Vesta Digital Blog

Archive for March 2011

Why You Need QR Codes for Your Business WebsiteAs 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.

Distributed by IntelBuilder Social Media Platform

Does Social Bookmarking Really Work?Social bookmarking is the process of storing, organizing, searching, and managing bookmarks of web pages that you want to remember or share with your social network. Effective social bookmarking sites include StumbleUpon, Reddit, and Delicious.

Why Social Bookmarking?

You absolutely need to use social bookmarking sites when you publish new content, whether that’s new web pages, blog posts, or news and press articles. Social bookmarking works because it will drive large amount of traffic to your website.

Social bookmarking communities view bookmarks either chronologically, by tags, or by search engines. When you bookmark a page on your website and share it with an online community, it classifies that page as useful within the particular category you specified. The bookmark is then disseminated and shared among a viral community.

Social bookmarking is the third most effective medium of searching and finding useful information, preceded only by Google searches and directly visiting websites. It is a powerful marketing tool you should use to promote the information on your website and drive an amount of traffic almost equitable to what you get from Google searches.

How to use social bookmarking effectively

Rich Brooks of Social Media Examiner wrote in a recent blog post:

“It’s always best when someone else bookmarks your content, so it might makes sense to have a small ‘bookmarking club’ with friends where you promote each other’s work. This ‘seeding’ will often encourage others to bookmark your content.”

His advice is very useful in that bookmarking your own content will work in terms of search rankings, but it may end up looking like just promotional efforts in the eyes of your consumers.

When you publish new content (i.e. new web pages or blog posts), make sure you bold your keywords, add related links back to your website, and use tags to categorize your information to make searches more effective. Then, bookmark your site on a few different social bookmarking channels like StumbleUpon, Reddit, and Delicious.

In a day or two, review your web analytics and see exactly where your traffic came from. You’ll be surprised to see how quickly social bookmarking can work for you.

Distributed by IntelBuilder Social Media Platform

Why You Need to Have Videos on Your WebsiteAdding videos to your blog and your business website can be a great way to share new information with your consumers. It’s a quick and easy way to make your business website more personal, valuable, and interesting to your consumers.

If you have a high-involvement product that requires educating your consumer, it can work against you to have a lot of copy in your website trying to explain it. Consumers don’t want to put forth a lot of effort once they reach your website. You have less than a few seconds to grab their attention, and an even shorter amount of time to convince them you have a solid product.

Use videos

Using videos is not only a fun, easy, and quick way to explain your product, but it is a great way to increase your social media marketing activity. The amount of users on video sharing sites like YouTube and Vimeo give you a great opportunity to reach broader audiences.

Once you post a video on your website, people have the ability to share it with others. Because videos by nature are just easier to understand than large blocks of copy, information is more likely to get passed on.

What kinds of videos you should post

There are so many things you can use a well-constructed video for. You can have a page on your website filled with videos like:

Using videos for this kind of information gives your customers a little more value. Watching someone in their own consumer market talk about your product will do a lot more for your credibility than just reading about it on your website and seeing a picture.

How it Helps Social Media Marketing

Once you post a few videos, you’ll start to see how much easier it is to share information verbally rather than through written words. Set up a YouTube channel and have people subscribe to it. By embracing the myriad of ways you can use social media, you will be able to build up a larger consumer base and your consumers will be more interested in interacting with your company.

Distributed by IntelBuilder Social Media Platform

Why You Need to Connect Your Blog and Your WebsiteOne 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.

Personal Touch

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.

Distributed by IntelBuilder Social Media Platform

How To Make Your Website More Social Media FriendlyUsing social media is becoming one of the most popular strategies to retain customers that visit your business website. By directing your viewers to your Facebook page or Twitter account, you have opened the door of opportunity to continue communication with customers who have left your website without purchasing.

Your business website needs a way to direct people to your social media channels, to encourage communication between your customers and your brand. By including links to your social media pages on your website, you make it easier for you customer to learn everything they can about your product, and read why other customers are happy with what you have to offer.

Have social media buttons on your home page

In order to guide people to your Facebook page or Twitter account, have social media buttons on your homepage in plain view. Many online shoppers actually prefer spending time among social media platforms  rather than business websites because social media is comfortable, familiar, and eliminates the customer’s wariness of salespeople.

