Archive for March 2011
As a small business owner, you need to be able to adjust as rapidly as the changing market. More and more people are becoming absorbed in their smartphones, so much so that an entire segment of marketing and advertising has developed to specifically target this audience.
What are QR Codes?
A great way to tap in to that huge market is to use QR codes (or quick response codes). QR codes are fuzzy little black and white blocks that contain a bar code. The code can be scanned by smartphones with cameras. The codes then redirect people to a website, play some sort of animation, or do all sorts of neat tricks.
How can I use a QR Code?
There are several places you can put a QR code to drive traffic to your website. First however, you need to figure out what you want out of your QR code. Do you want more traffic on your website? Do you want people to visit your store? Do you want people to call in? These questions need to be answered before developing a QR code.
Once you’ve formulated the idea for your QR code, it’s time for execution. It’s extremely important to remember that QR codes are new, exciting, and fun. If you send people just to your homepage with a QR code, they’re likely to lose interest right away. Consider sending them to a special landing page or a mobile version of your website. It’s just more interesting for first time customers that have already shown interest by scanning your QR code.
Once you’ve decided what you’re going to do with a QR code, you need to choose the medium in which your codes will be distributed. You can choose to stick them on your packaging, direct mail, business cards, print ads, but one of the most interesting ways to drive traffic to your business website is to add QR codes to your social media pages. Using QR codes can really help with your social media marketing because many people just can’t resist scanning the barcodes with their phones to see what’s in store.
One creative way to drive more traffic to your website and encourage interaction with your customers is by integrating your blog into your business website. Rather than solely using a blog or website respectively, using both together can improve the interactivity with your customers.
Interactivity is becoming increasingly important for consumers and their purchase decisions. A business website gives the consumer general information and a professional business presence. A blog allows consumers to see updated and fresh information, testimonials from recent purchasers, and even comments and conversations posted by existing customers.
Search Engine Optimization
Blogs are also great for increasing your search engine optimization, or your visibility online. By posting fresh content on a daily basis you increase your search engine ranking and the ability for people to see you online. Blogs can also drive traffic to your website by providing useful information while also using links and a call to action to direct your readers to your company site.
Having a blog on a site like WordPress or Blogger will give your company a personality that many other companies don’t have. Publishing more personal content rather than pushing sales pitches gives you an advantage over your competitors. Because consumers are seeking more intimate relationships with the online companies they purchase from, a blog can be a great way to establish communication, relationships, and credibility with your consumers.
How To Integrate Your Blog and Website
There are several ways you can integrate your blogging platform and your business website. If you choose to use an existing platform like WordPress or Blogger, make sure to include links on every post you publish that directs your readers back to your website. Also, have links to your blog on the homepage of your business website. This encourages people to learn more about you, your company, your product, and your consumers.
If you wish to have a more seamless integration, consider investing in a content management system that includes a blogging platform. This means that your blog will be an actual page of your website and you wouldn’t need to send your customers away from your website in order to connect with them.
Are you the type of person that has a tendency to procrastinate because you secretly love the thrill of getting things done on time? If so, you have probably experienced the stress and urgency of trying to establish some cash flow in your small business.
Cash flow is truly the lifeblood of your small business. Without it, your business will drown even if your income statements say you’re making a profit. Cash flow is defined as the relationship between revenue and expenses over a given period of time. Investorwords.com actually calls it “a measure of a company’s financial health.” Revenue is the money flowing into your business through sales of services or products, and expenses can be just about anything you spend money on to run your business.
Your primary objective as a small business owner is to make enough revenue (consistently) so that the revenue made is greater than expenses paid. This way, you begin to build up an overflow of money coming into your business. You need this overflow so you can have the ability to do anything from taking advantage of new opportunities to covering unexpected emergencies.
In order to avoid a cash flow crisis, use the tips below to build up your cash overflow and enjoy your growing business.
1. Always receive payment upon delivery
Many small businesses allow customers to enjoy first and pay later. The fact is, if you want to see your cash flow remain consistent and steady, you can’t afford to do this. Credit is for banks and large corporations, not your small business. If it’s realistic, always ask for a one-time payment in advance of your services. If your product or service is delivered over a period of time, request payment in advance of each delivery. You should offer some sort of discount for paying more up front rather than over a period of time.
2. Pay every bill on time
Nothing but common sense here, you’ll save money by avoiding late payment charges and you can often take advantage of payment discounts for early payments.
3. Have a product that makes you money more than once
By creating something that you can sell multiple copies of (like an e-book) can be extremely beneficial and cost effective. Having a business website where you can sell your products is also extremely beneficial and can save you a lot of time, money, and effort by reducing many costs.
The other pages on your business website are just as important as your homepage. In fact, they may require even more attention than your homepage because they are more detailed and specific, rather than giving your customers a generalization of your product and company.
It is important to spend a lot of time and effort on your other pages because according to Entrepreneur.com, almost four out of every 10 visitors to a website enter the site from somewhere other than the homepage. This could be the blog, the about page, or even the sales page. That’s why it’s so important to make sure every page has an adequate amount of information – and it sells.
Review your web analytics and see what pages people are landing on when they first visit your business website. If it’s not your homepage, you have some work to do.
What to have on your interior web pages
According to Entrepreneur.com, there is a short list of absolute necessities to include on your interior pages. These are:
- Company logo and tagline
- Consistent navigation (including search)
- Call to action both above and below the fold (on the page before you scroll down and after)
- Clear, concise, compelling, and grammatically correct copy
- Consistent design and color scheme to establish brand presence, and
- Advertisements to promote featured products, services and special offers
Each page on your business website should clearly state what you offer and why it is beneficial to the consumer. It should guide the visitor to your product sales page with effective calls to action. Pay attention to small details, as they will help you in the long run.
Your business website and its accessibility is critical to your company’s online success. If each page doesn’t have the care and precision you’ve dedicated to your homepage, then you’ve wasted your time. Your business website is there to give a professional, valuable, and rewarding experience to your customers.
There are several things you can do to improve your sales technique. While there are many resources online you can use to teach yourself how to perfect your sales pitch, I have compiled a few tips you can use on your business website to get more sales.
Be a good listener
While we all know that the most important part of a sales conversation is listening to your customers wants and needs, this can be difficult on a business website because it’s mostly one-way communication. However, if you have a forum, blog, or Facebook page, you need to act on it. Once you get your customers to tell you what they want, it can open doors to stronger relationships and a better sales pitch.
Find out why
Your landing page should give your overall information, but it should also guide your customers to the pages they really need. Figure out why your customers need your products. Send them to different pages on your website based on their particular needs.
Be a consultant, not a salesman
Only once you’ve found out enough about your customers wants and needs can you truly develop the perfect sales pitch. Because you are tailoring your sale to what your customer needs as exactly as you can, you become more of a consultant (a partner), rather than a salesman only interested in finalizing a transaction. This way, your customer feels more at ease and has a more pleasant experience when purchasing from your company.
Be proud of your product
Your sales pitch should demonstrate not only your knowledge of your product, but your love for your product. Customers are more likely to buy from someone who is personally testifying to the value of a product. If you have a high-involvement product, you should never feel the need to apologize for the price because you believe the price is worth the benefit your customer will receive from purchasing.
Having a business website can be a huge advantage. However, you can always increase the amount of sales you make if you improve the way you interact with your customers and explain your product.