How To Prevent Shopping Cart Abandonment

How To Prevent Shopping Cart Abandonment

Imagine you are sitting at a coffee shop alone and need to kill time. You would open your favourite online shopping portal and browse through the things you once planned to buy. Then, choose your wish product and put it in the cart but then think of suddenly buying it later or else get an urgent work call. You then close the website and forget all about that shopping cart.

Anything familiar?

We come across such scenarios every-day and this is nothing new for the customers to abandon their shopping carts. According to the figures, approximately 68% of shopping carts are abandoned due to one or the other reasons. Do you think if someone would have gone to the store personally and then dragged the shopping cart from one aisle to another in order to get the items he wanted, he would abandon the cart at the checkout? That is next to impossible. Maybe because he invested time and physical effort in gathering those items. But in case of e-commerce shopping carts, it is very easy to leave the web-page and move on.

So here are some ways how e-commerce companies can tackle the abandonment of shopping carts.

  • Automated Texts To Cart Abandoners

Automated Texts To Cart Abandoners

One of the most common reasons of abandoning carts is that the customer is not ready for purchase. Often, a customer completes the order in multiple visits. Fortunately, three-fourths of the cart abandoners do return. So, how to bring your cart holders back? You can encourage them through a series of automated messages and remind them of their carts. You can also offer to give them discounts or offers to get through to their hearts to buy what they intended to. For example, if a customer abandons his cart, you can send an automated text message to him to remind him of the pending order. But in case, if the customer does not return or abandons the cart at the checkout page, you must understand that it might be due to shipping charges or hidden charges. Hence, you can engage the customer with automated messages, give them an option to speak to your representative and offer discounts. 46% of the customers spend more than the original cart value after being nurtured.

  • Make The Checkout A Cakewalk

Make The Checkout A Cakewalk

Often the customer gets frustrated if he has to go through the number of screens before the checkout and abandons the cart. Many times the portals ask the customer to sign in before checkout. This becomes tedious for the customer, especially if he is in a hurry. Hence, to solve this issue, a guest checkout should be provided. You should reduce the number of pages between shop and checkout. Additionally, do not force your prospects to register to complete their purchase.

  • Be Transparent With The Hidden Charges & The Shipping Fees

Be Transparent With The Hidden Charges & The Shipping Fees

Most of the customers abandon their shopping carts due to the hidden charges that are usually revealed during the checkout, mostly the shipping charges. You need to make sure that the cost during the checkout doesn’t become a surprise for any customer. You would surely put a low price tag on your products to make them look desirable, but that does not have a meaning if extra costs are incurred at the end of the checkout. If free shipping is not an option for you, then you have to make sure that the customer knows about the shipping charges well in advance, and in the early stage of shopping. This will make your website appear honest and reliable about the pricing.

  • Offer Multiple Payment Options

Offer Multiple Payment Options

Although most of the Indian economy is going cashless these days, still not everyone has a debit card or a credit card. Multiple payment options are one such choice that would be desirable from the customer’s point of view. By giving lesser payment options to your customer, you are providing unnecessary barriers between shop and checkout. You can give options of credit cards, debit cards, net banking, e-wallets and even cash on delivery. Cash on delivery gives that assurance to the customer that he can pay after getting the product in his hands. Hence, your website becomes his favourite to shop from due to the reliability factor.

  • Mention Trust Signals During The Shopping Journey

Mention Trust Signals During The Shopping JourneyWhen a customer shops online, he gives you his personal information along with his card details and everything online. Hence building that trust is very important to gain the confidence of the customer. Building trust plays a vital role in your business as it removes the hesitation of the customer regarding online security. There are surely a few ways to show your authenticity, security and trustworthiness to the customer. You can add recognizable trust logos to the footer of your website in order to assure customers that they are shopping on a secure website.

  • Provide Customer Reviews Along With The Product

Provide Customer Reviews Along With The ProductMajority of the customers read online reviews and remarks before purchasing a product. Hence, you should give the information a customer needs to rely on the product and your service. Therefore, customer reviews are a must to gain the trust the of your customer and lead them through the shopping journey to the checkout.

Loss of one customer means you are losing your money. Each customer is part of the big picture. Here were listed some ways of preventing cart abandonment out of many. You can use these methods to bring back your customers and not miss any. All the best for your business.

5 SEO Strategies That Might Be Hampering Your Business

5 SEO Strategies That Might Be Hampering Your Business

Proper SEO can greatly help you increase traffic, improve your search rankings and overall make your site more successful. However, it’s also a field that is constantly changing and evolving over time. Many tactics and strategies that used to work are no longer up to snuff in today’s online world. In fact, some of the obsolete SEO techniques still out there can greatly hurt your site. In order to prevent you from going down that rabbit hole, it is important to know what SEO techniques to avoid at all costs and what to do instead. Knowing where to focus your time and energy and avoid SEO mistakes when it comes to executing local SEO strategies and advanced tactics that will have value and drive rankings, traffic, and conversions are key to building a long-term strategy to grow your online business.

You’ve probably heard of link building, but you might not know what it really is or how to do it effectively. Sure, you can go ahead and hire a digital marketing agency, but unless you know the ins and outs, you won’t be successful. What if they use PBNs? Or a bad linking strategy? or they are wasting all your budget and don’t deliver any results? It’s important to understand link building practices and how Google can change your website — especially with Google’s recent updates. Here are some of the SEO strategies that might be hampering your business:

Building Links To Home Page

Building Links To Home Page

It seems logical to send all of your SEO power to your homepage because that’s where you want everyone to start. But, it’s wrong. In fact, it’s probably one of the biggest SEO myths. The homepage shouldn’t be used for your top phrases. Now, a common question would be “But then how do I target the key phrases I want to rank for?” You should build out content-rich subpages on your site to target those phrases, then build backlinks to those pages. By following this method, you will have links going to many pages on your site, not just your home page. This is a much more natural way to build links to your website. One of the biggest reasons for spammy link tactics is the myth that more links are always better. Just get enough websites pointing to your page and it will soar in the search rankings. However, especially since the Google’s Penguin update, the search engine cares more about the relevance of your links than the sheer number.

Therefore, by concentrating on volume over quality, you might be doing more harm than good, especially if the linking site has been penalized or has low Domain Authority and your site gets a lot of these types of links in a short amount of time. Yet, at the same time, links continue to be one of the strongest ranking signals and link building definitely has its place in the SEO puzzle. So, what is a website owner to do? The solution is to concentrate on natural link building and link quality rather than quantity. First and foremost that means creating something worth linking to. If you want backlinks, make something that others can’t help but share with their own readers. However, there are also more active ways of link building such as developing relationships with high-quality sites in your industry so that they naturally link to you. Another example is doing email outreach and actively asking for links from other such sites. Of course, guest posts are also still an option.

Too Much Anchor Text

Too Much Anchor Text

Exact match anchor text means that if you were trying to rank for “Web Design Studio” all (or a large majority) of the links you get from external websites link to your site with that exact anchor text. A part of link building is looking natural in regards to link growth and diversity. There is not a site on the web that would have almost all their links pointing to their site with exact anchor text being used. Well unless they were buying links, which is a low return, high-risk tactic. Your homepage is not the place to target all of your important key phrases. Use it instead for building the brand and creating trust with the search engines. So, when you are building links to your home page, the majority of the anchors should come from your brand or some form of your URL. Most SEO strategies want to build links that have their important phrases as the anchor.

This principle of building branded links also applies to subpages, if you want your link profile to look really natural, you need to have some anchor texts that have no key phrase at all, some links with the URL as the anchor, and some with your brand as the anchor. This is how other website owners would link to you naturally. It is unreasonable to think that anyone who ever linked to you because they loved your site would use your main key phrase as the anchor. So, you can’t do it either. Putting exact keywords into anchor texts of both internal and external links used to be a thing to get your site ahead in the search rankings. However, today it’s the complete opposite because this is what Google considers an “unnatural” link and you best do your darndest to stay away from it. So what are safe ways to phrase anchor texts? As usual, the best way is to forget about search engines and concentrate on users instead. In the case of anchor texts that means building them into the text naturally.

