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How to Keep Your Ecommerce Site Thriving During a Traffic Spike

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Most days in the world of business and ecommerce are fairly run of the mill; you can expect a typical amount of traffic and standard sales figures. In other words, it’s business as usual. But what about those special days when engagement is off the charts? This can happen as a result of content or promotions going viral, the release of new coupons getting distributed on mega forums or coupon sites or simply a mailing going out to your customer list to increase sales.

However, once you start thinking about holiday promotions and throwing big shopping days like Black Friday or Cyber Monday into the mix, then things can really get crazy! During flash sales and holiday specials (not to mention after successful promotions), your ecommerce store suddenly becomes the go-to destination for online shoppers. With this in mind… do you have the server capabilities and scalability to make sure your site is up and running at all times?

No matter what you know about your site and servers at the moment, this is a good problem to have… you just need to make sure your site can accommodate it before such events actually take place. Unfortunately, only 27 percent of small and medium-sized businesses are currently equipped to handle a 200 percent increase in traffic. Prepping your ecommerce site for a traffic spike now will pay off in spades down the line. Here’s how to get ready for these engagements.

Review Previous Sales

It’s difficult to chart the future of your online store if you don’t know where you’ve been. Analyzing past data (and patterns over time) helps you know what to expect.

Let’s say you’re launching an annual storewide clearance event to help move the remnants of last season’s inventory. Before it goes live, you should review year-over-year sales for said event, not to mention the effectiveness of your previous promotional campaigns. You can also determine whether the sale attracted mostly new or returning customers and how they entered your site. With this information in hand, you’ll know what to expect and how to maximize traffic and sales leading up to the big day in order to host your highest-earning event to date.

Focus on Scalable Servers

The most basic principle of handling a traffic spike is, well, a website that fundamentally works. If your server crashes ten minutes into what was supposed to be your biggest sale of the year, your revenue will take a major hit and your customers’ loyalty will erode. Conducting an enterprise ecommerce platform comparison well before your next big event can help you choose a flexible, cloud-based solution to handle the ups and downs of ecommerce.

In order to accommodate a traffic peak (and each subsequent one after that), consider the benefits of a cloud platform. Why? As one Forbes contributor writes, “Cloud platforms are sometimes called ‘elastic.’ In a nutshell, this means they’re designed for fast scaling. New servers can be deployed quickly, and available resources can be increased to accommodate almost any demand.”

Stock Up on Inventory

Even if shoppers can enter your site during a period of heavy traffic, can they fill their carts with their favorite products? As an eager customer, nothing is more of a letdown than seeing “Out of Stock” printed underneath the very item you wanted to buy. These visitors want to give your store money! In return, you must offer them a plentiful inventory full of products ready to be shipped—not backordered, not “coming soon.”

Just as it’s important to plan your back-end deployment, it’s important to engage in inventory planning before any high-traffic sales event. Beef up the numbers on bestsellers and make sure there’s a quick way to restock if numbers run low. You can even set up automatic reordering below a certain threshold to make sure your store never runs dry.

Run a Trial on Multiple Devices

The last step before you go live is testing your ecommerce site for yourself—on desktop computers, tablets and smartphones. It’s not about just making sure your site is responsive and viewable on all devices, its also about making sure your shopping cart and ordering process works correctly as well. Keep in mind, ordering through a desktop and mobile device are two completely different processes. You need to make sure this is set up to be completed as fast and easy as possible. After all, your shoppers will be accessing your online shop from all of these endpoints. Check for laggy graphics, poor user experience (UX) and accessibility issues. By looking at your site through your customers’ eyes, you’ll be able to optimize their shopping experience.

It’s never too early to start prepping your ecommerce site for a traffic spike. This is something many site owners and online busineses won’t find out until it’s too late… often referred to as one of the many pitfalls of running an ecommerce site. A successful online sales event means establishing your expectations, providing a great UX to shoppers, avoiding costly server downtime, carefully managing your inventory and learning from past mistakes.

