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Reasons Why Social Media Can Help Your Businesses

Android Social Media AppsSocial media are internet  services that allows user to interact with each other and generate content using online communities. It has the capacity to open marketing opportunities for small to large businesses.

Think about this, you can spend a few hours in social media to increase your sales with no extra cost. Here are some of the reasons why social media has been a useful platform for businesses:

 

  • Using social media is easy. You do not have to be a computer genius to participate in them. All you need is a basic know how, and you are off to market your product or services. If you need help on marketing your product, you can read this social media guide.
  • Social media is the fastest platform to reach millions of users all over the globe in a personal basis. You can definitely increase your business visibility thereby increasing the recognition of your brand. Just write a social media profile for your business and then interact with consumers. Get people to like and share your page. Posts that are shared only means your brand will be introduced to new individuals who can be your potential clients.

    If you do not use social media, you will be limited to your usual clients. You will then have a hard time reaching people outside of your immediate circle. Using the social media platform will increase your inbound traffic.

    You should join as many platforms as possible to let individuals reach your business. If an older demographic tries a particular keyword on Facebook then you can easily be reached. On the other hand, if a millennial tries to search your business in a different social media, it can still be found. Syndicating your content in different platforms is good. It will enable the different demographics to access your business.

  • Your search ranking will improve if you have in the social media for more than a year. If you are able to move on top, your traffic will surely give positive results for your business.
  • When your brand is interactive, meaning you share content, post statuses, comment on social media, it becomes personalize. Users would do business with you, not your company.
  • Social media is a communication venue and consumers appreciate when you answer their comments on your page rather than getting the automated message which is very impersonal. This shows that you are seriously being attentive to your audience. And that will assure you not only of sale but loyalty to your brand as well. The millennial in particular are known to be the brand loyal of all demographics.
  • Posting well-written content is the best way of telling the users that you are an expert and a leader in your field. To do this, use social media platforms and make your presence felt. Connect to your audience and your followers will look up to you.

There is no reason for any business not to use the social media as a platform of communication. Get started now and see the growth of your business.

How to Increase your Sales with Better Product Photos

camera lensGood quality product pictures is the key to increase your sales online. Amateur product shots wears down the consumers trust. Showing your product online tells people what your product is, how to use it, so user can decide if they need the product. Fortunately, you do not have to spend thousands just for the equipment alone. No need to hire a professional photographer. There are simple steps to take product pictures.

 

  • People think that using a good camera is enough. Remember to invest on decent lenses too. If all you have is a phone, then that will do. There are point-and-shoot cameras that are very affordable. Whatever you decide on, get a camera that can also capture video.  Remember that even the most modest equipment can give you great results as well.
  • Think of your background. Shooting products in a continuous background which is neutral in color like white or grey will look great. You can buy craft paper or poster board. Buy clamps to make sure that the end of the paper can be attached to a table or whatever you want to use for your shoot.
  • Nothing beats natural lighting. When you think of good lighting, there is Mother Nature to depend on, which can give you good results. You can set your product near a window. The down side of it is that the sun could decide to hide itself giving you poor lighting. But there are other options like using the lighting kit available in the market. Just make sure it operates in a continuous mode compared to flash only. This allows taking videos as well. On the other hand, if you are working on a smaller budget, all you need are at least two lights attached on top of a clear plastic container. Get the same right wattage and color for both your lights.
  • Shaky hands will not produce excellent photos. You need a tripod so you don’t have to hold your camera by hand. If your camera has slow shutters, when your hands moves, this will produce blurry images. Everything should be clear and sharp down to the smallest detail.
  • Aperture is a hole or opening that lets the light travels specified by an an “f-number” like “f/4” or “f/16”. To produce a narrow depth of field, use a wide aperture (small f-number). Your product photos with look richer and more professional. Set your camera in the “aperture priority” mode. Check your manual for this.
  • Be careful of the shadows. Do not use harsh backlighting or setups that can bring shadows on the product. The lights should be on the same side of the product as your camera, or even a little off to one side.
  • Make sure there are no dirt or fingerprints on your product. A dust on the lens will likewise produce poor results. Have a microfiber rags to wipe everything before shooting.

The best way to master product shots is to practice, be creative, and be patient. Keep on clicking until you get a good result. Be bold enough to experiment. Know that if you take good product shots, you are likely to increase your sale.

