Friday, December 8, 2017

How to Boost Sales by Accomodating the Needs of Mobile Users

You don’t need to come up with a complicated marketing campaign as a last-ditch effort to increase your sales revenue.

All too often I see businesses drastically slash their prices or run other insane promotions, that aren’t profitable, just to get more sales.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m definitely an advocate for running promotional campaigns.

It’s just not always necessary if you’re trying to boost ecommerce sales.

Instead, take a look at your channels for content distribution and sales platforms.

Are they optimized for mobile devices?

If you’re not sure, the answer is probably no.

That’s a big problem.

You have to understand how people consume content, browse, and ultimately make purchases.

In the last six months, over 60% of smartphone users purchased something online with their mobile devices.

Furthermore, 80% of consumers use their mobile devices while shopping at physical store locations.

Why would they do this?

  • Compare prices
  • Find other store locations
  • Research product reviews

If your business doesn’t have a strong mobile presence, you’re neglecting a huge share of potential sales.

Accommodating the needs of mobile users could end up being the cash injection your company is looking for.

I’ve got plenty of experience with this, so I can help steer you in the right direction if you don’t know how to get started.

Here’s what you need to do.

Optimize your website for mobile devices

How does your website look when it’s loaded on mobile devices?

Take a look at this example from the Medical Web Experts website:

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The left image is what their standard website looks like.

The image on the right is the same website after it’s been optimized for mobile devices.

Notice the differences?

It’s much harder for users to navigate on their phones if the site isn’t optimized.

The font is smaller and harder to read, which forces users to zoom in to find what they’re looking for.

Scrolling can be an issue too.

That’s because the website was designed for laptop and desktop screens.

The page will load, but ultimately it has too many problems.

Once it’s optimized, the page will fit much better on a smaller screen.

Now users will just have to scroll up and down to navigate, as opposed to zooming and needing to scroll left and right as well to see all your content.

This makes it easier for the site visitor to find what they’re looking for in just a click or two.

Ease of use will keep the consumer happy, which can ultimately lead to higher conversion rates.

These are some other added benefits of a mobile friendly website:

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I would definitely recommend adding a search bar to your mobile site at the top of the screen.

That makes it even easier for the user to get where they need to be as fast as possible.

Check out these examples from Patagonia, Amazon, and The New Yorker:

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All three of these popular websites simplify the search and navigation process for people using their phones and tablets.

Once you modify the design of your mobile site to accommodate mobile users, it’s time to put it to the test.

Enter your site URL on the Google mobile friendly test to see the results.

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These are my results when I run the test for Quick Sprout:

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As you can see, my mobile site is friendly for users.

In fact, you might even be reading this blog on your mobile device right now.

Speed matters

Having your website designed for mobile devices is only half the battle.

The site needs to load fast too.

You can use the Google mobile speed test to check how fast your page loads on mobile devices.

It all goes back to accommodating the user.

People are busy.

More importantly, they are impatient.

This is a major problem for you if your mobile site takes too long to load.

It doesn’t matter what kind of device they are using.

According to recent studies, users expect mobile pages to load as fast or faster than the pages on their desktop and laptop computers.

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Mobile sites that take more than three seconds to load will see a 40% abandonment rate.

Just take a moment to let that sink in.

Four out of every ten users will leave your website if it doesn’t load fast enough.

Fixing a slow loading time can drastically improve your sales because your abandonment rates won’t be as high.

Look at the other statistics on the graphic above as well.

Over 70% of Internet traffic today comes from mobile devices.

The majority of people who search for your site are probably doing so from their phones and tablets.

If you’re not making it as easy as possible for these people to navigate, you are hurting your bottom line.

This is true regardless of what kind of site you’re running.

For ecommerce sites, obviously, the goal of your business is to get users to buy what you’re selling.

But if they can’t locate your items and the pages don’t load fast, you won’t get sales.

Even if you’re not selling a physical product online, you still need to optimize your site for mobile devices.

How do you make money?

Let’s say you run a blog.

You may rely on advertisements to make ends meet.

But if users aren’t spending time on your site or they are abandoning it, you won’t get as many impressions, and your click-through rates will suffer.

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Look at the direct correlation between load times and abandonment.

Your website simply can’t survive if your rates are this high.

Recognize how many people are using mobile devices

Part of operating a business and running a website is keeping up with the trends.

You would be surprised how many business owners don’t have a clue about what’s going on, even in their own industries.

It’s mind blowing.

But for argument’s sake, let’s pretend you’re an expert in your industry, which you very well may be.

That’s not enough.

If you have a website, you need to understand how people consume information.

That goes for small businesses too.

Take a look at how searches on various devices resulted in purchases from a local business.

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More searches resulted in purchases from mobile phones and tablets than from computers and laptops.

Remember what I said earlier?

People search for items online while they are shopping inside of a physical store.

Obviously, for convenience and practicality purposes, they don’t whip out a computer to do this.

But they can easily reach into their pockets for their  phones.

Let’s continue analyzing the trends.

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In 2017, laptops and desktops are trending down.

On the flip side, mobile phones are trending up.

This holds true on a global scale as well.

Over 66% of the population owns a mobile device.

As a business owner who operates a website, you’ve got to stay on top of these kinds of numbers.

Analyze your target market.

Age impacts how people browse and shop online as well.

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As you can see from the graphic above, people over the age of 55 use their devices much less than younger generations.

So if you’re selling a product or service that targets senior citizens, you might be getting away with not having a mobile friendly site at the moment.

