Wednesday, February 7, 2018 by Kevin Wood
Wednesday, February 7, 2018 by Shayla Price
How to Turn Your Organic Site Visitors Into Loyal CustomersYou’re getting quality traffic to your e-commerce store. Now what? As a small business owner, you’re tasked with turning those visitors into customers. It’s up to you to woo consumers into purchasing your latest products. While it may sound difficult, don’t panic. Matt Ackerson, founder of AutoGrow, offers sage advice: “Once you understand that traffic is just like energy or water and you just need to create pathways to direct it where you want it to go, the rest is easy. Don’t make the mistake of over complicating it though. So many business people think success has to be complicated when it doesn’t.” Let’s make the process simple for you and the consumer. Here are five ways to convert your traffic into loyal customers.
1. Write Creative Product DescriptionsWhen it comes to marketing products online, storytelling really does matter. It only takes one click for a consumer to exit your site and visit a competitor. You can keep your customers’ attention and sell more items by crafting creative product descriptions. Descriptive text is an opportunity to highlight your products and showcase your brand’s personality. You want the product description to breathe life into the item. To achieve this objective, set the scene for the buyer. You want the shopper to imagine themselves using the product. It’s also helpful to skip the corporate jargon. Aim to use the everyday language of the typical consumer. Online women’s clothing retailer ModCloth uses expressive words to persuade its consumers into purchasing their inventory. Each product description digs into the emotional state of the shopper’s mind. Not only do you learn about the product’s physical dimensions, but you also understand how it will make you feel. When writing product descriptions, focus on turning features into benefits. How will the item improve consumers’ lives? What will the product help them achieve? Dig deep and touch their pain points. Stand out from the competition with unique product descriptions. You’ll appeal to your audience’s imagination and increase their desire for your products.
2. Create a Sense of UrgencyWith a jam-packed schedule of work assignments and family responsibilities, it’s easy for your consumers to delay buying products at this very moment. That’s why your team must nudge them to the checkout cart sooner than later. Creating a sense of urgency isn’t about causing a state of panic for your audience. Instead, you want to help them make a speedy decision about the products they already want. “Urgency can be blocked by your customers’ minds if you don’t give them specific instructions on how to solve the problem. Rather than giving vague instructions, tell people exactly what to do when the time comes and don’t be afraid to drive them toward specific actions,” says Gregory Ciotti, former senior content marketing manager at Help Scout. A few urgency tactics include adding a countdown clock to your sales page, showing the limited number of items in stock, and offering discounts on abandoned cart items. You may want to spotlight product demand, too. For instance, you can show how many people have already purchased a particular item—using FOMO as a marketing strategy. A small dose of urgency is helpful for getting your customers across the purchasing threshold. Product value mixed with persistence means more sales for your business.
3. Offer Top-Notch Customer SupportResearch shows that “on average happy customers tell nine people about their experiences with a company.” If you’re delivering superb customer support, that’s an opportunity to generate more revenue for your e-commerce store. While online support varies from the traditional in-person experience, some of the same principles apply. Your purpose is to offer immediate, accurate help with a touch kindness. When speaking with your support reps, consumers should feel special. Begin with a warm-hearted, concerned tone when talking to customers. Your team will want to approach each conversation as if the consumer is talking to a friend, not stranger. Also, it’s important to train your support reps to solve customers’ concerns as quickly as possible. Shoppers respect business efficiency because it doesn’t waste their precious time. BaubleBar values its shoppers and makes offering customer service a priority. The accessories retailer allows customers to email and call their staff members. Plus, the company posts their availability along with the normal response time. And don’t be afraid to apologize to your customers. If you make a mistake, acknowledge your error and continue to provide high-caliber service. Quality service is the key to ensuring casual shoppers turn into loyal customers. Give your audience different support channels to connect with your team.
4. Build an Exclusive CommunityThe desire to belong is part of your consumer’s humanity. In one way or another, we’re all seeking a chance to be part of a specific group, team, or club. Your e-commerce store can satisfy that consumer need by establishing a brand community. “We have an inherent need to be a part of a social community and to feel connected to others. It not only makes us feel secure and comfortable, it inspires us to take action to achieve our desired results as well,” writes entrepreneur Akshay Nanavati. Brand communities take many shapes and forms. There’s the VIP rewards programs with die-hard fans seeking exclusive perks. Or you can develop an advisory panel where consumers can give you insight on their interests and tastes. Fostering a community requires time and patience. You’ll want to create rules and expectations for your consumers. That way, you’re building trust early in the relationship. Go beyond the usual benefits of a community. Ask your brand advocates for their honest feedback in exchange for unique product discounts. And be mindful not to bog down your loyal members with excessive emails and push notifications. Communities ensure regular contact between your business and buyers. Elevate your e-commerce store with brand advocates championing your mission.
