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The Marketing Edge (308)

What do your business's email newsletter, social media and website have in common? Aside from being part of your online marketing, they are valuable sources of data. Collecting and analyzing this data can help to inform your business's marketing strategies and overall performance. To be most effective, you must track only the data that is relevant to your business's goals.

To help you figure out the right types of data to track and why, here's a brief guide:

Shopping is one of America's favorite pastimes, so is surfing the Internet! It's no surprise that statistics show that there are 205 million online shoppers in the United States alone. By having an online store, you can attract customers who would not visit your brick and mortar store otherwise, but will make a purchase online.

Here are seven steps to get your online store started:

Figure out what you need. When it comes to selling items online, you have many options. For example, you could use an online marketplace site like Etsy. However, these sites charge fees for their services. Depending on your budget, a more cost effective solution may be to develop your own ecommerce website. Ultimately, your budget, skills, and abilities with technology will determine this decision.

Be your brand. Like any other part of your website, your online store should reflect your brand. Colors, fonts, logos, and other images used in your online store should be part of a consistent look shared by your other marketing materials. Also, be mindful of your brand's tone and voice when creating content to make sure your product descriptions are accurate. If you are starting your business from scratch and do not have a brand yet, you should begin with that so your ecommerce website can represent your brand well by following the look and feel you wish to communicate to your customers.

Talk money. Although running an online store is cheaper than a brick-and-mortar store, there will still be costs you need to cover. Along with paying the credit card companies or other systems that process payments, you will have to pay to ship your product to the customer, even if they pay for shipping. In order to make the most profit from your online store, be mindful of your budget and choose the most cost-effective options for your business.

Serve your customers. Even though you may never actually meet your customers, customer service still matters, it just must be handled differently. Customer relationship management (CRM) tools can be helpful in managing orders, returns, and customer contact information. To keep in contact with your customers, consider setting up a live chat in your online store. Just be sure that someone will be able to respond to the chat so that customers can interact with an actual person. To thank your customers, send a follow up email or message included in the package you send them with a discount for a future purchase.

Ask for feedback. Your customers' opinions matter and they can help you sell more and attract new customers. In fact, 90% of customers read online reviews before they even visit a business. With that in mind, it may be helpful to have the option to allow reviews on your product pages as well as your social media profiles. These reviews can also help your local search engine optimization (local SEO).

Be social. Your customers want you to engage with them on social media. Maintaining a strong social media presence is essential to your success. Any photos, specials, or events can be shared by your followers with their contacts to expand your audience.

Track your success. Using tools like Google Analytics can help you track your store's performance over time. Information gathered by these tools can tell you who your customers are, where they're from, and which products they are purchasing. From there, you can use this data to inform your sales and marketing strategies.

Starting an online store may be challenging, but the rewards are great - especially if this store co-exists with a brick-and-mortar version.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016 11:50

Mobile marketing for a mobile world

Written by Lindsay Ouellette

According to Pew Internet research, nearly two out of three Americans own a smartphone. If your business is not using mobile marketing, you are missing a major opportunity. The number of mobile connections now exceeds the world's population. However, there is more to mobile phone use than sending text messages or making calls. With enough creativity and a willingness to learn, your organization can take advantage of the opportunity mobile marketing presents.

Your website is your business' storefront on the Internet. To attract potential clients, it must be easy to navigate and visually appealing - especially considering that these prospects are using a variety of devices to view your website on including smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers. If your website's content is not optimized to be viewed on these devices, nearly 80% of users will click away to a website that is. It is essential for the success of both your business and your website to be mindful of current web design and usability elements.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016 12:30

The Marketing Edge (06/29/2016)

Written by Lindsay Ouellette

Writing marketing content that sells and tells your story

Today's consumers are more informed than ever before thanks to the wealth of information available online. In fact, over half of consumers say that offering free content on a topic they're interested in is effective in attracting their business. This means that creating engaging content that both sells and tells your brand's story is essential to your success. Finding ideas for this content can be challenging, but can be done with a bit of creativity.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016 09:58

The Marketing Edge - (06-22-2016)

Written by Lindsay Ouellette

Why Millennials crave experiences

A survey by ticket-purchasing website Eventbrite revealed that Millennials command an estimated $1.3 trillion in annual consumer spending. This study also showed that this generation prefers to spend their money on experiences like concert tickets or vacations rather than material items. In essence, Millennials crave memorable experiences, which influences most of their spending. In order to reach more young people, businesses need to adapt their sales and marketing strategies.

Today's digital world provides a variety of forums for people to express their opinions. Along with online review sites like Yelp, your customers are talking with their friends about you on social media. If you're not listening to these conversations, you should be. They could help you to better serve your customers in the future.

Spring may have just sprung, but it's time to start thinking about summerespecially if you are in the travel industry. According to travel planning website Hipmunk, 70 percent of travelers plan their summer vacations during the months of April and May. Since most of this planning is done online, your website needs to be ready for travelers looking to eat, play or stay with you.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016 12:08

How to Write Marketing Content with a Purpose

Written by Lindsay Ouellette

Writing good, engaging marketing content is not easy. As marketers, we must first understand that there's already too much content out there for people to read and digest. If we want someone to give us their time to read what we write, it must be convenient, entertaining, insightful and useful. There are millions of blogs on the internet and with more being added every day, you need to ensure that your content stands out from the rest. If we lack purpose in our writing, we will fail to engage our target audience.

Wednesday, 06 April 2016 11:12

Making the most of your LinkedIn interactions

Written by Lindsey Ouellette

According to Digital Marketing Ramblings, LinkedIn has 400 million global users, making it the world's largest and most popular professional network. It can also be a powerful tool to expand brand awareness and generate leads. A successful LinkedIn campaign, however, depends on a strong networking strategy. Your business must not only inspire prospects to follow your brand, but also earn recognition and endorsements from other industry figures. With a well-defined audience in mind, you can then develop more customized networking tactics to build strategic connections, but remember - all of your interactions should offer professional value.

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