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.

Stay Ahead In The Ecommerce Race By Following These 4 Simple Ways

Stay Ahead In The Ecommerce Race By Following These 4 Simple Ways

There have been some major advances in online retail over the past couple of years that have positively affected consumer shopping habits. People love to shop and stay updated on the latest fashion clothing trends. The ability to be able to shop at any time and from anywhere has boosted takers of online shoppers. Industry experts were of the opinion that this is simply an evolution but with the burgeoning demand for online clothing stores pushing the billion dollar mark sales figure, it is for everyone to see that it is indeed a revolution. It is but natural to be willing to partake in the e-commerce race. But to win this cut-throat competition, you need to have some tricks up your sleeves.

If you are contemplating the launch of your own online retail clothing store and confused about how to pull traffic, let us give you some suggestion as to how you can acquire an inventory stocked with the latest styles without blowing up a fortune. Ecommerce is by nature transactional and thus built to succeed. The question is, why do some well-funded companies manage to thrive and others fall apart? Of course, all strokes can’t be painted with the same brush, and there are many operational and marketing oriented reasons that lead to a company’s success or failure.

However, starting with a winning formula from inception goes a long way in guaranteeing long-term sustainability. the B2B buying cycle can be extremely lengthy and complicated, adding on to the inertia contributed by the potential cost of implementation and conflicts between direct and sales channels for many organizations. The stakes are high, but so are the potential rewards. Studies have shown that customers are migrated online. In a time when companies are struggling to find growth in the traditional channels, this may well be the best way to stand out from competition and chase sales opportunities. Now that you know that the time has come for a serious commitment to connected commerce, there are a few rules to be followed to get you ahead in the ecommerce race:

Vertical Integrated Models

Vertically integrated ecommerce companies own the entire customer lifecycle, from coordinating manufacturing to final delivery. Since the inception, vertically integrated ecommerce companies have thrived, and with due cause. By virtue of being both the manufacturer and retailer, they can provide greater value and service to customers while maintaining reasonable margins. They also don’t have to engage in price wars which inevitably bring down profits and don’t allow for differentiation. Every other of and online apparel store would be after the up-and-coming trends seen on the runway or on the covers of the fashion magazines. But you can sell the same with a difference. Look for custom clothing manufacturers who can help you tweak the designs here and there so that you have an inventory that is fiercely unique.

It’s all in the minute details! The process of selling and ordering online is key to providing a smooth online purchase experience for your customers. It’s also essential to have solid operations in place to make managing transaction processes easy for your staff. For example, adjusting pricing levels of products need to be a breeze, and functions to track orders and inventory are must-haves. If you engage your customers at this touch point by delivering a great user experience, it’s a step forward in getting them to move online and cultivate brand loyalty. In addition, enabling easy content and product management on your eCommerce platform from the start will save money and add profit, as research has shown that the more channels customers can buy from, the more they spend and the more loyal they become.

Approaching Large and Inefficient Markets

Lots of people need glasses. Pursuing large markets has been to the benefit of online disruptors out of the gate. But, Warby worked not only because it went after a large market, but that it also went after one that was inefficient and over-priced. Its better service and branding helped, but the market itself was ripe for disruption. The more products you are able to offer, the varied your target audience will be and that is bound to positively affect your sales figures. The advantage with drop shipping is that you do not have to stock up on any merchandise, no packaging and shipping hassles, and no location restraint. Opening a channel for online acquisition and retention creates new ways to market and reach customers.

You get to optimize your organic and paid search on the Internet, as well as email campaigns and even social media platforms – it’s a whole new world out there. Many businesses don’t consider the full impact of their marketing mix until the site is launched. Planning for this up front can shorten the time to generate online revenue. Giving your customers the ability to control access, manage an order, track order statuses, and make changes on the move eliminates phone calls and frees your salespeople for more productive purposes. Self-care portals should also provide your staff with opportunities to interact with customers for that extra ‘human touch’ should the situation call for it. Over time, your customers will become more familiar with the online ordering process, making it easier for self-ordering without any assistance on your end.