But you’re still missing out on sales.

Think about all the younger people who may want to buy a gift for their parents or grandparents.

They would browse and shop on their mobile devices.

Plus, this isn’t a sustainable business plan.

Those younger generations are only going to get older, so it’s safe to say these trends will shift and even out over time.

Mobile devices impact buyer behavior

Continuing with our last point, the devices that people browse on impact how they shop.

The reason behind this statement is due to a combination of everything we’ve discussed so far.

Consumers are more likely to buy something if you have a mobile friendly website.

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It’s that simple.

Here’s a hypothetical situation.

Let’s say a consumer is shopping in your competitor’s brick and mortar location, which is within a walking distance from your storefront.

The customer is interested in an item, but they want to make sure they’re getting the best price.

They run a quick Google search to see if anyone else sells this particular item at a more reasonable cost.

You offer the same exact item for 20% less than your competitor.

But when the consumer clicks on your website, it takes too long to load, and it’s not mobile friendly.

Now what?

The customer didn’t want to take the time to figure out scrolling and zooming through your complicated website because it wasn’t compatible with their mobile device.

You just missed out on the sale.

They bought from your competitor instead.

If this pattern continues, it will put you on the fast track to going out of business.

A/B test different versions of your mobile site

Once your mobile site is up and running, you have to keep working on it.

Sure, it’s better than it was before, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement.

Just like you do with your website and email campaigns, you need to A/B test your mobile website as well.

This will help ensure you get the highest conversion rates possible.

That way you know it’s performing to its full potential.

Approach this test the same way you would any other A/B test.

Just change one component.

For example, you could change the wording, colors, size, or placement of the CTA button.

Here’s a basic example to illustrate what I mean:

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I’d recommend testing the performance of different site variations often.

That’s the best way to ensure you’re accommodating the needs of any mobile user who visits your website.

Build an app

For those of you who want to take mobile optimization a step further, it may be in your best interest to build an app for your company.

Apps can help enhance the user experience even more.

It’s not for every business, but I definitely recommend looking into it.

Mobile app development is expensive and takes time.

Even after your app is finished, it’s still going to cost you money to keep it running.

But if you think you have the funds to pull it off, it can definitely be worth your time and financial investment.

The majority of the time that gets spent on mobile devices is through app usage.

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It’s a great way to increase the chances that customers spend more time engaging with your company.

I recommend building an app for your business if you have an ecommerce website.

Here’s why.

Your mobile site may be better for the users to browse on when they’re looking up information in a store, but apps make it easier for them to purchase.

The checkout process on your mobile site is long and tedious.

Users have to enter all their personal information, shipping address, and payment method.

This takes a long time, especially on a mobile phone.

There is just too much room for error, and you could see a high number of abandoned shopping carts.

But if you have an app, users, once they download it, can create a profile.

This profile saves all their information.

So when it’s time to check out, your customers can add items to their carts and pay with just a couple of clicks.

This simplified process will increase sales for your ecommerce store.

Conclusion

If the sales for your business are stagnant or declining, it may be because you’re ignoring mobile users.

The trends are changing toward more mobile usage each year.

Optimizing your website to accommodate the needs of these users will help you make more money.

You just have to make sure your mobile site loads fast in addition to being optimized.

Otherwise, you’ll see high abandonment rates.

A/B test different versions of your mobile website to get the highest number of conversions possible.

It may also be in your best interest to build a mobile app for your company, especially if you’re selling something.

Follow these tips, and your website will start making more money from people using mobile devices.

How long does it take your mobile website to load?



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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Starting Over: Niche Site or Amazon FBA?

I received an email from a reader the other day that asked me what business venture I would pursue if I was starting over.  In particular they wanted to know if they should be focusing on building a niche site or starting an Amazon FBA business.

Today I want to dive into that question and provide some of my thoughts.

Along the way, I'll share some of the pros and cons of each business venture and eventually leave it to decide on your own.

Both of these business opportunities have lots of potential; however, where should you start?

So, with that, let's jump right into it.

Business Potential

When I think about the business potential, or how much money can be made, both launching physical products through Amazon FBA and building niche sites have good potential.  My definition of “good potential” is making enough money to quit your day job.  

I know most people make less money than $100k per year, but let's peg the “good potential” dollar amount at $10,000 a month.

There are plenty of niche sites making over $10,000 a month and there are plenty of Amazon FBA businesses making over $10,000 a month.  So, when you look at the lower end from 0 to $10,000…both ideas have potential.

However, I will add that MOST niche sites are making less than $1,000 a month.  In fact, when someone has a site making over $5,000 a month it's considered a pretty big success…enough to brag about!  I see this all the time when someone on Facebook or internet marketing forums posts about a site making a few thousand dollars a month.  EVERYONE wants to pick their brain and know how they are doing it!

On the other hand, when someone posts that they are making $5,000 a month with Amazon FBA in an Amazon Facebook group…it's usually asking what they are doing wrong or why they aren't making more money.

As strange as that sounds, it just isn't considered doing very well if you are only selling $5,000 a month on Amazon.  The threshold where people start to get really impressed on Amazon FBA is $100,000 a month, rather than $5,000 a month.

So overall, both niche sites and Amazon FBA have potential.

But Amazon FBA has WAY BIGGER potential.  It's not unrealistic for people to make $50,000 or even $100,000 a month selling their own physical products.

Yes, there are always outliers…some niche sites can make 6 figures a month, but it's extremely rare.

