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Facebook for Online Stores: 2 New Developments in Facebook Advertising

 by ryan on 06 Mar 2014 |
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Facebook has recently made great strides in sharpening its advertising options and better targeting its ads. Eager to compete with Google for precious online advertising dollars, Facebook is working hard to use its tremendous wealth of personal information to help businesses better reach potential clients. Within this general theme, there are two specific ways that businesses can now better target their advertising. 1. Custom Lists Facebook Ads can now be shown exclusively to a customized list. This list, created by the advertiser, can simply be a list of email addresses or phone numbers. Once this list is created, Facebook allows your to target advertisements to the Facebook accounts associated with this information, even if their email or phone number isn't publicly available on Facebook. This has created a situation in which companies can input contact lists, lead lists, email subscribers, or even cold leads, and then constantly check in on them with a Facebook advertisement. This obviously allows for a highly targeted ad campaign, in which you spend money on clicks from the right communities and you don't waste your budget on mismatched advertisement impressions. 2. Retargeted Ads One of the reasons that Google had previously pulled so far ahead in advertising revenue was due to its sophisticated Remarketing ad options. With remarketing, Google display ads could be shown to anyone who had previously been on the advertisers website. This meant that an entire ad campaign consisted on ads that appeared only for those who were already interested in or exposed to your product or service. Facebook has caught up in this regard. Facebook Retargeting allows online marketers to place a line of code on their website, thus using cookies to compile a list of everyone who has been on the site. Facebook then advertises to the corresponding Facebook accounts of the people on this list. These Retargeting lists (essentially a particular kind of Custom List) can be made as sophisticated as you'd like. Some create specific ads for specific pages and products. Others stick to a general ad. This service currently only exists with Facebook Exchange and you need to go through a third party agency. This will likely change soon, but for now AdRoll, Perfect Audience Retargeting, and Triggit offer free trials. Facebook for online stores takes on a whole new importance with these two new developments. Using facebook custom lists and retargetting, online stores can advertise on social media with data collected outside of it. The opportunities for increased targeting and the management of your online advertising budget are immense. 

Why blog? 6 benefits of blogging for your business

 by wai on 25 Feb 2014 |
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Running an online business takes time, energy and resources. So when it comes to setting up and running a business blog (and making updates regularly), many business owners see it as a big drain on resources especially if they’re just starting out. With that being said, there are a number of really important reasons why your business should be blogging.   Boost traffic Blogs are another entry point for potential customers to find your business as they’re great for SEo. Google and other search engines view sites that regularly update their content and add new pages in a favorable light. Blog posts are an easy way to keep content fresh and search engines crawling your site as well as establish your company’s relevance to certain keywords and terms. Demonstrate thought leadership First and foremost, blogging is a great way for business owners to show their expertise in their field. Instead of just communicating benefits of your product or service, blogging is a bit of a ‘softer sell’. You can demonstrate your business know-how and methodology so that customers will get a better idea of who they’re doing business with and feel reassured that they’re working with real professionals that understand their needs. Provide helpful and useful information to customers Consumers are often looking for information or researching a product before they purchase. By providing the relevant information they need, you can help further along the decision-making process and closer to finalizing their purchase. Start a genuine dialogue with your audience Commenting enables users to start a conversation with a business – and because you can moderate them before they’re posted, it’s a gentle way for new businesses to dip their toes into social media. Stay top of mind By providing regular new content, you can stay relevant to your customers beyond their first purchase. Blog content can repurposed and redistributed in the form of newsletters, email marketing, social media and more. Showcase your work Blogs are a great platform to showcase some of your finest achievements. Has your company won an award or achieved an important milestone? You can let your customers know about them by updating your blog.   Create a cataloged content hub Blogs are also a great repository for any content that your business produces. From past event information to product manuals, it’s easy to direct readers to a time-stamped blog post on your site over an archived or out-of-date webpage. *Well, that’s all said and good – but what should I be writing about?!* Great question – and the good news we have some ideas/suggestions to get you started. Tune in a couple of weeks for more tips on business blogging.  **UPDATE: Read our 5 Tips for Business Blogging for ideas on what content to create**