Differentiated Products

Inherently smart businesses should have more efficient marketing over time. The bad news is that even if greater efficiency happens in isolation, as space gets more competitive, pricing for user acquisition usually goes up and conversion rates go down. The good news is that there is a way to get past this issue: Provide a differentiated product from your competitors. In the online mattress category, it’s become expensive to enter the space and market effectively online. For example, the price of Google in-market spending has risen by four times in the last four years. If you have an in-depth knowledge of the fashion industry coupled with great business acumen, there is nothing like launching your own clothing line for men or women or both.

The internet is flooded with entrepreneurs coming up with their own brands and creating a niche for themselves. Private label clothing manufacturers can assist you in this quest by sharing the burden and headache of designing and manufacturing according to your given requirements. If you have a degree in fashion designing, it would be an added bonus! Or you could also go through the wide assortment featured in the product catalog of the clothing manufacturer, make some personalization and sell it under your brand name. If the quality is high, there is going to be many takers. The B2C market has already proven the power of merchandising and marketing in driving extra sales. Once on the site, B2C style merchandising such as offering related products and personalized offers based on the customer purchase history can drive extra sales.

Subscriptions

Complex businesses with lots of specialized SKUs can be difficult to turn into effective businesses. For example, there have been a few fashion and apparel wins during the last few years, but lately, apparel exits haven’t been the toast of the town. Because apparel is inherently complicated. There is seasonality, inventory and converting one-time shoppers into loyal consumers can be difficult in a world of styles and trends. It can happen, but it requires an experienced team, a great product portfolio, and strong technology. If generating loyal shoppers doesn’t work out, well, you have the makings of some of the less successful ecommerce transactions we’ve seen lately. Consider selling on multichannel platforms besides the World Wide Web.

The convenience of mobile access and the ability to place an order on mobile devices and tablets is also a growing trend. It goes without saying that on-going maintenance and refinement of the site is required to keep up with customer needs. At the start and in the design phase, appropriate analytics should be set to track and measure success. You can embrace big data analytics to constantly enhance customer experience for your buyers. Suitable tools to fix optimal pricing for your products, identify niche customer segments, pinpoint customer touch points, uncover obscure insights, and much more are readily available; a simple Google search should pull up some appropriate systems fit for your business.

How To Make Your Ecommerce Store Standout In 5 Simple Ways

How To Make Your Ecommerce Store Standout In 5 Simple Ways

Many entrepreneurs see a highly competitive marketplace as a deal breaker for startups, but a saturated market also means there is high demand. People like having choices—this is true for both B2C and B2B SaaS. While a large number of competitors in your marketplace shouldn’t end your startup dreams, entering a competitive market isn’t easy. Many people prefer the convenience of shopping online over braving the stores in person to get what they want. More and more eCommerce websites are popping up because of this. From makeup, to furniture, to basic needs like food and clothes, shoppers can basically get whatever they want online. This means that you are going to have to work extra hard to make sure your website stands out from the rest.

Industries such as technology, medicine and food are getting crowded as more startups emerge. In order to stand out as a startup in an already booming industry, you have to set your business apart from the others. Something about your business has to drive consumers to you instead of your competitors. Mobile ecommerce poses another set of challenges to success which leaves online merchants little choice but to continue adapting. Merchants must be able to leverage the new developments in ecommerce technologies in order to secure an advantage.

Ecommerce startups may find themselves in quite an interesting position. On one hand, they can readily implement cutting edge or mobile-first strategies since they don’t have any legacy issues to deal with. On the other, they also need to enhance their infrastructure with these new technologies. Barebones shopping cart sites and apps just don’t quite cut it anymore. Here are the five ways startups can make their stores stand out:

Personalization

Often when a SaaS startup founder is asked what will differentiate their product from competitors, the answer is “a better product.” This usually refers to creating a product with features or capabilities the competition’s product lacks. While it is true that creating a better product is key, offering unique product features isn’t the only way to stand out in a competitive market. Other ways to differentiate yourself from competitors include – targeting a different audience segment, offering better customer service or support, offering a more seamless experience, providing a signup or purchase flow with less friction than the competitors offer, making the upsell path easy and convenient. You have features that no other solution has. Customers love being flattered and one way to do this is by offering a personalized experience.