Maturity and Saturation

How mature are the business ideas of niche sites and Amazon FBA?  In terms of all business ideas, they are both really new ideas.  Gold mining and oil exploration are some mature business…to give you an example.

However, in terms of internet years; building niche sites is much more mature.

Google was created in 1998.  So, people were building niche sites before 1998 (Google needed to have a bunch of websites before a search engine would be needed).

Amazon was created in 1994.  However, they didn't allow 3rd party sellers until 2006.  So, it's only even been an option to sell on Amazon for about 10 years…crazy.

In addition, the real magic is in how many prime members there are.  As an Amazon FBA seller, Prime members get free shipping on any of your products.  So, the more prime members there are, the easy it is for you to sell your products.

Take a look at the growth in Amazon prime memberships:

I started selling on Amazon in roughly March 2015, when there were about 44 million Prime members.  There are now over double that amount at 90 million!  Double in just over 2 years, astounding.

And I don't see it shrinking any time soon.

So, here's the real question.  Do you personally see yourself buying more or less on Amazon in the future?  For me, it's definitely more due to the convenience and selection.

In terms of maturity, Amazon FBA is a less mature business model than niche sites.

In terms of saturation, I also believe that Amazon is less saturated.  Let's take a look at an example.

If I go to Google and do a search for the exact match term of “best survival knife”, Google returns over 3 million results.

So, 3.7 million websites mention the term “best survival knife”.  Now as you know, that doesn't necessarily mean that all these websites are trying to rank for that term…but it does mean there are TONS of websites writing content about survival knifes.

When I search for the exact phrase of “best survival knife” on Amazon, I get 28 results.  Yep, just 28.

Obviously Amazon works quite a bit differently than Google, so looking at the exact phrase isn't really a fair comparison.  But even when looking at the broad phrase, Amazon returns 13,630 results.

And when you get to page 9 or 10, you start to get a lot of products completely unrelated to knives.  So, even though there are still a couple hundred knife sellers on Amazon, where is it more saturated?

I think clearly Google is more saturated than Amazon.  I'd rather compete against a dozen people (in lots of categories this is the case) on Amazon, rather than thousands (or millions?) of websites on Google.

I know there are lots of nuances here, but from a strictly saturation standpoint, Amazon is less saturated than Google by a long shot in my opinion.

Barrier to Entry

The reason that Google and niche sites is more saturated?  The barrier to entry is low.

Anyone that knows how to write can get a website up and running for about $20 (domain name and first couple months of hosting).  How many people do you know that have $20?  Yep, pretty much everyone.

So, starting a niche site has about the least amount of barriers to entry as possible.  Now, there are some SKILL barriers that might prevent people from being successful.  But these are skills that can be learned or readily outsourced (SEO, wordpress, content, etc).

Lots of people are not successful with websites because they don't fully learn the skills they need.  However, when looking at the business opportunity overall, the barrier to entry is almost as low as it can get.

Amazon FBA also has a low barrier to entry.  However, the investment required is definitely higher than niche sites.  This is of course both a negative and a positive for Amazon FBA.

You might need to invest at least a few thousand dollars to get your first product up and running.  This is a higher barrier for some people to get over.  This might keep you out of the business.

On the other hand, this is a good thing for people already selling on Amazon FBA.  If someone doesn't get into the business, that's less competition.

In terms of skill level, I would call it about even.  Both Amazon FBA and SEO/niche sites have their own unique skill barriers, but not so much that I would call it a high skill barrier to entry.

Investment Required

This can vary greatly depending on what you outsource and what you don't.  In general, $500 is plenty to get a niche site up and running.

However, $500 is not usually going to be enough to start an Amazon FBA business.  The total investment required for Amazon FBA is highly dependent on the product you chose to sell.  Perhaps you can manufacture something small for under $1,000 but other products might require over $20,000 to really get started.

I would estimate that an average investment for a new product is $3,000 to $4,000 on your first batch.

And if your product does well, the investment actually will climb quite a bit.  You will need to re-order a second batch before your first batch has sold out (and before you've recouped your initial investment).  So, if your first batch is $3,000 and it's going well, you might order a second batch that is twice as large for $6,000.  And you may have only recouped a $1,000 so far (just an example).

You can quickly run out of cash when running a successful Amazon FBA business.

On the other hand, niche sites are less cash intensive.  You can get started for $500 or $1,000 and not have to spend anymore until you are cash flowing the website.

Speed to Profit

Which business opportunity will push cash in your pocket faster?

Generally speaking, Amazon FBA is going to be faster.  

Niche sites can easily take 6 months to a year of hard work before they start to rank in Google and make money.  And as you saw in Niche Site Project 3, even after that time they might only be making a couple hundred dollars per month.

On the other hand selling physical products on Amazon can take off much quicker.  In my very first month selling on Amazon (with my first product ever) I sold almost $5,000 worth of product (about a $1,500 net profit).  After 12 months, I was doing 10 times that amount in both revenue and profit.

The reason is simple: people go to Amazon to buy.  If you have a good product offering and people see it on Amazon, there is a great chance they will be buying it.  

I love Google and SEO, but it does take quite a bit longer typically to start making decent money (especially if you are just an affiliate).

Best of Both Worlds?

Is it possible to have both the low investment benefit of a niche site and the high return potential of selling a physical product?  

One option is to combine the 2 methods.  For example, I built a niche site for my brand of physical products I was selling on Amazon.  I was essentially my own affiliate.

So, I launched products on Amazon which quickly started selling…but I was also slowly building rankings on Google to drive free traffic to my own listings (and make affiliate commissions on other products as well).