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5 Ways to Generate High Quality Leads for Your Business in 2019

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Generating leads for your business is important. After all, more leads means more chances for conversion, which leads to a boost in sales for your business. In fact, according to Hubspot, 69% of marketers say converting leads is their top priority. But are the leads you’re generating converting?

If the answer is no, it might be because you’re not generating high quality leads. You want to focus on attracting high quality leads because they’re the people most likely to become paying customers. But how do you do it? You can’t spend all of your time interviewing each visitor to your website to see if they’re serious about spending. Luckily there are a number of tactics you can use to generate high quality leads and some of these tactics can even do the work for you —  24/7 — with little effort on your part.

Get ready to generate more leads that are interested in buying, check out these 5 ways to generate high quality leads.

1. Use an Exit-Intent Popup

Did you know that over 70% of people who leave your website will never return? That’s a ton of potential high-quality leads you could be missing out on. So, how do you prevent your website visitors from abandoning you without giving you their information? The answer is to use an Exit-Intent popup on your website.

An Exit-Intent popup tracks when a user is about to leave your website and sends them a targeted message at exactly the right time that convinces them to sign up for your email list. That way, instead of losing that visitor forever, they’re now one of your email subscribers that you can directly message any time you want to promote new content, introduce a new product, or announce a sale for instance.

It’s not difficult to add an Exit-Intent popup to your site. You can use a tool like OptinMonster to create an eye-catching popup in minutes with their drag and drop builder. OptinMonster also integrates with all of your favorite email marketing services like Constant Contact and Mailchimp so you can easily create an email list that’s full of engaged high-quality leads for your business.

2. Offer Content Upgrades

It’s safe to assume you’re already creating content like blog posts to attract users on the web to your site, but not all of those readers are high quality leads. In order to separate your blog readers who just want to consume your free content anonymously from the ones who’ll be more likely to become paying customers, you need to offer content upgrades.

A content upgrade is simply a freebie that you offer to your visitors in exchange for their email address. When a user says yes to your content upgrade, you know that they’re interested in what you have to say and they value your expertise, this makes it easier to turn them into paying customers in the future.

See more examples like the one above, in this content upgrades resource guide.

You can use a free tool like Canva to easily create checklists, mini ebooks, calendars, templates, and more that your site visitors will be dying to get their hands on. Just make sure your content upgrade is relevant to your business. You can also offer a few different types of content upgrades so that you can get customers to segment themselves. For example, if you offer training for aspiring bloggers and virtual assistants, create a content upgrade for each. Then you’ll be able to tell which products/services each of your visitors are interested in.

3. Guest Post on High Quality Publications

Want to broaden your reach and attract leads that have never even heard of you before? Another easy — and free — way to generate more high quality leads is to guest post on high quality publications. By guest posting on other popular blogs and publications, you’ll be able to introduce your business to a ton of new potential leads. The fact alone that you’ve landed a spot on a blog that that new audience loves and trusts is enough to convince them that you’re a thought leader in the industry too. You’ll get a link back to your website and a whole new audience that you can convert into leads and eventually paying customers.

Wondering how you land a spot guest posting? First, search the internet for blogs that are related to your niche. Make sure the blogs and publications you choose get lots of traffic and seem to have an engaged online community. Study their blog posts and come up with some topic ideas you think their readers would be interested in. Then it’s as simple as sending an email or filling out their guest posting application. Don’t forget to read the site’s guest posting guidelines too so you craft a perfect post that gets accepted every time.

4. Add a Contact Form

A simple contact form on your website isn’t actually as simple as it seems, it’s actually a powerful website element that can generate high quality leads for your business. Just adding your email address or phone number to your website requires users go through an extra step in order to get in touch with you. So, instead of contacting you, they’ll pass and move on to another site.