You might have a business model, a set of supply chain relationships, a proprietary process or other intellectual property that you and you alone can deliver. This is what you want to capture. Forget boring templates and standardized themes. Don’t limit yourself to a website that looks exactly like ten other websites out there, down to the colors and layout. You owe your brand more than that. The colors of your website are very important. If you have a logo, use a variation of that color scheme. Pick a simple but strong font to go with it, and make sure to use only the best and most striking photos in your online storefront. All these elements come together to create a unique experience for your customer as soon as they get to your landing page. You want an eCommerce website that speaks to the style of your brand so it can speak to your potential customers as well.

Go Mobile

People nowadays are always on the go. Having an eCommerce website that they can access at home is a good start. But you need to step it up even more and make sure your online store is accessible via mobile devices as well. Your website may look great on a laptop screen, but what happens when someone tries to access your site on their phone during a moment of shopping impulse? Nowadays, everyone is purchasing from their mobile devices. If your website looks askew or is hard to read on a phone, you could lose half of your potential customers.   So cater not only to customers accessing from their computers but also to those who are on their phones for most of the day. Make sure to have a mobile friendly website that will look good on all screens. Create a strong, reliable and interactive mobile app for your startup.

Provide access to a mobile-friendly version of your company’s website and unique features providing convenience and value to your consumer base. This can also be a platform to market unique promotions exclusively for mobile app users and attract more consumers. It is important, however, to fully test every function of your mobile app to make sure it is secure, fast and efficient prior to launching it for public download. Much of the world accesses company information, searches for reviews and accesses the Internet on a mobile device. To maintain a successful startup, you have to stay updated and understand trends. Knowing what customers are going to expect in advance helps your new company get off to a stronger start upon official launch.

Connect Better

Offer opportunities for customers to give feedback about areas that may need improvement.  Not only will you remedy an existing problem, it makes your business look customer centric, which is important in the saturated startup marketplace. When you go out of your way to engage with your first customers, you not only get great feedback to improve the product but also can end up creating product champions. Almost every successful SaaS business has customers who vouch for it. They will stick with the company and defend it. They are also the cheerleaders and promoters of the product. It’s not always enough to give customers a great shopping experience.

Even if you’ve set your website up with all the necessary information, there will still be customers who have questions along the way. Include a “Contact Us” form, or have a live chat feature that your visitors can easily access. Set your store apart by giving your customers a chance to easily communicate with you. When current and potential customers know they can reach you for any questions about the products or services you offer, it adds a sense of security, trust, and credibility. A major mistake that startup founders make is not building an online reputation right from the start. Before even launching the startup, start building an online presence and audience. The way that you deliver information about your new company, why it was started and what sets it apart from the competition helps build that reputation. The way that you interact with consumers in transparent and private situations also builds rapport with consumers and the competition.

Great Content

Including a blog on your eCommerce website is a great way to add more depth to your store. You can use this blog to periodically highlight products, post about real life community events your store will be participating in, put a spotlight on customer reviews, write about things that are relevant to your products or services, and so much more. A blog with relevant and optimized content is also a great way to help you rank better on Google Search, which will increase traffic to your online store. You’ve given your business the perfect face online, and having a blog integrated with your website will give it a voice too. This can project a well-rounded brand that will no doubt attract potential customers, and keep current customers interested.

Society likes to read success stories from real people. Overwhelming an audience with falsehoods and mistruths leads a startup to disaster. Provide real, honest information and be transparent in doing so. Share the founder’s story and how he/she chose to quit their day job and achieve their own personal dream. Stories like that are inspiring and attract larger audiences. Consider making philanthropy a part of your startup’s business model. Consumers like companies that give back to local communities and organizations. It shows society that the startup is concerned not only with itself but also its local community. Just as important as having a unique business model is hiring unique staff members. Your company culture has to be dynamic and full of creativity and innovative ideas to help the brand maintain its uniqueness.

Better Analytics

Even with a good catalog of products, ecommerce startups can’t just expect customers to just turn up and buy. Successful ecommerce efforts are always aided by strong marketing efforts. Ecommerce marketing helps to attract and convert customers, upsell and cross-sell, and generate repeat sales. Due to the volume of customers companies have to reach, doing marketing tasks such as sending newsletters and following up on abandoned carts can be a tedious process. Marketing automation can be used to streamline these tasks. Automation services can be configured to send out customized offers or newsletters via email or as push notifications on mobile.

