merchant attention. An increase in traffic such as we seen from Q4 2012 to Q1 2013 is just another reminder of how important the paid campaign is for online marketers.
Guest author Mary Weinstein is Content Manager at CPC Strategy, with extensive experience in all things Ecommerce, comparison shopping (CSE) management, Google Shopping and digital marketing. A NY native, Mary spends her time discussing CSE strategy with online merchants, hiking and drinking copious amounts of coffee.
By the ZippyCart eCom team
May 7, 2013
Popular social media platforms like Facebook, Google+ and Twitter are growing their active users count by millions. The number of active users on Facebook has totaled up to 700 million while Google+ has 300 million of them. Twitter is also not far behind with around 200 million active users.
Certainly, social media is unavoidable!
As the owner of an online store or an e-commerce business, you too have a serious responsibility to leverage the potential of social media. By integrating social media into your overall marketing plan, you can quickly gain an extra edge over your rivals and make more profits. Fortunately, most of ZippyCart’s top ecommerce solutions software choices come along with built-in social media managers, making things easier for you. (Just check in on our shopping cart reviews for more info on that.)
But before you jump onto the social media bandwagon, you really need to know how you should go about using social media networks, what you should do and what you should avoid doing.
If you want to take your e-commerce business to the next level by using social media marketing to your benefits, given below are some of the most important do’s and don’ts to make yourself aware of.
- Do Have an Active Presence
Regular activity is the very first thing that you need to keep at the top of your mind. If you post updates to social media networks only when you want, appear for a week and then disappear for a long stretch of time, you are giving your target audience a good reason to throw you out of their minds. They’ll forget about you very soon. Your followers count will never increase.
Most of the e-commerce business owners think they don’t have enough to post to their company’s social media pages. Come on, a lot of things keep happening to your small business. If you get yourself a little creative, you’ll have lots of things to post, share or tweet about.
- Do Focus on Variety
‘Variety is the spice of life’ – this applies to your social media participation too. Your audience is certainly hungry for useful information and updates, but they appreciate variety more than anything else. So, remember to share links, pictures, infographics and videos among others.
- Do Listen More and More
To achieve success with social media as an e-commerce or online business owner, you also need to be an avid listener. Social media marketing is not for talking about yourself or your products without showing any concern about what your audience has to say. In fact, you should try to listen as much as possible to find opportunities you can use to your benefits.
- Don’t Oversell
Remember, the more you sell, the less you’ll sell. After all, social media is not for selling products or services directly. Social media marketing or participation is all about building relationships, engaging the target audience in conversations and creating advocates for your brand. Constant blatant promotion will not get you anywhere. If you are posting 10 updates in a day, for example, talk about your products just 1-2 times. No more than that!
- Don’t Forget to Respond!
As a smart e-commerce business owner, you should never make the mistake of overlooking people who take the time to converse with you. When people want to interact with you, it’s your opportunity to respond to what they are saying, showcase your expertise and establish relationships.
- Don’t Get Personal
While participating at social media, you’ll come across with different types of people and comments. Always bear in mind not to get too personal with anyone or share your personal beliefs on political or religious issues. By getting personal with these sensitive issues, you can easily harm your reputation.
Also, don’t get too heated, sarcastic or even affectionate in your responses to comments, reviews or online dialog. Remember that everything you or your employees say will reflect back on your company… and people will remember the ‘bad’ much longer!
With these tips and the built-in social media managers that are found in all of the ecommerce solutions software that are found in ZippyCart’s favorites and ecommerce platform reviews, you’ll be on your way to a balanced social media life in no time!
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