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When you rotate the dial on the radio on your way home from work, turn on your television to watch the local news in the morning or open your local paper to scope out the yard sales in town over the weekend, you're bound to be exposed to advertising.

Published in The Marketing Edge

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.

Published in The Marketing Edge

By Lindsay Ouellette

edge contributor

With over 1.5 billion active users, Facebook remains the king of social media. According to Pew Internet Research, almost three-quarters of all internet users are on Facebook. This means that your business needs to be active on this channel in order to reach potential clients. Even though Facebook has moved towards being a social media channel where businesses have to pay to reach their fans, there are still ways businesses can thrive on Facebook without paying for ad space. You must ask yourself if you are doing all you should to reach your customers on Facebook.

Published in The Marketing Edge
Wednesday, 10 February 2016 14:27

The four Ps of modern marketing

The four Ps (Product, Price, Promotion and Place), also known as the 'Marketing Mix,' form the basis of classic marketing theory. For more than half a century, these four concepts have served as the pillars on which businesses could lay out effective strategies and plans. Making an impact in today's digital world, however, requires a bit more flexibility. The foundations behind the four Ps still ring true, but modern businesses need to adapt them in order to make the most of a customer-centered market.

Product

Today's consumers are more informed than ever before, with 81 percent researching a product online before making a purchase. Staying ahead of the game means catering to their different needs, desires and purposes in a way that other businesses don't. Consider how your product or service answers questions, solves problems or otherwise meets your prospects' wants or needs better than anyone else. Use the answers to these questions to create a unique selling proposition.

Published in The Marketing Edge
Wednesday, 03 February 2016 16:20

How to develop a buyer persona

Whether you are a B2B or B2C business, your success depends on the people who are purchasing your product or service. Your clients are just as diverse as their perspectives, needs and wants. This is why it is important to know who these clients are so you know how to best reach them. Before you can decide how to market your product or service, you need to develop a buyer persona a model or prototype of your ideal buyers. To do this you must ask yourself a few key questions and do some research to find the answers:

Who? Who are your ideal prospects based on demographics? Where do they live? What is their income? Their age? Relationship status? Do they share hobbies or interests, motivations or attitudes?

Where? Where are your clients geographically? Where are they digitally? Where and how do they search for information? What social media channels are they using, if any? Where and how do they shop?

Published in The Marketing Edge

From blogs to videos to social media posts, content creation is essential to marketing your business today. Equally important is promoting your content. You may think that simply publishing a post on your blog is enough, but it's not. There are many different channels on which to promote your content and reach a larger audience.

Here are four ways to promote your content to get the most views:

Published in The Marketing Edge

This Friday marks the second week of our first annual marketing clinic series: Giving Back to Our Community: Free Marketing Guidance for Local Small Business. We learned from several of our visitors that they were especially concerned with content: revitalizing their websites, creating brochures and reaching out to customers via email. Many small businesses owners simply don't have the time or resources necessary to produce fresh, engaging content for these tasks - despite having a strong purpose and a positive outlook for 2013. To help with this, I have asked Pulse Marketing's content writer and editor Erin Davis to provide a list of quick tips on creating strong content. Here are 10 great content writing tips to put into practice right away:

Published in The Marketing Edge
Wednesday, 21 November 2012 16:47

The gift of marketing

Pulse marketing offers private marketing clinics to 15 businesses for free

BANGOR Tis the season for merry making and gift giving. Pulse Marketing is offering free, 90-minute private marketing clinics to 15 local businesses that are looking to build a marketing strategy for 2013 or to simply revamp their existing marketing strategies. The clinic is called Planning Ahead: Marketing Guidance for the New Year and is being offered one per day from Nov. 26 until Dec. 14.

'We were brainstorming about how we can help the community. We wanted to give back and we're so small and so young Donating cash is a concern for us because we don't have a lot to donate,' said Cintia Miranda, the president of Pulse Marketing. 'We can donate our time. We came up with the idea. We usually offer complimentary first visits for clients, but this is different.'

Published in Biz
Wednesday, 14 November 2012 23:30

Marketing lessons from the presidential campaign

I am not big on politics. However, I vote in every single election, and always do thorough research beforehand in order to select the candidates worthy of my vote. I tend to be skeptical of campaign promises and try to look beyond all of the pageantry associated with political candidates. This past election was different, however. The negative competitive atmosphere was so intense that the candidates' motivations became transparent, leaving no doubt as to how far they were willing to go to win.

Published in The Marketing Edge
Wednesday, 07 November 2012 23:26

How does your website measure up?

Once again, I asked our Creative Director Ian Marquis to give me some insights on today's website design and development. Ian handles all creative aspects of Pulse Marketing Agency and is well-versed in this subject.

Today's web is fiercely competitive. Staying relevant is no longer simply a matter of having a website you need to keep a close eye on your competition and see what they are doing, and ensure that your own efforts do not fall behind. And don't think that because you were ahead of the curve a year ago that you are still there today, either. The web is evolving at an ever-increasing pace, and technologies and practices that were once cutting-edge can (and do) quickly become dated.

Published in The Marketing Edge
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