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eCommerce Tips for Increasing Holiday Sales

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As the “most wonderful time of the year” for online shopping and spending quickly approaches, if you have an online business then you are surely at the edge of your seat and waiting for the flood gates to open.

However, just having an ecommerce site doesn’t promise riches of any kind. As much as you may be preparing for the year end sales spike, millions of other sites and etailers are doing the same thing.

With Deliotte already forecasting a 9% jump in holiday sales this year, it’s now more important than ever to make sure you have all of your planning and marketing materials in check.

To help you in this never ending journey to continually break new sales records, I’m going to list some great highlights from Prestashop’s 2014 Ecommerce Holiday Planning Guide, which will be sure to get you thinking and tweaking ad campaigns with plenty of time to spare!

Important Shopping Dates You Need to Know

If you want to succeed with bringing in more traffic, customers and sales than ever before… you simply need to prepare for the days ahead, and we aren’t just talking about Thanksgiving, Black Friday and the week before Christmas.

While October is quite a mind blowing month for any Halloween based etailers, it’s also a great time to prepare for the huge activity to come in November and December. You can see a break down of many of the important dates and events to prepare for over the last 61 days of the year.

Important Holiday Shopping Dates

It’s also important not to forget about the first week of January when you can hit your audience for “New Years Resolutions” as well! Hint: This is when weight loss, financial and self improvement campaigns do best!

It’s All About the Holiday Marketing Baby!

There’s just something warm and fuzzy about the Holidays that gets everyone so happy and cheerful — even when they are spending a ton of money that they probably can’t afford to spend in the process.

This all comes into play when you look at the different types of marketing and ad campaigns that take place throughout the year. Happy commercials with holiday music playing, kids opening gifts and of course Christmas trees and winter snow… all wrapped nicely around your best selling products and specials.

Take a look at how popular brands like Old Navy and PetSmart bring that special holiday feeling to their site design every year.

Holiday Ad Creatives

But don’t forget… it’s not just web site designs and themes you need to be paying attention to — also think about email designs, landing pages, flyers, customer segmentation (gifts for girls/guys) and so much more. Each of these tweaks and methods can bring a nice boost to your holiday conversions and sales.

SEO, AdWords and Blogging

Many of us focus our efforts on important SEO and keywords throughout the year, but we also forget the importance of how SEO plays a part in holiday shopping as well.

You might be ranking on the first page of Google for your best selling products, but what happens when people start throwing words like “christmas gifts”,  “holiday shopping” and “free shipping” into the mix? Are you still even ranking?

Holiday Shoppers Spending Money

These are just some of the key points you should be thinking about when preparing for end of the year shopping.

The same applies for your Google Adwords campaigns. Throw out the slow performing default ad copies you are using and spruce them up with holiday keywords and promotions.

As for your blog… there’s never been a better time for you to come up with some quality content that really gets your audience engaging with and sharing your product pages. Everyone loves to share content about their favorite holidays… especially any useful lists and articles on how to save money during the holidays and best gift recommendations for friends and family.

Get creative and see what happens!

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year for Ad Testing

There’s no doubt about it… running an online or offline business during the 4th quarter is extremely exciting and as a great time to really get creative with your ad campaigns. Millions of people are more willing to pull out there credit card and spend money than at any other point during the year.

I’ve only scratched the surface of the many different ways you can prepare your business for the holidays, but the free report from Prestashop goes into way more detail. At the end of the book you will also receive a holiday checklist to get your business in organized and on the right path for the massive online spending that is about to take place.

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4 Ways Hiring a Brand Strategist Can Help Transform Your Business

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If you think hiring a brand strategist is a waste of money, think again. Read on to learn 4 ways a brand strategist can help transform your business.

Do you have a business that needs some help? Do you have a successful business but know there’s more you could be doing to boost image?

Company branding is critical to the identity of your company. It gives your employees and customers an idea of what to expect and demand from you. Do you wonder if a brand strategist could be beneficial to your business? If so, this post will tell you exactly what to expect.