Instead, the visitors to your site need a quick and convenient way to contact you, which is where a contact form comes in. Users who contact you through your form will identify themselves as higher-quality leads; they’re interested enough to reach out.

You can use a tool like WPForms to easily build a great-looking contact form for your website. You can create an awesome contact form in no time using their drag and drop builder and you have the ability to fully customize the form to your needs. For instance, you can add fields to your contact form that ask visitors to state their budget for a project or the yearly revenue of their company to help you further qualify leads.

5. Add a Live Chat Option

Want to generate high quality leads on your website even when you’re not around? You can do that if you add a live chat option to your website. Having a live chat system that’s available 24/7 will allow your website visitors to get answers to their questions immediately, and the faster they get answers to their questions, the faster you can turn them into customers. In fact, according to Invesp, 77% of customers won’t make a purchase if there’s no live chat support.

Adding a live chat feature to your site is simple when you use a tool like Olark. With Olark, you can easily identify and engage with qualified leads using their features like automated messaging that can send messages based on customer behavior for instance, custom pre-chat surveys, and in-depth reporting.

Start Getting More High Quality Leads Now

What are you waiting for? With these easy-to-implement strategies that you can incorporate today, you can start to drastically increase the quality of your leads. Higher quality leads mean that you can stop wasting your time on users who’ll never convert and instead enjoy more sales for your business and stronger relationships with your customers.

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Become a Lead Generating Machine: Creative Ideas to Generate Lucrative Real Estate Leads

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65% of business owners state that their biggest challenge is generated leads. If your real estate company belongs to this 65%, you might not know how to fix the issue.

Generating leads for a real estate company is often confusing. Should you fixate on cold calling? Or should you make use of social media instead?

Below you’ll find some proven strategies that’ll help you generate more real estate leads. With the help of these tactics, you should be able to fix your current lead generation problems, before it’s too late.

Let’s begin!

Reach Active Buyers Using AdWords

You can use AdWords to reach people that are actively looking to buy a home. For instance, if someone types in ‘buy homes in Seattle,’ you can use AdWords to market to this individual.

To succeed with AdWords, you’ll need to consider the kinds of keywords your target market will type into Google, when looking to buy a home. You can either come up with a list of keywords yourself, or you can use a tool like the Google Keyword Planner to help you.

When you target a particular keyword, AdWords will only charge you if someone clicks on your ad. But, the amount you pay per click, is going to depend on how much competition there is for the keyword in question. If a lot of other advertisers are also targeting the keyword, your costs will likely be higher.

Setting up AdWords campaigns isn’t easy, and you might want to bring some experts onboard. Ideally, you’ll want to work with a company that has experience on how to approach PPC for real estate pros. Such a company will know how to overcome some of the common hurdles that affect real estate pros that are looking to set up a PPC campaign.

Use Facebook Ads to Reach Certain Demographics

With Facebook Ads, you can target certain demographics that might be interested in buying a home.

Take a moment to think about your past clients and try to identify any common demographic traits they had. Did they belong to a certain age range? Did they have a certain kind of job? Had they experienced certain life event?

Once you have a list of common demographic traits, create a Facebook Ad campaign that targets individuals with these traits.

Keep a close eye on the response that’s your ads are generating. If you find that results are poor, you may need to adjust your targeting settings. You might also want to consider split-testing the images you use in your ads.

Start a Blog to Rank for Local Long-tail Keywords

There are many different ways to attract audiences online, but one of the most consistent and valuable have been through organic search results.

The problem with this method, is that it can take a lot of time and work to achieve the rankings and traffic you are looking for.

However, take a look at any of the top real estate blogs and you will see the massive content and search traffic that now have in place.

Another benefit to starting a website or blog for your real estate business, is that it’s a lot easier to rank for local audiences and keywords than you might think.

The more specific and niche targeted your content, the more likely you are to rank at the top of Google in smaller localized and niche markets.