Another way to jumpstart your niche site is with social media traffic.  I'm currently in the middle of a social media project, where I'm experimenting with what can be done with social media traffic from Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and other networks.

The reality is that if done right, you can quickly build a social following and start driving traffic to your own site or your own products.

What Option is Best for You?

When it comes to business, there is no one size fits all.  You have to decide what sort of time and money investment you are willing to make and where your skill sets are.

In review, here's a quick breakdown of the comparison I've made between niche sites and Amazon FBA.

  • Most Business Potential: Amazon FBA
  • Lowest Maturity and Saturation: Amazon FBA
  • Lowest Barrier to Entry: Niche Sites
  • Lowest Investment Required: Niche Sites
  • Fastest to Profits: Amazon FBA

Overall, I love both business ideas.  You need to do what is best for your own business.

If I were personally just starting out and I had enough capital to get started with Amazon FBA, that is where I would start.  That could all change in a couple of years.  However, when I look at the current environment of both Google and Amazon, that's where I would go.

Hope you enjoyed the analysis!  If you have a comment, please leave your thoughts below.

The post Starting Over: Niche Site or Amazon FBA? appeared first on Niche Pursuits.



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8 Tactics to Increase Sales with Video Content

All businesses can benefit from more sales.

Whether your company is thriving or struggling to get by, a sales surge can help you get more cash in the bank.

If your current marketing strategies aren’t working or growing stale, I’ve got a solution for you.

Produce more video content.

Regardless of your industry, videos can do wonders for your company.

Don’t believe me?

Well, more than half of marketing experts across the globe say that videos yield the highest ROI compared to other types of content.

Furthermore, 43% of consumers want marketers to produce more video content.

You need to give the people what they want.

I’ve seen too many businesses avoid video marketing tactics because they don’t know where to start.

They are afraid of doing something wrong. I’ve even heard some business owners say they don’t use video content because they don’t have the right equipment.

You don’t need any fancy or expensive video equipment.

All of the tactics I’m going to show you can be accomplished with a smartphone or basic camera.

That’s it.

Here’s something else to consider.

Think about the other marketing tactics you’re currently using.

Can more than one person view them at the same time?

I doubt it.

But look at how video content gets consumed in groups:

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It’s unlikely two or more people will sit side by side and read your email newsletter together.

However, if you send a video, it’s more likely people will watch it together.

Plus, look at all the device options people use to consume video content.

Videos can help you:

  • increase your website traffic
  • enhance interactions with your customers
  • grow your email list
  • get more followers on social media
  • expose your brand to a wider audience
  • promote new products or services

All these benefits lead to more sales.

This is how you do it.

1. Create a YouTube channel

If you’re not currently using any videos to promote your company, creating a YouTube channel is the first step.

Here’s why.

Once you add videos to YouTube, it’s easy to share them on other platforms.

Whether you’re embedding the video into your website or just sending a link, the YouTube platform makes it simple to accomplish this.

As you’ll see shortly, you’re going to distribute your videos across lots of different platforms.

Uploading all your content to YouTube first will help save you time because you won’t need to make the same video more than once.

Let’s look at an example so you can see what I’m talking about.

Here’s a video I included in a blog post;

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Guess where it came from?

I took it directly from my YouTube channel.

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Making the video again would have been a waste of time.

That’s why this should be the first place where you start.

Don’t be intimidated.

You won’t have hundreds of videos overnight.

Just focus on one at a time.

It took me years to get over 25,000 subscribers on my YouTube channel.

But now, I have videos with over 22,000 views.

Plus, users, in addition to viewing YouTube content on other platforms, will view it directly on that site as well.

YouTube is only second to Facebook when it comes to the number of active monthly users.

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All the content on their platform is strictly videos, and it is still extremely successful.

That alone should show you how powerful video content is in terms of what users want to consume.

2. Post videos on social media

Even if you’re not currently using videos, I’ll assume you have active social media profiles.

Use them to their full potential.

You should be posting on social media every day.

This will keep your brand fresh in the minds of your followers.

The reason why so many companies don’t always post on social media is because they don’t know what to share.

Well, if you’re adding new videos to your YouTube channel, social media is the perfect platform to share your new content.

Most social media platforms have their own software to create and publish video content, but we’ll get to that shortly.

For now, just try to focus on getting all your YouTube videos onto your Facebook and Twitter profiles.

That’s a great place to start.

Take a look at how videos have been trending on Facebook for the last two years:

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We saw a 6% jump in video posts by businesses from 2016 to 2017.

I expect that number to continue rising each year for the foreseeable future.

3. Add more videos to your website

What’s the first thing people see when they visit your website?

Too many words on the page can be confusing and unappealing.

You shouldn’t have lots of long paragraphs explaining how your company operates.

Nobody wants to read that.

Instead, simplify the design and color schemes.

Replace all of it with a video message.

Square uses this tactic to explain how their products work:

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Do you see how little text they included on this page?

This won’t confuse anyone.

Instead, the viewer’s attention gets drawn to the video.

When you click the link, it plays a video from Square’s YouTube channel.

It’s much more effective than trying to explain how your products work in long and messy paragraphs.

4. Go live on Facebook

I love it when businesses use Facebook live as a promotional method.

It’s one of the best ways you can engage with your Facebook followers in real time.

But there’s science behind it.

You don’t want to just go live randomly for no rhyme or reason.

Instead, you should schedule your live streams to run at a set time every week.

That way, you can continue building a regular audience.

Think about your favorite TV shows.

