THE BLOG

24
Mar

How to Maintain Motivation

When you first started your business, it was probably a roller coaster of ups and downs…good, bad, terrible and bad again. Honestly, it can feel crazy–we know. But it can also give that adrenaline rush that makes you so productive, and it’s new. The whole process is challenging and exhausting, but also exciting!

You most likely sailed through all of this due to your adrenaline pumping; due to the novelty, and due to your determination that your work would produce profitable results. However, once your business was up and running and on track for steady profitability, you may have found your motivation and drive fading away.

Why is it that once we “get the ball rolling”–I.E. the money is coming in–that we become bored, less than passionate, stale?  While you have the money, more than money needs to be in place to keep up your love of the work.

Here are some ways to get your motivation up and running:

People

You probably talked to many advisers, peers and industry experts when you were in the dreamy early phase of setting up your company. If you’re like most business founders, you got busy and stopped having the time to interact with these early influencers. Those who have been down the path you are on are not only invaluable for  their wisdom gained through experience but also their encouragement.  They are a shoulder to lean on, a friend who gets the crap you’re going through and stream of new perspective and ideas.

Clarity

If you don’t come up for air you will sink. Stop and really assess how you are spending your work time.  Identify or ask for help identifying time saps; tasks you can delegate and activities you can drop — even if it’s only one. And make sure not to jump on other new difficult tasks that could be delegated. Instead look for creative outlets. Studies find that having a creative outlet is correlated to boosted work performance.

Pacing

If you’re too tired to think, too booked to enjoy, money alone is not going to do much for you.  Delegate, drop, or streamline any process, system, to-do list, task etc that is in your power to simplify. If you need help doing so, get it.

We recommend outsourcing processes that do not need your direct involvement–this can also save cash as it can be less expensive than hiring an employee. Other time savers you can include are using Amazon for your product fulfillment, signing up for automated book – keeping or getting a virtual assistant.  Note that it is the tedious, repetitive tasks that are ideally delegated or outsourced; you do not want to hand over the reins of your business to someone else.

Celebration

Remember when you first started how every achievement called for a celebration? Acknowledging and getting excited about what you accomplish revs you up to produce more and better.  Take larger goals for your business and break them down into smaller daily or weekly tasks that you can and will actually do. Then, as you complete them, acknowledge that you are making progress and enjoy that– maybe even throw a party.

Newness

Day in day out same-o same-o.  Bored to death? Any innovation in your business can bring back the same zeal and enthusiasm you had when you first started out.  It is your business– go for it!  Try a new product line, shake things up a bit. Have fun! Why not go one step further and identify a new niche? If you have a clothing business, try including fashion accessories. If you have web design firm, you may want to branch out into social media management.

The Clincher: Take Responsibility for Your Experience

Treat yourself as an employee

Employees have a pay check to look forward to, they are also expected to work for the hours originally agreed upon and are often compensated for over time. While being a business owner does not always allow the same perks, it is your job to set in place rewards and boundaries for yourself.

Cultivate Joy!

Take some time and engage in the components of your company that actually interest you: Hang with your team or even your customers.  Test a trending marketing tactic.  Vamp up one of your products. Take time to remember why you started in the first place and remember how far you have come.  Most importantly take some time for yourself.  Pick up that hobby you dropped, do something crazy.  Catch up on sleep– chill.  Tending ourselves recharges us and goes a long way in producing momentum and results in our companies.
Yes, maintaining your books and going through employee performance reports is important. However, doing nothing but the daily grind is sure to leave you disinterested– just like in a relationship. Want your engine to rev? Take the time to fuel up.

10
Mar

Increase Organic Search Traffic

Organic traffic to your website is what comes in naturally, as opposed to ‘inorganic’ where you pay for it. For increasing organic search traffic, there is only one way – you need to rank higher. And this is how it can be done:

Does your website have all the right keywords?

You might think you do, but there might be terms that you have missed out on entirely. The best way to find out is look for what other terms or keywords users search for, in addition to those that you already have on your website. For instance, your site might be optimized for ‘marketing agency’, but this kind of keyword research might also throw light on the fact that those who search for this term also tend to search for ‘digital media agency’ and ‘online marketing agency’.

After you figure this out, your website needs to be optimized for them. Keyword stuffing is a strict no-no, so you would have to insert them subtly, as if there occur naturally in the copy on your pages – Google rewards a natural style of writing. A good content writer can help you out with this.

Long-tail keywords: Apart from making the most use of your keyword research, long-tail keywords like ‘marketing agency in San Francisco, California’ helps. Google doesn’t make a note of the preposition, but it does record ‘marketing agency’ and ‘San Francisco’. Too much repetition of a single long-tail keyword is a dead giveaway, so also try ‘marketing agency in the Bay Area’. It also helps if you can manage to insert other location-based long-tail keywords like ‘marketing agencies in the United States’. This could be part of a longer sentence, such as ‘Sea Green Marketing Solutions has grown to become one of the best marketing agencies in the United States.’