Use YouTube to Promote Video Tours

People that are interested in buying a home will enjoy watching a video tour of a house that is in their desired area. Thus, if you can create video content based on the homes you have in your portfolio, you’ll be able to appeal to this kind of audience.

Pay close attention to how you title and describe your videos. Make sure you provide an accurate account of the location and specifications of the home. This’ll help your videos rank for the kinds of terms your target market will type into YouTube.

Once you begin to see some initial results, you may even want to use YouTube Ads to improve the visibility of your videos.

Ready to Generate Some Real Estate Leads?

If you’re currently struggling to generate real estate leads, the tips in this post should help you turn things around.

The modern marketing landscape provides a wide range of lead generation opportunities. This can make it hard to choose a specific marketing method, and it’s hard to say ahead of time, what is and isn’t going to work.

Thus, the only thing you can do is experiment with everything that’s on offer. In doing so, you should eventually hit upon a tactic that delivers results.

Interested in how you can drive more traffic to your real estate website? Check out this post to get some tips on what you can do!

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Offline Marketing: Why It’s Still Important and How to Use It In 2019

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The average small business invests 1 percent of their yearly profits in advertising. For a business earning $500,000 in revenue each year, that’s $5,000 spent on advertising.

That may seem like a lot. But consider the many different advertising options out there. That money goes fast.

That, along with the popularity of the internet, may be why so many businesses are beginning to overlook offline marketing. Instead, they are investing only in online tactics like SEO, content marketing, and social media ads.

The internet continues to become more integrated into our daily lives. Yet, offline marketing is still essential for businesses of any size and in any industry.

Keep reading to learn why offline marketing is still so important and how you can use it alongside digital strategies to strengthen your brand and increase sales.

Why Offline Marketing Is Still So Important

Online marketing strategies are certainly important. But offline continues to perform for local and national businesses for a reason: clients still need it.

Maybe these clients don’t use the internet. Or they need something more concrete to hold onto. Either way, they look for offline marketing pieces as a way to connect with businesses.

Here are a few of the reasons why you should still be using offline marketing as a part of your marketing plan.

You Still Meet Clients Face-to-Face

The internet has made it possible to connect with people around the world and around the clock. But for most industries, that doesn’t eliminate face-to-face meetings with clients and customers.

Meeting face-to-face is a chance to connect with clients on a more intimate level. If you do it right, you’ll leave a lasting impression. This is essential to building a lasting relationship with that customer.

The chance of selling to an existing customer falling somewhere between 60 and 70 percent. In comparison, the chance of selling to a new customer is 5 to 20 percent. When viewed in this way, those old, loyal clients are important.

You could send those clients an email after your meeting. But the delay between the meeting and when they read this email could be extensive.

This gives clients time to change their mind, forget about you, or even find a new company. It also requires your client to be at a computer often, which may not be the case.

Offline marketing is a great alternative in this situation. While business cards may seem old-school, they are as important now as they ever were.

They give customers something they can hold onto and remember you by. They can place it wherever they choose, and every time they see it, they’ll think of you and your services.

Read more about the many reasons why business cards are still so important here.

You’ll Target the Rest of Your Clients

Mobile devices that connect to the web are more prevalent and cheaper ever before. Yet, 11 percent of Americans still aren’t using the web.

Some of these non-internet users are older and never learned to use the web. Others have no interest in using it.

Still more blame the high costs of WIFI, laptops, smartphones, and tablets. It’s cheaper to stay disconnected.

If you’ve given up offline advertising completely, you’ll be missing out on these clients. Depending on the nature of your product or services, this could be a big loss.

Even if it isn’t a big loss, targeting these customers can only increase your potential pool.

You’ll Strengthen Your Local Following

With the onslaught of online businesses in recent years, it can be easy to get lost on the web.

If you’re new to a popular niche, it can be almost impossible to grow a following on the web alone. Consider just how many online clothing boutiques exist. Trying to market your new brick-and-mortar boutique alongside multi-billion dollar online stores will feel impossible.

