Shopping Cart Software


February 2013

Paid Traffic Sources That Bring IMMEDIATE Results

 by zack on 25 Feb 2013 |
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SEO is often a painstakingly slow process, especially in the beginning. And while simply understanding the variables of time can do wonders for your SEO processes, we also understand that there are times when you need targeted traffic sooner rather than later. That’s why we've listed some of our favorite resources for paid traffic that will bring you the immediate assistance you need.   As should be the case with any form of marketing, you’ll need to monitor your traffic and cost per conversions when utilizing any of the items on this list. Consider that some avenues may come with great exposure for branding, but perform poorly in terms of immediate conversions. For this reason, you should test the waters and see what’s best for your business. You might find that some advertising channels simply waste money, while others bring amazing results, and a few will be perfect for creating long term interest. If any advertising gives you the addition of a permanent relevant link to your site, it's also a big bonus for SEO which will bring additional traffic from organic search rankings.   So without further ado, here is the abridged compendium of Ashop’s most highly recommended paid traffic sources. Industry Specific Newsletter Campaigns Newsletters are an easy and effective way of staying within the sphere of your customer’s attention spans. What’s even better, to receive your newsletter in the first place, these contacts must have already shown interest in your products. That means you’re actively advertising to people who already liked your product/service enough to opt-in for your newsletter and/or make a purchase from your online store. Social Media Sponsored Posts Sponsored posts on social media appear to users in their newsfeeds. This is a form of content marketing that allows your brand to tell a story rather than show an advertisement. The idea is to engage your customers and potential customers with content relevant to their interests and your niche. The more they engage with your content, the more of it they’ll see in their news feeds. Though these are still fairly untested waters, with over a billion users on Facebook and 500 million on Twitter, sponsored social media posts reach a gigantic audience to whom you can’t afford not to advertise. YouTube Video Advertising   YouTube is the second most used search engine in the world. Right under Google, it is the top destination for people looking for tutorials, entertainment, education, and by default: advertising. YouTube is one of the many television alternatives of the future, and it will be a big player in advertising for a long time to come. With over a billion unique visitors rolling through YouTube per month, it’s a huge source of exposure with multiple options for advertisers. You can develop your own video content to build your brand, advertise in-slate (this is where you choose from one of several long ads or have shorter ads interspliced with the video,) have your videos appear in the display on the right side of the YouTube screen, or have your them appear before the beginning of a video. There are a lot of different options and not all are created equal. Research on which is best for you before committing to a particular strategy. CPV Networks These are basically paid popup ads. Whenever a user searches a specific keyword that you’ve targeted or whenever they’ve visited a targeted URL, a popup ad that will lead them to your site appears. Every time your webpage is viewed as a result of the popup, you’ll pay a small fee. Hence the title: Cost Per View. In this way, it’s very similar to the PPC advertising discussed below. A few of the major CPV networks you might have heard of: Lead Impact, Traffic Vance, and Media Traffic. Paid Celebrity Tweets   Nothing like a good old fashioned celebrity endorsement. This is kind of like the commercial of the future. Celebrities command large amounts of social media influence do to their cult of personality status, and the cast army of Twitter followers in their thrall. A proper endorsement from a well known celebrity can go a long way for your business' buzz and popularity. Just think about Michael Jordan tweeting how comfortable his Haynes are and you’ll begin to get an idea of how this might work. Comparison Engines (e.g GetPrice,, Nextag, Google Shopping)  CSE’s are a big source of revenue to any major online retailer. Listing your products on a major feed can provide you with an immediate boost to your traffic and conversion rates. What’s even better is they don’t take that long to set up. You just sign up for a comparison shopping engine, follow their instructions to meet their requirements, connect them to your product feed, and you’re off to the races. Check out the Ashop blog’s more in-depth analysis of Comparison engines here. Search Engine PPC (Bing, Google) Pay per click advertising can be a powerful addition to your traffic attraction strategy. Listing your products or advertisements at the top of major search engine results pages can result in a multitude of clickthroughs, each of which will cost you a small amount of money, usually between 10 and 90 cents. The higher the bid on your clickthroughs, the more exposure that product or promotion will get. What’s important is to optimize your landing page in conjunction with PPC advertising. Otherwise, you’ll get a ton of clickthroughs that will cost money, but if your landing page isn’t optimized, you won’t necessarily see a corresponding increase in your conversion rates. Affiliate Marketing (Shareasale,  Affiliate marketing is a popular method of attracting traffic to your site because of the relative ease involved. You simply make other marketers do the work