Moreover, effective timing can lead to increased email response times. Reminders can also be triggered if customers leave items in the online shopping carts. Gone are the days when analytics meant simply tracking a website’s daily visits and how long each visit lasted. For ecommerce, advanced analytics offers means to accurately track each customer’s journey. Trackers can now determine traffic sources and gather data on each click made in the store. These data can be compiled and analyzed in order to generate insights on customer behavior and product and site performance. Analytics tools can be configured to sync data from multiple sources and trigger actions such as notifications. These can even be integrated with automated marketing services as part of rule-based campaigns. Analytics could also be used to track internal team’s performance to see how quickly orders get fulfilled.

5 User Engagement Metrics For Ecommerce Growth

5 User Engagement Metrics For Ecommerce Growth

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions have the inherent advantage that you have all of the application access data and are able to use this data to understand how customers are using your solution. This is a typically untapped source of information that you can use to substantially improve your business. Given that many SaaS providers are not doing this basic level of analysis and follow-up, then more advanced analysis and customer conversations are unlikely to occur. Improving customer engagement has long been a method to improve churn and conversion rates. In addition to the very real profitability improvements that can result from a better understanding of customer usage data, you can also use it to improve the product itself.

Do you know what parts of your application are rarely used? Do you know why? Maybe your software development efforts would be better spent on other improvements, or maybe a better understanding of why customers aren’t using certain features is in order. Although there have been ways in the past to collect and analyze this information such as Google Analytics, recently SaaS solutions have been developed, called customer engagement analytics, which are specifically designed for collecting, analyzing and taking action for SaaS solutions. One of the advantages over Google Analytics is that with customer analytics you can look at the analytics for individual users and specific customers and not look at data just in the aggregate.

Of course, the definition of an engaged customer depends on the application and the user. You can also look at a CRM account that is fully engaged as what percentage of each type of user is fully engaged. The key is understanding, for your application and for each type of user, what excellent customer engagement looks like from an analytics perspective, defining at what level of detail you want to look at this information and defining how to measure trends over time. You can also look at the usage of new features and you can define what a usage pattern for a customer who is ready for a particular product up-sell looks like. This may be the opportunity to have the conversation that talks about the marketing communications and social media monitoring add-on that you just developed.

How do you measure customer engagement? While no single metric alone is going to be a solid indicator of how engaged your community or customers are, there are a few things you can look at that help guide you toward the conversations and interactions to pay attention to for deeper analysis. As always, there is no single perfect KPI for tracking results in digital marketing. Also keep in mind that none of these five metrics alone can paint a complete picture. These metrics are part of a paradigm shift towards hyper-connected consumers in a fast-moving landscape with tons of data. Here are few of the engagement metrics to watch for:

Text Analytics

Time on page” sounds like a much better measure of engagement than “reach.” If someone spends a minute or more on a page, we can safely assume they were reading and absorbing – engaging with our content. Not exactly. We talk a lot about time, but the one thing we definitively know about time is there’s never enough. For a marketer, that means you’re going to have to work hard to get a minute or two from a consumer. You need to earn it, so if your site can garner a high time spent, pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Time spend is not a very actionable metric, it’s more a sign that you’ve done the right thing. When users are browsing a category, they see hundreds of things they’ve never seen before that are very high quality about a specific topic of interest. It’s all about the experience, and a lot of it just holds people’s attention.

Clicks and shares may create the impression that your content marketing stories are generating mass attention – but whether anyone actually reads them is a different story entirely. Extended dwell time correlates with people actually reading and absorbing content – which is exactly what content marketers want. The type of emotion a customer feels about your store is important for relationship building. Emotion is not really a metric, but finding out what topics are trending within reviews is in fact a metric. A text analytics tool can help you understand customer sentiment, which is how a customer feels about your business. So, in other words, text analytics gives you a better idea of where customers are at in their relationship with you.

Response Time

Average page views per visit are an excellent indicator of how compelling and easily navigated your content is.In general, more pageviews per visit is a good sign. To figure out your pageviews per visit, simply divide the total number of pageviews by the total number of visits for a particular time period. Keep in mind that if you get a lot of visitors through social media sites, these viewers tend to get what they came for and leave, so you may not get  lot of pageviews per visit from these visitors. Fortunately there are many things you can do to help increase the number of pageviews per visit to your site. Make your site easy to navigate. Add site search if You Don’t Already Have It. Use Internal Links Within Posts.