Lack Of High Content Pages

Advertisements claim that you can get hundreds of “high quality” backlinks for basically no work. This is not a good tactic, especially for new sites. It can hurt your link graph and be a signal to the search engines that since you are receiving a large number of low-quality links, your site is a low-quality website as well. Building links is a process that includes creating valuable content and then marketing that content to other blogs, websites, and social networks. Acquiring quality trusted back links is a slow (in most cases), tedious and difficult process, yet is a necessary evil for any new or existing website. With the Panda update, it is no longer ok to create thin low-quality content, spin articles, or outsource your content overseas to save a few dollars. The search engines (Google specifically) have become very sensitive to content quality and value it gives to the user. If they see a website consistently publishing low-quality content, they have machine learning in place to start and devalue the content and website as a whole.

With the Panda update from February 2011, it is no longer ok to create thin low-quality content, spin articles, or outsource your content overseas to save a few dollars. The search engines (Google specifically) have become very sensitive to content quality and value it gives to the user. If you want people to link to your website naturally, then you should create amazing content ever written so people will link to it. In fact, in order to build a lot of links to a page, you need good, in-depth content. If you’re not doing that then getting a lot of links pointing to a page of yours will not look natural. Google would never believe that a post with 500 words would naturally get 100 links pointing to it. But, the ultimate guide on a certain topic with 2500+ words could bring in hundreds of links naturally. That is where you need to focus your content marketing efforts.

Keyword Stuffing

Keyword Stuffing

If you are not aware of that yet, your SEO education really needs to start somewhere further down the ladder. Not that keywords aren’t important. However, go overboard with it and you will achieve the opposite of what you are trying to do. What does overdoing it look like? Well, the classic example is repeating the same (long-tail) keyword over and over again. For readers, that’s the equivalent of talking to a sales representative who keeps repeating the same sentences from their script. However, some people also opt for stuffing all possible keyword variations in their page title and meta description. While this might seem like good SEO practice, it is far from a pretty sight, is it? So what’s the alternative?  The most popular WordPress SEO plugin has a great content analysis tool that will tell you the keyword density of your content and whether it’s too high or low. If you are new to Yoast SEO, don’t miss our in-depth tutorial and comparison with All-in-One SEO Pack.

Concentrate on clicks over keywords – especially true for titles and meta descriptions. These are not made purely for search engines but primarily for the ones clicking on the links — the users. For that reason concentrate on making them appealing to human visitors. Use proper calls to action and good writing. Google takes clicks into account and a high click-through rate will propel you forward in the search results over time. Likewise, when someone does click on your link make sure it’s worth their while. Instead of stuffing keywords, concentrate on more and better content and user friendliness. Write for readers first, deliver value, help them, make their life better and do it in style. Use your energy to become a better writer. Use related keywords. It basically means that the search engine has a thesaurus and thus understands synonyms. Therefore don’t be shy to use related keywords instead of the same one over and over.

Spammy Blogging

Spammy Blogging

Legitimate guest blogging is a pillar of SEO, especially among bloggers. However, over time it has been turned into a black hat technique by spammers. So, does that mean we are back to writing only on our own blogs and hoping people will link to us by chance? Not quite. You see, guest blogging is not actually dead. After all, Google’s crusade was not so much targeting real guest blogging but spammy link building techniques. As a consequence, the search engine will crack down on – low-quality or irrelevant guest post content, guest post links that have nothing to do with the site they are posted on, optimized anchor texts. If you avoid the above, guest blogging can still be used for link building and SEO, however, with a few caveats. If you only guest blog to pepper in a link to your own site, Google will sooner or later catch on to it. A much better idea is to concentrate on guest blogging for growing your personal brand, reaching a wider audience and cooperating with other bloggers.

When you contribute great content to other websites that are helpful, unique and helps their visitors, the latter will happily come to your site — even though a nofollow link in your author bio. Don’t worry if that’s not a “real” backlink, with additional eyeballs on your content the chances of someone shooting you a link also increase. Plus, search engines will notice the additional traffic and reward you for it. This happens for two reasons. Your pitch email is a template that could apply to any blog in the world or your writing isn’t good enough. Then pitch your guest article that helps solve those needs. After that, make sure you write an amazing article. If writing isn’t your greatest talent, then find someone who is a stellar writer and get them to help you.

Maha.ooo and All the Nitty-gritties That You Must know

Maha.ooo and All the Nitty-gritties That You Must know

Maha.ooo is an initiative by Thane Municipal Corporation in association with RA Intech Innovations and Infibeam, with the hope to provide premium services to the citizens at absolutely no cost. With the digitalisation taking the toll in every field, things have undoubtedly become simpler and faster. Be it shopping, filing an income tax return or even as elementary as connecting to people throughout the globe, all you need is an internet connection to get your things done. The dire need of bringing in the simplicity has engendered the ingenious minds to introduce some of the most path-breaking ideas and innovations. Digitalisation, as everyone says, is the future ahead and that revolutionary age of digitalisation has already begun with the launch of first of its kind platform – Maha.ooo.

What is Maha.ooo?

In an attempt to create the online digital identities of the citizens of Maharashtra, the Thane Municipal Corporation has recently launched its online portal under the title of Maha.ooo. Recently, there has been an astronomical demand of the virtual space in the country. Realizing this exigency of a shift towards the virtual arena, this portal will eventually be used by the government to create the citizen centric services. It will, therefore, make the linking of citizens to the government seamless. The digital identity on this portal will comprise of :Maha.oo-Features

  • Personal Email Id – Once registered on this portal, the user is provided with the unique email id. This email-id, like your Gmail and Yahoo IDs, can be easily linked to your mobile devices and hence keep you updated.
  • Up to 10GB Secure Storage Space – The user gets access to personal virtual space of up to 10GB without any cost.
  • Your Personal Web Address URL – You can create your own personal web address with your .ooo account.

Why Must You Choose Maha.ooo?

The analogy of a person depositing his or her gold jewellery in the bank locker and trusting that those precious ornaments are placed in the safest haven applies to your digital data as well. The digital data requires a dwelling place as well that is safe and secured from all such burglaries that take place in the digital world in the form of virus and ransomware. But why must you choose Maha.ooo as the guardian for your precious data? Well, there are innumerous benefits that will come your way when you register with Maha.ooo. It is well-known fact how Maha.ooo is an efficient effort by the government, so as to secure your data from various kinds of cyber-fraud and use it eventually to create citizen centric services. Also, the reach of your data storage is expanded highly with the help of it. But apart from this, the following are some of the major benefits that you receive from Maha.ooo:

1. Personal Email Id

maha.ooo-easy-process

When you register on Maha.ooo, you are provided with the unique email id, that can be used for your official and personal purposes too. The perk of getting an email id on .ooo is that you get an access to all the premium features of your account for free. This email is equipped with IMAP/POP, which implies that you can, without any hassle, synchronize your .ooo account with your mobile phone, like any other id.

2. Massive Storage Space

Often, it happens that you are supposed to carry a heavy pile of documents containing confidential information with the constant fear of not losing it. But, with the huge storage space that belongs solely to you, you can seamlessly save the data in your account and keep it secured under your strong vigil without the routine exhaustion of carrying the documents. It has been, till now, a coveted dream to get a personal dashboard with the huge storage capacity of 10Gb for absolutely no cost. Your Maha.ooo account has turned this dream into reality. With the 10Gb of secure cloud storage on your .ooo account, you can keep all your important data handy and clustered together along with keeping it undisclosed.

3. Promotional offers and Deals

The additional and exclusive benefit that every .ooo account holder is entitled to receive is that he or she gets access to all the delightful and special offers of the pre selected partners of Maha.ooo portal. This includes the largest online shopping portal – Infibeam and BuildaBazaar. These special offers and value added services will be intimidated to you on your personal .ooo website and also via email. So, gear up for the indelible shopping experience with your .ooo digital identity.

4. Digital Wallet

Almost everyone today chooses to go cashless, via an electronic wallet. Storing money in your e-wallet is similar to storing money in your physical wallet expect the fact that e-wallet is safe and thief-proof, whereas the physical money can easily be stolen without your notice. Hence, .ooo account comes with a free digital wallet, to keep up with the latest trends and help you transact cashless without any chaos.