They are on at the same day and time every week.

If they just came on sporadically, it’s unlikely you’d be able to catch every episode.

That’s the kind of following you’re trying to create here with your live video streams.

Just like your website, Facebook live is a great chance for you to promote your products or do a demonstration.

Facebook is the most popular live video streaming platform:

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The user interaction is my favorite part of Facebook live.

Viewers have a chance to comment on your live stream.

It’s absolutely imperative that you respond to those comments.

This interaction will help you build a stronger bond with your customers.

The acknowledgement will show them how much you care.

Call them out by name while you’re live.

Thank them for watching.

Give the viewer a reason to tune in next week.

Go live for a long time.

Facebook allows you to have a stream that lasts for up to four hours.

You don’t need to use all four, but I’d say go for at least two or three.

The longer you’re live, the greater the chance you’ll have of getting more people to watch.

Long live videos mean you need to come prepared.

Don’t just wing it.

Have some notes or references for topics, products, and services you’re planning to discuss.

5. Use Instagram stories

You can post pictures and videos to your Instagram story.

For today’s topic, we’ll focus on the video portion of this.

Instagram stories expire after 24 hours.

Feel free to post several each day to keep your brand fresh in the minds of your followers.

These stories appear at the top of everyone’s homepage.

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Anyone who follows you will see you have a story posted that day.

To view it, all they need to do is click on your photo, and the video will play through.

Popular stories will also show up on the search page for users who don’t follow you.

It’s a great way to increase brand exposure.

Instagram also has a live video feature that’s incorporated into their stories.

You don’t need to approach this the same way you do Facebook live videos.

Instead, use your live Instagram stream when you’re somewhere cool.

You can give your followers a tour around your production facility or introduce them to your staff.

This helps create an exclusive feeling for anyone watching.

Now they have access to something that would normally be kept behind closed doors.

Plus it’s so easy to do.

Just pull your phone out of your pocket and start recording.

But like on Facebook live videos, you’ll definitely want to respond to the live user comments.

6. Encourage customers to make their own videos

Not all your video content needs to be produced by you.

Try to get your customers involved.

You’ll accomplish a few things with this method.

  • You’ll get videos free, and it won’t take any of your time
  • It’ll enhance the customer experience
  • You’ll get more brand exposure if your customers share their videos

Look at how GoPro encourages their customers to create video content:

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They post the best videos on their website and even give out awards to the creators of their favorite submissions.

Giving the customer recognition for their work is a great way to get people on board.

Plus, people are really creative.

You may find out their content is even better than yours.

Run a contest or some other promotion that gets your customers to break out their cameras and start filming.

7. Email videos to your subscribers

Remember earlier I said we could use the videos from your YouTube channel on multiple platforms?

Well, here’s another chance to share those videos with your customers.

Look to your email subscription list.

Those people may or not be following you on social media, so it’s not a guarantee they’ll see your live streams or other shared videos.

But you have direct access to their inboxes.

Use it.

Embed YouTube videos into your email marketing campaigns.

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Given the statistics above, you can see that emails with video content:

  • improve your CTR
  • increase leads
  • increase conversion rates
  • minimize unsubscribes

So it’s a no-brainer to employ this strategy, especially since you don’t have to come up with brand new videos for each email.

Just use the existing ones from your YouTube channel.

8. Make sure all your videos are mobile friendly

One constant you need to maintain with all your videos is the compatibility with mobile devices.

That’s why I’ve been recommending you use platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram to share your content.

That way, the videos automatically get optimized.

Take a look at how videos are being consumed on mobile devices:

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Mobile videos are trending upward.

Just make sure any videos included on your website and emails are on mobile friendly templates.

If your videos aren’t loading and can’t be viewed on phones or tablets, you’ll defeat the purpose of posting them in the first place.

Conclusion

Those of you looking for an easy and inexpensive way to get more sales for your business need to start creating more video content.

Create a YouTube channel, and add videos to it.

You’ll be able to share those same videos on other platforms like social media pages, your website, and even in email campaigns.

In addition to sharing pre-recorded videos, take advantage of live video streams.

Use Facebook and Instagram for this.

It’s a better way to engage with your viewers since you can respond to their comments in real time.

Another way to produce more video content is by getting other people to do it for you.

Come up with creative ways to get your customers to submit videos.

You can share those videos on your website as well.

No matter what kind of videos you’re making, just make sure they are optimized for mobile devices.

The increased brand exposure combined with an easy way for you to explain your products and services will ultimately boost your sales.

What platforms are you currently using to share your video content?



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Monday, December 4, 2017

How to Squeeze Revenue from Confirmation Emails

Email is one of the best ways to communicate with your customers.

Sending confirmation emails can help establish a stronger relationship with your current clientele.

It keeps them in the loop.

They won’t have to second-guess whether their order went through or whether an action they completed was successful.

That’s why all companies need to utilize confirmation emails.

For starters, if you’re not sending confirmation messages, you need to start ASAP.

But for those of you who already use this communication strategy, here is the question: what does the content of your message say?

If the email is just a simple receipt, you’re not using this marketing tactic to its full potential.

Receipts aren’t enough and won’t squeeze any additional dollars out of the customer.

Think about your current email marketing campaigns.

For your marketing to be successful, your subscribers need to open the message and click on something in it.

What are your current open rates and CTRs?

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Those numbers drastically improve for confirmation emails compared to bulk marketing campaigns.

That’s why this is such a great opportunity from a marketing perspective.

Now is the perfect chance for you to send a promotional email in addition to a confirmation email.