for you, and reward them based on the results that their efforts produce. has a very famous affiliate marketing program. The way it works is Amazon let’s an affiliate sign up to the program, the affiliate may advertise Amazon products on his/her site, email, or any other internet marketing campaign and any purchases made off of clickthroughs from that affiliate’s traffic sources will result in a percentage commission for the affiliate. Mobile App Ads Mobile application adds are quickly becoming in-vogue for today’s internet marketers. Today’s consumers are on the go, and often decide to make purchases on a whim from the convenience of their mobile devices. It’s not at all uncommon for a young professional to do some online shopping while riding the train to work. What is uncommon? Small businesses with mobile optimized websites or advertisements. Investing in mobile optimization for your landing pages and for targeted mobile advertisements over social media networks is highly advisable.   Remarketing (Google) This is an interesting tool in the Google Analytics suite that can help you target and identify potential customers. Its functionality is twofold. It first lets you advertise to people who have already interacted with your site, either by visiting, spending significant amounts of time on a page, or putting items in their shopping carts without ever buying. Reaching out to those who’ve already interacted with your site can be just the push they need to go ahead and make the purchase. Secondly, remarketing will allow you to target customers browsing different sites on the Google Display Network. If they have been looking into product pages similar to those in your niche, you can deliver highly relevant and accurately targeted ads to them. Advertising to those who already have interest in your products is like preaching to the choir. They’ll be putty in your hands. Content Ads (more about branding, not great for conversions)    Microsoft’s Bing search engine is able to analyze the content of websites and publish text ads that are highly relevant to the content on the site that the users are looking for. This matching is achieved through the keywords that the ad is optimized for, so make sure you’ve got your keyword optimization down to a science before attempting to utilize content Ads. PayPerPost (Good conversions if correctly done) This unique web service sort of streamlines the content marketing process. By hooking advertisers up with bloggers from around the world, Pay per Post works exactly like it sounds it would. The service allows advertisers to set up a job for perspective bloggers to post about the advertiser’s product or service. It’s highly customizable, as you can negotiate rates, set word count caps, define your message, segment the different blogs you’d like to use, and so on. This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the ways you can drive traffic to your site through monetary means, but it is an excellent start. If you utilize even a few of these different traffic sources effectively, there is honest potential for thousands more unique visitors giving your site a look.   

How Will You Compete? Intelligent Ecommerce Pricing Strategies

 by zack on 18 Feb 2013 |
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  How many banners have you seen advertising the “Lowest Prices Anywhere!”? Enough to know that the significance of such wording has been left devoid of all meaning? Low price advertising has pretty much been done to death. It’s still powerful if it’s true, but with the advent of online retail, you can nearly guarantee that there’s someone else out there selling the same thing you are, far below the price required for you to make a profit. Such is the consequence of global connectivity. Fortunately, there are still ways to stand out from your competition. Moreover, there are plenty of intelligent ways to develop a potent pricing strategy for your online store. Today, we’ll be going over some of the smarter methods of putting together a winning ecommerce pricing strategy   Specific Pricing Strategies To begin with, let’s take a look at some of the most common and effective pricing strategies that are utilized by most online retailers. We’ll start off with some solid advice that you might find goes against conventional wisdom and is a bit counter-intuitive. Lower Isn’t Always Better We introduced this concept above, but to reiterate it is very difficult to compete on low pricing alone. Getting in price battles with competitors is harmful to your brand over time. It leads customers to expect low prices, and when you raise them you’ll lose the business you thought was loyal. Instead of basing your business on the lowest prices, try to develop your own Unique Selling Proposition, or USP. A USP is what sets you apart from your competition. It could be better quality, an interesting shipping policy, excellent customer interaction, special offers, charitable endeavors, etc. Discover how you can promote yourself as different from your competition and build your promotion around that difference. This will take some research because a USP is by definition, unique. So need to determine what about your business is distinctive from the other competitors within your niche. If you aren’t standing out, it’s time to figure out a way to do so, post haste. Price Skimming A very popular short term pricing strategy, Price Skimming, can be defined as charging a high price in relative terms for a brief period of time, and then lowering the price when profits begin declining. Price skimming takes advantage of several market constants. First, there is always a section of the population willing to pay more to have a product sooner. A perfect example would be in the area of gaming. Console video games are often priced outrageously upon release, only to drop down to more