That’s where offline marketing comes in. Use it to target local customers as you begin to build brand awareness. You won’t have to worry about getting lost in the competition because local competition will be far less prevalent that web competition.

Flyers, mailers, and billboards are still incredibly important to market yourself locally. These tactics have yet to surpass even the best online local marketing strategies for increasing traffic to brick-and-mortar locations.

You’ll Get a High ROI

Many offline marketing strategies still offer a very high ROI (return on investment) compared to online tactics. This is due to a combination of lower costs for print media and their success. Many online marketing tactics are more expensive, harder to track, and even more difficult to target customers with.

For instance, direct mailers are offline marketing techniques sometimes overlooked by new businesses. Yet, they continue to have an incredibly high ROI.

A successful direct mailing campaign can provide a 1,300 percent return on your investment. That’s $1,300 in sales for every $1 that you spend on printed direct mailers.

How to Use Offline Marketing

While the same offline marketing strategies that have been in use for decades remain popular today, they have changed quite a bit in that time.

New ways of implementing offline strategies allow you to integrate them with online strategies, keep them relevant, and increase your ROI.

Blend Digital with Offline Media

Your offline marketing strategy doesn’t have to exist entirely on its own.

One great way to upgrade traditional offline marketing tactics is by blending them with modern approaches. This allows you to create a seamless marketing plan. Do it right, and it will go from the internet to the real world and back, keeping clients connected to your brand at all times.

For instance, if you are a retailer selling products direct to customers, you likely list products on your website. You may even have a mobile app that allows your customers to shop while they are on the go.

If you also have a brick-and-mortar retail location, you can integrate QR code scanners. Simply add them to your printed in-store signage. Customers can scan them to see other products related to the ones they’re shopping for that may not be in store.

You can also integrate codes into catalogs or other mailers your business sends out. These are great for letting local customers who already love you know that they can also shop online.

Update Your Online Strategies to Keep Up with Offline Ones

Offline marketing tactics that blend seamlessly with online ones are great. Some offline strategies stand alone, like billboards or other signage. But you’ll still need to update your online strategies to keep them relevant.

For example, you need to make sure that your business’ address and contact info are correct online. This includes listings on Google, Yahoo Business, and similar platforms.

If a customer sees your billboard and Googles your business, they’ll get the address. They’ll be able to visit your store right away.

This also shortens the amount of content that goes on your offline marketing pieces. You won’t need to stuff your signs with your address or phone number. This leaves more room for other important information or eye-catching images.

You’ll also want to put effort into improving your local SEO strategies. In conjunction with signs and mailers, this is great for reinforcing your brand. It also helps you to stay connected with your clients both online and off.

Nail the Details

Larger offline strategies, like billboards, are well-known. But it’s the smaller details that set the best businesses apart.

From custom stationery to holiday cards sent to loyal customers, these smaller offline strategies won’t necessarily win you new customers. But they will help improve your relationship with existing ones and help you continue to build a winning reputation.

When choosing which smaller print marketing tactics to utilize, you’ll want to consider your audience.

Younger clients may move often, making mailers tough to use. But all age groups love to save money, making print coupons or deals a winner with any demographic.

Other old-school offline tactics, like newspaper ads, radio advertisements, and television commercials all remain popular with certain demographics as well.

Some offline marketing strategies will cost you just about nothing but can leave a big impression. You and your employees’ body language can have an effect on sales, as can your knowledge of your products, and your friendliness to customers.

Putting Online and Offline Marketing Strategies to Work

You want to do everything you can to make sure that your business gets noticed. That’s why you need to be investing in both online and offline marketing strategies.

Designing a billboard or business cards might not be too complicated. But if you don’t have experience with digital marketing, your online strategies will take more work.

Whether you need help setting up your website, implementing SEO, or need help branding yourself on social media, I can help.

Check out my services today to see how I can help your business grow on the web.

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