Losing a customer can be devastating for any business. Losing them because of a credit card decline that comes from outdated information is just plain frustrating. Keeping credit card information current is a necessity for all business owners, yet it is a task that gets little attention.
With the expansion of e-commerce, customers can make online purchases quicker and easier than ever before. When credit card declines occur, customers need to be able to update and input information quickly. You should stay on top of their expired information and update it regularly to ensure all purchases go through seamlessly when your customer wants to buy.
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Below, 11 entrepreneurs from YEC share their strategies for minimizing credit card declines and increasing online revenue.
1. Send Email Reminders
Have multiple payment options available. For customers who pay using their cards, send out friendly reminder emails in case the card is about to expire, ideally one month before the expiry date. If the account shows outdated information, remind them well in advance. Give them a grace period, if really necessary, to update their account information. Customers will feel appreciated.
2. Provide Other Payment Options
By offering other payment methods, such as digital wallets, e-cash, peer-to-peer payments, ACH and e-checks, there are ways to get around such churn rates. Plus the more payment methods offered, the more likely you are to retain and attract new customers, increasing your online revenue.
– John Rampton, Calendar
3. Encourage Digital Wallets
Encourage customers to use a digital wallet feature so they can update all their information across all companies they buy from in one action. This will keep them from returning and shopping with outdated account information.
4. Use a Payment Method Updater
Visa and MasterCard offer a service that automatically updates card information. Due to security measures, new cards are issued more frequently than ever before, making it inconvenient for your customers to constantly update card information. A payment method updater (PMU) can stop declined payments from happening, but this could still creep out your customer so get their permission first.
5. Use Recurly to Do the Work for You
Recurly has saved us thousands of dollars (and tons of following up). It’s a simple app that integrates with all e-commerce systems. When you sign up with Recurly, all of your repeat customers will be notified automatically when their cards are expiring. It’s a simple platform for customers, and anyone who intends to do business with you will find it easy to keep doing so.
– Aaron Schwartz, Passport
6. Give Them a Call
From my personal experience, the most effective way for a company to reach out to me and to get me to update or confirm my billing information is for them to give me a call. Email reminders are great too, but a phone call is even more effective.
7. Use Stripe
Stripe and some other payment processors have largely solved the problem of outdated cards. Stripe works with MasterCard, Visa and other credit card providers to ensure that customer cards still work after the card has been replaced. The system has limitations, but it takes care of many outdated card issues.
8. Fix the Problem Before It Happens
Fixing the problem before it happens is the only true way to avoid those declined cards. Reaching out to your customers before their cards expire will help you retain repeat customers for much longer than if you allow cards to be declined. Use payment technology that alerts merchants when a card stored in the system is about to expire, making it easy to update records and get paid.
9. Set Automated Expiration Date Detection Functionality
Have a basic script set up that automatically detects what cards are about to expire and sends the customer an email reminder to update their credit card information via a direct link. If you do not have this functionality, there are third-party solutions that provide similar functionalities. We use this with our e-commerce clients who have recurring products or orders.
10. Ask for a Backup Credit Card
Ask your customers for a backup credit card to keep on file in the event that charges cannot be put through on the primary card. Savvy companies like Google and Amazon asked me to input a backup credit card when I signed up for services such as Google AdWords and Amazon Prime. All recurring revenue businesses can and should be equally astute.
11. Offer Financing to Customers
A simple solution for avoiding failed credit card payments is to utilize services like Affirm or PayPal Credit. These services take on the credit risk and you receive the total order price upfront. The advantages to these services are that you decrease your accounts receivable and save time by not having to dedicate an employee to track down customers to update their credit card information.
Reduce Churn Rate by Implementing these Expert Tips
No one likes the thought of churn rates and the real numbers behind companies and how much money they are losing with subscribers or recurring subscription drops. However, this is part of the business industry and it’s something that needs to be addressed. If you are currently ignoring drop off rate within your company, be sure to implement some of the expert tips above while also checking out their recommended tools and solutions.
If you enjoyed this expert round up, I highly recommend you take a look at this roundup with 83 online marketing experts and their best advice on “How Do I Start a Successful Blog?“. If you don’t already have a website or blog of your own, follow my blogging guide to getting started with one today.