manageable levels after several months of availability. That's because EA knows that I need the latest version of FIFA the moment it hits the shelves. Sneaky coorporate so and so's. Second, it works off of consistent demand. If the demand for your online product or service is especially volatile, price skimming probably isn’t the strategy for you. Another factor that leads to the imminent price drop in price skimming is the inevitable increase in competition that comes from a hot item. High prices mean high profits, and there are plenty of other online retailers that will want in on your share of the market. As competition increases, so too does supply. If supply increases, demand is inversely affected and will result in lower prices. So if you have a new product or service that quickly accrues a high volume of demand, it might be in your best interest to initially inflate the price so as to benefit from this strategy. End Prices with a 9 This strategy is so stupid it hurts my feelings. However, it still works ridiculously well. For some strange reason, a psychological tick common in human beings that somehow transcends social and cultural boundaries dictates that prices ending in “9” are simply more attractive to consumers. People are more likely to buy a product ending in a 9 even if there are identical products offered at a lower price. I really just want to give the human race more credit than that, but facts are facts. 9 is just a magic mystic number that leapfrogs common sense and puts extra dollars in your pocket. Run some tests yourself if you just can't bring yourself to believe the Journal of Quantitative Marketing and Economics actually found the results in the study linked to above. Premium Pricing This is a strategy that can only be utilized if you have a significant advantage competitively. It's a lot like Price skimming, only it should work indefinitely. You price a product higher than market value because no one else has access to it. It only works so long as you have a monopoly. An example of Premium Pricing would be something like traveling first class on an airline. Product promotions This is fairly common one and easy to guess at as far as applicability goes. It's the old: buy one get one free, buy one get one half off, etc. set of offers. Special sales are the lifeblood of any business. They can drive up orders in a period of relative slowness, and bring in some much needed capital to keep you afloat when you need it most. Combine these promotions with segmented targeting to kick it up an extra notch. If you offer your customers a deal, (especially if it's one that's highly relevant to their interests,) they’ll be eager to pick up as much of your inventory as the delivery guy can carry. Geographic Targeting Depending on where you have to deliver your products, the shipping rates may fluctuate drastically. Not only that, but you may have to deal with higher taxes in a certain region, limits on bulk imports, and all sorts of other red tape. You can also take advantage of certain item's popularity in different regions. After all, if demand is higher you can always inflate prices accordingly and be assured of continued purchases. The only reason that any of these strategies are applicable is because of the concept we’ll be discussing next. It’s time to talk about… Price Dispersion Simply put, price dispersion is the current state of affairs in the world of online retail. It means that there is a vast range of differing prices set by multiple retailers for the same product. The reason for this is a constantly shifting marketplace. Retailers are regularly adjusting their prices in an effort to gain an edge on their competition. It could be that a shift in demand results in a higher price for a particular product. A retailer might then decide to take the original low price of a similar item (smartly advertised on the product page under a similar items heading) and boost its price to take advantage of the increased demand for the first product. What this means for you and your online retail business is you can take part in the shifting trends around the web. It’s a lot like playing the stock market. You’ll hedge your bets on the consumer demand and price fluctuations, and if you’ve set up the rest of your sales funnel in an effective fashion, you’ll be all set to receive a big boost in sales for your efforts.   Developing a Pricing Strategy There are several steps you should take when initially producing your strategy for product pricing. Examine your Competitors prices Why not, right? You don’t necessarily need to be the lowest of the low, but you should at least be pricing competitively. If your products are 10x higher than everyone else in your niche, you’re in for a rude awakening. Keep within a reasonable range of your opponents, and if possible try to stay close to the median prices in your niche. Consider offering a price match This option isn’t for everyone, but you might be able to make a mint, if you offer a guarantee to match any competitor’s price. It’s one of those brick and mortar strategies that’s translated to the online realm quite well. People love a bargain, and if you give the impression that they’re getting one while still keeping ahead on your profit margins, you’ll be doing yourself a favor in addition to being an ambassador of goodwill to your clients. Free Shipping How often have you seen a great price on an item only to realize that the shipping costs boost it right back up to the industry average, or beyond? It’s terribly annoying, and not just to you. Offering free shipping is a powerful strategy that will go a long way in convincing your clients that you’re the kind of company that they want to do business with. Look at what the online retail giants are up to Newsflash: Amazon and EBay are doing very well. If you plan on being much of a force within your niche, you’ll need to have a grasp on the prices that retail giants are offering. These companies operate in bulk and at very low margins. So it’ll be almost impossible for you to match them for every product that you offer, but you can take a look at their prices and keep within a competitive range in almost every case, and thanks to price dispersion, in some you’ll be able to out match them. And there you have it. A step by step definition and plan for implementation of your very own pricing strategy. Go take what you’ve learned and fly high in the world of ecommerce. Whatever you do, don’t forget to check back for more helpful ecommerce advice in the Ashop blog.     