The holidays are a time when business tends to pick up, with some small businesses making large percentages of their yearly sales in the months leading up to the New Year. Because of the higher concentration of sales being made as well as the heightened traffic web pages experience, the holiday season represents a great time for business owners to gather and analyze data on the effectiveness of their landing pages. Whether it is figuring out which pages convert the most, or A/B testing to fine tune the appearance and functionality of their e-commerce pages, taking advantage of this busy time to improve processes is in the best interest of business owners who are serious about having the best sites possible. Get acquainted with Google Analytics. Setting up Google Analytics can help your business with a great amount of insight on traffic patterns and the rate of conversions that your business can expect. Conversion tracking can tell you not only how many sales you’ve made, but

Small business owners who are engaged in PPC campaigns to promote their e-commerce websites are taking advantage of a technology that, when carefully calibrated, can bring them a large amount of qualified leads at proportionately much lower costs than other forms of marketing, such as mailer campaigns. Be aware that certain keywords can become much more competitive during the Holiday season. Small business owners who have set their PPC campaigns to auto-bid on keywords should be aware that during periods of peak activity the prices of keywords can be artificially stimulated to become much more expensive than usual. If you are going to be running PPC during the holidays, make sure you set your bidding cap at a price that you are willing to pay for each click, bearing in mind that not every click through is going to result in a conversion. Do the math to calculate what your business can afford, and at what point you will make a profit. If you leave your

This Thanksgiving, what does your business have to be thankful for? If you said customers, then you are on to something. Don’t simply assume that your customers know how grateful you are for their business, prove it to them by focusing on increasing loyalty for your business this November. Loyalty building is a part of branding that can really give you bang for the buck, since loyalty programs take your best customers and increase the business that they give you both themselves and from the strength of the referrals that they bring in to your business. Shout out your superstar customers. When you have a few amazing customers who make up your regulars, it can be worth it to go the extra mile when rewarding them. One way to do so is to to shine the spotlight on them via your business’s native blog or social media profiles. When you highlight your great relationship with customers, it indicates to other potential buyers that you are very

Branding is one of those concepts that is theoretically simple, yet more difficult to effectively put into action. The way that your brand is perceived on a number of factors coming together, from customer service and the quality of your marketing to the shape, color and sizes of your packaging or functionality of your services. Branding is an area that small business owners might associate more with larger corporations, but the reality is that business owners are able to pursue branding just as, if not more effectively than larger companies because of the higher degree of intimacy they can create in their customer relationships. Business owners can build their brand by internally promoting the values that they stand for and encouraging their employees to serve as brand ambassadors, but ultimately when they want to know how their branding campaigns are being perceived, they need to turn their lens in on themselves from the outside. Gather outside perspective on your brand from customers. If you aren’t sure

  Social media has come a long way since the creation of Myspace and Facebook, to the point that it is a nearly ubiquitous global phenomenon, connecting people and cultures in a melting pot of digital interaction. Heavy hitters in the social media arena arena such as Facebook, with around 1.23 Billion currently active users, have been around for a while and the millennial generation who were among the first to adopt the technology have now been using the platform for around a decade, meaning that there is a user base on the network that is long standing and entrenched, but that does not meant that the platform itself is immune to challenges, and lately the latest round of networks have been making waves as they sound a challenge to long dominant brands in the space. A movement towards privacy and quality of experience. Social media has entered a phase of its growth where it has gone from being a trendy new technology to something that is

The first impression that you make is an incredibly powerful and long lasting thing. Whether for good or for bad, people will arrive at assumptions in a short period of time that can be hard to shake going forward, making it much more practical for a business owner to try and take charge of the first interactions they have with clients through a smooth onboarding process as opposed to possibly fighting an uphill battle after a rocky start. While a first impression is a major factor in creating a relationship, the follow up is also highly important. Did you make a great impression on your client, and now they are excited to work with you? Great, then you need to actively take steps to preserve that goodwill so that it has the potential to ripen into more business, positive reviews and potentially ever referrals for more business. The ability to gain referrals is especially important for your business’s ability to continue growing. Having a stable client

Texting is a form of communication that, while it might elicit an eye roll from purists, has become a ubiquitous feature of our culture in a relatively short period of time. Not only that, but thanks to the prominence of mobile technology, text messages more often than not are opened and read by recipients as soon as they are received. Because of this, business owners can use them to effectively deliver news about limited time offers or other deals to their customers using a medium that is cheap enough to fine tune through a little trial and error. With an opt-in, text message lists can become highly effective tools for reaching targeted groups of customers. Through a double opt in process, you can begin to create a list of numbers for customers interested in being directly contacted regarding limited time offers and deals for your business. Using multiple venues for capturing customer information, from your website, sign ups in you location, as well as through other

  While your customers aren’t on your payroll, they still represent some of the best salespeople you could ask for, provided that you treat them right and reward their loyalty. It can be good shorthand to think of your best customers as being a part of your business, since this not only reinforces their importance for your long term small business success, but also reminds you that you need to work for and reward them for their loyalty in the same way that you would for a star employee. At the heart of customer sales power is word of mouth via their personal relationships and social media activity. The reason why your customers have such an important role to play concerning your business’s ability to make sales is because of the strength of word of mouth, which is one of the most reliable types of marketing out there. In the same way that a salesperson can inform a customer about a product that they think they

      What’s so great about Instagram? For one thing, more and more marketers are waking up to the possibilities of the medium, with its simple to use interface and engaged demographics. True to form, marketing tools are emerging that can provide business owners with more functionality and insight surrounding how they post on the network, an indicator that businesses are taking it seriously. At face value, Instagram is seemingly the perfect platform for marketing visually appealing products, since its emphasis on images and its scrolling system of browsing are reminiscent of window shopping and in that sense is similar to Pinterest, which many use in order to create virtual wishlists. In order to make your small business’s efforts on Instagram pay off, there are a few factors that business owners should consider regarding what they are posting and how. Quality trumps quantity. The feeds that have the most subscribers aren’t always the ones that post the most content. Instagram users tend to be pretty

It’s a week into October, and the Halloween season is here. While not a commercial powerhouse in the same way that the Christmas shopping season is, Halloween season still is an exciting time for entrepreneurs and a perfect testing ground for assuring that their holiday marketing is tuned up and on brand before the rest of the holidays come along. Incorporating some holiday fun into your business is a great way to get your customers feeling closer to your brand, allowing them to associate the season with your business via your participation. It’s about helping to create long lasting relationships and memories with the customers you have. Try creating a seasonal logo. Your logo should be one of the first things that your customers think about when thinking about your brand, representing your company with a single, easy to recognize and easy to remember emblem. When you take your logo and incorporate a holiday element into its design, it is a fun way of associating your

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