I’ve had lots of success using this strategy, and I’ve helped other companies increase their revenues through confirmation emails as well.

I’ll show you how to accomplish this too.

Always send welcome messages to new subscribers

Let’s start at the very beginning.

Don’t wait for your next newsletter or promotional message to contact a new subscriber.

If you do that, it could be over a week or two before this person hears from you.

Send them a welcome message as soon as they sign up.

Since they just provided you with their email address, your brand is fresh in their minds.

This early confirmation is a great chance to encourage a sale or some other action like a download.

Welcome messages are also necessary if you have a double opt-in strategy in place.

I like using double opt-in landings because it helps eliminate fake email addresses from your subscriber list.

This ultimately leads to higher engagement from the recipients and makes your marketing analytics much more accurate.

Just look at how a double opt-in welcome message affects your open rates:

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Now that you’ve got the new subscriber to open your message, it’s your chance to make some money.

  • Promote your newest product or service.
  • Explain how your brand can add value to the customer.
  • Give them other incentives like free shipping or an easy return process.
  • Offer a discount. They work well too. Everyone loves to get a deal.

Let’s say you have an ecommerce store.

If someone signs up for your email subscription list, it’s safe to say they have some genuine interest in buying something.

Well, a welcome email confirmation offering a discount could just be the determining factor that turns a subscriber into a customer.

Here’s a great example of this strategy from GAP:

image9 12

Notice that the offer is valid only for 30 days.

Making your promotional offer time sensitive is also a good way to encourage a sale.

Get your subscribers used to confirmation emails by sending them one right off the bat with a welcome message.

Remind shoppers about their abandoned shopping carts

It happens to everyone with an ecommerce site.

Customers browse for items online, add products to their carts, but never complete the checkout process.

This is disheartening.

Oftentimes, the shopper was only a click or two away from making a purchase.

Just because the cart was abandoned doesn’t mean you need to give up on that sale.

If a customer was browsing on their unique customer profile from your website, you’ll have their email address on file.

Otherwise, they may have provided you with their email address as one of the earlier steps in the checkout process before they abandoned the cart.

Some of the top reasons for cart abandonment include:

  • unexpected costs (like taxes, shipping, or other fees)
  • overall price is too high
  • shopper was just browsing
  • problems with the website
  • they found a better price somewhere else
  • process is too complicated
  • security concerns

If it appears the price was the reason why this individual didn’t complete the ordering process, send them an email with a discount or another promotion.

Look at how Kate Spade New York accomplishes this with their cart abandonment messages:

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Now the customer has an added incentive to buy.

They were already interested in those products in the first place, so the discount can really be the determining factor that finalizes the sale.

After they finish checking out their online cart, they’ll continue to get more confirmation emails from you, which I’ll discuss shortly.

Consider this statistic: 69.23% of online shopping carts get abandoned.

If your abandonment rate is high, you can still squeeze money out of those carts through confirmation messages.

Keep the customer updated once they place an order

As I just mentioned, the confirmation emails don’t stop when a customer places their order.

You need to keep them updated throughout the entire process.

Each step is an excuse for you to send another message.

The customer will like these messages as well since they are receiving valuable information about their purchase.

Every time something gets bought online, you have an excuse to send four confirmation emails to the customer, in this order:

  1. Order confirmed
  2. Package shipped
  3. Items delivered
  4. Follow up

The order confirmation message is simple. This will be their receipt. You can include the order number, items, and pricing breakdown.

But it can be more than just a receipt. You can also promote other products as Target does with this confirmation:

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When the package gets picked up from your warehouse and the shipping process starts, send them another email with the shipping carrier and tracking information.

Send another message once the package gets delivered.

People aren’t always home all day. So this email will be exciting.

They know there’s something waiting for them when they get home from work.

Or they can make arrangements for a friend or family member to grab the package if they aren’t going to be home for a while.

Finally, a week or so after the order gets delivered, you can send them a follow-up message.

Include a survey, and ask for their feedback.

You want to find out if they were happy with the ordering process and ultimately if they are satisfied with your product.

This final message in the drip sequence accomplishes a few things. It:

  • lets the customer know you care about their opinion
  • provides them with information about your product and process
  • increases engagement
  • serves as an excuse to send another confirmation email

Here’s the catch, however.

All four of the messages you just sent to the customer after they placed an order need to be more than just their obvious value.

Include promotional content as well, just like Target did in the above example.

Offer a discount.

Tiny Prints does this with their confirmation emails:

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Additional discounts give the customer a reason to become a repeat customer.

It helps you squeeze more dollars out of one person.

Upsell and cross-sell

As you can see from some of the examples we’ve already looked at, upselling and cross-selling methods can be incorporated into these confirmation emails as well.

Upselling encourages the customer to buy something similar to the product they have but at a higher price point.

Cross-selling promotes other products related to the item the customer just purchased.

For example, let’s say a customer bought a pair of headphones or some other electronic device, like a tablet or computer, from your ecommerce store.

When you’re sending the drip campaign of emails to keep them updated about their order, one of those messages can contain a cross-selling strategy.

Offer them a protective case or travel bag to keep their new product safe.

Any accessory compatible with what they just bought is worth including in these confirmation emails.

It’s a great way to increase profits, especially because you’re marketing to an existing customer.

It’s easier to sell to repeat customers:

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Furthermore, loyal customers spend three to five times more money each purchase.

So you’re definitely pitching to the right crowd here if you’re offering an upsell or cross-sell promotion.