Add a List of Related Posts at the End of All Blog Posts. Ensure Pages Load Quickly. Focus on the Audience needs and interests. Open rates – the number of times an email was opened divided by the number of emails sent – remain the KPI for emails. Why? Open rates directly affect Click-through rates (CTR), the number of clicks divided by emails sent. Think of open rates as the community reach in your email funnel. And just like community health and size need attention in social media, the same goes for email communities. If unsubscribe rates are climbing, maybe content is not relevant for customers, or it’s time to aim for the right marketing pressure and communications cadence.

Conversion Rate And Time

The number one way organizations can improve customer retention is…By focusing on the entire experience of their customers. While experts debate whether the marketing funnel is outdated, it’s been proven that managing the entire experience of any age of customer is a better way to keep customers. The conversation cannot stop once the sale is made.. It is critical that companies focus on sending personal communications throughout the lifecycle of the customer. In today’s competitive environment, it is not enough to rely on service or repairs to hold on to customers. Customers are five times more likely to engage with you in the first 90-100 days than at any other point. So, it’s very important that you dialogue with them at the onset not just at the end.

Click-based models fall short of measuring e-commerce performance (a customer looking all across the site but failing to find the right information still generates high click counts, but leaves disgruntled). Are your customers satisfied? Use the Net Promoter Score to find out. To learn more about the loyalty, and how you can categorize your customers, divide the customers who responded into promoters, passives and detractors. Promoters are the customers who are devoted and will support you and are loyal to you. Passives are customers who are happy with your product or service, but they can easily take their business to a competitor. Detractors are customers who are dissatisfied with your business. When you have figured out where your brand stands with customers, create a customer engagement strategy that works.

Customer Loyalty

Clicks and shares may create the impression that your content marketing stories are generating mass attention – but whether anyone actually reads them is a different story entirely. Retention basically means the percentage of users returning to your website in a given period of time. Calculating retention rate over a period of 1, 7 or 30 days helps determine its longevity in the market. Marketers don’t always have customer retention top of mind. Unlike lead generation or customer acquisition, retention campaigns take relatively longer before producing results. When you publish a lead gen form or launch an ad campaign, you can easily see and measure the results. This isn’t always the case in customer retention because it deals more with loyalty, relationships, and engagement, which yield results that are not immediately seen and/or are trickier to measure.

As always, there is no single perfect KPI for tracking results in digital marketing. Also keep in mind that none of these five KPIs alone can paint a complete picture. For instance, a customer may engage with a piece of content for a very short dwell time but still convert into a purchase because the right information was right where it was needed. These KPIs are part of a paradigm shift towards hyper-connected consumers in a fast-moving landscape with tons of data. Shifting your focus towards these KPIs will eliminate a lot of noise and clutter in this bright Big Data advertising age, and help justify those new data-driven marketing budgets for next year.

Traffic

How long does it take for your customer engagement team to respond to a question or issue? According to Buffer, customers expect a company to respond to their questions and problems soon after they send them. In addition to response time, how long does it take for a team member to understand and solve the customer’s issue? Although time should not be an indicator of how well a customer engagement team member solves a problem, it’s an important metric to measure in order to benchmark customer expectations – especially online review responses. Turns out, news of the death of click-based models are somewhat exaggerated.

Web traffic still remains the #1 metric and keeps gaining ground: In August 2010, 47.6% of respondents in the Duke University study primarily tracked hits and page views, while the number surged to 60.7% by August 2014. In Useful Social’s 2014 study, 47.3% of marketing execs also named “web traffic” as their preferred KPI. But in 2015, it’s all about verified users – what with all the robots out there. This calls for an omnichannel engagement platform that can build rich profiles of visitors both known and unknown.

5 Ways How To Optimize Your Ecommerce Campaigns

5 Ways How To Optimize Your Ecommerce Campaigns

When investing money, the goal is to get a higher return than what you invested. If you do not know how to properly optimize your campaigns, then you won’t get the best ROI possible. Knowing how to properly calculate your ROI will, in turn, lead you to making smart decisions on how to invest. If you are in the ecommerce business, here are five ways to help optimize your campaigns. There comes a time in every AdWords advertiser’s life when your attempts to improve an account’s performance begins to stall. Getting an extra set of eyes on your account can be a great way to get out of the slump. We’ve recently performed several of these perspective-rounds at White Shark Media and came up with nine optimizations that you will be able to perform in your AdWords account immediately regardless of skill level.