5. Present an Irresistible Exit Pop-Up OfferBelieve it or not, your consumers aren’t excited to buy your products every time they land on your site. They may visit your store to just do price comparisons, or they might have a few minutes to spare during lunch and occupy their time by browsing your website. While consumer intent may concentrate on another purpose, your goal is to reel shoppers in and persuade them to purchase. And one of the best ways to do so is with exit pop-up offers. An exit popup is a message that appears when a visitor tries to leave your site. It helps your team refocus the consumer’s attention back to your store. This popup is a prime location for you to give visitors a special deal, offer an instant promotion, or add them to a particular email newsletter. Behappy.me knows how to capture the attention of visitors attempting to leave its site. The store offers first-time buyers an extra 10% discount to influence their buying decision. There’s always one last chance to entice your consumers. With exit pop-up offers, you can grab hesitant shoppers who need extra motivation to buy your products.
Turning Traffic Into TrustPersuading visitors to become customers isn’t an easy task. However, with a sound strategy and patience, you can get shoppers to the checkout cart. Start with drafting creative product descriptions to get visitors excited about your items. Then, create a sense of urgency with limited-time sales. And always offer five-star customer support to show consumers you truly care. Build trust to convert your traffic into loyal customers.
Sunday, February 4, 2018 by Kristen Hicks
The Top Tech News of February 2018A new month means a new batch of tech news. For professionals who know that changes in the tech world influence your business, but have trouble staying on top of it all on your own, we bring you our monthly roundup of tech news to keep an eye on this month.
1. Tech Giants Tackle Online SecurityWith news of Metdown and Spectre bugs that cause serious vulnerabilities in computer systems, we’re once again all reminded how difficult it is to protect our sensitive data online. A number of businesses are scrambling to create patches that will protect their users from the bugs, and tech businesses are continuing in their ongoing efforts to increase online security proactively, as well as in response to each new bug and hack. Google has launched Chronicle, a company devoted to finding hackers fast using machine learning, and Apple has created a Privacy icon to help customers tell the difference between legitimate requests for their login information and phishing attempts.
2. AR a Top Trend at CESEvery year, CES gives tech companies a chance to show off what they’re working on and shows the rest of us what trends to expect in the year to come. This year, a lot of the main tech trends and product categories you expect to see were still well covered – autonomous cars, smart home tech, AI – but one of the significant trends on display was the growing efforts to create products in the AR space. There’s the Vuzix Blade (pictured right), which is like a better-looking take on Google Glass. There’s the MonoHD from DigiLens, which uses AR tech to improve motorcycle safety. And Realmax shared their prototype of AR goggles. It looks like things are heating up in the AR world and this is a trend people can expect to see more of in the coming year.
3. Facebook Makes New Updates to FeedFacebook recently announced plans to make some changes to how stories and updates show up in people’s feeds. Recent changes include prioritizing posts from friends and family over those from brands or media companies, giving greater priority to publishers that are considered trustworthy by a wide range of users, and giving extra weight to local news stories. The goal is to improve users’ experience on the platform, but not everyone’s happy about the change. Brands are concerned about losing reach on the platform (and not for the first time) and investors are leery as well – the company’s stock value dropped soon after the changes were announced. Whether everyday users see the updates as an improvement is still up in the air, but will likely have the biggest influence on whether or not Facebook continues on this route.
4. Google Chrome Takes On AutoplayPretty much everyone that spends time online is familiar with a particularly obnoxious and common experience: opening a link only to be bombarded with noise from an autoplay video on the website. We all hate it, yet websites keep doing it. Well, Chrome is here to help. The browser now provides users the option to permanently mute any site you choose. If you still use auto-play video on your own website (and what are you thinking? That’s a surefire way to increase bounce rates!), this change makes them that much less effective. Follow Chrome’s lead and give the people what they want by taking those autoplay videos down.
5. Twitter Releases Information about Russian BotsOne of the biggest tech stories of the past year has been the way the Russian government used social media platforms and search engines to influence the U.S. election. Both Twitter and Facebook have been asked by politicians to take a more active role in identifying and weeding out the Russian bots and fake news that gets shared on their platforms. This past month, Twitter contacted over a million users to let them know they’d interacted with Russian propaganda on the platform. And the total number of people exposed to Russian propaganda may well be higher. Knowing about the propaganda after the fact doesn’t change the influence it had at the time, but maybe now that tech companies are more aware of the problem, they’ll be better at recognizing and doing something about propaganda moving forward.