It is extremely easy to create your account on Maha.ooo. You can create your account within 2 steps and avail all the sumptuous advantages that it provides. All you have to do is a message on the given number with your name, and you will be reverted with your email id and the link to your web address. Maha.ooo is surely the path ahead for the welfare of both citizens and the government, bridging the gap between them. This is not only one of the very few efforts to fill the lacuna by choosing the advanced technology but also the very first digital platform that provides virtual storage space for free to its citizen in the whole country.

5 Tips Every Entrepreneur Should Know To Manage Online Reputation

5 Tips Every Entrepreneur Should Know To Manage Online Reputation

Just look up yourself on Google and you will find a Facebook page, probably a LinkedIn account. There are also other sources that you may have not heard of but they have some information on you. It is absolutely imperative to alter the way your name appears anywhere in the search engines. This also falls in the category of search engine optimization. While it is essential for any business to flaunt only the neutral or positive content online, there are ways in a small budget that can help the small businesses protect their online reputation. Better control the way how your business, and its products/services, is perceived now, when you have only commenced, before it’s too late to cover up. There is much confusion regarding online brand and reputation management.

Some think it’s only for brands who get themselves in trouble and need to cover up the bad. Some think it’s public relations, while others think it’s just social media monitoring or some ninja SEO tricks. The truth is every brand has a reputation regardless if they think they do or not. Your brand is the sum of what people think, say and tell other people about you. You can spend all the money in the world to create a beautiful brand inclusive of digital elements and visuals, fancy logo, website, blog and social media channels and profiles. However, if you don’t deliver on your brand promise it’s all for nothing. Your brand is the foundation of your business. It doesn’t matter if you are a small business, corporation or something in between you impact your brand with every action you take.

Every tweet, call, post on Facebook, Instagram photo, Google+ update is a representation of your brand. Every employee that works for you is leaving hundreds of brand impressions every day online and offline. They are talking about you! Yes, people are talking about your brand, your executives, your service and your employees. They are talking about what you do right and what you have screwed up on. The question is do you know what they are saying? Are you part of the conversation? Or are you choosing to ignore it? Maintaining a positive reputation can mean the difference between success and failure when it comes to your business. Even before the rise of the Internet twenty years ago, favorable word of mouth was the lifeblood of every thriving business, and now that the Internet has become ubiquitous, reputation is more important than ever.

Whether your business is just starting out or you’ve got a decades-old company that’s flourishing, you need to maintain your online reputation carefully. All businesses need to keep track of an online reputation. It only takes a couple of hours for a bad customer experience to go viral and impact your bottom line. It’s even worse if you don’t know it’s happening and you’re not on top of the situation. Here are the 5 tips every entrepreneur should know to manage their online reputation:

Run A Name Search

The first step to managing your online reputation is to find out just what your reputation is in cyberspace. If you have ever made a comment, liked a post, or shared a link, chances are, you have an online profile, whether you know it or not. As a real estate agent it is imperative that you figure out whether or not your online reputation is a positive or a negative one. Search the different search engines, not just one: Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. You may have to browse through several pages to get one that pulls your name or your business name up. Try several combinations of your full name, your last name, your business name, and any screen names you might have used in the past.

Secondly, go to social media sites and search for your profiles there. For each site, click on the link and read what has been said about you or your company. If there are negative comments, save the link, note the poster, and keep reading. Even if most comments are positive, don’t disregard the negative ones. When managing your online reputation, the best place to start is with an Internet search to see what people are saying about you. No matter how new or small your business is, the odds are good that someone out there is saying something. So do a little digging to see what the general attitudes are toward your business. This research can give you a baseline for where you should start when it comes to managing your online presence and offer an honest assessment of your strengths and weaknesses in the eyes of customers.

Be Transparent

People like to read content that is human and sounds not-so-corporate, given your target market. For this you need to portray all the originalities and be as transparent to the audience as possible. It helps them to stay connected and aids you in developing an understanding of the consumer behavior. Another side effect of the Internet is that everyone expects companies to be totally transparent. Social media has opened the floodgates of communication, all but eliminating the barriers between companies and their customers. Consumers want to be able to talk directly to representatives of a company, and they expect the company to respond to their questions and concerns. Do your best to maintain a transparent online presence and allow your employees to interact online with clients.

Believe it or not, one errant tweet can wreck havoc on an otherwise thriving business. Your next move is to admit to mistakes and do your best to fix them. In many cases, people like to give second chances; this means you can redeem yourself. Be frank about the mistake, even if you don’t go into detail. Apologize, and describe the steps you are taking to fix it. Digging in and denying the problem won’t help–it will only make things worse. You can overcome a poor online reputation, but you need to start by projecting openness and regret to win back trust. It’s important to continue building relationships with your audience. Online reputation management has a lot to do with how many people actually believe what is being said about you. Create a brand that people love, and you’ll weather most storms. Reach out to your fans and let them do the fighting for you.

Join Social Networks

For best results, create a Facebook profile, Twitter account, and Tumblr page for your company at the very least. Not only will utilizing these sites expand the influence of your brand, but they can also allow you and your business to show a bit of personality. Sure, you have a business to run, but there’s no reason that you can’t build a reputation for sending out funny tweets or posting gorgeous pictures on your business’ Facebook page. And if you continually add new content to these sites, you can keep your customers constantly engaged. You need to remain relevant if you want to show up higher in search results. Keep your site and social updated so that you are relevant. This means you need to keep your content fresh and pay attention to your social media strategy. It’s possible to hire others to help with your content creation so that you can focus on other aspects of your business.

Just make sure you are putting out the freshest, most relevant info so that it pushes the other stuff down in the search results. There are many influencers and websites out there that allow guest blogging feature. It is a way of allowing external contribution to their website so that it has a blend of quality content from elsewhere. Later when the contributor promotes it on their channels, the website and the contributor together tastes the fruit of success. Offer to write guest posts and ask for a link back to your website. Make sure that you look for a prominent blog over the Internet so that it can push down any negative publicity and get you traffic. Create pages for your business profiles on various social media networks. If there are so many for you to manage then it is not necessary to get your presence just about everywhere. Simply take some time out to figure out where your audience is and set up accounts over there only.

Treat Negative Reviews Respectfully

If you are to go for a vacation, you are instantly going to check the resort before you book, look up its social media profiles and read the reviews. The last part is important, yes, reviews. This is what all of us are relying on these days because reviews come first-hand from the consumers of the very services. That’s where negative reviews come in too. What most businesses do is that they encourage the consumers with positive experiences to post on various sites they have created like Google Places, Yahoo! Local and even Yelp.com. What about when you are to respond to a negative review? Don’t throw a marketing-spiel or you will be experiencing Internet trolls. Be open to them and promise to make corrections or offer them something positive. Inevitably, no matter how solid your online reputation is, you may still get negative comments or feedback online.

Whether it is from a competitor or an old client of yours, the way that you respond to negative reviews can have a lasting impact on your online reputation – either for good or for bad. Even if the comment or post is unfair, even more than in face-to-face interactions, it is extremely important that you always take the high road. Negative word of mouth can be a killer for your business. So as you’re conducting regular checkups of your online reputation, be on the lookout for comments or reviews that paint your company in a harmful light. Often, negative comments result from simple misunderstandings or an interaction that didn’t live up to a customer’s expectations. If you find an unflattering review, then see if you can reach out to the person who left it and correct the situation. Every once in a while, businesses will find negative reviews that are entirely baseless, and in these cases, you can contact the administrators of the review site and try to have them taken down.

Track Your Online Image

Keep a close check on your business. Often look up in different search engines and see what comes up. Check all the links mentioned and see what you can control. Regular monitoring will save you from a series of crisis created in the future. Reputation is a sensitive matter. Once established, it needs to be constantly maintained in order to protect the brand. Use the aforementioned tips as tools to help you manage your reputation online and you will never regret a day in your life. Take the matter of online reputation management of your brand into your very own hands or get a reputation management agency to do it for you. Either ways, just get it done before it’s too late. After you have finished setting up your online profile in the way that you best feels represents your personal brand, you have to stay on top of it. The best way to do that is to sign up for alerts whenever your name or business name is mentioned online.