Reliable Product Reviews Websites

buying on your computerReview sites are often supported by advertising. Some of the sites allows businesses to pay for enhanced listings to increase their visibility. However, this will not change the reviews or the ratings of their products. Product review sites are supported by affiliate links to the websites that sells the product. Many review sites makes no attempt to put a limit on postings, neither do they try to make sure that the information in the reviews are accurate.

People rely on product reviews before purchasing online. Some people think that the positive reviews are done by the businesses or the persons being reviewed. On the other hand, negative reviews can be written by other rival businesses, angry employees, or someone that is hostile towards the business being reviewed. There are also fake positive reviews. These are the reasons why the users should chose the product review sites.

Here are the top product review sites:

  • CNet is the web division of CBS Interactive. It has been one of the most dependable and wide-ranged when it comes to product reviews. They feature products from software to electronics to web hosting. It also shows user reviews aside from the editor reviews on what products are new in the market, making CNet a popular review site.
  • ConsumerSearch is popular for its easy navigation and website design. The products are organized and categorized for easy access. There is a variety of products reviewed from kitchen, home, garden, food to computers. It is a service coming from About.com.
  • TestFreaks is a new website which showcases a collection of reviews from various countries. It also features reviews from respected websites, presenting it to the consumers in one place. The visitors can also give their own reviews.
  • Trusted Reviews has a complete categories of products and it also includes video reviews. The content is dominated by editorial reviews. This site compares prices and specifications of the various product models
  • Epinions is a product review service of Shopping.com and they feature millions of reviews. It categorizes products by labeling titles like “Top Reviewer.”
  • MouthShut reviews general products like electronic appliances, cars, and unique products like schools, websites and even credit cards.
  • ConsumerReports.org is currently one of the long running and established review services. It follows paid-subscription mechanism and has millions of subscribers making the website the top paid-subscription website.
  • Wired Reviews is one of the Top 10 product review websites because it shows good product pictures which is mostly electronic. There are no user based reviews in this website.
  • Buzzillions shows close to 5 million reviews all over the globe. The only problem here is the pop-up that appears once a user enters the website.
  • ReviewCentre.com states that their website is the most unbiased product review site. The category cloud and its features which is easy to navigate made this website in Top 10.

Before you make that purchase, check these websites. They have a wide range of reviews that will help you weigh the pros and the cons. Both positive and negative reviews will help you a product that fits you. These sites will definitely provide you with helpful reviews.

How Product Reviews Affect Online Shoppers

bank, banking, blueIn the past few years, product reviews has been increasingly powerful as consumers trust fellow consumers more than the advertisements of different products. Product reviews are underrated and online shoppers indeed rely on them. Jupiter Research showed that 77% of the consumers read product reviews even before they make an actual purchase.

Another statistic showed that 90% of consumers said that their purchase are influenced by what they read online. The traditional forms of marketing and sales are not as powerful as to the user generated content, specifically, customer reviews. Unfortunately, a great number of companies has not utilized this form of branding and marketing. The reality is, product reviews builds trust with potential consumers, which eventually translates to sale.

This is the time when businesses should let the consumers do the talking. These is free endorsement from thousands of online shoppers. Of course, this does not only mean positive reviews. Negative reviews are also good in building the trust of the online shoppers. These kind of reviews helps the consumers to confirm the credibility of the product, and in a way, adjust their expectations. Moreover, recent statistics from Reevoo showed that bad reviews improve the conversions at an amazing 67%. Reevoo learned that people who read bad reviews are the ones who convert better, as this shows that they are paying attention. This could lead to a purchase.Surveys said that 68% of the consumers trust reviews whether they are good or bad. On the other hand, 30% thinks that there are censorship or fake reviews because there are no negative opinions were seen on the page.

Types of Reviews

  • The brief overview review:
    This is the type which can be found at other affiliate sites. It is usually written in one or two paragraphs. This also includes a star rating or whatever type of rating. This includes a product image, and a link to the site. Most often, these reviews are in one page so that the consumers can immediately read which products has the highest ratings and which products are the lowest in ranking.
  • The comprehensive full-page review:
    This is the type that goes into details – all the benefits of a certain product, the features, the good and even the bad points. This may include screenshots, and product photos. Longer reviews are good compared to the one-liners for purifying the user experience. It has more weight when the reviews are more recent. CEO Matt Moog of Power Reviews also added that, “We try to focus on identifying the valuable reviews. If the product is popular and selling at a high price point, that review will have more impact.”