Regular Articles

Every change you make on the internet is noticed by Google. The search engine constantly crawls the web looking for fresh content. It would be hard to keep changing the design/content of your website regularly, so what you could do is have a blog section and post an article every now and then. Although the recommended frequency is once a week, it could also be once in two weeks, once in three weeks; or once in a month, depending on the industry sector you are in.

What you should absolutely take care to ensure is that everything you post adds value in some way. It doesn’t have to be about your product as long as it’s relevant to your buyers. There is no point in putting up articles that read like advertisements for your organization or service. Try to have ‘informational’ blog articles – these also generate a lot of traffic when they are shared on social media (people love experts who share their knowledge for free), and because Google also looks at social media activity, your web site is bound to be ranked higher, bringing in even more visitors.

Have a video

Video is the most consumed form of content online. Websites with videos tend to be ranked higher, because people stay longer on the pages to watch the video, which is an indicator of the website being ‘more interesting’. The world’s premier search engine is increasingly becoming more human-like, and so it would be wise to have a video. A well-shot promotional video is good – and you needn’t hire a camera crew, it could be done on your iPhone and edited down. If the video is too long, people lose interest midway – the average attention span for humans is only eight seconds.

A longer video is great, but only if it is a ‘how-to’ video that explains how users can do something themselves. This too contributes to a higher search engine ranking because of its informational content (users stay longer on your page to watch it). Just try not to have this on your homepage. Once people are committed to exploring your website they’re much more likely to invest time in watching a longer form video.

Say no to black hat SEO

These are techniques that are intended to fool Google into giving you a higher ranking. They might be temporarily successful, but Google constantly keeps updating its search algorithm, so once you are ‘blacklisted’, it might be hard to climb out of the hole, no matter what you do.

Too many websites shoot only to please Google. Including crucial keywords and attractive content to rank higher is essential for good organic traffic generation, but focusing on your customer’s experience is most important. Google’s algorithm is constantly updated in attempt to favor the consumer more and more. If you create good content for your consumers with a mindfulness of Google’s current trends, you’re sure to grow your organic traffic.

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24
Feb

Increasing Sales: Crafting a Satisfying Customer Experience

To increase sales on your e-commerce site, there’s a number of different things you can do. The main keys are A. Bring in new buyers B. Bring back previous buyers C. Closing the sale. Crafting a satisfying customer experience helps decrease your cart abandonment (closing the sale) and it will add incentive to bring back previous buyers. Your customer experience should be where you start to better serve your current and future customers. There are five stages that go into creating the ultimate user experience.

1. The customer needs to be guided to your site

This is done through advertising, which can be online or through word-of- mouth. A satisfied customer is your best advertiser – he/she would gladly recommend your website to others, and without hesitation. Rarely do people talk positively, even if they had a good experience. As customers, they feel they are entitled to it, and this is not without good reason – it is their hard-earned money that they are spending on your site after all. So the trick is not to create a ‘good’ customer experience, but an ‘awesome’ one that will leave them raving about it on social media. But to get to this point, you need to have customers in the first place. If you haven’t that many customers, then you need to focus on maximizing the yields on your marketing spend. Do the pop-ups link correctly? A review (and complete overhaul) of your marketing strategy might be in order if the marketing ROI (Returns On Investment) is low at present. There are always alternate avenues of advertising, and newer demographics to market your site. Explore all your options before arriving at what is best for your site.

2. The customer needs to feel comfortable just looking around

The user interface needs to be easy to use. Too often, when a user searches for something, multiple products are shown. Although they have thumbnail pictures, these have truncated product headlines, forcing visitors to click on them. After looking through 2-3 product pages and being disappointed with it not meeting their requirements, they leave. It can be extremely difficult to get them to come again. Metrics like bounce rate and exit rate can tell you how many visitors you are losing every day

  • Tip: Take a look at the design of your site and see if it needs to be changed.

3. The customer needs to find something that suits his/her needs

This is most important. After all, he/she is there to buy and not simply look around. You gain absolutely nothing if the visit doesn’t end in a sale.

Why are people visiting your site and not buying?

Are the rates higher than your competitors? If yes, you might want to consider reducing them to make them more competitive, provided they are utilitarian and not in the luxury segment. If your e-commerce site sells luxury items, you might need to have better (read well-taken) product photographs, and more enticing product descriptions. An expert can tell you if they are visiting your site from a search engine, and what keywords they queried for. Why this is important is you need to know if they came to your site looking for something which you do not sell. If it is out of stock, you need to remove the listing; otherwise you need to figure out how exactly your site showed up in the search results for those particular keywords. The chances are it is due to some dated content somewhere which hasn’t been removed. You would need to clean up your site.

  • Have you entrusted your marketing to a third party who bid on these keywords? If yes, you lose money for every click – and make nothing in the process.

4. The customer must have an extremely easy time at checkout

This is the most important part of the sale. If they are having a hard time at checkout (did you know that the most commonly cited reasons for shopping cart abandonment are technical reasons, like being timed out or the transaction taking too long to process?), they leave, never to return. No one who came with the intention of buying from you deserves to be treated this way. Analytics can tell you if they tried to make a purchase, and if this is happening to a lot of customers, you need to set things right.