This is the typical flow of products. First added to the basket, next to the number of orders, and finally to the conversion rate. These figures are part of what is used to calculate a product's cost per conversion.

The 6 Fundamental Virtues of Every Successful eCommerce Product Page - Part 2

 by zack on 11 Feb 2013 |
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  In our last post, we covered the first 3 essential virtues of a strong product page. In this edition we want to give you the final 3 fundamentals of a successful product page. Implement these to your shopping cart, note the date on your calendar, and track the changes in traffic flow and conversions. CTA’S Crafting authenticity is one thing, but to really drive your customers through the sales funnel, every product page needs a call to action. Calls To Action, or CTA’s are simple commanding statements that indicate to your customers the actions that they should take next to proceed down your sales funnel. A CTA can be something obvious like a call to purchase, or it can be something more subtle like asking for contact information, or a subscription. The point of a CTA is to get your customers to engage with your site and provide you with something of value to your business.  Strong product pages don't just tell viewers about the product, they compel them to take action with their rich content and insightful reviews. Throughout your store's product page, you want to provide your customers with options. This is where newsletters, email subscriptions and freemiums really come in handy, as they will capture the attention of your undecided buyers. Wary visitors will only purchase the moment they are sure you will deliver them quality products and services. So grab the attention of the undecided with a strong and concise CTA to conquer this fundamental product page virtue.      Humanization Sure, your site is authentic, high-quality, and structurally sound; you’ve even got some effective calls to action. However, if everything is too mechanical--if there’s no human element to your product pages--people will be turned off by the perfunctory language and imagery. You need to bring some humanity into your product pages with actual written statements from real customers and pictures of real people. If you can show an actual person interacting with your products, it is a powerful psychological motivator. People are social creatures, and naturally vain. We enjoy seeing happy and attractive human beings doing things they enjoy. It’s something that we can all relate to, and it triggers an emotional response that we want to replicate over and over. Therefore, if we see a happy person working with a product on a website, there is a small natural inclination to wish the same enjoyment for ourselves. It’s not an overwhelming, brain-washing sort of impulse, but it is a potent effect that no online retailer can afford to ignore completely. Beyond human imagery, you can also humanize a product page by including customer reviews. As we said, humans are social and learn by first by imitation and then improvisation. So if we see an example of someone’s thought process, textually represented, on the merit and value of a product it automatically produces the impulse experiment with the products ourselves to see if we can achieve the same effect. Social media bookmarking is another aspect of humanization, as the very idea behind social media marketing, is to build communities, connect real people with other real people and to create new ways for business and customers to express themselves throughout the sales process.   Accessibility The 6th fundamental virtue that every product page needs to have taken into account is a direct line of communication to you, the seller. People need to be able to feel comfortable about any purchase that they’re going to make, and sometimes they have questions that need answers before they can feel too comfortable. So it’s your job to provide them with a timely outlet to do just that. You have a few options on a product page to do just that. If at all possible, you should hire a support staff to be readily available, willing, and able to answer customer questions whenever they arise. Either by phone or live chat. This is a rather expensive option to set up, but in the long term it is a very viable investment. Assuming that you can’t provide immediate contact and assistance for your customers, though, it might be worth considering to put in place some auto-response emails that will inform your customer’s that you have their question or comment on file, and that you’ll address it personally as soon as you’re able. It’s important to bring in that human element when directly addressing a customer. So be casual yet respectful in your tone with these messages. Nobody wants to have a conversation with a robot. Seriously have you ever tried speaking with Cleverbot? So rude. That’s all for our series on the fundamental virtues of product pages. I hope you’ve found these posts educational, and are able to put the things you’ve learned here to good use. Keep checking back for more helpful ecommerce information from your friends here at the Ashop blog.

