bookmark_borderCut Expenses And Manage Business

Change Your Plastic Options

If you own a small web site that doesn’t do tons of online business, then chances are you don’t need a merchant account. These can be costly, and probably won’t pay for itself unless you do a robust business. But instead of losing business by not accepting credit cards, you can use one of the other options such as Paypal or Clickbank. 2checkout.com is another good option for the few countries not accepted by clickbank.

With these types of payment systems, clients can use their credit cards, and once the transaction is complete, the money is instantly deposited in your online account. Then you will simply need to transfer it to your bank account. You can even run your own affiliate programme with these services.

They are good and not expensive. You pay per sale rather than annoying monthly charges.

You will need to do some comparisons before switching services. Make sure that the transaction fees won’t cost more than the fees you are currently paying.

Change Your Calling Options

What are you paying for long distance phone calls? Depending on the company, it’s possible that you could save hundreds per year if you switched to another. Because of stiff competition, you should be able to go online and find the perfect rate for your needs.

And if you hold a lot of business meetings on the phone, don’t forget to check into teleconferencing or web conferencing as a less expensive solution!

Change Your Internet Options

The days are gone when you have to pay a fortune for an ISP server. In addition to the big boys, there are a great many smaller ISPs that will just as good of a job–if not better–for your business.

The key is negotiation and research.

Start by looking online by typing in search terms as “affordable ISP,” and “cheap Internet Service.” Once you’ve found a few, begin to compare rates and services.

Now, if you already pay twice as much with one of the larger companies, call them up and tell them that unless they can lower your rate, you’ll have no option than to switch to another company.

Many times, they will compensate you in the form of free months, or downright lower your fee. If they won’t budge, then you’ve already researched your other options, so make the move!

Can you see by just taking some time and looking at these areas how you can feasibly save hundreds of dollars per year in your small business? Get creative and figure out other ways to save.

bookmark_borderSecret Digital Marketing Weapon for Your Business

It seems paradoxical the more you give away, the more people are willing to pay for your services but it’s true. This exact approach has worked quickly and effectively for me for years. The key is that it’s got to be good and of high relevance to your target audience. This builds people’s confidence that you consistently know your stuff and that you can be counted on for long-term value. People soon realize that if you’re willing to give away such valuable expertise, think how great the solutions they pay for will be!

So how do you share your expertise with your target audience? Through writing and speaking. And it starts with being able to get your core ideas down on paper in a way that catches your audience’s attention and compels them to action.

If the idea of writing an article or giving a speech feels overwhelming, stay with me. I’m going to show you how easy it can be if you follow a basic formula that works every time.

Brainstorm a short list of things that your clients struggle with. What problems drive them to you? Why are they willing to pay good money for your services? Remember, it’s not about you it’s about them, their pain, and their needs. This is now your list of topics for articles and talks.

Pick one topic and answer the following questions:

  • What’s the problem?
  • What’s the lost opportunity?
  • Why is this important to address?
  • What will happen if it’s ignored?
  • What’s your solution?
  • What tips do you have for implementing your solution?
  • What example can you use to illustrate your point?

Formula for Digital Marketing Success:

Attitude: Be enthusiastic and passionate about your value proposition to the marketplace. You know that what you offer can make a difference and have an impact on your clients. When it comes to your own marketing, if you feel good about yourself and you have self-confidence because you are doing everything for the benefit of your clients, you’ll become more attractive to prospective clients.

Belief: You don’t have to have a degree in marketing to get great marketing results. But you do have to believe in yourself and your actions. I call it a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you believe that can’t do something, you’re right – you won’t do it. On the other hand, if you believe that you can learn what it takes to get better marketing results you will.