3 Quick and Dirty Steps to Better Product Photos [INFOGRAPHIC]

 by wai on 18 Feb 2014 |
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In the world of ecommerce, imagery can truly make or break a sale. So having nice, clear and ‘professional looking’ product shots can really improve your website conversions. For someone starting up in ecommerce – this doesn’t mean you have to spend thousands of dollars on a professional photographer or costly equipment. You’d be amazed at what you can do with a simple (and outdated) smartphone camera! Embed this infographic on your website - copy and paste the code below:   Infographic provided by Shopping Cart Software Ashop.com.au Here are some of our tips for snapping your product shots. *A note on using Supplier photos.  Most manufacturers and suppliers will have product shots available for you to use for your ecommerce store. One thing to keep in mind is that these shots will often be used by multiple sites across the web. If you want your images to stand out amongst the riff-raff, it’s worth considering your own photo shoot.* Setting up your shoot 1. Head outside! Good lighting is really the key to good photos and unless you’re working with pro lighting equipment or your products are small enough to shoot with a desk lamp, outdoor lighting is going to be your best bet. Quick and dirty tip: choose a slightly overcast day over a bright sunny day for your photo shoot, it will reduce glare while still giving you strong ambient light. Taking the photos 1. Choose a plain background to shoot against so your product is front and centre. 2. Get on the level. The temptation is to just take the photo while standing but this probably not the best angle for your photos. So make sure you’re as eye level as possible with your product for at least one of your snaps. You can experiment with different angles to show off your product’s best side. 3. Try to leave plenty of space around the product to allow for scaling and cropping. Shoot in landscape, not portrait. For most web layouts, landscape photos are going to be much easier to work with than photos taken in portrait. (Because it’s easier to crop a landscape image down to a portrait than to add space around the sides.) 4. Steady hand. Make sure you check each and every shot for blurriness by zooming in. Sometimes, what looks clear in the preview is actually a little unsteady when you get close up. 5. Macro for super close up. Turn on your macro lens to shoot close up. This is a great idea to focus on certain features or for smaller items.     Photo Editing (no you don’t have to use Photoshop!) While it’s certainly a handy program to have, there’s plenty of editing you can do with a basic program like Microsoft Picture Manager or even a smart phone app. Here are some things to look for: 1. Lighten darker images. Have a little play with contrast and brightness. Make sure your colours are bright so they draw in the eye. 2. With the popularity of apps like Instagram, it’s tempting to play with photo filters. When it comes to professional product photos, use them at your own discretion. It’s more important that customers get a clear and crisp image of your product than moody, retro effects. 3. Resize and crop. It’s a good idea to crop and scale your photos to some of the most common web dimensions. Here are some common sizes you’re likely to see. Square. 60 x 60 | 128 x 128 | 300 x 300 Portrait. 128 x 160 | 240 x 320 | 320 x 480 Landscape. 640 x 360 | 640 x 480 | 800 x 480 (full screen) Remember that your exact image dimensions will depend on your website design and template, but it’s useful to have a few resized ones in your image bank, just in case. 

