5 Tips To Keep Online Customers Happy

online customers

As online shopping continues to grow, it’s important to make sure that you provide a simple, seamless experience for your online customers.

Maybe you don’t have an online store. Perhaps you just have a handful of items or services that your offering to your visitors. Whatever the case, if you want repeat business, referrals and great reviews, keep your clients happy!

Consider the following five tips to help create a great user experience:

1. Make sure that your site is responsive. While Google is not longer directly penalizing websites that aren’t mobile responsive, having a site that is not responsive can hurt still affect your SEO rankings indirectly.  But it can hurt your user experience even more. People are using mobile devices like tablets and smartphones all the time. If your site does not respond and display well on these devices, users will become frustrated and buy from someone else.

2. Check your page load times. This tip kind of works hand-in-hand with the tip noted above. People want to see great pictures of your products and/or great descriptions of your products and services, but if it takes a long time to load, kiss the sale goodbye.

3. Do not make your users create an account. With more and more transactions happening online, the need to create an account or connect with the social media account has become prevalent. People are becoming fatigued with this process and are choosing, more and more often, to opt out rather than creating a new account. Make it as simple as possible for people to see what you are offering. You will get the information you need when they make a purchase, so don’t make it onerous for them to shop.

4. Watch the pop-ups. Depending on the type of site you have, you might have anywhere from one to several pop-ups on your page. Remember the golden rule. After all, don’t you find pop-ups annoying when you are trying to ascertain the contents of the site? Keep the pop-ups to a minimum to keep user frustrations also at a minimum.

5. Give people payment options. Limiting the way people can pay for your products or services will also limit the number of buyers. Be sure that people can pay with whatever method they choose, as easily as possible.

One final bonus tip: remember that people like to deal with people or businesses that they like, know, and trust. Do not treat your customers like strangers. Develop that relationship, build that trust and gain a loyal client.

Until next time…

Are you ready to grow your business now? If you’re ready to take the next step and make your business more profitable, contact us today.

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Improve Your Email Open Rates – Part 3

improve email open rates

A lesson in effortless selling.

Today we are bringing you the final installment of our three-part series about how to improve your email open rates.

Why do we send emails? Let’s face it; we are sending emails for a reason. It might be to get people to click a link. Or, it might be to get your visitors to purchase a product. Regardless of the motivation, we write emails because we want people to take action of some kind.

Check out these final seven tips to help get conversions from your emails:

1. Be sure that you are never putting short-term gains ahead of the trust your readers have placed in you. It can be difficult enough to build credibility and trust online. Don’t risk damaging your reputation for a short-sighted goal.

2. People purchase products to solve a problem, not because it is the next shiny object. The easiest way to make sure that you are getting buyers is to focus on the solutions your product provides, not what your product is.

3. Whether we like to admit it or not, scarcity forces people to take action. Make sure your offer is time sensitive.

4. Use analytics to your advantage. Use them to learn the exact point when your audience is prepared to take action and then insert the link to your offer.

5. Don’t just insert one link in your copy. Insert multiple links at various points within your sales copy to increase the chances of converting the reader. Yes, it might be obvious, but it works!

6. Remember to ask! People are more likely to act on something if they are asked to do so, so include that as a call to action within your copy.

7. In the “old days” of ad mail, statistics proved that adding a P.S. to any sales letter increased the chances of getting a sale. Email is no different. Add a postscript to every sales email that you send out. This gives you another opportunity to insert a call to action or to remind them of the time sensitivity of the offer.

And there you have it…

Everybody is busy. Everybody receives tons of emails in their inbox on a daily basis. And when it comes to priorities, your email is at the bottom.

The tips that we have provided for you during this series may not resolve all of your problems, but we can guarantee that by implementing them you should drastically improve your click through rate.

Until next time…

Are you ready to grow your business now? If you’re ready to take the next step and make your business more profitable, contact us today.

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5 Ways To Improve Client Rentention

client retention

Do you have loyal customers?