Encourage social sharing to gain referrals

The person receiving your confirmation emails shouldn’t be the only person you’re trying to squeeze more money out of.

These people have friends and family members who could potentially be valuable sources of revenue as well.

You just need to make them aware of your brand.

That’s why you need to encourage your subscribers to share your content.

If you’re sending a discount in your confirmation message, include a share link for social media websites like Facebook or Twitter.

You can also have the recipient forward the message directly to their friends.

But not everyone will do this out of the kindness of their hearts.

Even if they really love your brand, they may not go out of their way to potentially spam their friends.

You need to give them something in return.

Check out this order confirmation email from Grubhub:

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If they refer a friend to Grubhub, they’ll get $7.

It’s simple and effective.

Now you’re getting extra revenue from more than just one person.

The customer who made the referral is very likely to buy from you again since they’ll want to cash in their discount or reward.

Plus, you’re acquiring new customers and adding more subscribers to your list from the people they are referring.

And guess what?

As we discussed, new subscribers will also get a welcome message from you to confirm their subscription.

It’s a cycle that works.

Conclusion

Every email that gets sent out to customers needs to be strategic.

While you may want to send your customers a promotional message every day to encourage sales, subscribers don’t want that.

In fact, getting too many emails is the number one reason why consumers unsubscribe from email lists.

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You need to make the most out of every message you’re able to send.

Confirmation emails are the perfect way to disguise promotional offers.

The data we looked at earlier told us that confirmation messages have higher open rates and click-through rates than other types of emails.

You should always send a welcome message to new subscribers to confirm they’ve been added to your email list.

If you have an ecommerce store and customers are abandoning their shopping carts, it doesn’t mean that sale is lost.

Send a cart abandonment reminder email with a discount as an incentive for the customer to complete the checkout process.

After customers buy something, keep them up to date with confirmation messages about the status of their orders.

Let them know when the orders ship and when they get delivered.

All of these confirmation messages are a great opportunity to upsell and cross-sell.

You can also encourage your subscribers to share these promotions with friends and family as a way to acquire more customers and make more money.

What types of promotions do you offer in your confirmation emails to encourage customers to spend more money on their next purchases?



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Friday, December 1, 2017

Customer Acquisition Strategies That Won’t Break the Bank

Getting new customers isn’t always cheap.

That’s one of the reasons why I tell businesses to focus on customer retention.

With that said, it’s impossible to retain customers if you can’t get them through your doors or to your website in the first place.

If you’re a new company without an existing customer base, you’ll need to come up with some creative ways to acquire new ones.

The problem is new businesses typically have a limited marketing budget.

They need sales to generate money for promotional content, but they can’t get any sales without those promotions.

It’s a paradox.

This goes for companies that may have been in business for a while but are struggling with their revenue streams.

Regardless of your situation, new customers can always help.

You don’t need to spend a fortune on customer acquisition.

Here’s a basic formula that shows how to calculate your acquisition cost:

image2

If you want an even more accurate version of this formula, you can add additional costs besides sales and marketing. They may include:

  • wages
  • infrastructure
  • production
  • any other costs

That’s the true representation of how much it costs you to get a new customer.

Keeping this number low will give you a much higher return on investment.

The strategies I’m going to show you actually work.

I know this from personal experience.

These are the most inexpensive techniques to acquire lots of new customers.

Start by retargeting old customers

I know what you’re thinking.

If you’re focusing on existing customers, it’s retention, not acquisition—right?

Not exactly.

If you’ve been in business for a while and it’s been a year or two since a customer was active, I wouldn’t refer to that person as an existing customer.

Getting them back to your business is basically like getting a brand new customer.

Dig up any old information you have on this person:

  • email
  • phone number
  • address

Anything you have.

Reach out to them with a promotion to try to get their business back.

Here’s an example of an email campaign from Carter’s:

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They give an old customer a reason to make another purchase and come back to their brand.

If you’ve recently made new improvements to your business, don’t be afraid to let old customers know.

Maybe the reason why they left in the first place was because they thought your company was outdated.

Share any information about your infrastructure that has improved the customer experience.

Do you have a new mobile application?

Have you renovated your brick and mortar location?

These are examples of things to promote when you contact these old leads.

Step up your presence on Instagram

To survive, you have to adapt to the times.

The days of using snail mail and local print advertisements to promote your business are slowly becoming a thing of the past.

Your business needs to have a digital presence.

Stay engaged with prospective customers via Instagram.

Over half of users on Instagram are active on a daily basis.

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There are also 800 million active monthly users.

These numbers continue to rise each year.

The popularity of this platform isn’t going to phase out any time soon.

One of the reasons why I like to use Instagram is because it’s so inexpensive.

It doesn’t cost you anything to create a profile.

The only cost is your time.

Even if you’re paying someone to manage your social media accounts, it’s OK as long as they’re being productive.

Here’s what you need to do.

Work on getting more followers on your profile.

Realistically, not all your followers will become customers.

Don’t worry about converting all of them.

Let’s go through a scenario.

Start with a goal.

You want to gain 10,000 Instagram followers in the next month.

It’s a high number, but it’s attainable.

You’re aiming to convert 20% of your followers to customers.

That’s 2,000 new customers in just one month.

Don’t forget the best part: it didn’t cost you anything.

For those of you who think a 20% conversion is too high or unrealistic, think again.

Based on this generational data, it’s actually quite modest:

image4

Internet users in the United States are likely to purchase something from a brand they follow on social media.

If you get more followers, you’ll get more customers.

