It Pays to Be Pedantic: Small Business Tips for Your Brand

As a business owner, you’ll have an excellent understanding of how your presence online can affect your sales and profit margin. It’s the perfect time to grow your ecommerce brand or company online. However, there is always going to be more competition, and you’ll need to keep up with your peers, and ideally exceed what they’ve achieved. You might think that you’ve done all you can regarding your website and social media platforms, but there are always the little details to focus on, that can help to make a significant difference. Big or small your company is, you want each area to be working hard for you, and bringing in a growing number of consumers.

If a visitor has a negative experience on your site, there are so many others to choose from that they’ll simply click elsewhere, and you’ll be quickly forgotten. Just like a physical store, you need to focus on drawing people in, impressing them when they arrive, and ensure they both return to invest in you and recommend you to others.

If you’re at a loss as to what more you can do, you’ll need an in-depth look at your online environment and start working out how each detail can improve for your company’s success. The following are some tips, ideas, and advice for those looking to be a little pedantic about their business so that competition is less of a worry.

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Hard-working Content

Your first port of call should be your content — ask yourself if it’s working hard enough to bring in new traffic and ensure that you’re sitting where you want to be in Google rankings. It might be time to invest in a company who can help to hone your content creation, so look at sites like Webgator SEO agency to see how they can assist you in getting a much-needed boost. Just like anyone working for you, you want your content to be consistent.

Consistency will help to ensure that you’re appearing where you should in consumer social media feeds; stick to a rigid plan and utilise your analytics so that you’re posting things at the best time to reach your audience. Set a tone for your content. Your brand identity should shine through your words and images, so always keep this in mind when uploading.

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The Personal Touch

Customers often get sick of mass, spam-like emails arriving in their inbox (or heading straight to their junk mail). Therefore, it might be worth taking a look at your list of customer contacts, gathering their information and data, and utilising it to create individual emails and a more personal touch when they’re contacted.

Aside from their name, you can use the items they were looking at to create a reminder email, or install the software so that pop-ups become a gentle push to bring them back to your site. Special offers on their birthday and other touches will help to give you a physical store feel, and you’ll build customer trust and appreciation.

It’s hard work bringing new visitors to your site, but it’s worth investing in so that your business can develop and grow.

Setting up Shop as an Online Retailer

These days, when you want to go into business for yourself, you really do have a whole host of options available to you. That’s the beauty of the modern world; so much more is accessible to you right now than it ever has been before. So you’re really not closed off from any kind of opportunity. However, with a smorgasbord of options, you may find that you have a lot to choose from – too much in fact. And that can leave you feeling overwhelmed. So, if you are going to set up shop, you might want to start with something broad, like online retail.

The online retail market might seem saturated to you, but there’s always room for more. Especially if you have a specific niche that you can go into. The thing with retail is, that people are often looking for the best product, things they need, things they want, and at the right price — not matter how low or high-priced that may be.

So as long as you can pull together a business plan for a good store with the right products aimed at a market that will be interested, you’ll be on the right track. So let’s take a look at what you might need to consider to make this happen.

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Your Products

So, before you do just about anything else or get ahead of yourself, you’re going to want to decide what products you’re going to sell and in what kind of niche or industry.

What You’re Going To Sell

This is probably going to be the most important part of this entire process, because without deciding on the products you’re going to sell, you can’t do much else! So you need to get thinking about what you should stock. Sometimes, this will be easy. You may already have something in mind, which sparked your idea to start an online store in the first instance. But if you haven’t and you’re open to suggestions, you should think about the profitable products that could work for you.

Who You’re Going To Sell It To

But that’s not all you need to do. Because choosing what you’re going to sell is just half of the battle. You then have to actually make sure that there is a market for the product. And the answer to this section shouldn’t just be yes, you actually have to define your target market and know exactly who you’re going to be selling to.

How You’re Going To Source Them

So now that you’re getting there, you’re going to want to get some of your plans a little more firmed up. Because knowing what you’re going to sell is great in theory, but you have to know that you can make it happen. You should find a supplier that either can be your wholesaler for the products, or supply you the parts that you need to create your products from scratch.

Your Website

Then, you’re going to need to work on the actual store aspect of the business, which in this case will be your website.

The Design

As you start to set up your site, it’s essential that you think about creating the right look. This should ideally fit in with the brand vision you have for your business. That means that your color scheme should be the same as your brand across the board. But you also need to ensure that the design you come up with is easy for your customers to navigate. For this reason, it can be useful to work with a development company.

The Ecommerce Provider

But you also need to make sure that you choose the right ecommerce platform. This is another reason why it can be useful to work with an ecommerce provider, as they can talk you through your options and which may be best for your needs. They’re likely to have worked with many before, so should have some good insights. But you do have to make sure that you pick a provider that you’re going to find easy to use and work with.

A Blog

At this point, you may also want to build a blog on your site. This can be great for your business for SEO reasons. This is something that can fall under your marketing, but as you’ll be pulling together your website design, it can be covered off here too. You need to build a section on your site that will let you to publish blog posts.