It’s one thing to obtain a client; it something else to keep that client.

There have been statistics as long as there have been sales. Depending on your industry, the rates might vary slightly, but overwhelmingly the statistics support the case for keeping your customers happy.

It costs a significant amount more, both in time and actual cash, to obtain a new client. However, once you have obtained that new customer, the costs to service and maintain that customer are markedly less. Therefore, doesn’t it make sense to ensure that you are retaining your customers?

Ask yourself the following five questions to see if you can improve your client retention rates:

1. How do your customers currently use your products or services? It makes sense that the more your clients are using your products or services, the more likely you are to retain them. Keeping your clients informed and engaged is a key element of client retention.

2. Do your clients know about all of the features products and services that you offer? Be sure that you are communicating with your customers on a regular basis, keeping them informed of the full scope of your offerings. If they don’t know that you can provide them with an additional service or benefit that they need, they may look elsewhere.

3. What’s the likelihood that your client would recommend your company to a friend? It’s true; referrals and testimonials are the best form of flattery. If your customer is happy with your services and would be willing to tell a friend about you, you are likely to retain the client – at least as long as you continue to provide them with the quality of service that they have come to expect from you.

4. Is there anything that would make your customers stop doing business with you? Communication with your clients is not only important as a means to keep them engaged with you, but is also an essential part of making sure that you are providing the services and products that will keep your customers loyal to you. Ask your customers if they are happy with your services. Find out if you are meeting all of their needs and expectations, or if there’s anything else that you can do to help them.

5. What, if anything, would your clients change about your company? Again, communicate, communicate, communicate! Phone your clients. Email them. Send out surveys. Ask questions, even if you’re not sure that you want to know the answers. If you are not meeting the needs and expectations of your customers, you can be guaranteed that they’ll find what they need somewhere else.

A happy customer is a loyal customer. And a loyal customer will bring you referral business. Treat your customers with respect and let them know that they matter.

Until next time…

Are you ready to grow your business now? If you’re ready to take the next step and make your business more profitable, contact us today.

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How To Get Discovered With Organic Search

organic search

How is your company getting found online?

There are tons of articles out there about paid search. SEO, Adwords, display ads, paid ads on social media… We’ve heard and read about them all. And, done properly, any and all of these methods can be effective and done with in a pre-set budget.

But prior to the development of these methods and the incarnation of the tens of thousands of companies and individuals who provide these services, there was something called organic search.

Organic search is simply being found online without paying for positioning on search engines. In other words, as defined by Wikipedia, “Organic search results are listings on search engine results pages that appear because of their relevance to the search terms, as opposed to their being advertisements.”

Of course, even organic search requires a strategy in order to show up on the listings. However, these tactics can be undertaken without the need to hire outside help.

Search engines obviously require input data that allows your company to be found. Things like keywords and backlinks are still important, but can be created through website design and data, clever content, and having your site backlinked to other sources, which helps determine the popularity of your site.

Review the following four questions to find out how users discover your company through organic search:

1. When searching for your keywords, what do users notice first: your website, your ads, or your competitors? If they are finding your ads, it proves that your paid advertising is working, but says little about your organic search. If they’re finding your competitors first, it’s definitely time to review your site and your content to make sure that you are targeting the appropriate keywords for your business. If they’re finding your website first, you are getting good organic search results.

2. What words are standing out to users on the Google search page results? Regardless of whether your site is being found on the first two pages of search engine results, review the words that are showing up on the results and make sure that you are using the words and terms that are being found.

3. If, and when, users are clicking on your link what do they expect to find? Make sure that you are using keywords that are appropriate to your business. Falsifying your content to gain organic search results is not the way to go. Users will be upset at what is a thinly veiled attempt to gain traffic and will boycott your site.