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How to Stop Annoying Mystery Robo Callers and Business Spam Calls
We all have mobile devices and most of us are glued to the daily… so it’s pretty much the best way to contact millions of people around the world. However, it’s gotten quite out of control lately with all of the spam and robo calls that are just coming in non-stop!
For offshore business and scammy operations, it’s a fraudulent haven for making money off the unsuspecting and even for businesses looking to simply push their legitimate services call after call after call. Just like there are spam emails, spam blog comments, and spam forum and social media postings… this wave of spam phone calls is just the latest way for unethical businesses and startups to make money.
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Unfortunately, more often then not, most of these call are routed from other countries, and may even show up as a local number on your mobile device. This makes it even more annoying to find and report them, let alone stop them.
The good news is there are some ways to not only block, look up and avoid these numbers… but there are some fun ways to mess around with the robo callers and India call centers as well.
Here are some fun and useful resources to help out in the process.
Start With a Reverse Phone Number Lookup
Your phone should be a helpful part of your life. When you receive multiple calls from people you do not know, it becomes a nuisance. If you notice that your phone is ringing more than normal you need to start looking up the numbers with reverse phone lookup. Several numbers from strange area codes may be from telemarketers or bill collectors. You may even be getting calls from people trying to reach someone else. Enter the number on the reverse lookup site to receive information about the person or company that is calling you. Make a list of all the questionable numbers you receive and get started quickly
The option is also there to check out the FTC site and add your name to the do not call list, but as most of us already now — it usually doesn’t make a difference. It’s kind of like trying to unsubscribe to as many emails and newsletters in your inbox, but you just keep getting more and more.
Learn How to Individual or Bulk Block Numbers By Mobile Device
Once the number is listed on the site, you are given information about the person calling. Sometimes you get a name of a person or company. If you are familiar with the caller, you can return the call and find out what is needed to stop excessive calls. If you are given a spam warning or do not know the caller, it is best to block the call.
There are several reverse phone number lookup sites out there and plenty of them provide useful information for free. When someone gets a spam call, they often get pissed off and want to report the numbers online, so there is a good bet the number that just called you is already listed as a spammy number somewhere online.
Either way, one of the best ways to stop unwanted calls is to understand how to bulk remove, ignore, or report numbers based on the mobile device you have.
Working Methods to Block and Protect Your Number from Spam Calls
Your goal is probably to reduce the amount of mystery calls coming to your phone. Look up all the numbers you are unfamiliar with and block the ones that are not relevant. If you are receiving a lot of telemarketer calls, find out how to get off the call lists. When you block a telemarketing call, they often try again with a different phone number.
It is important to be clear about ending the calls if you talk to a telemarketer. You must be firm with your demands and keep blocking the numbers. Bill collection calls can be stopped by communicating with companies when you are late on bills. They can often decide with you and lessen the calls. Blocking these calls is also an option, as you can call the companies yourself when you are ready to resolve payments.
Get Revenge By Wasting the Time of a Live Call Center
Most robo calls start off with a random call, then if they can tell someone picked up the call, it will then forward over to a live person. Usually there is a pause or click noise, which is easy for people to tell right away that it’s an annoying spam caller.
The good news, is that there are plenty of prank apps and tools out there to turn the table.
Apps like robokiller.com make it easy to download the app, then have it run on your phone. It’s cool because the premium version is working off an ever expanding list of all users who are getting phone calls, so the app is actively blocking and reporting new calls all the time.
Even better, when a spam call does come through, you can set it up so there is a fake conversation that will drag on for several minutes and completely waste the time of the call center person. It also records such conversations for funny audio files you can listen to later on.
We All Hate Spam and Robot Calls… So When Will Then End?
It feels like an invasion of privacy when mystery calls take over your phone. You may wish to keep your phone available for calls from family or your business. Do not rush to change your phone number. As you can see from the examples laid out above, there are plenty are ways to solve the problem and discern between proper calls and those from telemarketers with a reverse phone lookup. With a little effort, you can enjoy your phone again.
And in the best situations… don’t get mad — get even!
Block their numbers, report them, and even use the prank call apps to give them a taste of their own medicine.