6. Amazon Opens Autonomous Grocery StoreIf the main thing you hated about going shopping was having to wait in line to check out, then Amazon’s new Amazon Go store solves that problem for you. The first location just opened in Seattle and anyone who shops there need only scan the Amazon Go app on their phone on the way in, select the items they want, and walk out with them. The company uses sensors and cameras to monitor what items people choose and make sure they’re charged accordingly. Whether or not the autonomous grocery store concept will really take off remains to be seen – and whether or not the technology will successfully make sure people are charged the right amount without issues is a big part of how this all plays out. But if it does, this is one more way for Amazon to disrupt a familiar business model and one that might both change how people shop and leave some people left behind out of work.
7. Developer Week Is ComingFrom February 3-7, thousands of developers will gather in San Francisco for Developer Week. The conference provides opportunities for networking, showcases speakers from a number of tech giants, and includes a hackathon (with cash prizes). For anyone wanting to learn more about some of the most important technologies in the tech world today, this is an event worth checking out.
8. States Pass Their Own Net Neutrality LawsThe repeal of net neutrality late last year was a very controversial move that left a lot of citizens offended and riled up. Plenty of politicians agreed with the outrage and some of them are taking steps to pass laws upholding net neutrality rules at the state level. Six states have already gotten a net neutrality law on the books and several more have one in the works. For something as popular as net neutrality, it just makes sense for state and local representatives to get involved and work for what their constituents want.
9. YouTube Makes Monetizing Video A Lot HarderMaking money on YouTube has never been easy, but it’s been a possibility within reach for any content creator that could gain a niche following. Now many of them are finding their ability to make any money on the platform at all cut off. YouTube has just changed the rules around who’s able to make money from the site. Anyone that has less than 1,000 subscribers or has been viewed less than 4,000 hours in the last year will no longer qualify for monetization. Many YouTubers are livid, voicing their anger at the decision on various platforms, in some cases while pleading with their fans to press that “subscribe” button or spend some more time watching to help them make the cutoff. For marketers, this is one more reminder not to build too much of your brand on a platform you don’t own – you never know when a change they make will ruin your ability to stay afloat there.
10. Mobile World CongressThe Mobile World Congress, the largest conference in the mobile industry, meets this month in Barcelona from February 26 to March 1. With over 100,000 attendees, it’s the place to be for anyone working in the mobile industry. We can expect to see new mobile products and features launched and hear about important news and trends in the world of mobile as news starts to come out of the conference. Like every month, February is sure to include tech news none of us could anticipate. Check back next month to see what new stories to follow as we move into March.
Friday, February 2, 2018 by Kevin Wood
What Are the Most Popular WordPress Plugins?WordPress plugins are a great way to increase the functionality of your website and easily add additional features. There are thousands of different plugins for you to choose from. In fact, the WordPress plugin repository has over 45,000 different plugins available. So, how do you know which ones you need? Luckily, a lot of those plugins perform the same functionality, so that will help narrow down your search. And some of those plugins are low quality, so it’s not recommended to install them on your site. Below you’ll find a list of the most popular WordPress plugins that you’ll want to consider installing on your WordPress site.
1. Yoast SEOYoast SEO is a must-have WordPress plugin. If you’re looking for ways to improve your onsite SEO, then this plugin will help you do just that. It not only makes it easy for you to optimize your content for your target keywords but will educate you about SEO throughout the process.
3. AkismetAkismet is typically installed with every new WordPress installation. All you have to do is activate it, and your site will be protected against comment spam. It’s quite a useful plugin, especially if you’ve had a problem with spam comments in the past. improve the speed of your website, then caching will help you do just that. W3 Total Cache is one of the most popular caching plugins available. Activating this plugin will help to reduce the amount of time it takes your site to load, and improve overall performance.
7. WordFenceIf you’re concerned about the security of your WordPress site, then you’ll want WordFence in your arsenal. WordFence is one of the most popular security plugins and it includes features like malware scans, login protection, firewall protection, and much more. This all-in-one security plugin is worth checking out.
9. JetpackJetpack was developed by the team behind WordPress, Automattic. Instead of being a single plugin it offers a wide range of different extensions, including site security, social sharing, improving site performance, optimizing your images, and a lot more.
11. RedirectionRedirection is one of the most popular link redirection plugins. With this plugin, you’ll be able to change the permalinks of certain pages or posts, and easily redirect your users to the current version of the page. This plugin is also useful when you’re migrating pages or posts from an older site. encourage readers to join your list.
14. WooCommerceWooCommerce is one of the most popular plugins for adding eCommerce functionality to your WordPress site. This plugin will work with most themes, however, keep in mind that some themes are better suited for WooCommerce functionality than others. Currently, this plugin powers 30% of online stores.
