How Should You Use Social Media for Business?

When businesses were set up back in time not too long ago, what promotion methods were being used? What social media sites were available? What websites were created by those businesses that became neighborhood buzzwords before they went on to become the craze of entire nations? Where was internet marketing when words became products and products became words?

Persons my age and residing in the United States should easily be able to recall every instance of a product or service that went on to grab the national headlines on every conceivable marketing platform, whether social or not. They will also recall those that, for some reason, did not make it despite being genuinely big in their time. And there will be variations in between too. What was common to all was that there was no social media advertising.

Social Media Platforms
Social Media Platforms

Social media platforms such as Google+, Facebook and Twitter are relatively recent. Yet one often forgets that there is something even better hidden in the principles on which these platforms work. Many of us are so completely bamboozled by new thingumajigs that we neglect the core concepts that actually get the job done. Likewise with social media platforms.

The question, therefore, is not ‘how should you use social media…?’ but ‘how do social media work…?’.

Internet Marketing (SEO)
Internet Marketing (SEO)

Brands that went on to become household names were built even long before social media were anything like what they are today. Imagine a burger brand starting out on a modest budget and going on to be a global chain. Now imagine this: you are catching up with a colleague at the office and he or she mentions this snazzy little joint that has come up just the other day. While your friend rambles on about the delicacies that were sampled, you cannot but pay attention. Bingo! The very next day you are waxing eloquent on the same topic to some other poor soul who hasn’t had the sense dawn as yet. That’s how social media work – by being infectious.

Who gets it done just right? Well, definitely not your regular ‘in the face’ marketing professional. It has to be someone with people sense, someone who is relevant, someone close. Then on, the effect that the words and the offering have on you can only be experienced first hand!

So okay, social media and all…but HOW EXACTLY? How do social media work for YOUR business? Well, no simple answers, really. I’ll have to get back to you later.

Meanwhile, have a good scratch and let me know if you have something that wiggles!

This is a Post on Ideal Landing Page Design

Simplicity is the key to brilliant landing page design. It is the key when you write code for a landing page, write the content required, or design the page. The KISS formula never suited anything better.

Your landing pages are critically important to all and any of your internet marketing efforts. The lack of a well-built landing page optimization strategy is the bane of practically every business with a website. Of course, we are mainly talking about B2B websites here, but come to think of it – who could possibly want to stare into a page that makes the communication a stressful prospect?

Online video gaming, kiddie, or similar sites might be loud, excessively colorful, with content that goes round and round in circles. They might think of justifications for these, perhaps. If you mean business, directness has to be THE key factor built into your landing page optimization. Whether you think of PPC or organic search links, your landing page must be one that immediately communicates to the surfer.

Some other things to do with your landing page can include the following:

  1. Like the title of this blog post, tell your viewer where he/she has come, first off and in as few words as possible. Don’t make them work to find out as much. Or simply elucidate on the offer that made them come to that page. Offer basic info that leads them on to something more exciting, where applicable. Don’t be too abstract or circumlocutionary about it. People don’t want to test your word power or sample your fantasies. They just want the info on what’s in it for them.
  2. Use links at the top, the middle and the bottom of your pages. Don’t make it impossible to choose between them, however. Every call to action should come with explicit and succinct description of where it leads to. Your landing page optimization should work in favor of the viewers out there and no one else.
  3. Long registration or request forms are a major prospect repellent. Nobody, I repeat, nobody ever likes to have to fill in loads of personal info into your form. Don’t make them do it. Either get it done with a simple request for the email address or make it a point to include as few fields to fill in as possible. Landing page optimization is all about quick access to relevant info.
  4. Experimentation with the landing page should never be ruled out. Try different headers, fields in request forms, and lengths of the copy. Get your page tested by prospective customers, if that is possible. Listen to what they have to say about your page and use that info.
eCommerce Development
eCommerce Development

e-Smart eCommerce Suite
e-Smart eCommerce Suite

Yahoo Store
Yahoo Store

Landing Page Design Examples (Click to visit the page)

Please do let me know if you have any ideas or thoughts on landing page optimization that you can share. Your audience has been there and done that, so don’t build your landing pages and then forget all about them. Keep them updated in the best ways possible. Ensure that they are consistently being scrutinized for relevance and genuine value for the reader.

You take your guests from the foyer to the drawing room, not to the attic or the basement. Make sure that’s the spirit your landing page is imbued with.

Are Your Customers Afraid of Online Shopping?

Even with an average annual growth of around 10% in e-commerce sales, US shoppers greatly fear shopping online. The following are reasons why that is the case:

  1. Cases of credit card info and identity being stolen are on the rise.
  2. Purchasing from an online store without a physical location is an uncomfortable idea.
  3. Shoppers like to feel, see, or smell the object they are paying for before they buy it.
  4. Help from a salesperson is required to rest assured that the purchased product may not be what they expected it to be.
  5. Fears that info provided online will be sold off to other parties; that will be followed by a spate of solicitation emails and catalogs into the inbox.
  6. Both retailers and shoppers fear being unable to track an order when a tracking service is not available.
  7. Getting a product that, for some reason, cannot be used or is redundant – or being unable return a product if it does not fulfill expectations – is a very real fear.