The 6 Fundamental Virtues of Every Successful eCommerce Product Page - Part 1

 by zack on 07 Feb 2013 |
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Regardless of who you are, or what kind of digital business you're operating, there are some key elements that all store owners need to have integrated into their product pages. Today we’ll be discussing the top six priorities you need to set when building a high converting product page. So let’s jump right in with the first item on our list. Quality  Ensure your site’s search index-ability by steering clear of duplicate or low quality content. If anything on your site is copied and pasted, search engines will take note, and refuse to rank your pages for any of the copied content. You should also do your best to avoid obvious spelling, punctuation, and grammatical structure errors. These tip the search bots off to the low quality of a site, and will also negatively affect search ranking. Reasonable pricing is another big factor in the success of online retailers. It doesn’t matter if you have the prettiest website ever created, if your product’s prices don’t reflect the actual value of the product then you’ll be very short on customers in a real hurry. Finally, it’s important to note that having your web pages look good on a mobile device is becoming just as, if not, more important to your bottom line than it is to have them look good on regular web browsers. Most small online retailers don’t have their site’s fully mobile optimized, and that’s where they’re losing business. More and more, online shoppers are making their purchases on the go, and with one click. You need to make sure the looks of your site can be translated to a mobile device in a clean and appealing manner.    Structure Part of having an attractive product page is making sure that it has structure and form, the true hallmarks of beauty. This means making sure you're pictures are at their optimal size ratio and that they fit in well with the text on your product page. So in addition to packing your site with fresh, high-quality, and original content you should also be putting the same high standards into your images. The images on your product pages need to be crisp, clean, and clear. No grainy images, no obvious pixels, and as we just mentioned they should fit the page size wise. Having a large picture that runs over text and into clearly delineated margins is a rookie mistake that will leave a bad taste in the mouths of your online shoppers. Having a solid and visually appealing structure to your website’s product pages doesn’t just mean putting up slick and savvy imagery. You also have to make sure that everything fits into an overall theme. You can accomplish this in a couple of ways. One is to put everything into a universal color scheme. This can be good branding as well as visual appeal. People will start to associate the color scheme with your products. And if both are pleasing to the eye and wallet, you’ll have made your customers fans of your artistry as well. Your sales funnel is another element that needs to have the virtue of structure, as a funnel without a strong foundation to hold it up, will spill out all over the place. What this means, is that you should make sure your visitors are easily able to follow the "flow" of your website. For the sake of simplicity, most professionals design their websites so that from the landing page, their customers then make it on their contact page or to a sign up for and then they are directed to the product pages where they are encouraged to move forward into the shopping cart area where they can purchase the items for which they’re shopping. So keep in mind that every product page needs to lead somewhere, and every new destination proceeds deeper into your site, with more engaging content that will finally result in an incentivized conversion. An incentivized conversion is one that you provide meaningful and valuable content in order to earn. That means that you provide additional value to your customer’s purchase in order to get the sale. An example of this would be special offers on other products, or a free eBook with purchase.    Authenticity This is a tough one. Not that it’s particularly difficult to be authentic, but it is difficult to appear authentic. People are more cynical than ever, and if anything on your site seems out of place or inconsistent with what they are used to seeing in an ecommerce store, you’ll be hard-pressed to get the sale. So how does one appear authentic? It’s all about your content looking and sounding professional and more importantly, unique. You don’t want to be a carbon copy of your competition. So try to find your USP or Unique Selling Proposition, and concentrate on highlighting that so as to distinguish you from the crowd. This kind of work can take a silver tongue, or a golden pen, as the case may be. So you might be well served in contracting your work out to a content writer, or keeping one on staff in-house. Either way, it’s best to have someone with a background in persuasive and professional online writing to describe your services. They have a gift of phrase and the wherewithal to know exactly how to make your products sound distinctively authentic.     That's all for this post. Check back later for part 2.