AdWords for Beginners: 4 Ways to Create Better Targeted Ads

 by wai on 14 Feb 2014 |
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Pay per click advertising using AdWords has become a powerful platform for online marketers. Its simple interface and the fact that it can be customised to fit any budget makes Adwords a popular strategy for small businesses and enterprises alike. Adwords is designed so that pretty much anyone can set up and run their own ad campaign. There are plenty of advanced features and optimisation strategies to make the most of the tool. If you’re keen to get into Adwords, setting up the basics is pretty easy. But with so many businesses out there trying to reach the same audience, you'll need some strategies and tactics to get the most out of your campaign. Here are 4 sure fire tips for improving your targeting to reach the best possible audience. 1. Add Your Competition in as Keywords – Add your competitors to your Campaigns! It’s totally legal and quite commonplace – provided your competitor hasn’t trademarked their name with Google. And don't think of it as poaching, but simply allowing the advertising platform to understand that your businesses are closely aligned so searchers will likely be interested in your offering. 2. Use Negative Keywords – Not every search that includes your keywords are going to be relevant to your business. For example, an eco-friendly store might want to target the term ‘green baby’, but they won’t be interested in clicks from mothesr researching ‘green baby poo’. (True story!) And because you’ll be charged for every click, you really only want clicks from genuine leads. One great way to filter your audience is to set up negative keywords. These are words that, if included in the search, will exclude your ad from eligibility. Popular negative keywords are ‘Free’or ‘Cheap’. (or in the above example, ‘poo’.) Just as you should be specific in your keywords, you should be scrupulous in your selection of negative keywords as well.  3. Practice Remarketing - Remarketing is a neat Google ads feature that essentially lets your ads ‘follow someone around the web’. The way it works is that your site will drop a supplied cookie when a visitor visits your site. This cookie puts them on a remarketing list so your display ads will be show up throughout their browsing journey. This helps to capture site ‘exits’, where a customer might have looked at a product but wasn’t quite ready to purchase. The ads serve as visual reminders of their visit. You can take remarketing even further by fine-tuning your messages to specific visitors on your remarketing list. So you can offer special discounts or incentives for the specific item they were looking at to help them convert. The best thing about remarketing is that you’re not charged for displaying the ad, only for the click through. It’s the ultimate example of ‘pester power’.  4. Establish Time Restrictions - You probably have some idea as to when people are most likely to visit your website, request more information or even make a purchase. You're able to restrict the visibility of your ads to specific timeframes and days. This lets you customise your messages even more - so you can promote Happy Hour at 4 PM or late night shopping specials on specific days. 

Email Marketing: 7 Ways to get Past the Spam Filters

 by ryan on 06 Feb 2014 |
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Email marketing is a great way for online retailers to get in front of their customers. It’s the easiest way to let advertise offers, new products or even just share information that they might find useful. Many retailers use third party email providers to maintain their email lists and create campaigns. Meanwhile, Ashop merchants can use their own built-in ‘Newsletter Management’ tool. Both of these let you manage detailed contact lists as well as gain valuable insights into your email campaigns including open rates and click throughs and more. How to Avoid the Dreaded Spam Folder Unfortunately, we’re all too familiar with email spam and most email hosts like Gmail, Yahoo have strict conditions set up to try and filter out as much of it as possible. Some of the ways they can do this include: Trigger words in subject lines and in the body of the email. Sender reputation. Repeat offenders are usually sent straight into the junk box User reports. Most email hosts allow users to flag spam from a particular sender. Of course, as a retailer, there’s nothing more disappointing than having your beautifully crafted email end up in some one’s junk folder! Never fear - here are 6 steps and stay in the good graces of email providers and recipients. Check your language Email hosts look for trigger words to determine if a message is likely to be spam. It doesn’t mean you should avoid these words completely, but be mindful of their use in your emails.   Send to Those You Know It’s tempting to buy mailing lists to get a foot in door, especially if you’re looking to reach specific niche audiences and communities. Meanwhile, some businesses will just dump email addresses given to them by other people and blast out unsolicited emails. However, the downside to these tactics is diminishing your sender reputation. Your company is more likely to be flagged as a spammer if the recipient doesn’t know about anything about your business. Instead, make sure you have a clear opt-in option for receiving email communications when you collect addresses. If you’re adding a large cluster of emails at once – say from a business card draw – it might be a good idea to add these gradually or create a separate list that you transfer over in order to maintain a clean contact list. It’s better in the long run.   Try to avoid generic email addresses An address such as webmaster@domain.com, editor@domain.com, and info@domain.com are often a red flag for spam. These are the types of addresses that spammers use to force their campaigns into people's inboxes. Always try and get personal email addresses when you can. Watch your links Third party email providers are on the lookout for an overload of links in newsletters, invitations, and announcement emails. A few links that connect your audience to useful information or products are okay. Too many links look bad and are a Spam trigger. Make sure you have a much higher ratio of regular text to links. Keep your lists up to date Regularly review and maintain your lists and contacts, purging them of any invalid emails and bounce backs. As a general rule, if a recipient hasn’t bought from you or opened one of your emails for over a year, you should consider taking them off of your lists. Include an Unsubscribe Button The unsubscribe button is the olive branch to ‘mark as spam’- it lets users who don’t want to receive communications remove themselves from the list. By offering them the ability to take themselves off of your mailing list, you'll lower your Spam count and allow your audience to maintain your lists for you. Many disgruntled recipients will unsubscribe instead of clicking Spam, lowering your Spam rate and keeping you in the clear. Rein in those exclamation points It might seem obvious, but it isn't a good idea to include four (or really even two) exclamation points in a row. Terms like ‘Amazing Sale!!!!!!’ won't endear you to readers and it sends up more flags to Spam monitors. Let your amazing sale speak for itself. One exclamation point does the job just fine! What are your experiences with email marketing? What would you include in your list of Dos and Don’ts?