The product review is not just for the consumers who could buy the products. Retailers and brands can likewise use the reviews. This will enable them to get some offers, get suppliers, and develop their products. Reviews help change the products that is more valuable to the consumers. Matt Moog said, “It’s the best form of market research—real-time and specific, from people you know have used the product.”

Four Best Mobile Apps for Business

Smartphones with notifications

Mobile apps that will help you work.

Who said you can only work on a desktop computer? Work is now doable on mobile. You can collaborate with your colleagues while you are on the go. As long as you are connected to the internet, these applications will help you work using your very own mobile device. This list varies from security, communication, and social networking applications.

Flowdock

Available on GooglePlay and AppStore

Price: FREE!

Flow dock is a great team chat app. You can stay connected with all your colleagues at work. The wonderful thing about it is that you can create several chat groups. There is no need for the whole team to crowd in one single channel. You can divide the chats by department (or it is really depends on you.) The people under the marketing team will not be notified about updates on the HR department and you can tag the people involved in that specific task. It is near impossible to miss an urgent chat when you focus on your designated channel. You can also integrate Twitter to it. This is an excellent choice if your business is active on Twitter. You will get notified when your scheduled tweets go live. Flowdock is perfect if your focus is social media. Best feature of all? It is free!

Hootsuite

Available on GooglePlay and AppStore

Price: FREE!

There are so many social media platforms nowadays. When you are away from your desktop computer, it is hard to keep up on the latest news. You need to download various applications on your mobile phone and you have to constantly switch from one app to another. Thank God for Hootsuite because you can now integrate your social media accounts – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn – in one place. You can stay updated and post status updates in all your accounts simultaneously. The remarkable feature of HootSuite is that you can schedule posts for Twitter and Instagram. If you want to get more of your content out there, Hootsuite is a fantastic business social networking tool.

Hotspot Shield

Available on GooglePlay and AppStore

Price: FREE with in-app purchases.

When you are always on the go and working at different public WiFi spots, security is a main concern. Hotspot Shield will take care of the WiFi security for you. You can disguise your online identity with this encryption app. You do not need to worry for hackers snooping into your business. This is a free app, but there are other features available when you choose to purchase it. Aside from keeping your mobile activities safe, hidden, and anonymous, Hotspot Shield also allows you to access blocked sites like YouTube or Netflix since it utilizes most of the bandwidth allocation.

Blue Jeans

Available on GooglePlay and AppStore

Price: You can try it for FREE.

With Blue Jeans, you do not have to worry about video conferencing. This is a universal app allows you to conduct video calls with your colleagues even if  they are using a different system like Cisco, Microsoft Lync, Skype, etc. You can host a call or join an existing conference from practically anywhere. With the free service, one conference call can have 25 participants and you can have up to 100 people if it is premium service.

Must Haves for Mobile Commerce Sites

Person Shopping using Mobile Phone

Shopping online at mobile websites

Smart phones and mobile devices are changing our lives. These devices are becoming a substitute for the big and bulky desktop computers. Mobile users are slowly moving away from the conventional ways of online shopping. They prefer to use their mobile phones to buy things they need, schedule appointments, and pretty much everything.

The whole website should be scannable.

Give your website visitors an overview of your entire website. Allow them to freely browse different sections of your online shop. Provide a category list of the products that you are currently selling. Most users do not scroll down while browsing on mobile. They just mostly scan. They do not read things on screen the way they read other printed materials. People browse on their mobile because they already know what to buy. Mobile purchases should be quick and easy.

Homepage should not be too crowded.

Your homepage should provide easy access to everything, but do not put too much photos. Most importantly, there should be a search box. You should highlight the search box so that first time visitors can easily find the products they wish to purchase. If they cannot find a search box, they will abandon the page. It is no more complicated than that! Other than that, you can advertise the latest deals and promotions like a discount coupon, a free shipping deal, or something that can entice them to buy more items.

Pagination links should be clickable with your thumb.