If you’re persistent in pursuing your business and your small business marketing with a positive attitude and belief that you can, sooner or later you’ll find what works for you. You’ll discover the marketing strategies and tactics that allow you to begin attracting attention and bringing in new clients consistently! I know because it’s happening for me.

bookmark_borderMistakes People Make Using Roller Banner Stands

Design Them Ineffectively

If you are not highly skilled in design, its best to leave it to a professional, an ineffectively designed roller banner will not have your desired effect. Here are some design points worth check listing:

Don’t clutter your banner with information, too much text will stop people being able to grasp your message in time, so you should aim to make them as simple as possible. It’s also important to ensure the text you do include is big enough to be easily read. Also make sure you don’t include any spelling mistakes, so double check all text and ask someone else to proofread in case you missed anything.

It is very important you include your logo on your roller banner! Your logo and core message should both be at the top of the banner as it is where most people first look.

Using colour is important to ensure your banner stand attracts attention, but using too many colours will create confusion and won’t represent your brand, instead keep to your brand colours and be mindful of background colours to make sure text is easily readable.

Include a tag line or slogan as this will help you to build brand identity and gives your roller banner a core message.

Contact details also need to be included at the bottom in big and bold text to ensure your customers can easily read and write down your details if you are unable to talk at the exhibition. Brand colours and fonts should remain consistent and your social media channels should be included as a way customers can instantly connect with you and offers them an alternative way of them contacting you.

Position them incorrectly

For your roller banner to be successful, you must position it correctly, not only to ensure its visibility is not reduced, but also to give maximum effectiveness. Banner stands are effective at entrances, to attract visitors and display useful information such as signalling the entrance and giving directions at exhibitions and events. Roller banners are also useful to display information beside promoted products. Another important aspect to think about is where do visitors tend to spend time and wait? For example, you could position your banner where queues are frequent such as along checkouts, or where people sit.

Using poor quality images

Another mistake some make is using poor quality images on their roller banners. Perhaps because they don’t have any suitable pictures of their own or don’t want to spend money on using stock images.

It is well worth it to have a photographer take pictures of your business and products/services so that you have a professional representation of your business and a source of images you can use for all types of media. Paying for stock images are also a great option if you don’t want to pay for a photographer or hire a studio, many websites offer royalty free images and provide you with thousands of professional photographs.

Also when using images off the internet they may not be the right resolution, resulting in a pixelated blurry print. This will give an unprofessional appearance of your business and the message on the roller banner will lose credibility.

Another issue here is using irrelevant images, often that relate to the business but not the core message of the roller banner perhaps in order to fill empty space. It’s best to check you need every image that you have used and that they support your core message, dealing with any extras it is most effective for them to be taken off.

bookmark_borderFacing Fears as an Entrepreneur

Fear is such a huge issue in people going out on their own. I have heard from the CEO of a real-estate based network marketing company that even though he has people packing out company seminars, that maybe 2-5% of people will actually go out and apply the knowledge by putting offers on real estate. He is convinced that the rest are paralyzed by fear.

Here are some of the techniques I have used as I learned them from the successful people I know:

Think about what you do want. When you find yourself spinning the wheels in your mind over and again about your worst case scenario, turn it around and focus on what you DO want. Visualize yourself getting what you do want. See the new house. See yourself talking to the interested person as they become a part of your business. You get what you focus on.

Change the voice. When you hear yourself telling you that you’re not good enough – you’re going to fail. Just change the voice from yours to that of Mickey Mouse or Jim Cary or something that would hold little weight with you anyway! Who cares if Mickey Mouse thinks you’re not good enough?

Voice them to a trusted friend or associate. Hopefully you have been able to find some level of support in your enterprise. Ideally, you have a significant other that supports you. If not, then you should have some kind of support network from your team, upline, or corporate that you can talk to. Some people may tell you that it is silly you could even believe that you’re not good enough. For me, my wife has been a constant source of support. However, don’t go looking for support to all those people who doubted you and told you it was crazy to go out on your own.

Have a personal development library. I draw tremendous support from my library. It is not just filled with how to resources, but also stories of others who conquered their fears. I couldn’t begin to list the many sources I have, but if you email me I can recommend something based on your own description of your circumstances.