Facebook Showing Fewer Posts In Newsfeed

 by ryan on 22 Jan 2014 |
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Facebook today announced changes to their news feed algorithm. These new changes will mean that text-based status updates from Pages will appear in the Newsfeed less often and users will receive more status updates from friends in the Newsfeed instead. This is the latest in a series of changes aimed at making it harder for businesses to market on Facebook organically (ie for free). For instance, in 2012 Facebook announced that a status update from a Page would typically reach only 16% of that Page's fans. Worse, a study by Ignite in December 2013 reported that this figure was actually closer to 3% That's right, you post a status update from your Facebook page and only 3 out of every 100 fans will ever see it, much less convert into a sale. If you rely on Facebook as a major marketing channel it's probably time to re-think your strategy.   The Sky Isn't Falling I'm not saying you should abandon Facebook. With over 1 billion users - yes, billion - Facebook is still the largest social network in the world. What's more, that user base is very active, with 728 million daily active users. That adds up to a whole lot of potential customers you can tap into - it's just that you're probably going to have to spend more on advertising to reach them. There are lots of other benefits to having an active Facebook page as well. It's an easy and convenient way to interact with customers, ask for feedback and deal with any problems they might have. Also, this latest update apparently only affects text-based status updates. You can probably expect better reach if you're posting images or videos with links attached (which you should be doing anyway).   Where To From Here? Firstly, it might be time to change your Facebook strategy. Either start spending more on advertising, start spending less time on creating and sharing text-based content, or switch from text-based content to images, videos and links. And definitely do not buy Facebook likes. As far as alternatives are concerned, Pinterest is much better than Facebook for generating sales. One study found that the average order referred from Facebook was worth $40; the average order from Pinterest was worth twice as much at $80. If your customers are female and you can show off your product visually, Pinterest might be a lucrative marketing channel for you. It's worth mentioning Twitter, Instagram and in particular YouTube as other low-cost marketing channels. YouTube in particular is useful; video content boosts search engine rankings and is easily shareable across other social networks. It can help explain to potential customers how to use your product, or why your product is better than a competing product. And there are heaps of product review channels on YouTube with big subscriber bases you can tap into cheaply. As with all online marketing, test, test and test again. Does posting on Facebook drive a lot of traffic and sales for your online store? Will this latest change impact on your business? Let us know in the comments below.