Google Alerts is one of the most widely used, but there are several other search engine alerts that offer the same service. Marketing and public relations is a completely different ballgame than it was 10-20 years ago. Now, there are a plethora of ways brands can shape their image across the web. However, one of the realities businesses must come to terms with is that it is a 24/7 task. In terms of getting a startup off the ground, one must utilize current digital strategies to establish credibility out of the gate. First off, one of the most effective strategies we know is SEO. SEO is a quintessential example of quality over quantity. To be impactful, businesses need to keep a very close eye on analytics. Without a firm grasp, you won’t be able to gauge how brand content is resonating. Be sure you are frequently monitoring website metrics like traffic, time on page, CTR and bounce rate.

5 Easy Ways To De-stress And Improve Productivity At The Workplace

5 Easy Ways To De-stress And Improve Productivity At The Workplace

In the business world, it can be tough to find that perfect balance and achieve optimum productivity. The day often turns out much differently than it was planned over morning coffee. Stress is a fact of life for professionals. But there are many ways you can cope so it doesn’t take over your day-to-day performance or well-being. Business leaders from all backgrounds are looking for outside-the-box strategies to reduce stress and make the most out of each hour. Here are some approaches to consider implementing so you and your team fire on all cylinders — minus the afterburn. Meditation is now a multi-billion dollar business. Clearly, we are all seeking ways to reduce our stress and quiet our minds. As the year winds down, business owners and executives often do an assessment of operations and decide how to improve productivity and revenue for the upcoming year.

Measurable costs like utilities, office supplies and vendor contracts are often revisited and analyzed for improvement. How often, however, do companies stop and assess the toll of intangible things on bottom line? Things like employee well-being are often difficult to measure but have a big impact on the overall success of a business. Stress is more than a mental state and can cause serious physical ailments. Extended stress has a detrimental effect on physical health because the body enters a “fight or flight” state and neglects other vital basic bodily functions like digestion. Stress also negatively impacts the alertness of the mind, and leads to a drowsy, non-productive state when the burst of adrenaline wears off. Employees under constant stress are unhappy and are simply less productive.

When considering ways to improve efficiency in the coming year, do not overlook stress reduction in the office or virtual office environment. Here are a few expert suggestions on how to make this valuable improvement: A stressful workplace is fraught with tension, and can be a very unpleasant place to be. Productivity in the workplace can seriously suffer. People snapping at one another and pushing themselves to the limit for an extended period of time does little to create a healthy working environment, which will inevitably have a negative effect on your business. Consider taking these steps in order to foster a productive, calmer working environment. When you’re falling behind, your biggest temptation is often to crank up your output — but how many times has stress caused you to shut down completely? Rather than increasing your self-imposed pressure, learn to step back with ways that don’t kill your workflow or your creativity. Here are some of the ways to de-stress yourself and improve the productivity at your workplace too:

Have A Routine

Superior organizational skills set successful professionals apart from the rest. It’s incredibly easy to get overwhelmed when you fail to create and maintain an organizational system that works for you. Before you can collect yourself, tasks can slip through the cracks. Instill a firm strategy for organization throughout your entire company to help ensure high productivity and a focus on important objectives. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, either. Project-management software and team-collaboration programs can assist as you work to keep your entire team on the same page in terms of workload and prioritization. Tools such as WorkZone allow you to create in-depth to-do lists, ease individual workload and promote open communication across a wide variety of tasks.

Clearly, you do not want to give your employees lots of time off. However, allowing them to have a bit of down time during the day is vital to enabling them to recharge their batteries. Consider giving your employees a little bit longer at lunch, or allow them to break up the afternoon and you will see that the levels of productivity in the workplace will remain high throughout the day.

Disconnect Yourself

As great as social media is, no one can deny it poses a serious — and possibly detrimental — threat to productivity. You won’t be able to prevent each and every employee from checking their newsfeeds. And blocking social-media sites from your company’s server isn’t a realistic option. However, you can implement a number of strategies to help people disconnect when needed. For starters, try encouraging everyone to use a time-blocking model. You and your team members might set aside certain times strictly for checking to-do lists, answering emails, catching up on industry news or some other agreed-upon task. Once a productive flow develops, budget time for checking social-media updates as its own (smaller) time block.

Here’s another approach: Use AntiSocial or another app to track exactly how much time is spent on social media. This same tool can — at the user’s request — block those time-wasting sites to remove the temptation. Interruptions can be extremely costly. Many people are addicted to social media in some form or another. The inability to control it can spell death for productively. The work environment you create has an effect on your general outlook and affects everyone engaged in your mission. Company cultures are changing, in part because millennials are rewriting the rule book as they flood the marketplace. But keep in mind that nothing should be written in stone. As your company evolves, assess the strategies in play and adapt them to change how your business helps everyone manage stress and boost productivity.

Indulge In Other Activities

Get offline. We are all online too much. It’s affecting our concentration, our focus, and our happiness. It’s increasing our stress, anxiety, and feelings of inadequacy. The internet is giving us all ADHD. Chocolate is a wonder-food. Chocolate kicks our workouts up a notch and contains stress fighting chemicals, which are good for the heart and brain. Meditation physically changes your brain. In an eight-week study, experts found differences in brain volume in five different regions in the brains of those who consistently meditated. Can’t escape to a yoga class in the middle of the day? You can download a mindfulness app on your phone and escape during your lunch break, or in between meetings. Consider giving your employees a little bit longer at lunch, or allow them to break up the afternoon and you will see that the levels of productivity in the workplace will remain high throughout the day.

You likely have a stack of business books on your desk or nightstand. These really aren’t escapes. They don’t allow you to turn off your business mind and detach from the pressures of work. One of my favorite stress-relievers is losing myself in a great piece of fiction. There are simply times when getting away from a desk or cubicle is needed. Create a serene spot in the building that is designated a “quiet area” where employees can escape for a few minutes when needed. According to Geek.com, search engine conglomerate Google offers its employees nap pods in order to help them regain energy and get away from negative feelings associated with stress during a normal workday. While not every company has the resources of Google, a smaller-scale space for relaxation is easy to create.

Therapy Sessions

You do not have to have a gym onsite to give employees the encouragement to workout. Reach out to local health clubs in the area and ask about company discounts. If you have it in your budget to match some of the membership fees, even if it is less than $10, do it. You can also contact fitness class instructors and ask about a weekly lunchtime visit to hold a class at the workplace. Either pay for this service or ask for a reduced per class rate for employees that want to attend. Hire a listener. Retain a professional psychologist, therapist or clergyperson to visit the office one or two times each month. Have a set time when the professional plans to be in the building and allow employees leeway to go in and speak with him or her.

Many non-denominational chaplains now offer corporate services in order to reduce workplace stress. Employees may be too tired or worn out to seek out the listening ear of a psychologist or other trained listener in their free time; providing this option during office hours is a smart way to let employees decompress and discuss workplace, or even personal, stressors in a non-threatening environment. It is becoming something of standard practice, but its importance should not be underestimated. People need to have a bit of time off work to refuel, and team-building days are a great opportunity to give your employees a bit of time off, whilst trying to foster good relationships between them. If you choose the right activity, you will soon see dramatic improvements in your employees’ productivity.

Expand Work Environment

The thought of being cooped up for hours and hours every day can seem like a death sentence for some people. Before email and the internet, submitting to 40 hours a week within the same four walls was the norm. Modern workers can be productive nearly anywhere their bandwidth connection can find a steady signal. For this reason, many companies are offering flexible work arrangements, including remote teams. In addition, giving employees the ability to work outside the office allows more time with family and less fear they’ll miss out on life’s precious moments. Tools such as Slack and HipChat make it simple to stay in constant contact with employees or give them more freedom, as appropriate to the individual and the project at hand. Multitasking is deceptive. We think we are accomplishing more, but we are actually accomplishing less. Employee well-being has one of the biggest impacts on the success of a business.

Many businesses see a great benefit in having one day every week where the employees can dress down. Psychologically, it is a way in which the employees are able to remind themselves that they are human and not just suited robots in the workplace. Your employees will enjoy the chance to show off their unique styles in the office. To maximize success, the company needs to be a safe space for brainstorming. Spontaneity, wackiness, physical movement, encouragement and openness are all crucial parts of a successful idea-generating session. While there needs to be a specific reason why you’re meeting, don’t automatically rule out all rough ideas — build off of them instead. Make it fun — have people act out their ideas or compare them to fictional situations. If your office climate isn’t good for unfettered brainstorming, consider establishing your own work area as a safe space for ideas whenever you’re part of a group project.