4. Does your landing page (or homepage) meet the users’ expectations? As mentioned above, make sure that you are being found by users who are entering a search query that is true to your business. You have only a matter of seconds to capture the attention of a visitor to your site. If they are not drawn to keywords and content that matches their interest, they’ll move on to the next search result.

Organic search results are an important part of online business success. Make sure that you don’t neglect this function. Keep your content fresh and current; both search engines and users are looking for this!

Until next time…

Are you ready to grow your business now? If you’re ready to take the next step and make your business more profitable, contact us today.

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5 Ways To Optimize Your Forms

optimize forms

Are your forms working?

Following up on our last article, where we discussed the creation of better converting landing pages, we thought it timely to address the issue of optimizing the forms that appear on your site.

There has been a lot of trial and error, and a lot of research about how to create the best form to obtain opt-ins on your landing pages or website. It stands to reason that the form that works best for your needs is the one that is tailored specifically to your product or service offering. For instance, if your form is intended to invite a prospect to receive a quote or an evaluation of some sort, the form would obviously require more fields than if you are simply looking to gain email addresses for your mailing list through an offering of a free white paper or e-book.

Every day, we are invited to download free reports, e-books, white papers, etc. And, every day, we make decisions about whether we think that the value we will receive is worth the cost of our email address. Just like you, I have either declined the offer or have submitted my email address in order to receive the offering, only to unsubscribe later when I find that I’m receiving too many emails. But retaining prospects and clients on your email list is a subject that is separate from today’s focus.

So, back to making sure that your forms are actually working for you.

Review the following five points to optimize your forms:

1. Make sure that you have the right number of fields on your form.  As mentioned above, make sure that the number of fields on your form is appropriate to what you are offering. If you ask for too much information, your opt-in numbers will suffer.

2. Ensure that your forms are fully accessible to users who use a keyboard instead of a mouse.  Drop-down options are great, but you have to make sure that if somebody is using a keyboard that their arrow keys are fully functional for the form.

3. Test your forms.  Make sure that your forms work correctly and smoothly across all devices, screen sizes, and browsers. If your form does not display properly to some users, they will become frustrated and will give up.

4. How intuitive are your forms?  If the user makes a mistake when filling out your form, does it display error messages allowing them to correct the mistake immediately?

5. Is there anything about your form that would discourage the user from completing the process?  Let’s face it, we all are looking for forms that are simple and self-explanatory. We don’t want to have to work simply to provide someone with access to our email.

Using online techniques to market and promote our businesses is essential in this day and age. Encouraging people to become repeat visitors to our sites and to sign up for our offerings is an important component of online success. Make sure when you are developing your forms that you review these five elements to make sure that you are making the users experience as simple and as seamless as possible.

Until next time…

Are you ready to grow your business now? If you’re ready to take the next step and make your business more profitable, contact us today.

If you like the information you are receiving, please consider forwarding this post.

How To Build Higher Converting Landing Pages

landing pages

It’s one thing to create a landing page; it’s another thing to build a landing page that converts!

We are all familiar with the landing page. You know, that page that is intended to entice us to sign up for something or to purchase a product or service. Well, we also know that there are as many designs of landing pages as there are products and services to sell.

There has been a lot of research and trial and error done in the name of developing landing pages. And, weirdly enough, some of those landing pages that seem to go on endlessly actually have a good conversion rate. Now, I say weirdly enough because, quite frankly, I don’t enjoy scrolling down the page forever to try to find the features and benefits of a product or service that I’m interested in. Yet, it has been shown that many of these types of pages are actually very successful.

Design and content are critical when developing your landing page. It must be attractive enough to draw in users, and phrased simply enough that prospects can easily understand what is being offered. If your landing pages cluttered or does not have clear CTAs (call to action), the likelihood of obtaining conversions is pretty slim.

From a functional perspective, it’s imperative that you ensure that the backend is properly structured as well. Test to make sure that your contact form is functioning properly, linking to the appropriate thank you pages and or leading to any upsells that you may have.