10 Tips to Creating the Perfect eCommerce Newsletter

 by zack on 01 Feb 2013 |
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  It’s no secret that newsletter marketing is one of the premiere ways to effectively target your customer base. Putting together beautiful, informative, and high converting newsletters is a powerful and precise process through which many marketers have increased their company’s bottom line by surprising margins. So this information begs the question: how can you do the same? Well, to grossly oversimplify, it’s going to take a lot of hard work. To answer more thoroughly, we here at the Ashop blog have come up with a list of 10 supremely necessary tactics to employ in any newsletter marketing strategy.     1. Have a Simple Subscription Process Subscribing to your newsletter is one of the things that your website visitors are most reluctant to do. They don’t like to hand out personal information if it’s not completely necessary, or in some way beneficial. The trick is to make the whole process as easy, simple, and compelling as possible. The last part should be emphasized, because of the tendency to overlook it. Compelling content for your newsletter emails is vital to getting them opened. If you can illustrate how the information in these newsletters is compelling to your customers, you’ll be very successful in the clickthroughs from the campaign right off the bat.   Beyond showing the customers that a subscription to your newsletter is beneficial, it’s also very important that it be a quick and easy process. Any barrier between the user and the dotted line, is by virtue of brevity, a very bad thing. It’s always preferable to keep an opt-in form brief and highly visible. You want to take up some space on your page with the form, but you don’t want it to overwhelm the rest of the page's content. One or two clearly outlined spaces for a customer to leave their email address and indicate whether or not they want the newsletter subscription should do the trick. Again, make certain that it’s easy to find, and easy to sign-up. Otherwise your contact list won’t be gaining addresses anytime soon.  2. Prepare Consistent Content- It doesn’t make much sense to have a newsletter subscription and no newsletters, now does it? Sometimes it’s a good idea to spend some time building up your stockpile of relevant or entertaining content. Then, once you have enough material to cover your weekly/monthly newsletters for somewhere between 30 and 90 days, that’s when you drop the knowledge on your subscribers.   The goal with these subscriptions is to stay consistent. People have subscribed because they expect something from you. You have to set yourself up as a dependable resource of information within your niche, and to do that you’ve got to provide the data your customers want on a regular basis. So decide on a schedule and stick with it!   3. Encourage Engagement– Engagement is one of those things you’ll hear us hammer on a lot in this blog, and there’s a reason for that. It’s because keeping your customers engaged is the number one way to build relationships online. Remember above when we mentioned that you have to set yourself up as a trusted resource? The key word there is “trusted.” A measure of trust implies a relationship. A relationship requires interaction, and interaction is exactly what we’re talking about when we say the word engagement.   Keeping your customers engaged means that you need to ensure they are interacting with your brand in some way, shape, or form. So how is it done? Easy. Ask questions. Then, the not so easy part: stick around for the answers. Think about it as a game of conversational volleyball. You want to keep the volley going because the game is more fun that way. So serve up a conversation with your newsletter, the customer will bump it back by opening up and reading your email. You’ll set the ball with the CTA contained in your newsletter. This can be something like an invitation back to your website, an advertisement for a certain product or promotion, or just ask for general feedback about the service you’re providing. If the customer responds then you’re all set to spike the ball into their side of the court for the point. Metaphorically speaking, that means you gain the conversion.   4. Less is More– This is a newsletter, not a novel. You sir, are no Shakespeare. Unless you are a brilliant poet and playwright, in which case you should be writing satirical social commentaries instead of newsletters. Regardless, you need to keep it brief in these things. It’s okay to go into some technical detail in the email, but don’t make a reader’s eyes bleed with an exhaustive thesis on your subject du jour. People are trying to get through their emails quickly, and get back about their business. So you want your newsletters to be nice and easily digestible bytes of information. If you run too long with your well thought out philosophies on the necessity of your place in the niche market, you risk alienating or irritating your readers. Remember that attention span is in short supply on the web, and that goes double for reading emails. 