What a Brand Strategist Can Do for You

What is a strategist? A brand strategist can help you focus your company’s brand in a way that benefits consumers. It can also be good for your employees.

1. View from the Outside

When we look too closely at something, it can be hard to see the details. But when we step back or bring in other points of view, we can see the big picture.

Hiring someone to help with brand development can be exactly like that. You’ve been looking at your company too close. Let someone come in with fresh eyes and look at it from another angle.

That angle may not be something you expected or would do for yourself. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be exactly what the company needs. A brand strategist will need to be able to challenge your views to give you a fresh perspective and a new approach.

2. Focus on Brand Targets

Brand targeting can be a tricky subject. You may think you know your target. A brand strategist will be able to look at your target and tell you whether it’s too broad. They also tell you if it’s not broad enough.

A strategist can also help you figure out if you’re hitting the target right. They’ll let you know what should change. They’ll also tell you how you should adjust the branding connections with consumers.

3. Employees

When you run a company, you know the customers only a part of it. Employees are the driving force behind running a business.

A branding strategist will rework your employee focus. The more you focus on making your company employee friendly, the better your chances of success. Creating a good employee program is where you’ll attract the best talent, which in turn makes your brand stronger.

4. Design

Designs or packaging can sometimes make or break a company’s brand. People are visual, and if something isn’t working, you might suffer for it.

How can a brand strategy help with this? Hiring someone to do research on the packaging of your company’s product is a great way to start. They can also take the input from consumers and compile it for you to see.

Companies like Smashbrand look at the data surrounding consumer preferences. They also research competitors and what makes them successful. You can learn more about the research and design techniques that make all the difference when you hire brand strategists who care about your brand.

Business and More

Asking for help doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong. It only means you’re willing to accept expert opinions. Don’t hesitate to hire a brand strategist. They’ll help you make all aspects of your business everything it can be.

Want more tips for your business or company? Read about startup hacks and entrepreneur lifestyle tips.

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MegaPu.sh Push Notifications Network is Excellent for Affiliate Marketing

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As an affiliate marketer, you are constantly looking for new, creative, and effective ways to optimize your campaigns. It’s critically important that you look at every step at the process to unearth potential opportunities. Are you picking the right offers to promote? Are you basing them purely on payout or are you looking at conversion rates and competition too? In promoting these offers, are you looking at better ways to drive traffic toward the landing pages?

When it comes to converting on an affiliate offer, you must first get the attention of the potential lead. Once you’ve got their attention, you need them to click on through to the landing page. And once there, you need them to convert.

One of the fastest growing and most effective ways to get the attention of users is with push notifications, both on mobile and desktop. And MegaPu.sh is the first advertising network with an exclusive focus on push notifications.

Pu-Push It Real Good

Push notifications offer a number of advantages over more traditional ad formats. Whereas there is a certain expectation for “ad blindness” with display advertising and click-thru rates via content marketing can be wildly unpredictable, push notifications are immediately noticeable and timely. They cannot be so easily ignored, representing an incredible opportunity for marketers to reach audiences like never before.

MegaPu.sh has certainly recognized this amazing opportunity and have provided a great platform where affiliates can reach these audiences easily and in a very cost-effective manner. In just one day, the network serves up around a billion impressions and over 9 million clicks with an effective cost-per-click (eCPC) of just 2.7 cents.

Pushing Demographics

As mentioned, these push notifications work on both desktop and mobile, so you’re able to get to your audience no matter where they are. The immediacy of the push notification allows for great targeting based on demographics too. The traffic found on MegaPu.sh is summed up in these pie charts.

The majority of users are male (80%) and you’ll find that nearly half fall into the 35 to 54 year age range. With such interests as business and software, this key demographic can be ripe for affiliate marketing opportunities. These are individuals who are typically at an age where they have some disposable income or they have interests that align with that (like cryptocurrency, gambling, and binary options).

So while you can certainly find success approaching other niches and verticals, keeping this kind of target demographic in mind can give you a sense of the kinds of affiliate offers that would likely perform best on the network. In addition to gaming and investing, you might also look into dating and similar areas.