In order to build landing pages that are more likely to convert, consider the following six points:
  •  Is your offering presented in a way that your target user can easily understand? As mentioned above, ensuring that your offering is clear and that the details are simply presented will greatly improve the likelihood that the user will convert.
  • Does the landing page meet your prospects’ expectations? There is nothing worse than a landing page that does not clearly define the product or service that is being presented. Can your prospects find the information at their looking for? Are there questions appropriately anticipated and answered? Don’t frustrate your users by giving them incomplete information.
  • Can your prospects easily sign up for your offering using the forms you’ve provided? Again, as mentioned above, be sure to test your landing page forms. Make sure that they are directing your users to the appropriate pages.
  • Can your users be distracted by anything on the page? The key here is to provide information in an easy to read, yet entertaining fashion, without diverting the user’s attention from your key goal of getting them to buy in.
  • Will it your users think that your offer has enough value that they are willing to pay money and enter their contact information for it? There are literally millions of online offers these days. To ensure that you are going to get people to opt in or purchase your product, make sure that it is presented in a way that assures them that they will be getting good value for their money.
  • Have you provided enough information to your users prior to the CTA? Let’s face it; no one is going to click on your CTA if their questions or concerns have not been addressed. Be sure to review your landing page through the eyes of your prospects, anticipating any concerns or questions that they may have before they click on that call-to-action button.

Until next time…

Are you ready to grow your business now? If you’re ready to take the next step and make your business more profitable, contact us today.

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Know Your Competition!

know your competition

How Do You Measure Up To Your Competitors?

Who do your clients and prospects prefer?

Let’s face it… a free-enterprise based economy provides the environment for a number of businesses to exist within the same industry. Take a look at fast food hamburger joints as just one example. There are multiple choices, yet all of them have carved out their niche.

As entrepreneurs and business owners, we should not fear competition. Competition is what makes us focus our business on our specific target market, and drives us to do better for them.

As consumers of product, we are all familiar with what happens when a monopoly exists; often, we end up with higher prices and substandard service. And although we may dream of cornering the market in our given business sector, competition is healthy and keeps us always working to provide the best customer service and to keep current with trends and improvements within our industries.

Reviewing and improving our businesses is key to ensuring our long-term growth and sustainability.  Reaching out to your clients and prospects is the best way to gauge how your business is viewed.

The following seven questions should help you determine how you measure up to your competitors:

1. If your clients and prospects are familiar with other businesses providing the same products or services as yours, which do they prefer?

2. What is it that makes them prefer one company over the other?

3. What company do they believe does the better job of explaining the product or service offerings in a clear, concise way?

4. Which company does a better job of convincing the client or prospect to convert?

5. What is it that people like or dislike about your top competitor’s newest product or service?

6. What would convince them to switch to your company?

7. What is it that you are doing that might convince your current customers to switch to one of your competitors?

Keep this list handy and refer to it often. Consider polling your clients on these questions at least once a year to ensure that you are continuing to provide the types of products and services that keeps them in engaged with your company.

Competition is not the enemy; becoming complacent in your business, is!

Until next time…

Are you ready to grow your business now? If you’re ready to take the next step and make your business more profitable, contact us today.

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Are You Invested In Your Business?

invested in your business

The inspiration for this article came from a conversation I had the other day with a family member.

This person is looking for employment, primarily in sales. He has responded to several ads and, although he has heard back from a good number of them, none of them have proven to be enticing.

Why, you might ask?

Well, simply put many of these businesses are looking to hire independent salespeople but are not willing to provide enough incentive to make it worthwhile.

Independent salespeople are, by definition, just that – independent. And with this independence does come some responsibility for absorbing your own expenses.

But when a company expects the independent sales rep to absorb all the risk with potentially little to no reward, there is little balance between employer and contractor and little incentive to jump into the deep end.

A truly effective relationship between a company and their independent reps is based on mutual respect, level expectations, and for both parties to be invested in the process.