4 Ways How To Improve Customer Loyalty On Social Media

4 Ways How To Improve Customer Loyalty On Social Media

Social media engagement is an important metric to consider when building an online store. While most want to increase the size of their audience, they often fail to increase their social media engagement as well. When you engage with your followers on social media you can turn them from fans into customers. The time you devote to building relationships with your audience can lead to a higher number of sales, increase customer loyalty, and higher positive reviews. In this article, you’ll learn the importance of social media engagement, how to grow your followers, how to increase social media engagement and more. Too many businesses perceive social media as existing only for marketing purposes. Don’t get the wrong idea, social media sites provide some fantastic opportunities in terms of marketing.

However, focusing your social media strategy entirely on marketing can end up hindering your success. As a matter of fact, social media sites are some of the best venues for increasing customer loyalty. You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again: times have changed. Your customers who are active on social media have high expectations. However, if you meet these expectations, you’ll be summarily rewarded. Customer loyalty is established and reestablished with each interaction — or touch point — a brand makes with customers. If you fail to sustain these interactions, you’re disregarding a vital component in building and maintaining strong customer relationships. You see, loyal customers don’t simply spend more and make more frequent purchases — they also do so without even considering alternatives or competitors.

If you want to keep your customers loyal, you have to make sure each interaction they have with you reinforces the satisfaction they’ve had in previous interactions. Social media is the perfect setting for conversations between brands and customers. Since loyalty has as much to do with engagement as it does with having a high opinion of a brand, companies who support and assist their customers on social media end up boosting loyalty. What’s more, by bolstering customer loyalty, a strong social media presence also drives recommendations — which of course, leads to more business. That’s why it’s imperative that your company has a social media strategy in place to meet customer expectations. Otherwise, you won’t continue to provide them with the positive experiences they need to deepen their loyalty to your brand.

Building brand loyalty is critical for any business since it helps in retaining existing clients. Your already existing client is one of the greatest assets hence the need for value addition strategies geared to keep and influence repeat purchases. Enhancing brand loyalty has become simpler through various social media tools, and engaging with your clients directly, by and large, improves your service excellence and above all the customer’s overall experience with your establishment. Below are some of the ways social media can increase loyalty to your organization. If you can do this in-house, great! If you want to have a thriving social media campaign, you need a healthy base of followers. Fortunately, there are a handful of engagement-based strategies that can win a follower’s loyalty and permanently improve your brand’s image online. Here are some of those ways:

Build Relationships

Social media engagement helps you strengthen your customer relationships. When customers engage with your posts or send you a message on social media you’re presented with an opportunity to get to know your customers and build a relationship with them. Answer their questions, respond playfully when appropriate, and go above and beyond to offer excellent customer service. Social media engagement also allows you to build customer loyalty. By helping your customers when they’re in need, building a relationship with them and offering a one of a kind customer experience, you’ll be able to increase your customer loyalty. Customers will trust your brand because you’ve answered their questions. They’ll fall in love with your brand because you’ve joked around with them, expressed your gratitude, and resolved their issues.

If you want fans who like and share your posts on social media, you’re going to have to get out there and like and share their posts too. The key to loyal customers is making the relationship mutually beneficial — give and take. You’ll be surprised just how much it means to your followers when you take the time to like their photos, retweet or share their content, or simply give them a quick shout out. If you build this type of relationship, your customers are far more likely to share your content. It’s the perfect way to build customer loyalty and exposure at the same time. If you’re feeling especially generous, you can give a small reward to your loyal customers. Thank-you cards, exclusive deals or discounts, and small gifts of the product are easy ways to thank your customers their repeat business — not to mention offer an incentive for them to keep interacting with your brand on social media.

Detailed Conversations

The Internet generation moves at a rapid pace. These ever-connected customers expect immediate answers. You have to be in constant communication to keep your loyal customers, well…loyal. Three days is plenty of time for your customer to find someone who does have an answer — and it’s usually your competitor. As a company, you have to participate on social media to engage with potential customers and build a solid community of your brand loyalists. Social media is the best tool for encouraging and engaging in conversations with your customers. Just as you would face-to-face, you want to show your appreciation and demonstrate that you value their opinions and feedback. Let your customers know they’re being heard and respond quickly! When you meet these needs, loyal customers will stay that way and potentials will move toward your brand. Communicating directly with your clients is a great opportunity for identifying with your customers.

Being a listening, and caring partner enables you to give customized solutions or offer a product mix that meets the exact need. Directly interacting with clients enables you to listen and learn your customers easily, this way you surprise your customers by providing them with what they want. Direct interactions with customers deepen their connection with your establishment and manifest feelings which pull people together, this ideally helps in shaping your relationships and increase the level of trust between you and your customers. If your followers ask questions, providing them with concise, detailed answers is sure to win their respect. You’ll instantly give them the new information they need. Showing yourself to be informative and reliable – you’ll demonstrate your commitment to your customers to other followers who may be watching. Similarly, you can answer questions from people who aren’t your followers; by searching for keywords related to your area of expertise, you can find open questions on platforms like Twitter, and submit your in-brand response.

Rewarding Customers

It is possible to tell your most active participants from the number of comments, feedback, testimonials, opinion poll results and much more. Knowing and rewarding your active participants is a good strategy that helps promote product advocacy. Through social media networks, you can promote your brand by offering your contacts discounts, coupons and other incentives which make them feel appreciated. In the end, treating your followers with exclusivity increases brand loyalty, and helps support your growth strategies, your followers can spread the news of your products hence, a bigger customer base. Social media brings customers closer to you, and working closely with your followers increases brand loyalty through shared benefits. Supporting various initiatives from your clients and showing interest in what they have to offer gives them a reason to stay loyal to you.

Encouraging interactions among your followers, showing interest and actively participating in such interactions creates a sense among your followers which is a plus for your brand loyalty. Oftentimes, your followers will comment on your posts and any material you publish. They might offer a counterargument to your main points, or simply mention that they enjoyed reading one of your articles. It takes about 10 seconds to respond to a comment like this, sometimes with a simple “thank you.” It may not seem like much to you, but to a follower who genuinely enjoys your work, it means everything. Doing this consistently will encourage more interaction and, in turn, build more loyalty from your existing fans. This will instantly win you the loyalty of the follower whose content you shared, and encourage your other followers to post more brand-related content.

Timely Support

Receiving a negative post about your brand is never fun, but if you handle it correctly, you can turn lemons into lemonade. When customers come to you on social media, they’re looking for you to be their problem solver — and they expect a response quickly. That means you have to keep your fingers on the pulse at all times. It’s also important to remember that both current and potential customers are paying attention to how you respond and deal with any concerns that arise. By showing that you’re paying attention and working to promptly resolve issues, you can instill a high level of confidence in your customer service and create loyal customers who trust your brand. Social media gives customers the opportunity to interact with your brand in ways they never could before. If you take the time to respond appropriately, build relationships, and support your customers, you can increase exposure and set the stage for higher customer satisfaction and loyalty. As your business grows things have to change or at least you need to have the capacity to meet your clients’ demands.

Social media provides a direct link for clients to engage with your business when seeking customer service. Implementing unique support structures helps your establishment meet various service related demands, and this ought to take a personal approach. There are various social media support channels that help keep that much-needed direct contact with your clients, also you can use specialist social media services to focus on customer retention by offering them seamless services. Even the best companies sometimes have to deal with customer complaints on social media. When they come in, do your best to resolve them quickly, directly and in the friendliest way you can. Fixing a problem is a good way to restore someone’s vulnerable loyalty, and will look good to other followers as well.

4 Ways How Better Communication Can Lead To Effective Customer Service

4 Ways How Better Communication Can Lead To Effective Customer Service

The heart of great customer service is great communication.  Here are nine ways to improve the way you communicate with customers when you’re providing customer service and customer support. From videoconferencing to text to social media and beyond, innovations in communications technology are promoting efficiency and productivity within businesses. The benefits of workers connecting on the go and across a number of channels can make a big impact on a business’s bottom line. Those benefits can be extended outside the company, as well. Always-on, multi-channel communications can help build a unique customer experience, setting your business apart and fostering consumer loyalty.