As with any task, the hardest thing about it is to actually get started. That is why a list has been created, designed to start you off on the right track and get you in the right mindset to for the more difficult areas. PPC strategy for e-tailers can be overwhelming; especially when there are millions of keywords you’re managing within hundreds of thousands of campaigns. And, although revamping campaigns and creative strategy sounds like an attractive way to drive clicks and boost conversions, this is a highly time-consuming task, and will prevent you from implementing the most obvious and simple PPC optimization strategies.

Ecommerce marketing covers a lot of bases, from on-site improvements to testing to search engine marketing and social media. Here are some ways to optimize ecommerce campaigns efficiently :

Analyze Conversions

Analyze Assisted Conversion Analyze and focus on different keywords and ads which are generating assisted conversion to maximize the optimization level. A user may click your ad, visit your website and leave without taking any action. Later on, if the same user comes back to that website and purchases the product then it is counted as an assisted conversion. Assisted conversions are the users who click your ad, go to your website, leave your website, and buy later. For example, you are shopping for a guitar, but then you leave the website to see if another site has a better deal. Then you go back to the website and purchase. This is an assisted conversion.

By analyzing what keywords and ads are giving you the assisted conversions, this will allow you to better optimize the account. By analyzing which ads are generating assisted conversions, you can split test similar ads to generate even more assisted conversions. advertisers tend to use all their products together instead of granulating. Granularity is key to maximise your revenue. Dividing your products in different categories makes them clearer for the users, but also allows you to split your budgets according to relevance and revenue potential. Here’s where custom labels step in: differentiate high from low margin products and allocate your budget accordingly.

Tagging

Tagging is the best strategy to tap the assisted conversions.You can perform a finer analysis by tagging campaigns, sources, mediums, and terms which lead to assisted conversion. Tags allow you to check what exactly the user clicked on, whether that be an ad that redirects to your product page, contact or any other page. Google allows auto- tagging. Tag Everything You Can. Tag everything you can, including campaigns, sources, mediums and terms. By tagging all that you can, you can perform a deeper analysis of what triggers the assisted conversions. Tagging ads adds additional values in the URL but does not change the URL destination.

On Facebook and Bing, these are called UTM parameters. Google uses auto tagging. Tags allow you to see what exactly the user clicked on, whether that be an ad that led to our product page, contact or any other page. It’s easier to engage with a customer who has already made a purchase from you than to reach out to a new contact. Keep your happy customers happy and send them a follow-up email after a purchase. This is your chance to offer them a discount the next time they buy from you or you may ask them for feedback on your service or product. Your main objective is to draw your customers back to your site as well as continue to engage with your email campaigns.

Focus On ROI

Return On Investment Is A Key Factor We have divided the ROI into 2 parts. ROI 1 includes direct sales that mean user clicked on the ad and takes immediate action. ROI 2 includes assisted conversion. Focus more on ROI 2 for better overall performance. Focus on ROI 2 to improve your overall performance, then focus on ROI 1. Most advertisers do not take ROI 1 and 2 into consideration. ROI 1 includes direct sales, meaning the users that click on your ad and buy right away. This does not always happen, so ROI 2 includes assisted conversions. Once you optimize for assisted conversions by split testing ads and keywords, then ROI 1 will be easier to optimize.

ROI 1 is typically negative at first, but with the optimizations, both ROIs should become positive. Do not redirect potential buyers to landing pages that are too specific. People looking for blue shoes, do not necessarily want those blue shoes displayed in the PLA. They expect a page of relevant products, giving them choice. Redirecting users to more generic pages has shown to decrease the bounce rate with 35%, providing a better user experience, a higher conversion volume and a lower CPA.

Return On Ad Expenses

Focus on return on ad spends Everybody expects the best return on investment. Keep track of what is being generated for each dollar of ad spend. In order to get a good result, you have to invest. Make sure your ROAS has a good ratio to your ad spend. Evaluate how much you spend on ads. Determine what is being generated with each dollar of ad spend so that you can optimize and make sure you are getting the best ROAS. You want to make sure that your ROAS has a good ratio to your ad spend. Most of the time, the more you spend, the more you get in return. If your ROAS is very low, then you might want to reevaluate how much you spend on ads. In order to get results, you will need to invest. as mentioned above, granularity is key.