Independent reps must expect that there will be some risk involved in accepting the role. Each person must be comfortable with the level of risk that they are willing to accept, based on what they expect in terms of results.

While some positions require some level of financial commitment from the independent rep it would be fair to say that all of them require a level of commitment. These reps must be prepared to invest a certain amount of time and energy into any role. The amount of money, time, and effort should be clearly delineated at the time of engagement, and mutually agreed-upon by both the company and the rep.

It is equally important in this equation that the company is invested in their rep. Keep in mind that these individuals are out there representing your business, and if they feel that they are being mishandled or mistreated, is it reasonable to expect that they will give their best and represent your company in the most favorable light?

Businesses must be fair when looking to bring on independent representatives. As a small business owner, I understand the value of hiring independent reps. It is a way of managing expenses while growing your business, when done fairly and properly. But to expect an individual to invest significant cash as well as time and energy, with no support of any kind from the business, creates an uneven playing field and a potentially toxic environment.

Don’t risk your businesses reputation. Be fair to employees and independent contractors alike, and your business will thrive. Take advantage of others at your own risk.

Until next time…

Are you ready to grow your business now? If you’re ready to take the next step and make your business more profitable, contact us today.

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Do This To Ensure You Fail!


No one sets out to fail – or do they?

Recently, I had a conversation with a colleague of mine. We are both in the marketing field, and so we typically discuss various issues that come up with our clients. This type of sharing has the benefit of bringing in a fresh set of eyes on the situation, often helping to determine a new approach to a given issue.

Now, in the interests of respecting and maintaining privacy for both my colleague and his client, certain circumstances in the following story will be altered.

But the essence and the lesson remain the same.

This client approached my colleague with a relatively simple project about two or three months ago. There was a fairly tight budget involved for a specific scope of work to be undertaken to complete his part of the project.  Over time, this project has ballooned in size and scope, but the budget has failed to increase at the same pace.

The changes to the project are not unusual or unreasonable, and in all likelihood could develop into an even better final product. The problem with the changes is that they are just being thrown out there, apparently on a whim.

When this project was first brought to my colleague’s attention, it seemed to have a clearly defined purpose and budget. However, now it seems as though whatever the project lead dreams about suddenly becomes part of the project.

This approach to marketing is doomed!

I’ve written in the past about what I term “ad hoc” marketing; its problems and its pitfalls. And what is happening with this project is a prime example of ad hoc marketing.

Too often, business owners are quick to say that marketing doesn’t work, or it doesn’t give them a proper return on investment. And while there are certainly some unscrupulous marketers, just as there are unscrupulous people in every line of work, it’s important that these business owners take responsibility when the failures rest on their shoulders.

No marketing campaign will ever work without first developing a proper marketing strategy. What is your budget? Who is your audience? What is your timeline? What is your message?

Sometimes, of course, things can change as a project gets underway. There is absolutely nothing wrong with changing your strategy if you find that circumstances have changed. But again, you don’t throw out your original marketing strategy and run with whatever idea crosses your mind at the moment. Stop and look at what remains beneficial in your original strategy and plan appropriately to incorporate the changes.

Whether you run a large corporation or are a one-man show, you will never obtain the results you want if you do not take a strategic approach to your marketing.

Until next time…

Are you ready to grow your business now? If you’re ready to take the next step and make your business more profitable, contact us today.

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Fear Of Failure – Or Success – Podcast

fear of failure

Fear of the unknown is normal – and healthy!

But don’t let it paralyze you…

Many people have great business ideas, but allow their fears to stop them from acting.  And, strangely enough, fear of success can be as detrimental as fear of failure.

Today we are offering our final installment in Entrepreneur Series as a podcast.

Don’t have time to watch the webcast?  No problem – download the podcast and take it with you.

Listen here or download our podcast:

Until next time…

Are you ready to grow your business now? If you’re ready to take the next step and make your business more profitable, contact us today.

If you like the information you are receiving, please consider forwarding this post.