Wednesday, January 31, 2018 by Kristen Hicks
Valentine's Day Content Ideas for Blogs and WebsitesYou may feel like you’re still recovering from the biggest shopping holiday of the year, but it’s already time to prepare for the next one. With Valentine’s Day coming up, your marketing team should switch back into full gear to capture some of the $18.9 billion people usually spend on the romantic holiday. One part of your marketing plan for Valentine’s Day should include creating seasonal content that helps your audience navigate the holiday successfully this year. Valentine’s Day can come with a lot of pressure for some people. Why not use your content to ease some of that stress and equip your customers with tips and ideas to make the holiday fun? Here are a few Valentine's Day content ideas to consider for your blog or website.
1. Gift GuidesThis is an obvious and useful place to start. A lot of people struggle to figure out what to buy for a loved one for Valentine’s Day. A gift guide does the double work of helping you promote relevant products to your audience and helping them make a decision on what to buy. Keep in mind that Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be all about flowers and chocolates. If your business sells something that isn’t conventionally associated with Valentine’s Day, it may still be exactly the right gift for someone a customer loves. And your gift guide doesn’t have to be focused on romantic couples either. Many people will buy Valentine’s Day gifts for friends, coworkers, maybe even their pets. Don’t feel stuck focusing on the obvious when creating a gift guide, anything that could make a good gift for anyone is fair game here.
2. Advice VideosValentine’s Day isn’t just about shopping and gifts (although that’s a big part of it for some people). It also involves figuring out how to create memorable moments and meaningful celebrations. For some people, that can feel challenging. Help them out by creating video content designed to answer questions they have and give them ideas for how to get Valentine’s Day right this year. Blue Apron hosted a video Q&A last year on Facebook Live about good wines to consider for Valentine’s Day. They provided information on how to pick the right wines that pair well with common Valentine’s Day foods like chocolate, and answered questions that viewers asked in the comments. For anyone trying to create a perfect dinner and worried about how to pick the right wine, Blue Apron provided the answer (and included some recommendations from their own wine club).
3. RecipesFood is going to be a big part of Valentine’s Day for many people that celebrate. Some people will eat out for the big day, but others will want to try out special recipes that are a little fancier or more ambitious than usual. If your brand sells any type of food or ingredient that can be used in a great Valentine’s Day recipe, then this is a great type of content to make use of this Valentine’s Day. Pillsbury goes all out for Valentine’s Day recipe content with suggestions for sweet recipes, savory recipes, recipes for different times of day, and tips on how to make the food you cook look the part for Valentine’s Day.
Make sure you provide clear instructions and take great pictures that show off how good your recipes will look. And use schema markup to make your recipe content more attention grabbing in the search results.
4. Creative Date IdeasDinner and flowers are obvious. Some people are happy enough with the old standards, but some will want to find ways to make the night special in more creative and interesting ways. If you can help inspire an idea outside of the ordinary, your audience may be grateful for it. Barnes and Noble does a great job with this idea with their post on the Best Valentine’s Day Dates for Book Nerds. It includes ideas like re-creating your favorite romantic scenes or going on a literary scavenger hunt. Think about what your audience loves and use that information to come up with activities that can inspire an unconventional Valentine’s Day celebration.
5. Video StoriesGreat content often involves telling a good story and video can be a great format for it. For Valentine’s Day, you can use video tell any number of types of stories. You could create a comical take on someone falling in love with your products. You could tell a story of the way your products help bring people together. Or you could find customers with a compelling love story and feature their tale in a marketing video. Sweethearts candy went the latter route by telling the story of Jack and George, a couple that was finally able to get married in 2016 after 55 years together. The video includes them picking out candy messages for each other from a box of Sweethearts: “me and you” and “soulmates.” It’s touching. It’s a sweet story for Valentine’s Day, and it ties the video back to the product in a way that feels natural.
6. Love ListValentine’s Day is all about celebrating love. In the spirit of celebrating love, you can create content around things you love about your customers, or that highlights things they love. Round up a list of your 10-best selling products or the products with the highest reviews to create a list of products your customers love the most (and offer a special holiday discount on all them to show some love back). Join the holiday love fest by celebrating how much your customers mean to your brand and the love they’ve expressed for you.
7. Valentine’s Business TipsAdmittedly, this one’s a little meta – you’re reading a post on Valentine’s Day ideas for businesses as we speak! If you’ve been reading along so far wondering what content ideas make the most sense this time of year for B2B businesses, then here we are. Write content that will help your business clients make the most of the holiday this time of year. That could include marketing tips, ideas for special events to offer, or ways to make your customers feel special when they’re in your store this year. If you’ve got ideas that can help your clients make more money this Valentine’s Day, then get to work sharing them. People want to feel special on Valentine’s Day and buying things often becomes a part of that. If your content can help provide real value to your audience as they’re working out their Valentine’s Day plans, there’s a good chance they’ll turn to you when making their purchases for the holiday as well.