This optimisation can also be applied on extensions. Show relevant extensions for each and every product. Do not use extensions on campaign level, or you will lose the relevance of the sitelink or callout extension. What about mobile? Less is more! Do not try to fill up a smartphone’s screen with sitelinks, callout extensions and a call button. Keeping the ad simple, with a powerful title will make the ad clear enough. Free up to 10% of your budget for testing. Digital marketing is all about innovation and trying new things. Don’t be afraid to test out new strategies or tools.

API And Automation

Focus On API And Automation Users rating and experience is very crucial to know how it impacts on your business. API and Automation allow you to check what’s happening in your campaign in real time. This allows you to compare the overall results versus the last week/month results. Additionally, it helps you to check whether CPA have decreased or increased. API and automation is very important. Try to automate your reports to understand what experience your users are having and how it impacts the bottom line of your business. API and automation reports allow you to see what is happening in your campaigns in real-time. These reports will also allow you to compare the overall results versus the last week or month of results.

This allows you to see if CPAs have increased or decreased, which is very helpful. Start by segmenting your list. Then you’re going to want to create campaigns that are the most relevant possible depending on how you divided up your inactive customers. Maybe some have purchased before and you have a new product that may interest them.  Again, the point is to win them back and send them to your site. This way, you can get them interested and engaged with your product or service again. And last but not least: be culturally relevant. You want people to relate to your brand, therefore you need seamless and authentic storytelling. Consistency is key. Your message can be different from platform to platform, but it has to be consistent and adapted to the platform.

6 Things Every Entrepreneur Should Know Before Starting A Business

6 Things Every Entrepreneur Should Know Before Starting A Business

Running your own business means having to wear all different types of hats. Whether it’s your marketing hat, your sales hat, or your general people skills hat, you’re going to need to know how to court sales, and on the other side of operations, you are also going to need to know how to run a balanced account and continue to grow your wealth. There are many business skills that a successful entrepreneur will have. When you’re getting ready to start a business, you may think all you need is a great idea and the cash to make it happen. This is a good place to start, but there are so many other elements to startup success that entrepreneurs tend to overlook when they’re caught up in the excitement of a launch. Ten successful startup founders and executives shared the best tips they believe every aspiring entrepreneur should know before starting a business.

The one thing that no one can teach you is the two R’s: risk and resilience. In order to become an entrepreneur, you must be willing to take a risk—to throw away the comfort of a regular paycheck—and you must also be a resilient person, to stand firm with your vision in the face of disappointment whether fiscal issues, missed opportunities or challenging personnel issues. So you’ve made the decision to start your own business. Before you get started there are a few important things you need to consider. Here are some of those things every entrepreneur should know before starting a business:

Idea

Many people make the mistake of selecting a franchise based on what the business does, what the person likes or where their passions lie. It’s important to understand if a business is actually structured to be semi-absentee. If your heart is set on having an home improvement business, you’ll find that this type of venture lends itself to the owner-operator business model, requiring full-time commitment from the owner. Keep an open mind when looking for a semi-absentee opportunity. Many people make the mistake of selecting a franchise based on what the business does, what the person likes or where their passions lie. It’s important to understand if a business is actually structured to be semi-absentee.

If your heart is set on having an home improvement business, you’ll find that this type of venture lends itself to the owner-operator business model, requiring full-time commitment from the owner. Keep an open mind when looking for a semi-absentee opportunity. Your role is the ambassador and sometimes the chief bottle-washer of the business, but if you have employees, it means having the backbone to hire the right people—not just people you like or friends—and firing them if they cannot achieve the goals you set for them.

Financial Issues

Before you venture into your new business it’s important to conduct some market research to see if your idea is feasible. You need to find out if there is a need for your product or service and who your competitors are, their strengths and weaknesses and how your business will differ from theirs. Some questions to consider are – what product or service you will provide, is your idea feasible, how will you protect your idea, is there a market for your product or service, what skills do you need, who are your competitors, what difference will you bring to the market, do you have the financial capacity to own a business?

Putting the effort into researching your idea will help you determine whether you can turn your idea into a profitable business. Read our Market research and statistics topic for information on assessing your market and competitors. The real number-one skill is raising money. It is a risky and ill-advised plan to use all your own money and credit on a new venture. Hot on the heels of fundraising is sales skills, particularly the willingness to ask for the order. Without sales skills, personal and business, the venture will go nowhere, and not much capital will be raised, either.