Add pagination links to each page of your mobile website. Searching a website without pagination links is like finding a needle in a haystack. These links are helpful when you are browsing for a certain product in a huge pile. These pagination links are necessary for your customers so that they can browse your website conveniently. Your website will also load faster because the pagination links divided the items into pages, and when you have a speedy website, customers are happy. You would be helping your customers if you provide large clickable areas. Give these links some space and do not put the page numbers too close to each other.

Notify customers on restock.

When people are shopping online, it cannot be avoided that some items get out of stock. Most websites do not have an email function for these unavailable items. (Personally, it is such a hassle that I would have to constantly check a website if they have restocked the items that I want.) If you cannot notify via email, at least, tell the customers if the current inventory is low.

Customers can shop as guest.

Mobile e-commerce sites are helpful when customers are doing their last minute shopping. These people just want to buy something and the registration form is a huge barrier to be honest. Do not force them to register or to login. Instead, highlight benefits of registering – like free shipping, detailed package tracking, and exclusive perks – so that they will be more compelled to register. If they had a satisfying shopping experience, they themselves will decide to register and buy more items at your website.

Marketing a Product Using Social Media

facebook and other apps

How to use social media to your advantage?

Nowadays, people are always on the internet and they have the need to constantly update the world about their life. They search for everything on the internet. Your website is not the be-all and end-all of things. It is not enough when you plan to sell products online. Social media plays a huge role in e-commerce. Follow these tips on how to market a product:

 

  • Strong social media presence.
    Popular brands have different social media accounts. They go where the customers are. Whether it is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, your social media team should build your brand’s online profile. They need to fill the basic information like bio, official logo, website links, and so on. These information may seem mundane, but these are extremely important. The team should also prepare the visuals to upload to these accounts. You can utilize free online photo editors – e.g., Pizap, Pixlr, Canva – to edit your product photos and add attention-grabbing descriptions.

    Since Facebook is the top social media platform, experiment with its features. You can offer exclusive promotions on your wall or you can utilize the Facebook Ads to advertise your latest products. It is not enough to invest in one platform. Twitter and Instagram also have a huge following. (If you need help on that, you can use this Twitter guide I recently posted.) You can use social media not only to promote, but to reach out to the public. You can link the social media users to your official website.

    It is also a great way answer to your customers questions since most people just freely ask via social media. Great customer service will always win customers. Plus, social media has a larger scale than traditional media. This will give you an edge over competitors since your audience now is the whole world.

  • Boost your online presence.
    Yes, social media is huge part, but online visibility could also mean email. Do not solely rely on social media. Always encourage people to sign up for email. You can offer them exclusive perks via email campaigns. It will definitely help you and the great thing about it is: IT IS YOURS. You can create it the way to want and how you want it. When you are in social media, the space you occupy are owned by its respective owners. When you use email, it is totally yours and you do not need to pay ads. Just redirect your email subscribers to the latest deals and they can easily shop at your website.

 

  • Learn from the experts.
    It is not enough to get your content out there. You also need to follow influential people and learn from what they send out to their followers. Be a follower yourself and you would be in the shoes of your followers. Watch what they do and actively monitor for new opportunities. Find ways to engage with these experts. They usually have Twitter accounts so go there and be active.

 

  • Conduct giveaways.
    Encourage people to follow you by doing giveaways. It can be a simple like and share contest on Facebook, or a retweet and follow on Twitter. Once one person will share these giveaways, it can extend to thousands of people. Your followers will spread the word for you. The more shares you will get, the more people will know more about your brand. You can giveaway one of your products or perhaps a gift certificate.

 

 

Building a buzz is a collective effort. It is a combination of blogging, and social media (Facebook, Twitter Instagram, etc.) Remember that social media constantly changes. It is best that all these online campaigns should always redirect to your website. Your website should not be on the sideline. It should be the main hub. Draw people together across various social media platforms to one central website.

More Effective Strategies to Gain Conversions

Sales and Conversions

Tips on gaining more customers.


Online shoppers are very choosy and fickle. They cannot decide what to buy at times and you have to guide them on what they could purchase. These tips will help you on gaining their attention and making them click that add to cart button.