5. Provide Easy Opt-Outs - Make sure you provide an easy and obvious "Opt-Out" or "Unsubscribe" button in your newsletters. That way any readers who're no longer interested in reading your content can get off of your list. This will improve your reputation as an ethical business and keep you out of trouble with anti-spam laws. More practically, it will actually keep your content from being spam. Remember that you’re in this business to provide a service, and your newsletters should all work to meet that goal. You definitely don’t want to be known as a  source of annoyance rather than information. 6. Provide Reminders and Notifications– Newsletters are excellent promotional vehicles, so if you have any events, new products, or special discounts that you’re trying to pump up ahead of time, you should always include a few lines of copy describing them in your newsletters. Most of the newsletters you send are going to stay unopened in a customer’s inbox. It’s just a fact of life you’ll have to get over. However, this means the ones that are read will be done so by the truly valuable customers. The ones who are most engaged with your brand, and therefore the most likely to take advantage of any advance notice you provide as to special deals, products, etc. 7. Observe Your Metrics and Take Appropriate Action – Metrics drive ecommerce, Having access to this data, is what really sets online retail above and beyond the reach of brick and mortar counterparts. Keeping track of your customer’s behavior and adjusting your content accordingly is a ludicrously sound marketing strategy. We almost feel like a broken record harping on this point so much, but it makes too much sense not to bring it up.You get to learn where your customers go online, what they do while they’re there, what they’re buying and why they’re buying it. Observing and understanding your consumer metrics will provide you with valuable insights on the function your newsletter is serving, as well as where it is falling short. Keep an eye on the metrics related to your newsletter marketing campaign, and use the data to inform and influence your content choices. This way you’ll be able to maximize engagement and keep the revenue flowing. 8. Stick With Simple Designs– Online reading used to mean sitting at a desktop at (or after) work, where people had a nice, giant, boxy monitor with which to peruse the numerous notable websites of the world. We refer to this long ago time as the 1990’s, or the Dark Ages, if you prefer. These days, you can read a newsletter just as easily on a plane, train, or in an automobile, (hopefully in the passenger seat). And that means your emails need to be legible and attractive on a tiny screen as well as a sweet sixty inch LCD TV that's being used as the ultimate gaming monitor. This can be quite challenging from a design standpoint, which is why we recommend sticking to a simple template that works well in plain text or html.   9. Infuse It with Your Personality– Reading a newsletter does not have to be an intellectual exercise. You want your words to sing in the reader’s mind as a serene and beautiful swan song, not fall flatter than a Henry Kissinger voiceover for a documentary on stamp collecting. Obviously a subject matter of such compelling nature deserves to be narrated by Morgan Freeman.  To truly let your personality shine is no small feat. You’ll have to make jokes, go off on tangents, and generally adopt a conversational tone to your writing. And you'll need to do all that while keeping the newsletter brief, pointed, and focused. Not exactly and easy endeavor. Good writing is hard to come by. So if this isn’t already an area of expertise, it might be a good idea to hire a professional copywriter to put together your newsletters. The key thing to remember is your newsletters are a form of interaction. You need to individualize them to avoid sounding robotic.   10. No Spamming! – Make sure you take the time to fully read and understand the various anti-spam legislation enacted by governments around the world. In the United States there’s the CAN-SPAM act, which has specific rules and practices for businesses that wish to send marketing materials to their customers through email while avoiding legal suits. Similarly, Australia has the Spam Act, which has even more stringent policies concerning the prosecution of spammers than it's more capitalist-friendly American counterpart. It’s understandable that internationally enforced legislation may not by your forte, so if you don't fully understand these laws, it's never too difficult to ask someone who knows a bit more about it (Like Us!) So there you have it. A top 10 list that you can bank on. Put these newsletter guidelines into effect and there’s no way your campaign won’t be successful. Be sure to visit the Ashop blog again soon, for more helpful hints and valuable ecommerce advice.   
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