5. The customer should be contacted later, to elicit feedback

If the sale was successful, you need to follow up with an email along the lines of “Thanks for shopping with us. Is there anything we can do to make your experience better the next time?”. If it was unsuccessful, shopping cart abandonment emails can help recapture some of the lost sales, but keep in mind they might not yield any significant results if checkout difficulties remain.

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15
Sep

Magento vs. Shopify: Which Platform is Better for Email Automation and Recommendations?

The world has seen its fair share of epic battles: David versus Goliath, Muhammad Ali versus George Foreman, Microsoft versus Apple. Now, two tech heavyweights duel for domination of the digital retail market. In the red corner, Magento, the world’s most popular e-commerce software, used by more than 200,000 merchants. In the blue corner, Shopify, a platform used by big-name brands like Google and Tesla. While Magento boasts more users and a bigger market share than its opponent, Shopify still packs a punch. But which software should be crowned champion?

Round 1: Email Automation

Email automation is a powerful weapon for any marketer, providing brands with knockout campaigns that target lucrative prospects. Seventy-nine percent of top-performing companies have used marketing automation for more than two years, while the majority of users think it’s worth the price. 

As a Magento user, you’ve likely seen an abundance of email automation add-ons and extensions — MageMonkey, SMTP Pro Email, Springbot — that capture leads and boost sales through highly targeted email campaigns. Follow Up Email, from Aheadworks, is one of the most widely used, providing a hulking suite of automation tools: shop cart tracking, coupon tracking, email templates, analytics.

Shopify offers a treasure trove of email automation apps, too. While its store is much smaller — Shopify has just over 100 apps, compared to a whopping 5,000 on Magento — you’ll find all the big names, such as perennially-popular MailChimp, possibly the Mike Tyson of email automation, and lesser-known extensions like Klaviyo and iContact. If you’re looking for marketing automation with bite, you can’t go wrong with Email Automation from Beeketing, which does everything it says in its name. Just like Follow Up Email on Magento, you can create powerfulYou can create compelling, personalized campaigns that send sales into the stratosphere, with marketing messages that are less likely to end up in the Trash folder. There

Email Automation from Beeketing, another email automation app, sends an email to your customers 30 minutes after they make their first order. Just like Follow Up Email on Magento, there‘s no coding, the app works on both desktop and mobile, and you get a glut of customization options.

Winner: Shopify

While it It‘s more expensive than its Magento contender — prices start from $19 per month, compared to Follow Up Email’s $149 yearly subscription — Shopify’s Email Automation by Beeketing delivers a sucker punch: but merchants could see a hefty 50 percent email response rate after using this app, and customers are 250 percent more likely to convert. It’s the Mike Tyson of email automation

eCommerce Email Marketing by Soundest displays a customizable pop-up on your web pages so you can collect subscribers. This email automation app turns new visitors into subscribers and takes just a few seconds to set up.

Round 2: Recommendations

Even if you don’t install any extensions, Magento’s native functionality personalizes your online store so consumers see a list of recently viewed and compared products, which usually appear on the right sidebar of a catalog page.

Shopify’s native feature set is just as impressive: merchants can use product tags to recommend related products. However, if you crave more functionality, head to the Shopify App Store, where you’ll find must-have add-ons like LimeSpot Personalizer and Also Bought. Both of these do what Magneto’s native recently-viewed tool can’t: consumers Consumers can see a list of recommended products based on their preferences and interests.

Personalized Recommendations, also developed by Beeketing, takes focuses on upselling and cross-selling to a whole new level. You can promote products that consumers might like based on their purchase history and behavior. Using The app uses super-smart algorithms , the app and suggests relevant products to the right customers: cart recommendations, recently viewed items, your store’s best sellers. Unlike some extensions on Magento’s marketplace — Majik Product Recommendations and Frequently Bought Together, to name just two — Shopify’s Personalized Recommendations comes with no subscription fee. The app costs you nothing if you make no money and analyzes the behavior of customers for more efficient marketing. 

Findify Search & Recommendations is another option. “[We use] data science and our unique machine learning algorithms to automatically generate personalized recommendations, in real time,” they say on their store page.

Product suggestion apps are becoming increasingly popular among marketers. A huge massive 31 percent of e-commerce store revenue is generated from personalized product recommendations, according to a study. Also, conversion rates of consumers who click on product recommendations are more than five times higher than those of customers who don’t click on these suggestions.

Winner: Shopify

Unlike some extensions on Magento’s marketplace — Majik Product Recommendations and Frequently Bought Together, to name just two — Shopify’s Personalized Recommendations comes with no subscription fee. In fact, the app costs you nothing if you make no money. Personalized Recommendations might prove extremely lucrative, too: the app could generate an extra four percent of sales.

 

Unanimous Decision

If you’re a merchant who is contemplating a move to Shopify, expect the same functionality you’re used to with Magento: stress-free CMS content management and impeccable design, all backed up with a reliable, speedy, MySQL database. You’ll find a bounty of plugins that turbocharge your marketing and sales strategies, too. Email Automation and Personalized Recommendations, both from Beeketing, , so you can optimize your online store so you can and generate a bigger return on your investment. Now, making the switch to Shopify won’t leave you down for the count.

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