    • Keep it clean.
      White space is a good thing. Do not cause a mess on the homepage. You must learn how to keep the homepage minimal. Like what I mentioned on the previous post, the goal is to show less products so that the customers can have more focus on what to buy. Avoid having too many moving images on the homepage. Remove all the unnecessary details and unrelated products. Always go for a simple, yet professional design. It will definitely help you in gaining your customers’ trust.
    • Only show what is needed.
      Do not show irrelevant details that will not interest the customers. You only need to show the main features of the product. Indicating the technical specifications the beside product is not required. Utilize call-to-action buttons like “Read more…” links throughout the website. CTA buttons are really helpful in organizing the website and know that they are not only limited to the “buy now”, or the “shop now” buttons.
    • Guide your customers.
      Your website should have a certain structure so that they can easily scan the page. It should not be a crowd of different unrelated products and scattered descriptions. There should be a flow on where they need to focus their attention. You can use arrows to point a important video presentation or point out purchase link. Keep the flow going and always suggest where to go next. Avoid a dead end on any web page. Make sure a page leads to somewhere with more beneficial information.
    • Follow the Gutenberg Rule.
      The Gutenberg Rule describes the reading activity of most people. Reading starts from left to right and top to bottom. People usually look at top left first and end at the bottom right. This is why in most websites, the buttons that will redirect to another page usually are placed on the bottom right and the highlighted products usually are in the top portion of the page.
    • Prepare your customers for their next purchase.
      If you have managed to made a sale and the customers are satisfied with their purchase, use this time as an opportunity to present enticing offers to your customers. You can give out discount coupons for their next purchase, suggest special offers that might spark their interest, or even offer a free shipping on the next order. Once they bought a product, they will more likely to purchase more. Use the “Thank you” page to advertise other products.

 

Whatever tips and strategies you might decide to apply, please remember to never comprise the quality of your service. Great customer service is the best tool to gain conversions. Word of mouth is the best form of marketing. Do not underestimate the power of online reviews and testimonials because it will surely help you gain more customers.

Strategies to Gain More Conversions

Charts, Graphs, Conversions

How to gain more customers?

Numerous businesses have adapted the concept of e-commerce over the years. It is evident in the rise of various online stores that are manufactured to sell. However, a good-looking website helps, but it is not everything. You can use these tips to help your business gain more customers and eventually, increase sales.

    • Prevent Choice Paralysis.
      What is Choice Paralysis to begin with? It happens when there is just TOO many choices presented. It is great to present customers unlimited options, but too much might confuse them. To avoid Choice Paralysis, you must give suggestions to what to buy, provide buying guides, highlight bestsellers. For example, let us take a look at bookdepository.com. On its homepage, it gave a suggestion to browse new releases. If you do not want to buy those, the bestselling books are indicated just below it. They also compiled a list like: best books ever, best children’s books, best cookbooks, and so on. All the books are not on the homepage. It is important to present less products so that the customers can have more focus.

 

    • Provide a Preview of the Product.
      Like in most physical stores, customers want to see what they are buying. Same is true with online stores. You must show the product. How? Provide pictures and not only that, customers should have the option to zoom in for better viewing. If you are selling books, provide the final book cover, dimensions of the book, and other details that will help the customer. If you are selling shirts, pictures of the shirts in several colors should be available. Sizing charts also come in handy so that the customers can easily compare the different sizes. People buy based on what the a certain product looks like. Of course, they would not buy an overripe tomato, or a dented can of sardines.

 

    • Allow Customers to Try the Product.
      When you go to a grocery store, they would give out a free taste of the different products they have. Even online, it’s also important to let the customers try the product. Software companies nowadays provide a free version of their programs. You do not have to necessarily buy these products to be able to use them. If you like it very much, you can choose to upgrade. This is a great strategy because when customers like your product and it is great, they will depend on it. When they depend on it, they will most likely avail of the premium version of the product. Do not let your customers imagine on what the product will be like. Instead, let them try the product and sooner or later, you will win customers.

 

    • Generate a Desire for the Product.
      It is essential to grab the attention of the potential buyers. Once you have it, gain their interest by how these products are beneficial to them, how these products are different from the rest. If they are already interested, create desire for your products. They will act on that desire because they know by now how beneficial the products are. If they are still having second thoughts, you can develop a sense of urgency like a limited time offer of 15%, or an offer of free shipping on the all orders placed within 24 hours.