Your Marketing

Closely related to setting up your website is working on your marketing. In fact, the last point about your blog, is very interlinked with how you’re going to market your store. So let’s look at what you can do.

The Strategy

Firstly, before you begin to market your business in any way at all, you’re going to want to come up with a suitable strategy. Because every effective kind of promotion will have a purpose. You need to come up with promotional goals and ensure that all of the activity you execute stays in line with achieving those goals.

The Platforms

As part of that strategy, you need to be thinking about the right platforms to work on. Because you will want to have a good social media presence. And to do that, you have to know which platforms will work best for you. To choose, you should be thinking about your audience and where they tend to interact, and you should discover where you need to be.

The Promotions

Then, you need to know exactly what you’re going to do with your marketing. Are you going to advertise or do any PR? What message will you use? How long will each campaign be? What results are you looking to get? It’s essential that you can plan out full promotional campaigns from conception to results.

Your Distribution

You also need to know how you’re going to supply your products. This should factor not only into your business operations as a whole, but into your pricing too.

Where You’ll Store Stock

Okay, so let’s think about something much more practical. So you have the products that you want to sell — or you will do soon. But where are you going to store them? Whether you choose to use a warehousing company or you buy your own building, this is something that needs to be factored into your plan. The outcome of this can often determine your pricing strategy too, based on the overall cost.

How You’ll Get It To The Customer

And how are you planning on getting your products to your customer? You’re an online store, so you know that they can’t just come on in and buy from you then take the products away. Therefore, you have to arrange a delivery option for them. This is going to require you to negotiate a contract with the right deliver company. This too will affect your pricing and what you charge for delivery — as your rates need to be similar to your competitors and others in the industry to be competitive.

Will You Wholesale?

This leads us nicely on to our last distribution-based question, which is about wholesale. Because you’re going to want to consider the option of wholesaling your product. For clothing, places like ASOS or Nordstrom would be a great example of where you could sell. Or, do you just want your items to be available exclusively from you?

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Your Growth

But you shouldn’t just be thinking about the things you need for right now, for getting set up. You also need to be thinking ahead. It’s essential that you can plan in your growth if you want to succeed.

Business Planning

So you’re pulling together this business plan now to get everything off the ground. But it’s not just something you should do once and forget about. Business planning can be the sole thing that pushes your growth forwards. Because when you’re trying to keep things on track, and you’re setting goals to chase, you have a way of holding yourself accountable for accomplishing things. And this can often help you to make sure you do continue to grow.

Growth Strategy

With that last point in mind, it’s going to help you to have a growth strategy. This is something that you could set in place now, so that you know what work you have to do, or once you’ve gotten everything else off of the ground. Either way, it can be the essential ingredient that will make sure the growth actually takes place.

Financial Forecasting

The third and final kind of planning you should consider is financial forecasting. This is something that you will need to do now as part of your business plan, but it will help you to stay motivated to keep thing going too. Numbers aren’t easy to chase unless you have them in mind. You then need to formulate the figures backwards to find out what you need to sell in order to make that happen. Even if you’re not great with numbers, this can be incredibly motivating to help your store grow.

Avoid Getting into Trouble with the Law with These Online Sales Tips

Every 30 seconds, more than $1.2 million of transactions are made online in the United States. It’s fair to say that online shopping has become well and truly mainstream and this presents an excellent opportunity to you entrepreneurs out there.

If you have a good idea, a great product(s) to sell and you take the time to bone up on the best internet marketing techniques, you could set up an amazingly successful startup. However, if you want to stay on the right side of the law, there are a few things you will need to be aware of.

Transactions Should be Simple

If you don’t want to get on the wrong side of the law with your new venture, you need to ensure that your transactions are as simple as possible. When a customer makes an order on your website, you will need to supply their goods within the timeframe stipulated. Of course, there can always be issues with carriers, but for the main part, you should deliver, and you should not be tempted to shave a few days off your delivery times if you want to keep customers happy.

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Terms and Conditions Should be Included

You should always, preferably with the help of a good business lawyer from a law firm that specializes in this stuff, create comprehensive terms and conditions for your ecommerce site, Your terms and conditions should make it clear to your customers that when they make a purchase, they are agreeing to enter into a contract with you.

You should also lay out details of your shipping, payment and refunds policy, as well as any pertinent liability information for your company. You will need to ensure that these terms comply with the law in your business’ jurisdiction if you want to avoid any issues.

Be Honest

You should never, even for one second, think about ‘bigging up’ your products and services, telling what you consider to be little white lies to make more sales. Some customers might be fooled, but many won’t, and you could find yourself at the center of a fraud suit!

Offer a Cooling Off Period

If your business is based in the UK or Europe, then distance selling regulations stipulate that you must give your customers a 30-day cooling off period in which they can return any goods no questions asked. Obviously, if you aren’t doing business in these markets, this won’t apply, and many other markets are a lot more lenient in this respect, but you still need to find out what, if anything is required of you.