Go ahead and do it. Sometimes just making the smallest step will help get you going enough that the fear of not doing something can go away. An example would be neglecting to write an article such as this one out of fear of failure. Just starting it can create enough momentum to see it through.

bookmark_borderContent Marketing

Enter the experts

The short answer is, if you’ve done something successfully a number of times, you can claim the title of expert. However, there is also the axiom “Those who can do and those who can’t, teach.” There are many so-called experts who generate lots of content, but they’ve not had a project assignment in quite some time.

Noise makers

Everybody with access to a keyboard or a camera is doing some level of content marketing, even if it’s only for themselves and their Twitter friends. Everybody’s pulling out a cell phone to snap pictures of something—the first snowfall, the first crocuses, their dog grabbing a burger off the kitchen table.

Those photos become content posted to social media and join the digital noise that competes with content that Solopreneur consultants and other business leaders upload and post with the goal of appealing to potential customers. Launching and sustaining a content marketing campaign is an uphill battle for small operators with limited budgets.

Branding is not personal

A certain group of raven-haired sisters (and their mother) in L.A. County have done remarkably well with the personal branding concept, but that doesn’t hold for the rest of us. Unless you were lucky enough to have held a job that allowed you to publicly build a reputation amongst prospective customers, or you descend from a prominent or celebrity family, the differences that you (and I) emphasize to prospective customers are often perceived as minor and not distinctive competitive advantages. We are all the same, only different.

bookmark_borderCustomer Journey Planning

Tools that can help you optimise your customer journey

In today’s world your customers have never lived with such a short attention span. It is a noisy eCommerce world and time has never been a more precious commodity to the savvy shopper.

It is commonly stated that you have 5 seconds in which to first grab your potential customers’ attention when they first get to your site.

Then if you succeed at that and you sell what they want they need to be able to navigate to the checkout in just 3 clicks.

Any more on either of these and your chances of losing them to your competitors increase dramatically.

They key to being able to stop those high bounce rates is data, or more specifically knowledge.

You need to know what your customers are doing and more importantly what they struggle with.

The good news is that there are so many tools available to you as a business owner now that have made collecting relevant data easier than ever.

Google Analytics for example is a fantastic free tool which will show you a fantastic breakdown of traffic on your site, including pages which have the highest drop out rate for your visitors.

Optimizely is another fantastic tool which enables you to run A/B tests on your site to take away guesswork on a number of areas on your website, leaving you with the true numbers of actual customer behaviour.

The most neglected aspect of your customer journey

There are obviously multiple elements to consider in the customer journey from when they first discover your brand to when they are repeat customers of yours.

The eCommerce average for customers dropping out on the cart page however is 68.81% as reported by the Baymard Institute.

For this reason I strongly believe that the shopping cart is often the most neglected element of the customer journey and if optimised would result in the largest increase in revenue for your business.

The 3 questions you need to ask when it comes to your checkout are:

  1. Have you been clear with you customers up to this point? (Do not surprise them at the checkout with any hidden fees, taxes or charges. The price they see should be the price they pay)
  2. Is your checkout simple? (One page if possible)
  3. Can a customer trust your checkout? (Do you have an SSL certificate in place along with payment card logos and the appropriate payment security badges)

Interestingly all three of these points above can be fixed or addressed very quickly and simply with some design changes or by purchasing an SSL certificate.

So these are my top 3 tips to ensure that your checkout is starting with the best chance of converting your potential customers.

Of course there are other areas you can optimise but these are the best places to get started.

How to get the advantage on your competition

As mentioned throughout the article, you are not alone if you are guilty of neglecting the customer journey.

The good news is I guarantee the majority of your competitors are doing it too.

Recently I had the opportunity to speak with BarclayCard about this very subject and as they are the market leaders when it comes to innovation and they genuinely see the potential in eCommerce businesses.

We worked together on an article to help you better plan your customers’ journey.

Utilising the information we have provided you should be able to safely say that you now have a plan for your customer journey, and you have put tools and best practices in place to retain a larger number of your customers right up to the point of completing the sale.