Advertiser Control Panel

The user dashboard for MegaPu.sh is straightforward in its approach and aligns with much of what you’ve likely already experienced with other ad networks. The main page shows your main statistics at a glance, including the number of clicks and the amount of ad spend you’ve had today and this month. This amalgamates all the data across all your campaigns.

Before this main bar graph, you’ll find information about yesterday’s top 10 campaigns and your top campaigns overall, offering the number of clicks, targeted country and total cost. Next to this are lists of the top 10 active countries for campaigns across the network, plus the top 10 free across the network.

Navigation is through the left side, which is where you’ll access more detailed statistics reports, your campaign list, the area to add more funds to your account, information about the referral program, network news and so on. Two small items are worth noting here.

First, there is a bonus system in place based on the amount of your deposits. These are outlined in the FAQ. Putting $500 earns you one point, for instance, while putting in $5000 gets you 20 points. Each MP is worth $15 in ad budget, but you must exchange a minimum of 10 MP at a time.

Second, the referral program offers a generous 7% commission of the total payment by a partner that you refer to MegaPu.sh.

Create a Campaign

Creating a new campaign within MegaPu.sh consists of just a single page. It’s here that you’ll enter basic information like the campaign name and target link, as well as upload the image, set your target country, enter your CPC bid and so forth.

The CPC amount you should bid will vary considerably based on the geo you are trying to target. The country with the most volume at the moment is India and it has an average CPC of just 0.3 cents. By contrast, the average CPC in Russia is 8.9 cents, it’s 1.3 cents in Turkey, 6.1 cents in Kazakhstan, and 0.2 cents in Egypt.

Once you are done configuring your campaign (you can set limits based on spending or clicks, if you’d like), you submit it for approval. The moderation process is really efficient and fast. MegaPu.sh says that it is completed “within 30 minutes from the date of sending the campaign” during regular working hours, which are 8am to 11pm (GMT+3) Monday to Friday and 8am to 5pm (GMT+3) on Saturday and Sunday.

Campaign Case Studies

As with all things advertising, your mileage may vary and these case studies may not necessarily be representative of what you might expect from your own campaigns. Such is the nature of affiliate marketing, after all.

In one modest example, the affiliate attempted to push traffic to a cryptocurrency offer that paid $250 on deposit. He ran a campaign targeting Poland, spending just $33.25 at 1.4 cents per click. This resulted in one conversion for a net profit of $216 or an ROI of 651%.

In a campaign on a larger scale, the offer being promoted was for a gambling site in Italy. The offer converts on signup, offering the new users 7 Euro in free bonus without a deposit. After running the push notification ad campaign for about three weeks, spending a total of $1,818.60 for around 70,000 clicks (96% unique), total commissions of $3,700.20 were generated. That’s an average ROI of 107.5%.

An Effective Traffic Source

Based on these two different examples, it’s clear enough that push notifications as a means of generating targeted traffic for affiliate offers can be very effective and remarkably profitable. MegaPu.sh makes it easy, giving you seamless access to traffic from all countries, including advanced targeting by platform and OS, full native tracking, and a generous referral program to boot.

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Rapidly Growing Business? Here Are 13 Ways to Stay on Brand

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Branding is incredibly important for any business. It becomes critical, however, when your company is growing quickly. After all, if more people are coming in contact with your brand over a shorter period of time, you must solidify the right message for that audience.

So, how can you keep your communications consistent as you expand operations and onboard new team members? To find out, we asked members of Young Entrepreneur Council how to stay on brand when a new company is gaining traction.

Here’s what they had to say:

1. Create a Consistent Social Media Voice

As your team grows, more people will be posting as your brand on different social media channels, so it’s important that you have a consistent voice across the board. Create a document that outlines the type of voice you want to portray. Is your brand funny, serious or a mix of the two? What are some jokes that you’ve used in the past?

Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

2. Develop a Brand Persona

Having a very clear and thoroughly fleshed-out brand persona is essential to ensure consistency in messaging. It enables your team to communicate in your brand’s voice across all channels, from your website to social media to email marketing. Brand personas can, and probably should, evolve, but the sooner you define one the more on brand your messaging will be.

Karl Kangur, MRR Media

3. Create a Collaborative Style Guide

Having a brand style guide that is both easily accessible and managed in a way that leads to collaboration between team members is a great way to ensure messaging and brand guidelines are adhered to even as new channels are identified and built out.

Nick Eubanks, From The Future

4. Educate Employees During Onboarding

My company is currently in a rapid-growth phase, so we’ve made brand messaging part of our onboarding process for new hires. Everyone who comes through our doors learns our value propositions because they apply to company goals beyond marketing. They guide the interactions we have with customers and our vision for the future state of the company.

Sean Harper, Kin Insurance

5. Prioritize Quality Over Quantity

When marketers and public relations professionals are in a rush to draft a press release or marketing email, mistakes happen that can negatively impact how your customers receive brand messaging. To keep your communications on brand, prioritize quality over quantity. Be strategic about the marketing and media opportunities you pursue (and the ones you decline).

Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep

6. Keep Your Ears Open

The best way to stay on brand and relevant as your business grows is to listen to your current customers. As people who already benefit from your products and services, it is crucial to pay attention to their ideas and the feedback and comments they make on social media. Customers help build a brand and keep it on track.

Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

7. Hire a Designer and a Copywriter

Different teams manage different communications channels (in-app is engineers, email and social media are marketing, knowledge base and tickets are customer support), which makes it very hard to align them. Before the “publish” button gets pushed, everything should have gone through a designer and a writer with a deep understanding of your brand.

Tim Chaves, ZipBooks Accounting Software

8. Remain True to Your Core Values

Even as you grow and scale up your marketing, it’s important to stay consistent with your core brand identity. To do this, you need a clear understanding of your role in the marketplace and your unique value proposition. Understand what your customers expect from you in your messages and marketing as well as in your products. Always remember your commitment to your core values.

Shawn Porat, Scorely

9. Centralize Your Documents

We have a centralized place, our intranet, where all of our documents can be found. These documents are constantly being updated. Employees send marketing team requests for what is needed and then they are uploaded to the intranet so everyone can find and use them.

Nicole Smartt, Star Staffing

10. Remain Consistent

Stay true to your brand’s purpose. Through familiarity, you’ll build a good business reputation. If you keep switching the name, the look and the message, people will think they’re looking at a different company. Stay consistent to your brand by creating relevant content that will also enhance it. Old customers will recognize your longevity while you continue to build the business.

Codie Sanchez, Www.CodieSanchez.com

11. Utilize Trusted Communicators

Even while a business is rapidly expanding, one thing you do not want to do is have newer team members handle outward communications. I’ve found that the best way to maintain a consistent level of on-brand communications is to have team members with seniority have the final say on content editing and social media, while newer talent shadows the seniors to better understand the brand’s philosophy.

Bryce Welker, Crush The LSAT

12. Embrace Change

Be comfortable with change. When you’re new and growing fast, your brand will be changing and evolving over time. It’s a good idea to embrace that communications will need to change. The best way to keep it as streamlined and consistent as possible is to know your brand and your customer. Make sure you’re speaking to them in a consistent way, and if you do evolve the message over time, do so in an intentional manner, then measure the results.

Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure

13. Don’t Neglect Design

When we talk about staying on message, it’s common to focus primarily on the written or spoken word. However, it is important to remember that an audience sees your visual design before reading a single word. Your website, email newsletters, social media visual content and even your team’s email signatures should all share a well-designed and cohesive visual brand identity.

Ismael Wrixen, FE International

Nothing is Better than Watching Your Business Grow…

However… if you aren’t ready and have the necessary precautions in place, you might find your thriving business actually falling behind and imploding onto itself. Make sure you have all eyes on your business and are ready to expand in all directions. To learn more about improving your business and scaling to that next level, be sure to read up on these expert tips.

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