One Effective Tactic To Lower The Cost of Google AdWords

 by ryan on 15 Jan 2014 |
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Google AdWords is often a very effective channel for bringing traffic to your online store - particularly when your store is new and you have not had time to build up an email list or create enough content to boost your search engine rankings. Unfortunately, AdWords are getting more and more expensive and for many online stores with lots of competitors, clicks are just too expensive on many keywords to be viable. Sound familiar? Well, there is some good news - by using a little-known feature called Ad Scheduling, it is possible to optimize you AdWords campaigns so that they only display when people are most likely to buy. Some Background Every day, over a BILLION searches are performed on Google. These searches are made by people going about their daily lives - going to work, taking a lunch break, going to te gym or spending time with friends or walking their dog or picking up their kids from school etc. Why is this important? People's willingness to buy is affected by what time of day it is and what they are doing at that point in time.  If you know when people are most likely to make a purchase from your online store, you can use Google's Ad Scheduling to specifically target those times/days. Google's Ad Scheduling is a simple tool built within the Adwords framework which allows you to control when your ads should show and when they should not. For example, if you know that your AdWords campaigns produce the most sales on Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings, you can tell Google to only display your ads from 6pm-9pm on Tuesdays and 8am-11am on Saturdays. That way you're not wasting money on clicks that don't convert. The trick of course is collecting the data to create a productive Ad Schedule. The good news is, if you've been using Adwords for your online store then you most likely already have the data necessary to make an informed decision.   How to Figure Out The Best Time To Schedule Ads The first step is to run a report of key metrics for your Adwords campaign, broken down into all 24 hours, as follows: Select a time period to analyze and upon which you want to base your future Ad Schedule. Log into your Adwords account. Select the campaign you'd like to analyze. Enter the relevant time period into the date field at the upper right hand corner of the screen. Click on the Dimensions tab. Click on the View: tab. Select Time then Hour of the day The report that is generated will include metrics including hour of the day, clicks, conversions and cost per conversion, amongst others. Just by glancing at the report you will immediately spot high conversion hours, low or zero conversion hours and the all important cost per conversion. Analyze this data carefully and determine which hours of the day are generating the highest cost per conversion and / or the lowest ROI. These are the hours you may want to consider not running your Adwords campaign. Once your analysis is complete, the hard work has been done. The simple part is to implement your conclusions in the form of an Ad Schedule. To do so select your campaign, click on the Settings Tab, then the Ad Scheduling tab and lastly the + Ad Schedule button. Setting up an Ad Schedule solely requires "adding" days to the schedule and subsequently selecting the time periods during which you want your ads to run. It's all very intuitive so I won't delve into it any further. This last step is simple but important; follow up. Watch your campaign closely on a daily basis and make sure your ads are running exactly as scheduled. Don't forget to also analyze the results of your Ad Schedule to confirm that your initial analysis was correct. Within a month, you should be able to pat yourself on the back as you see a substantial reduction in your Adwords bill.   Best Use of Ad Scheduling Ad Scheduling is most useful for impulse purchases - think anything under $100 that does not require a lot of research or consideration to purchase. People probably won't buy a car online during their lunchbreak. They might buy a funny t-shirt though. If your conversions take place after several initial visits then Ad Scheduling could inadvertently cut off some of your budding customers. As with any online marketing, the key is to test, test and test again.  By properly managing a Google Adwords campaign your advertising costs could be reduced substantially, creating a greater profit margin for your on-line sales.  Ad Scheduling is just one of many tools available to improve your ROI, many more will be discussed in weeks to come. Have you used Google's Ad Schedule before? What results did you get? What products and times performed best?      