Communication is the key to today’s successful business. The better the communication between your business and your clients, the better chance you have of retaining your customers. In a world where news travels faster than the speed of light, it becomes imperative for your business to stay up-to-speed when communicating with your customers. Simply stated, communication is the key to a good customer experience. Research suggests that 83% of all clients would, on any particular website at one time or another, be in need of customer service. It is precisely this service that would be responsible for making or breaking a deal for your business.

No matter what service options you provide for your customers, don’t make them wait. Indeed, waiting is the bane of the customer service experience. Whether on hold via phone or standing in line, anything that can shorten the wait makes people happy. Some hospitals have taken to using real-time outbound communications to provide updates on one of the most infamous waits consumers face. The technology optimizes the mix of patients that arrive in the ER and helps hospitals manage their patient load. For customers, knowing the wait will be excruciating may diminish the mental struggle over it.

Create an everywhere experience In order to create terrific customer experiences that build long-term loyalty, innovative communications solutions must extend beyond the workforce and into the public. Everywhere worker, meet the everywhere customer. Together, with a great communications strategy, they can create the everywhere customer experience. Here are some of the ways how better communication can lead to even better and effective customer service:

Empathetic Employees

When organizational groups are on the same page, everyone understands the “right” choice for the customer, at every level, in every channel, regional office, and department. And everyone is encouraged to make that choice. Disconnects can happen between people serving customers and those marketing to customers, or between people developing products and those selling them. When such disconnects exist, the customer invariably suffers. Empathy is one of the five personality traits that make for a great customer-facing employee, and it is a big help in successful communication. Provide those employees with language support via “language engineering.” Language engineering means suggesting phrases that are likely to be successful in customer interactions, and discouraging the use of other phrases that are likely to confuse customers or get their hackles up.

Move toward a real-time communication model. Real-time (telephone, video chat, and old fashioned face-to-face communication) and near-real-time (live chat, messaging) are the gold standards in supporting customers. If these aren’t central to your customer support mix, they should be. When every employee is connected within a company, they’re all within easy reach of the customer contact center. That can make for a more satisfying experience for a consumer with an issue. Customers want to connect with someone who can help them immediately. With unified communications, determining the availability of and contacting that person is a snap. Customer service reps that can see the “Presence” of all employees can identify a company expert on whatever issue is at hand, determine their availability and instantly reach out to the right person in real-time.

Better Communication Tools

In customer-centric companies, the focus tends to be on the front-stage teams, those that interact directly with the customer. And the support teams—those that make it possible for the customer-facing departments to create customer loyalty and retention—well, they can feel invisible. Like their efforts aren’t talked about. How can they be expected to provide exceptional customer service if they’re fighting a creaky CRM, or their phone lines are crackly, or they don’t have meaningful analytics? Mystery shop/call/email/tweet/chat with your own company as if you were a customer doing business with it. You may or may not like what you find. If not, it’s better that you find out now on your own than from irate customers later on. Unlike impersonal email exchanges, messaging apps allow brands to connect with people in an intimate, personalized way.

But if you really want to kick-start your improvement in customer service and the customer experience, consider hiring a professional from outside your company who can bring fresh perspective and battle-won knowledge. Now plenty of other messaging services have followed suit including, Kik, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and Skype. Using platforms such as Facebook Messenger, various forward-thinking brands are already introducing chatbots into their customer service approach. The possibilities are huge, particularly as the bots are learning from every conversation, taking on more complex tasks and conversations over time. They’re being tipped to revolutionize a range of industries, particularly those that rely on high levels of regular customer contact, such as banking, insurance, and utilities. With technological automation, chatbots can be used to deliver a personalized experience, without additional human labor costs.

Uninterrupted Support

Even if your employees aren’t talking directly to customers at work, they might be in their personal lives. Depending upon your brand and industry, it’s possible that their neighbors, church, school, or other community associations contain people who do business with your company. What are they hearing about the experience you are delivering? Do they have a mechanism for sharing customer feedback with others in the company? There is a growing trend today to move away from annual or bi-annual employee engagement surveys and begin an ongoing dialog with employees about the business. Many of your customers are working longer and more unusual hours than in the past, and you need to be there for them. Do you need to go to a 24/7 support model? Maybe not, but if not, ensure that your self-service options in the off-hours are sufficient to provide the needed help when you aren’t manning your support lines.

Drop the formality. Customers today aren’t looking for stodgy, prim style of interaction from their service providers. They want a more authentic style of relating, what you call a “peer to peer” or “eye-level” style of customer service. Increasingly, mobile is the channel through which organizations and their customers are interacting. Ensuring that the virtual front door of the business remains open when consumers want it to be is key in delivering a great experience. If you’re not engaging your customers on-the-go—in the context of their daily lives—you’re essentially neglecting them. In-app customer service options can include live chatting with an expert, video tutorials or even transactions–such as the ability to make purchases, refill prescriptions or make a reservation.

Mixed Channels

These days, consumers expect to be able to reach a company through many different channels, including social media, email and phone. The more channels, the more opportunities for customers. However, when each channel is a silo, it can be frustrating for a customer who, say, begins an interaction on Facebook but calls in to continue the conversation. Customers expect service to be agile—that is, being able to start an interaction in one communication channel or touchpoint and complete it in another. Each interaction should convey consistent and personalized data and contextual knowledge and information to the customer. It is vital that companies leverage both technology and processes that will effectively tie these channels together. For example, when every exchange is accessible to service reps across all channels, customers receive a more personalized and gratifying experience.

While this should be quite obvious, delivering superior performance is one of the best ways to stay on top. Getting your customers to learn the value of the solutions you provide for them is an extremely insightful practice as helps them learn. Any customer, who comes to you for resolution of a problem, is likely to be willing to learn new information. This should provide you with enough leverage to interact with your customers while still providing best-in-class performance based on an in-depth analysis. Providing the ultimate customer experience involves a variety of steps, including end-to-end, seamless support through a variety of communication methods. These channels are live video chats, voice calls, and even screen sharing capabilities, which allow for an exceptional interface between your business and your clients. This two-way communication allows for an exceptionally responsive, intuitive, and immersive experience for mutual understanding. That’s the solution for a good, seamless form of voice call communication; a single button that works with all browsers and devices which help you to better cater to your customers.

4 Facebook Business Features You Might Not Be Knowing

4 Facebook Business Features You Might Not Be Knowing

Facebook has hundreds of features built into its platform to help small businesses thrive. However, if you’re like most entrepreneurs, you’re only taking advantage of a few of them. With Facebook’s audience surpassing 1.8 billion active monthly users, it’s become a critical piece of real estate for your business to flex its marketing muscle. Knowing the latest marketing features and how you can use them for your business can give you the competitive edge. Facebook is a must for businesses of all sizes. A good profile page can help you market directly to the customers that are most interested in your products and services, and connect with them in an authentic way. Through what other media channel can your business reach over 1 billion people, target exactly the demographic you wish and have direct communication with your customers?

This is why any business – big or small – should consider advertising on Facebook. It’s a great opportunity for a company to make online sales, get a following around the brand, create a platform where customers can discuss the products and, when done successfully, let people spread the word about your qualities. To succeed in business advertising on Facebook, a large part of companies’ potential customers are there. Therefore, in my opinion, all companies should have a Facebook page where they can interact with their customers. No other advertising channel, at least where you can communicate, can compete with those numbers. Here are some of the facebook business features that you might not be knowing:

Audience Insights

Located inside the Ads Manager platform, this tool is a hidden gem for businesses on Facebook. Audience Insights is a free tool designed to help marketers and brands learn more about their target audience. This tool takes the guesswork out of identifying your audience, and gives you their exact customer avatar including geography, demographics, purchase activity and more. You can narrow down exactly who your target audience is, and even learn which Facebook pages they like. You can also use your existing customer database, Facebook page or email list to learn more about your existing clients. You will save a lot of time and money by knowing exactly who to place your ad in front of. When creating a Facebook business strategy, it’s important to think through what you want to achieve.