Even if you aren’t legally compelled to offer a cooling off period, it is a good gesture to make, which shows your customers that you are a kind, caring and legitimate company, so it’s worth considering.

Don’t Spam

If you want to stay on the right side of the law, it’s always best not to spam random people with your marketing emails. You should endeavor to only ever contact people who have agreed to be contacted just to be on the safe side. Behaving ethically will also help to boost your brand image.

When it comes to staying on the right side of the law in the ecommerce industry, this post has only scratched the surface, and highly recommend that you do lots of research and seek expert advice before proceeding. Good luck!

It All Starts with a Website

When creating a business, a lot of people don’t realise how much of an impact a website has. Sure, your product or service has to be good enough for customers to buy it, but people judge a business on their website, way before they start reading about what you are offering them. This means your site has to be good. Amazing. There is so much competition amongst businesses. There always has been, but it’s even more intense nowadays because technology has skyrocketed through the roof, and improvements have been perfected, so it’s no longer about whose site runs quicker — because they pretty much all do.

Today it’s about whose content and design grabs outsiders attention first. Here’s how you can make sure that’s you.

Sharpen your headlines

Headlines are the thing that your audience will see first. They will be used to introduce a new piece of information, by being eye-catching and informative, while short and efficient. You want a reader to see it and be intrigued enough to open the page. Even things that seem minor like the colour, font, and size are absolutely key to giving off the right look to your site, so think very carefully.

Add eCommerce stores

Electronic commerce platforms keep on rising in sophistication as time goes on. There are so many more options you now have in terms of features. If you struggle in this area, don’t worry, a lot of people do, but the more you familiarise yourself with it by working alongside a professional, the more you will begin to learn.

Space is everything

One common mistake, is when people try to fill their pages up with as much content as possible so it doesn’t look empty and bare, but this just leaves it looking messy and chaotic. No one wants to look through a site like that. People want structure and space to breathe, so don’t try covering up the blanks. These are what will allow your audience to read clearer, and find things easier. Don’t complicate your website. It will only work against you.

Boost your brand

Social media is so vital nowadays. It’s 2017 — social media is how we learn new skills, get updates about the world, and see who’s dating who. It’s guaranteed, that if you don’t market your brand on social media – no one’s going to know who you are, or even give you the time of day to explain. If you really want to engage with people and get some interest, get yourself on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and share your content to create a buzz then all you need to do is show them in the direction of your website.

Learn to fail better

There’s nothing wrong with failing — in fact it’s where you’ll find some of your best lessons. The important thing is how you deal with failure. Don’t feel sorry for yourself, or ashamed, or embarrassed. Try to learn from those moments. They will eventually prove invaluable to your success. Study each moment. Figure out how and why the problem occurred and make sure that you do all you can to ensure it never happens again.

When A Bit Of Data Finding Can Save Your Business

We live in a highly digital age. For businesses, one of the major advantages this has offered is the sheer amount of data that you can gather if you want to use it. Knowledge is power, as they say, and to a business it has many applications. We’re going to be looking at three ways you can use the knowledge you gather to improve your business, from its image to its operations and beyond.

In marketing

Naturally, when you think of businesses in the digital age, the transformation of the marketing landscape is one of the first things you think of. But it’s not just because you can potentially reach so many more people. The knowledge you can learn with these strategies, through taking a closer look at your competition and the data you collect from your customers can help tremendously. You can learn just what the competition is using that’s most effective in the market, as well as spotting the niches they’re not focusing on where you can put your own marketing emphasis. By reviewing your own data, you can see which content and promotions are working most effectively while trimming off those that aren’t working at all.

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Image Credit: Pexels
In conversion

Marketing is only one step in the life-cycle of a customer, of course. After you get their attention, you want to complete the sale. Online, particularly in ecommerce, this means taking a look at your site. Web page analytics can give you an in-depth overview of which pages your users are using most and which internal links they’re clicking. Figure out what these pages and links offer and how you can replicate that same appeal across the site. If you have a search bar in your site, then look at the queries made through that, as well. This way, you can get a direct look at exactly what your customers are looking for. It might even help you spot some ideas for products that you’re not yet providing if there’s enough of a demand for it.

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In productivity

A smart business doesn’t only collect information about its customers and its competition. A smart business also takes a more in-depth look inside. Productivity and efficiency are essential to the success of a business. Monitoring your employees’ productivity can help you improve it. You might think it’s about finding which employees are lazy, but most often it’s about improving the tools they use to do their job. Using data to see which tasks slow them down, then automating them or using different processes to do them quicker and establish those methods as the rule from now on. That’s called systemisation and it’s helping businesses keep running smoothly all over.

A better and bigger public image. A site that can convert a lot more customers. A team that gets more done with their working day. These are just three of the opportunities that can be capitalized on with a business that’s focused on gathering data. Don’t underestimate the impact that a closer look at the numbers can have.