Except for the last one among these, which may be remedied through merchants offering 100% satisfaction and anything from 7- to 30-day return policies, every other fear is quite valid in a region such as North America where over half the population relies on online shopping at online-only stores.

You, the ecommerce business owner, are duty-bound to do something towards alleviating these fears and contributing your bit to the effort to make online shopping free of such threats. Allow me to offer the following tips for both customers and business owners:

  1. Ensure that the URL starts with “https”, not just “http”.
  2. Do not click on pop-ups and warnings that tell you something is wrong with the site’s SSL certificate.
  3. Check the address bar for a green area that may contain the owner’s name. Also check for VeriSign, BBB, McAfee, or other certification. These things indicate that the site has strong trust seals and security credentials. Click HERE for a previous post of mine on trust seals.
  4. Get rid of malware on your site regularly, to prevent hackers from extracting key strokes or other sensitive data. Hire an expert to do that for your online shopping site.
  5. Use a management software to manage passwords; such a software will fill up online forms automatically for you. No key strokes = no stealing key stroke-generated data.
  6. Get yourself a one-time credit card number that provides extra protection.

To round off my personal contribution to ecommerce, I promise to write more about online security in ecommerce transactions and other steps to be taken to protect yourself, your online identity, your credit card info, and your reputation as a business or a buyer.

Keep your eyes and ears open. Take care.

A Primer on Best Shipping Practices

An article I came across on shipping best practices made me take due note. The author laid down best practices in the light of existing shipping policies followed by many ecommerce merchants. The beauty of this article was in some of the recommendations regarding best shipping options. It sounded so idealistic, I wondered at first. Then a smile lit up my face as I realized that ecommerce was a no-holds-barred environment.

The author pointed out how shipping info should be made available right on the shopping cart page, how logging in should not be required to view pricing, providing easily accessible info on the modes of shipping, offering free shipping slightly above the average order to increase the average, how you shouldn’t try to make a profit off shipping charges, and so on. These pointers were essays in not only an ethical but a very proactive business sense. Offering the best shipping options can do a world of good to your business.

Best Shipping Practices
Best Shipping Practices

Never sit on an order, ship it next business day. Ship express orders the same day. A 1-day express order should not take two days in real time even including the time required to process the order. Never simply send the carrier’s tracking page and make the customer manually enter the tracking number. These were very valid points concerning the best shipping options, I thought. But what came next was shockingly benign.

The author advised eBusiness owners to take responsibility for lost shipments. He reasoned that although it is not your fault, you should mediate between the customer and the carrier if only because from the customer’s standpoint you are the only one who can resolve the issue. A best shipping option? Yes, why not. It’s not easy, but then business isn’t supposed to be. Shopping must.

The author even suggested making available discounts to international customers as well. He made it sound as if offering the best shipping options and service is a duty of the owner. Why, you ask? Well, it is business.

Now if only every eBusiness owner would implement that list of dos and donts. Each point on shipping best practices reflected equal and very high levels of concern for both the customer and the eBusiness owner.

Ecommerce Development for the New Entrepreneur

Your clients will increasingly opt for ecommerce packages that will allow them to create pages without the use of technical expertise. As entrepreneurship becomes more of a way of life than the option to serve someone else, the demand for such ecommerce development software will only rise. This need, in turn, stems from the fact that ebusiness has never been so attractive, or so easily undertaken as it is today. And communications technology, along with the demographics of it, takes the lion’s share of the credit for such an event.

Anyone and everyone around the world today can become an entrepreneur. Too many people will want to start a franchise and run a shop online. They are not experts at ecommerce software. Many are driven only by the passion for business. The motivation to earn, to reach a wider audience, to promote one’s product to a vast clientele has gotten more and more intense over the years and with the increasing ubiquity of the internet. In the midst of such keen competition, ecommerce developers would do well to promote products that:

  • Provide new features and functionality that facilitate the task of creating and maintaining an online business presence
  • Offer new features that help attract click throughs
  • Create custom ecommerce development packages that help out with designing, optimizing, and the content for a new webstore
  • Offer additional and after-sales support for those that will need it
  • Make ecommerce development packages a commodity that any entrepreneur can comfortably source and use
  • Promote the ease of use such software can bring to the individual business owner
  • Research continually on making such ecommerce packages more user friendly, highly effective, and yet reasonably priced
e-Smart eCommerce Suite
e-Smart eCommerce Suite

With such changes, the available eommerce packages are sure to get lapped up very fast by every entrepreneur who dreams of making it big online. Ensure that your service develops the most comprehensive yet the easiest ecommerce solution. It will sell like hot cakes.

Finally, do not neglect education. When entrepreneurs have access to knowledge regarding the use of such ecommerce software, they will feel inclined to purchase it for creating their own online presence.

The success of the client is the developer’s success, after all.