Is your goal to make ads and drive traffic to your website – perhaps a web shop where visitors can make a purchase – or do you want to drive traffic to a Facebook fan page where visitors can “like” what you do? Many businesses benefit from both, so perhaps a combination is the best choice. Just make sure your primary reasons for being on Facebook is clear before you start working. This is a straightforward way to advertise your business on Facebook. You make traditional external-website ads and when someone clicks through, he or she is directed to your web page where a purchase or sign-up can be made. This way of using Facebook for business advertising has proven to be very successful for countless of companies. And when you do it, you’ll get the results right away. Just compare how much you spend on Facebook ads to the revenue and you’ll know whether or not you need to tweak your campaign in any way.

Product Shops

Facebook Product Shops introduce a new way to sell your products online, by selling them right on your Page. Using Facebook’s simple instructions you can set up a product shop in just a few clicks. During setup, you can choose whether you want people to purchase directly on the social network or if you want buyers to complete checkout on your website. Selling products directly from your Facebook Page allows you to tap into the existing users. Product Shops also allow you to put your products directly in front of your existing Facebook fans. These products are available for purchase without ever having to leave the social network. This feature can be further leveraged by running ads using the custom audience data from your Audience Insights Tool, so you’ll have greater exposure to your ideal customers and increase your sales.

Facebook doesn’t charge a fee for using this feature. Facebook has now become a viable alternative for brands who don’t have a website. However, a lot of businesses’ main reason for being on Facebook is just to get a fan base and not to make online sales. It might be a physical shop, say, a restaurant, a clothing store or any company that’s on Facebook primarily to raise brand awareness. In that case, ads directly to the website might not be the best choice. Instead, you want people to like your Facebook fan page where you can talk to them, run contests, arrange polls or other activities your customers want to engage in. The goal is to have active fans that spread the word about you to their friends, which in the end can be profitable for any business.

Live Marketing

Facebook Live has spread like wildfire, and businesses are quickly looking at ways to incorporate this popular feature to grow their businesses. A few hidden features can help you take your Facebook Lives to the next level. The live stream pre-scheduling feature is now available for business pages. To set this up, you would access the publishing tools on your Facebook page and head over to the video library. From here, you can create and pre-schedule a Facebook live stream. This creates anticipation for your video and allows viewers the option to mark their calendars so they can tune in. With the spontaneity of Facebook Live, some people found it hard to participate without proper notice. Pre-scheduling solves this issue for viewers concerned with timing and creates notifications for subscribers to tune in, ensuring you get the most out of your live stream.

Combine your Product Shop with your Facebook Live and set up your very own infomercial style broadcast. Now, when you mention your products in a live stream you can tag the products in your video, allowing viewers to watch your live stream and access a link directly from your video, where they can purchase your product right there on Facebook. Amplify your video with a targeted ad and there is great potential to increase your visibility and boost your bottom line. On the contrary to what many believe, online-business marketing on Facebook benefits small, traditional retailers the most. One benefit with Internet marketing for small business is that it allows you to compete with larger corporations. If you offer a niche product or service, you might even have a competitive advantage. A large business will not have time to focus in depth on a single niche.

Facebook Ads

The ads platform inside of Facebook is a wonderland for marketing with unlimited combinations to create the perfect advertisement. It offers a wide array of placement options beyond the traditional news feed. There are two new ad destinations that show a lot of promise for brands to reach a new audience and do something their competitors haven’t discovered yet. Facebook Messenger ads provide an opportunity for you to enter into conversations with prospective customers immediately and provide them with a highly-personalized experience. You can answer questions or schedule appointments, continuing the conversation right inside the Messenger app. In-stream video ads are new territory but provide prime advertising space with the popularity of videos.

In-stream videos offer another opportunity to reach audiences by allowing advertisers to deliver 5-15 second mid-roll video ads within live and non-live videos on Facebook. This means if you’ve ever had hopes of a viral video, you might have found the perfect ad placement. This particular ad has the capability to bring significant brand awareness as viewers will have to watch your entire advertisement since it’s shown in between a live and non-live video.

4 Simple Things To Follow To Bring A Change In Your Business

4 Simple Things To Follow To Bring A Change In Your Business

In working with organizations over the years, we’ve observed a leadership pattern that sabotages change. It occurs when senior leaders, who have been thinking, exploring, and debating about a particular change for a while, finally announce plans for a new initiative. Forgetting that others in the organization haven’t been a part of the discussions and are not as familiar with all of the reasons for the change, leaders are surprised by the amount of resistance the new change generates. By taking the time to address these concerns, leaders can improve the odds of success for their next change initiative. Are you considering a serious change effort in your organization? Address these concerns–in order–so you can get everyone on board and moving in the right direction.

Why is company culture being featured on a digital marketing and ecommerce blog? The answer is simply because the biggest challenges to the majority of companies (aside from continuing economic stress) are – Moving to the cloud and advertising/marketing/selling in a multichannel ‘userverse. One and two are enmeshed, of course. They both pose questions for any company’s technology and culture. Any part of company change inevitably involves consultants who are useful precisely because they are not burdened with the history of the company and they do not worship false prophets. Cultural change is easy in theory and difficult in practice.

So on we go. How can you improve your company culture with simple decisions? When it comes to the idea of proposing change within a business or an organization, a lot of processes and a lot of awareness would be needed to bring about measurable change. Such kind of change may take months, in some cases years to come about, depending on the size of your organization. However, you can practise these 4 simple things to bring about a change in your business:

Begin And Improve

Someone in a leadership position in your organization needs to make the initial decision that cultural change is a priority, that putting customers (and the employees, and vendors, and systems that serve them) front and center matters. Codify your cultural decision in a very short statement. A brief statement of what that decision looks like: How you’re going to treat customers. How you’re going to support employees. How you’re going to treat vendors. Because making a decision once isn’t enough: you need a clear way to refer back to it. Change your hiring practices to reflect your newly stated values. Every single employee, from that moment forward, needs to be hired for reasons that are congruent with your newly stated values. This is very, very important.

Improve your onboarding. The way you bring employees into a company is all-important. You need to go overboard with the onboard. Overboard in stressing, ideally, have the CEO there, the purpose of employment at your organization, as opposed to the normal stuff stressed at orientation: how to handle the minutes of your job description, signing in and out, and so forth.Adjust your personnel policies. No more docking people for coming in late from the lunch break to assist a customer they found in distress. No more ranking based on average handle time on phone calls. And so forth. The CEO can make the highest of high-minded values statements, but here is where the rubber hits the road, where your culture can be supported or sabotaged. Write down your standards. Everything that reasonably can be expected to happen to customers needs its own standard. Not immediately, but develop these as quickly as you can, thoughtfully, do so.

Plan Your Action

If leaders address the first two concerns effectively, people will be ready to hear information on the details involved in implementing the change. At this stage they will be interested to hear how the thinking behind the change has been tested. They will also want to know where to go for technical assistance and solutions to problems that might arise. Leaders should be prepared to answer questions such as: What do I do first? How do I manage all the details? What happens if it doesn’t work as planned? Is what we are experiencing typical? How will the organizational structure and systems change? Onboarding is important, proper hiring is important, but ongoing reinforcement is crucial. A few minutes every day discussing just one of your list of cultural values or service standards, with the meeting led by a different employee every time.

The result, added up over a year or years, is a lot of reinforcement. And it makes every single one of those days of that year or years better on its own. When there are immediate needs for innovation and a new strategy for a business, it has to come from the top-down. Senior leadership need to and have to pave the way with their innovative leadership. As an entrepreneur, how can you make a quick change with a limited amount of resources? If the business has to change and improve, guess who else needs to change and improve? The founder, the CEO or whoever it is that is holding the reins at the top! For this to happen there are two simple and practical ways to go about it. These two ideas can be immediately implemented and the change that you hope for in your company can be as immediate as the speed of your implementation.

Find People Who Have Made It

With some evidence that the change is moving the organization in the right direction, momentum starts to build. Leaders can look forward to questions and ideas focused on coordination and cooperation with others. A solid nucleus of people in the company will want to get everyone on board because they are convinced the change is making a difference. At this stage, leaders can look forward to questions such as: Who else should be involved? How can we work with others to get them involved in what we are doing? How do we spread the word? For you to change, your circle of friends has to change unless they are in some way able to help you reach your business goals. Does your friend circle have a positive impact on you? Do they inspire you?