Skills

People management skills are key to successfully operating a semi-absentee business since you will be providing oversight to a manager or managers if you have multiple locations. You need to be comfortable surrendering control and delegating the day-to-day operations of your business to the managers. Taking one bad step can make or break your business, especially when it is still in the early stages of development. Entrepreneurs that are successful with their ventures make a plan and stick to it, thinking out every risk, benefit, and cost of an option available to them. They also make their plans realistic and factor in things such as time and budget in order to make their plans a reality.

A business exists to deliver value for a segment of society while creating returns for its shareholders. The best measure of how well a business does [in achieving] that goal is net income. Ensure the basics, that is, revenue to expenses, will give you healthy profits. Forecast it, measure it, ensure it. Be prepared for your business to take twice as long as you planned. Remain open-minded to facing challenges that you never saw coming, as perseverance is the hallmark of a successful entrepreneur.

Planning And Strategy

Know the laws, industry standards and guidelines, and competitive market in the business that one is opening. Entrepreneurial success demands the same discipline, grit and vision needed to be a world-class athlete. Confidence is the key to all locks. The critical step after that is taking action. Successful athletes and entrepreneurs do not overanalyze, nor do they have time to wait. They take action. Our five steps to success are focus, accountability, persist without exception, exceed results and have a true sense of urgency. The most important thing a person needs to know before starting a business is, ‘If I build it, will anyone buy it?’ In other words, does a market exist — or will exist in the near future — for what you intend to sell? The most common cause of startup death is running out of cash, but this is only [a] symptom. The root cause is you’ve made something no one wants, and as a result, you cannot grow using cash flow or raise funding for your business. The best way to find out if a market exists is to test the waters before committing to a full build. This can be done by polling potential customers, collecting preorders or indications of interest, [or] crowdfunding.

Curiosity

The best business skill has always been a healthy curiosity. This will lead you to look into what your competitors are doing, and it will also allow you to utilize new technologies to the best of your ability to streamline your business and even reach out to new customers. When the only limit you have is what you can imagine and apply, just about anything is possible. For some companies, “growth” means more revenue; for some early stage companies it may be more web traffic or PR exposure. Just be sure to define it, because if you don’t, others will define “growth” for you, and may confuse you. Early stage companies should be focused on building brand and exposure, plus revenue. Mid-stage companies should be focused solely on revenue growth. Mature companies should be focused on maintaining market share and new innovations that will drive more revenue and ensure strength when benchmarked against competitors.

For some companies, it is solely about revenue. For others, it’s about service and reputation, repeat customers, or marketing brand recognition. Know your definition. There are a lot of people who will come out of the woodwork—relatives, old friends, advisors—who want you to build your firm their way. Listen to them, take the “best practices” from each, say thank you…and move on. Always listen to your inner voice and keep focused on the end vision. Ensure that all advice you take is focused on that “big dream”—and take advice that guides you toward that. You might upset people who want you to do it “their way.” So be it.

Audience

Successful entrepreneurs keep a narrow focus–on the customer that is paying their bills. They do not forget that everything that they do is for the customer, since the customer is the one that is allowing them to do anything in the first place. A good business owner will always have time for a customer, whether they have a complaint or praise. Having good customer focus will mean that you see every customer as an opportunity to do better and grow, versus an annoyance or a difficulty. Since you are gainfully employed, it’s important to consider an opportunity that offers you the flexibility to operate your business on the side while maintaining the work-life balance you prefer. If any one of these four important factors is missing, it will be difficult to find a semi-absentee business that fits your criteria.

Also keep in mind that your finances, skills and availability must be what the franchisor is looking for in order for them to award you a franchise. It can be a viable option to grow a business on the side while you keep your day job. It’s a smart way to diversify your investments through owning a business. For some people, a business on the side is their exit strategy from the corporate world. Once the business generates enough income to replace their salary, they are free to leave employment behind. Another common motivation is to generate supplemental income for current expenses, such as private school for children, or to put more money away for retirement. Whether it’s an investment move or an exit strategy, semi-absentee business ownership while you have a job can be a wise and potentially lucrative decision.