Rich Brooks, of Social Media Examiner says;

“Many companies now see the long-term benefits of gaining a follower, fan or subscriber on a social media platform, even weighed against the short-term risk of sending them away from the website.”

The buttons should open up your social media sites in a new window. Because you’re sending your potential customers to a site other than your own website, having them open in a new window gives the customer easier access and incentive to return to your business website.

Why social media works

Having a social media presence so readily available to your consumers is a huge advantage because your consumer base is interested in what goes on behind the scenes in your company. By posting photos, videos, product tests, special offers, and anything else you can think of that’s fresh and new, you give your company a more personal touch.

Having a personal touch is the best way to have a leg up on your competitors. Your social media platforms will really show the true personality behind your brand.

Distributed by IntelBuilder Social Media Platform

3 Simple Ways to Increase Cash FlowAre 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

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.

Cash overflow

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.

Distributed by IntelBuilder Social Media Platform

How Important Are Your Business Website's Interior Pages?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.

Distributed by IntelBuilder Social Media Platform

How To Perfect Your Sales Pitch On Your Business WebsiteThere 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.

Distributed by IntelBuilder Social Media Platform

How To Stand Out and Increase Sales OnlineHaving a business website can be a huge cost advantage and very profitable. However, there are some downsides to it. For example, having a brick and mortar location in a high-traffic area can get you some great sales, but how do you get people to notice you on the web?

As a small business, you need to devote most of your time towards marketing your website to consumers that need your products or services. You just don’t get the natural traffic that larger brand names have and because of that – you have to work a little harder.

Stand out

It’s difficult to stand out on the web, but in order to appear higher up on a Google search (clearly a priority since most people never search past the second or third page of search results), work on your search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is the process of weaving popular search keywords into your copy so Google is more likely to rank your website above others when people are searching for something that relates to your brand, product, or service.

You can also use social media to your advantage by working a Twitter page or a Facebook page. Once you find people talking about issues that relate to what you’re selling, you can jump into the conversation and provide a solution. For example if you run a daycare business, listen to people speaking about the trials of having young children, join the conversation and offer a solution.

Encourage sales

If your site is easy to navigate, provides fresh (continuously updated) content, and unobtrusively directs people towards purchasing your product, you’re well on your way to having a profitable web presence. Your site must look professional, organized, and trustworthy. For example, if you can’t take quality pictures of your product, ask your supplier to send you some images you are allowed to use on your website.

There are so many little things you can do to engage your customers and encourage people to buy from your website and not your competitors. Take the time to review what you have, and invest the time to improve your business website and current market position.

Distributed by IntelBuilder Social Media Platform

How To Cut Your Marketing Budget and Increase SalesAs prices all around us begin to rise, we start to get a little uneasy about budgets, pricing, and expenditures. Even though everyone is saying the economy is on the rise and us small business owners are on the upward trend, it’s always smart to cut your budget where you can afford.

Michale Kraus, a blogger, retail consultant, and marketing expert, wrote a great post for allbusiness.com that discusses a few ways you can cut your budget as a small business owner. Using these methods can not only save you money, but will be able to drive traffic to your business, convert leads into sales, and help your business grow in general.

Here are a few tips from Kraus:

Social Media

I continue to push the social media for two reasons:

  1. It’s free
  2. A whole generation of consumers live on social media

The evidence is mounting that social media does create awareness and can drive sales. And with 500 million Facebook users, not to mention millions of Twitter users,the growth of group buying sites like Groupon and Living Social, there are a lot of reasons to jump into the fray.

Email

Reaching out to your existing customers is key. After all, they already shop with you, so why not tap into this important market and give them a reason to visit? You can offer a deal, or perhaps your messaging is about a new line you brought in. Whatever you do, make sure you’re not spamming your best customers with too many emails, since you risk alienating them — and that’s something you cannot afford to do in this fragile economy.

Bounce Backs

There’s no better way to communicate with a customer and get them back into your store sooner than with a bounce back offer. Hand them a simple printed postcard or other piece when they’re at the cash wrap. Then tell them about the offer (usually it’s good for a discount then next time they visit). The beauty is that you specify the offer and the time period they can get the deal. So push it out four weeks to drive traffic back into your store. Double down and use social media to remind everyone about the card they’re holding and when it’s valid.

Distributed by IntelBuilder Social Media Platform


Categories

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.