There are tons of networking events that you can attend to. Find people who share similar goals, initiate friendships, build your relationship with these people, bring value to them too and grow together. A single piece of wisdom from a friend could be the only thing you may need to double or triple your revenue. Change your friends and change your life. In business, we have a terrible tradition going back that jobs are things done by employees, but designed by their so-called superiors. As our society has grown more specialized, this bias has increased in its intensity. While, of course, to some extent this has to be true, especially in life-threatening situations. It’s important to simultaneously push against it, to let your employees know what they need to get done but not necessarily how they should go about designing their day and carrying out their duties.

Read and Read

Take time with your next change initiative. Do it right and you can drastically increase your chances of success. But rush through the early stages and, like so many others, you might find yourself derailed as many of these concerns surface later in the project, killing momentum when it is needed most. You’ve probably heard this before, but it’s worth repeating here: People who help to plan the battle rarely battle the plan. While dealing with people’s concerns about change may seem like a lot of hand-holding, it’s important for leaders to remember that they too had to process information and personal concerns before they were ready to discuss impact and implementation. We are privileged to have everything we need easily available to us because of the giant strides we have made in technology.

Ten years ago, you would need a library and card and an expensive shipping cost to read a book of your choice. Books will expand your mind and challenge your innovation. You can actually get inside the world of a world-class thought leader, billionaire or visionary leader and understand what methods they used to transform their business. How amazing is that! Reading books is one of the best investments you can make in your professional career. Again, the key to overcoming a challenge in your business may lie within a book that costs less than INR 500. Pearls of wisdom worth far more than money can be found in the collectible knowledge of books. Find a way to buy and read a book.

4 Leadership Lessons That Help You To Be A Better Entrepreneur

4 Leadership Lessons That Help You To Be A Better Entrepreneur

Many people become entrepreneurs because they want to be their own boss. They don’t want to answer to anyone. These are the same folks who imagine that entrepreneurial leaders are like mavericks on the open road, making the rules up as they go along, not conforming to anyone’s ideas. This line of thinking is not only unreasonable, it is actually the root of poor leadership. Founding a startup isn’t just about breaking the rules and taking risks for the thrill of it. Entrepreneurs are indeed required to take risks. But the most important part is not just about taking risks, it’s being responsible and accountable for the results. The first and foremost virtue is the need for accountability. Nothing can prepare you for entrepreneurship.

No one speaks of the loneliness, depression, betrayals, debt and exhaustion that often come as a price for pursuing your vision. There is a dark side to being a visionary that leaves many entrepreneurs feeling the effects of depression. Perched at the top of their field or still in pursuit of their big win, few entrepreneurs document their missteps along the way. Living in a day and time when showcasing the highlight reel of people’s lives takes center stage, there is often an emphasis on the destination rather than the journey. Building a business is tough and so is building a team. It takes extra time, planning, thoughtfulness, humility and requires an investment that goes beyond money.

You might have led teams or might be led by someone in teams. But, as an entrepreneur, it’s different. It has an advisory board, have mentors and speak with fellow business owners but when it comes down to it, the decision for growth and team building rests on an entrepreneur’s shoulders alone. That’s a heck of a lot of responsibility. Here are some leadership lessons that help you to be a better entrepreneur:

Trusting Yourself

So often, we withdraw from people when we have tunnel vision in pursuing our goals. We disappear during the rough times and then re-emerge at our wins, and wonder why outsiders looking in think entrepreneurship is an easy ride. If you’ve ever watched Game of Thrones, the show that has taken the world by storm. You might be familiar with the saying, “You know nothing, Jon Snow.” Ironically, it couldn’t be much further from the truth. The bastard son of Lord Eddard Stark, Snow has quickly risen from being the black sheep of the family to become Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. Why? Not only is he brave, clever, and quick thinking, but the brooding hero also believes in himself and isn’t afraid to follow his instincts–qualities that every good leader needs by the bucketload. As a result, he’s won the respect of nearly everyone around him. He’s both the ultimate underdog and proof you should never underestimate yourself.

You have to invest time upfront before you can begin to action anything meaningful. You feel like you need to know everything about all aspects of what you do as an agency but that’s just not the case. It’s OK and beneficial for the team to know more about certain topics than you do — it keeps you sharp and it frees you up to focus on other areas of expertise. The decisions that you make will affect your business long-term. In a corporate environment, there are always fallbacks, and sometimes if you have a good idea, it might not be accepted. When you have an idea and decide to implement it into your business, you must give it 100 percent of your effort. If they are wrong, admit your faults, and move forward with complete confidence in yourself. No one is always right, and entrepreneurship is all about making tough decisions even when you are unsure of the outcome.

Being Prepared For Setbacks

The Dothraki should have made formidable opponents. Yet the Lannisters, Starks, and Baratheons weren’t afraid of them for one simple reason: The Dothraki were scared of the sea, and everyone knew it. So despite their nifty skills and a vast army of over 40,000 warriors, the Dothraki’s fear rendered them impotent, stuck in a rut, and unable to grow or become more powerful. In tech terms, they were the BlackBerry of the series: a big player in its own world but arguably oblivious to the opportunities in the land of touchscreen phones. All the while, its rival, Apple, was setting sail to explore new territories. The result? BlackBerry has reportedly suffered losses while Apple has raked in incredible profits–and for a while, at least, it seemed no city was safe from its dominance.

Your entrepreneurial journey is going to transform you into someone entirely different. This will cause some upheaval in your current relationships, so be prepared for disruption. This is part of the entrepreneurial process. Your support circles will shift. Embrace your growth and never apologize for who you are, or what your dreams are. There are so many external circumstances that will be beyond your control. Industries and markets can change overnight. The ability to pivot quickly and to make hard decisions quickly will be necessary for you to sustain, evolve, and remain relevant. If you don’t adapt, you will rapidly become irrelevant. The important thing is to always move forward and to know that you are stronger than your challenges. You have everything you need within you to move past the obstacles.

Being Accountable

Entrepreneurs are the leaders of their organizations. They cannot hide behind the decisions of anyone else because they ultimately hold the power to make the final call. If things do not work out, you cannot just blame it on someone else. Even if it’s something that one of your team members did wrong, it’s still your responsibility. Accountability and responsibility are not just limited to your business, but also to your team members and customers. If you are the type of person who hates being critiqued and taking the blame for others, then you will be miserable as an entrepreneur. If someone asks for your suggestions or needs your advice, you have to have an answer to it. And when you provide an answer, you need to be willing to be responsible for the outcome.  It doesn’t take long for you to realize that leading your own business is not all fun and games like you thought it would be.

You are actually responsible for the satisfaction of your customers and the performance of your team to position your business to succeed. Entrepreneurship is a deeply personal journey, and as visionaries, we often want to go at it alone thinking that we should be at the head of our own table. This thought is what often leads to feelings of overwhelming pressure when the pitfalls of the business become too much to handle. Reach out and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it or partner with someone whose strengths are your weaknesses. You don’t have to start from scratch to see if this is the right path for you. Work with someone who already has an infrastructure in place. At the beginning stages of entering an industry, it can be beneficial to form a partnership and join forces with someone for a few years in order to get a solid footing.

Being Connected

An entrepreneur never succeeds own their own. They must connect with the right resources and people to grow their idea into an operational business. Building a team is really important. No company can be built by just one person. You need a team that understands the mission of the company and the goals that the company is aiming to achieve. When team members are added to the mix, they must understand your vision for the company if they are going to be a successful addition to your organization. Many businesses have failed because of the poor performance of the people within the organization. If team members are not clear about the mission, very soon you will realize that they are treating the work as just a job, and thus it will affect the growth of a company.

Maybe this isn’t for me – is a question that can often plague the minds of entrepreneurs. So much of running a business is putting yourself out there, pitching your business and knocking on doors. Use this time to strengthen your character and resolve that no weapon formed against me shall prosper. Tune out negativity and be mindful of what you are ingesting: news stories, gossip, and comparisons to others’ lifestyles on social media. Listen to your inner voice and to your higher power to guide your next steps.