You can improve your conversion chances if you’re managing your Instagram account properly.

Post pictures and videos of your products and services.

Get your followers involved as well.

Try to encourage them to post images of themselves using your products.

One of my favorite ways to do this is by featuring customer photos on your account.

When your followers see they can get recognition for their photos, it gives them some extra motivation to post pictures with your product.

Here’s an example from the Thule Instagram:

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Now anyone who has one of Thule’s products knows they can be featured as well if they take a cool photo.

Getting customers to post photos on their personal accounts is a great brand awareness strategy.

You’ll get more followers and acquire more customers.

Again, this strategy is completely free.

Create more video content

Like I said earlier, you need to stick with the trends.

Video content is trending upward at record rates.

Across the globe, 52% of marketing experts say video has the highest return on investment compared to other marketing content.

That’s great news for you if you’re trying to keep acquisition costs low.

Doing something as simple as adding a video to your landing page can increase conversion rates by up to 80%.

One of the best parts about creating a video is that you can use the same one across all of your marketing channels.

I’ll go through some examples to show you what I mean.

Let’s say you created a video for your website.

You can also send it via email to your subscribers.

Not everyone on your subscriber list is a customer.

Some people may have provided you with their email addresses, but never actually bought anything.

Here’s a great opportunity for you to acquire those individuals.

Look at how Patagonia embedded a video in their email marketing campaign:

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You can use the same strategy.

Don’t create a different video for each marketing channel—that’s a waste of time.

If the video is less than a minute long, you can even add it to your Instagram profile, which I discussed above.

Is your video longer than a minute? No problem.

Just include a specific clip from the video or make it into a top highlights clip.

All of this is much more cost effective than creating an entirely new video.

In addition to email and Instagram, add videos to your:

  • Homepage
  • Blog
  • YouTube channel
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

I know what you’re thinking.

How can this be a low-cost strategy if I need to hire a professional cameraman and crew to make a high quality video?

I’ve got good news for you: none of that is necessary.

In fact, the vast majority of businesses produce their video content in-house.

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This helps keep costs low.

Just invest in a decent camera and microphone.

You don’t need anything too fancy.

There’s plenty of inexpensive or even free video editing software that you can get on your computer as well.

If you’re willing to pay for a video editing tool, you can try Moovly.

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You can get a subscription for as little as $5 per month.

They even let you try the software free for the first 30 days to see whether you like the experience.

Some of you may have wanted to create videos in the past but didn’t know what kind of content to produce.

Remember, we’re trying to acquire customers here.

Your videos need to display your competitive advantage.

What makes your products or services better than something similar on the market?

Try starting with a video tutorial.

Go through a step-by-step process of how your product can solve a problem.

You can also create videos that demonstrate a product.

That’s not necessary for all products.

For example, if your company produces hats and headbands, I don’t think you need to teach potential customers how to put a hat on.

With that said, you can still come up with a creative video that shows what makes your product unique.

Dollar Shave Club uses this strategy with their promotional video content:

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The video doesn’t teach you how to shave.

Instead, it walks prospective clients through the process of getting razors and other shaving products delivered to their front doors.

It’s an effective and low-cost strategy for customer acquisition.

Start running epic giveaways

If people aren’t buying your product, you need to come up with a clever way to get the product in their hands.

Give it to them free.

Let me clarify.

I’m not saying you should give away thousands of products.

But you can run monthly or even weekly promotions.

You can choose between:

  • sweepstakes
  • contests

A sweepstakes means you’re giving away something to a person picked at random.

It doesn’t require any skill, and there’s nothing someone can do to increase their chances of winning.

All the person can do is enter and hope for the best.

Contests require skill, and the winner is selected based on judgment.

I think contests are more effective.

It gets the participants more involved, which is great if you’re trying to acquire new customers.

Let’s say someone entered your contest but didn’t win.

They put lots of effort into their entry and were looking forward to getting the product.

Well, now they may be more inclined to make a purchase.

Here’s an example of what a conversion funnel looks like when you run a contest:

image9

That’s what I love so much about this strategy.

First of all, it’s not going to cost you anything except for the cost of the product you’re giving away.

But it’s also a great way to build your email subscriber list.

In order to enter, make it a requirement for customers to provide you with their email addresses.

After all, how else will you be able to contact them if they win?

Now at the very least, you’ll be able to send them promotional emails.

If the contest didn’t entice them to make a purchase, your email marketing campaign can get the job done.

Remember earlier I said that if you get more followers on Instagram you could get more customers?

Well, the same concept applies here.

Additional subscribers on your email list can improve your conversions.

It’s an inexpensive way to acquire new customers.

Conclusion

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to spend a fortune on customer acquisition.

This holds true for startup companies as well as businesses that have been operating for years.

While customer retention should be a priority as well, you can’t keep a customer if you never got them on board in the first place.

That’s why I like to start with retargeting old customers.

You already have their contact information. If it’s been years since they last made a purchase, the additional revenue will have the same impact as the impact you would get from a new customer.

Instagram is one of my favorite social platforms for customer acquisition.

Since people are more likely to make a purchase from brands they follow on social media, focus on getting your follower numbers up.

You’ll be able to convert a percentage of those followers to customers.

Adding more video content to your promotional channels will help as well.

You can make these videos in-house, so it won’t be very expensive.

Contests and sweepstakes can increase brand awareness and get you some new customers.

These strategies will also help you get more email subscribers, so you can continue to market to those people and increase conversions.

What are some budget-friendly ways you’ve used to acquire new customers?



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