5 Tactics To Increase Conversions Permanently

 by ryan on 20 Dec 2013 |
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You already know that you need to have a website for your shop, whether you are only selling online or using it as an extension to a physical location. You may even have one up and running already. But simply having a place where you offer your goods or services online isn't enough to ensure sales. It takes a little effort and know how to turn online shoppers into buyers. With more smartphones than people on Earth, according to Digby, and consumers spending six times as much time than last year shopping through a mobile device, having your internet marketing strategy at its best is essential to capture the sales. If your online shop isn't closing the deals, try these 5 Tactics To Increase Conversions Permanently. Call to Action There is no reason to beat around the bush. Shoppers know that you are there to sell them something. Show them how! Put a call to action that tells them how they can get what they are looking for. Use your header image as an entry to make purchases. Use a large button that tells them what they are clicking on, such as “Start Shopping” or “New Items”. A bold call-to-action button that stands out is an easy way to pull customers in to look further, and buy. Coupon Codes Offering your customers coupon deals is an excellent way to increase sales, with recent studies showing that online coupons generate new users and increase the overall spending on merchant sites. Active coupon users are 74 percent more likely to try a new brand or purchase an item if there is a coupon attached to it. By offering a coupon code directly on your site can prevent shoppers from looking elsewhere for deals, opening competitors sites for comparison, or even abandoning their carts while waiting for a better deal. Statistics say that 27 percent of shoppers abandoned their cart to look for a coupon, with the average lose of sales totaling $109 per merchant. Offering the coupon clearly on your page can prevent that loss of sales. Retargeting Of the shoppers on your site, generally only 2 percent turn from shoppers into buyers on their first visit, according to AdRoll. Retargeting is a way to bring the majority of shoppers back to your site to buy items. Using a service, such as AdRoll, tracks your site visitors by placing an anonymous retargeting “cookie” in their browser. This allows the service to show the shopper ads for your site while they browse other places on the web. These targeted ads can bring back shoppers who have been on your site previously and turn them from shoppers into buyers. While different retargeting services may focus on specific sites, such as Facebook or Twitter, it is important to only use one service at a time. AdRoll offers a general coverage on the web, as well as a service called Liquid Ads that tracks items a shopper had added to their cart but not purchases and targets those items t o the shopper. This focus adds more appeal to the ads a shopper sees. Conditional Email While many businesses have abandoned the practice of sending out unsolicited mass emails, which often end up in a spam pile, conditional emails are still an excellent way to increase sales. Conditional emails are not unsolicited mass mailings, but emails that are triggered by the shopper. Setting up conditions, such as an abandoned shopping cart, can trigger an email reminding the shopper of the items they were interested in. With 98 percent of shoppers not making a purchase on their first time visiting your site, getting them to come back a second time is essential to a high conversion rate. By having conditional emails set up to trigger after certain actions, you can increase your average return shopper from 8 percent to 37 percent, according to blog.shop.org. Email Lists When looking at conversion for your site, one of the key factors isn't simply to get a shopper to buy once. Completing a one-time sale is good, creating a long-term relationship with a consumer means return shoppers, increased sales, and increased profits. One of the best ways to create a relationship with a customer is by obtaining their email address. Getting the shopper to give you their email can open doors such as coupon offers, newsletters, sales emails, even holiday wishes, and thank you emails. Each email they receive builds upon their brand recognition, their brand loyalty, and the probability that they will return to your site and make future purchases. Each shopper who gives you their email address offers you an opportunity to turn their one-time purchase into an ongoing loyal customer. Creating a website that draws shoppers in and turns them into buyers can be a challenge. However, the more than $1 trillion dollars of online sales that took place in 2013 is only going to increase in the next year. Having a well designed, easy to use, shopper savvy website will allow your business to increase your conversion rate and create a solid base of returning customers. Image: SmashMetrics

4 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Testing AdWords Campaigns

 by ryan on 12 Dec 2013 |
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When you try to design a pay-per-click ad campaign, you usually try to design many versions and wordings of the same ad to find out which works best. Split testing is pretty easy with AdWords too.  Unfortunately, it’s so easy that people will often try testing and tweaking with no particular understanding or plan in mind. Here is a list of the most common mistakes that people make while split-testing their AdWords ads.   Mistake # 1: Using the default settings Google tests your ads on its own and displays the ad with the highest click through rate the most. In other words, the default setting doesn’t allow you to split test on your own.  Many people will put two or three versions of an ad on Google AdWords, but then forget that they’ve left the default settings on. They think they are split testing when they really are not.  This is easy to fix, of course – you just need to select the Rotate Indefinitely setting.   Mistake # 2: Testing in the wrong period Split testing an ad involves developing at least two different versions of an ad and then using statistics from both to decide which performs better. Some people make the mistake of split testing during different periods of time.  They test one version for a week first and then test the other. This is not the right way to split test because market conditions can change from one week to the next. One week can be closer to a holiday than the other, for instance.  You cannot reliably compare two versions when you test them at different times.   Mistake # 3: Not counting where the ad appears Many advertisers don’t realize that where an ad appears on the search results page – on the top or the side – can have a lot to say for how successful it is. An ad that appears at the top (position 1-4) usually gets 10 times the click through rate as one that appears on the side. When you compare one ad version against another, you have to make sure that they both appear on the same spot. If Google puts one at the top and the other on the side, that isn’t a fair comparison.   Mistake # 4: Rushing in and killing an ad too soon The way a new ad ranks in its first few days isn’t usually an accurate indication of how good it is. Google experiments with the ranking it gives ads based on the quality score of the other ads in the user’s account. It will place a new ad on top sometimes and on the right margin at others until it decides where it should really go.  There is no point taking the ranking Google gives your ad too seriously in the first couple of days. You should wait at least a week before you decide what really works.

7 Ways You Can Sell More Using Social Media

 by ryan on 05 Dec 2013 |
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Are you struggling to convert your social media fans and followers into paying customers? Understanding how potential customers behave on active social channels is crucial to driving sales through social media. From Facebook to Pinterest, customers visit your social media pages for a variety of reasons, but frankly speaking, many are looking for access to special deals and coupons, and others want to see if you have any contests or promotions running that will be of benefit to them. If you don’t give social media followers what they’re after, they likely won’t return. With that in mind, here are some key tips on How to Sell on Social Media: 1. Use a Social Marketing Suite to run contests You can use a tool like Woobox or Wishpond to capture leads from your landing pages, contests and coupons, and automatically store them in your Contact Database. This will enable you to learn about your contacts, see their demographics and interests and export your contacts to your Email and CRM (customer relationship management) services for more targeted marketing. 2. Use a giveaway tool to incentivize your customers Omni-channel loyalty platforms like Punchtab allow you to reward users for performing simple actions on a blog or site. In fact, with over 40+ actions on your website, social channels, mobile, email marketing and more, PunchTab makes it possible to engage users anywhere and everywhere. 3. Make people an offer they can’t refuse Post a one-time or limited time offer to encourage a rapid response. Readers who feel that opportunities are time-sensitive are much more likely to engage. (For example: “This offer good only to the first 100 respondents!”)   4. Offer a guarantee or warranty Customers want to know that theycan get their money back easily if they are unhappy with their purchase. The 365-Day Free Shipping Both Ways returns policy was the cornerstone of Zappos success. It's all about reducing the percieved risk for customers making their first purchase. 5. Offer platform-specific deals Though “like-gating” (offering a deal only to someone who might “Like” your Facebook page) is not without its critics, it is widely used as a way to generate new fans. Just remember – you must continue to offer valuable content and conversations to establish an ongoing relationships on ALL social media platforms even after someone has hit the “Like” or “Follow” button. 6. Use a referral system Sites like Curebit, InviteBox and ReferralCandy are designed to get existing shoppers to invite their friends to shop. In turn, those original customers are rewarded for the referral once their friend has made a purchase. 7. Make it a habit every day to friend, follow or connect with individuals who fall within your demographic How? Conduct a search on each social networking website using a resource like socialmention.com to find people who are talking about your industry or using keywords related to your industry. Then comment on their posts, answer their questions, or share something they say to get them to ‘follow back.’ The most important thing you need to know is that social media is a relationship-builder. You can develop good leads and attract new customers, but only if you are willing to monitor and listen to what they are saying and engage in meaningful dialogue with them. Once you develop that relationship, nurture it so that it becomes second nature to talk to that contact about a product or service they want or need. That is the true key for selling on social media. Have you had success using social media as a sales channel? Got any tips or tactics on how to get the most out of it? Let us know in the comments below. Image: Demarque
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