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Instagram Influencer Marketing: Where We Are Headed in 2020
Since its launch in October 2010, Instagram has been the most sought after social networking site and application. Users get to follow family, friends, and celebrities they admire. But over time it has developed into more than being just a platform to either like or leave comments beneath your favorite pictures and videos. Brands quickly realized the importance in Instagram, while also seeing the new opportunities in branding and marketing that it has created for them
For most brands, Instagram isn’t just about being seen and active on the world’s most popular platform, it also directly connects them to their various consumers and prospective clients. With such a massive user base, Instagram eventually provided the necessary tools needed to advertise products, goods, and services to users worldwide on its platform.
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Growth of Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing like any other sector has been subject to various changes and trends — such as the massive movement to mobile and how they would eventually go on to monetize the platform and it’s users.
Other factors like technology and consumer preference also play a huge role in its growth. Influencer marketing and business has grown exponentially and this is no surprise as brands are drawn to techniques that work, and many of them are seeing and reporting huge profits and ROI in the process.
Influencer marketing does work and in fact, yields amazing results when the proper time, work, and effort is put in place. Much like how influencers built up their massive followings and subscribers on YouTube, we are seeing the same with Instagram. However, the way these content creations earn revenue is much different from how users get paid on YouTube. Instead, for influencers on Instagram, it’s all about their reach and the many different types of branding/sponsor deals they can make.
Influencers build their credibility over time to enable them to market with precision. There are various types of influencers but at the moment the social media influencers are making effects worldwide every day. Usually from the comfort of their homes or offices. To become a social media influencer a lot of work would be done to identify your niche. Choose a social media channel like Instagram and then you distribute your content. You will also need to grow your network whilst engaging your followers.
How to Find Success with Influencer Marketing on Instagram
As we all know, there are thousands of ways to advertise and market a brand online. However, the game of influencer marketing and Instagram is a whole different beast of it’s own.
This process basically involves finding legitimate influencers on Instagram for the advertisement of products. These influencers are chosen based on audience and reach. Other factors like authenticity, passion, great marketing mind, and persona are also considered. Before employing the services of an Instagram influencer, brands are expected to carry out thorough background checks. This enables them to pick an influencer which would best suit their taste.
Since anyone can create an Instagram account and load up their account with a ton of followers, it’s important to analyze all potential influencers and also knowing who their audience is and what they might best engage with.
Instagram has tools that aid influencers to market various products effectively. Through the use of Instagram sponsored posts an influencer can reach a brands desired target audience or increase their reach overall through the use of a paid ad campaign. This allows organic posts to reach a wider range of audience for a fee. This tool also helps users and brands choose a target audience based on location, age, sex, and interests.
Not only is this is a very impressive form of marketing that allows for effective marketing, it also leads into the power of general advertising on Instagram as well. With Facebook Ads running both Instagram and their Ads platform, you know it’s going to be a top notch advertising solution
With all of this in place, with the right split testing and targeting, many brands and individuals are seeing very good results in terms of sales, reach, growth, and ROI. There are other tools like Famoid which helps monitor followers growth, while also allowing for improved reach to more followers — not just on Instagram, but also on other social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
Another tool is Sprout Social, which is great for understanding the metrics behind engaging posts. There are of course other tools and solutions out there as well, and each are geared towards yielding better results as regards marketing on Instagram. You will also find that many of the tool range in size and efficiency as well. Some will be better for individual use, while others are catered more towards agencies.
Where We Are Headed In 2020
Currently, there are many stories surrounding the drama between Instagram influencers and companies who are using them. Sometimes brands withdraw their contracts from these influencers due to various reasons, such as not seeing a positive ROI, engagement and views are showing up as promised, or simply from shady activies and not getting a full disclosure statement from influencers to their audiences.
Usually, this is as a result of misbehavior on the part of the influencers. It is important to note that the misbehavior of Instagram influencers usually affects these brands negatively. The world is watching and most times everyone usually has something to say. And the brands usually take the blowback of these ignorant acts. Some incur a drastic reduction in sales. Others lose important business partners. This emphasizes the importance of choosing the right Instagram influencer. Thorough background checks and examination of the techniques used is crucial, before proceeding to employ their services.
As we look ahead to the coming months and years of Instagram and it’s dramatic growth to one billion monthly active users, the influencer marketing game really is only just getting started.
With upgrades being made on Instagram it’s hard to say exactly what the future holds for influencer marketing on Instagram. However, there does seem to be an endless supply or users and branding opportunities… so the opportunities for both influencers and brands will likely continue to existing as long as the platform is thriving.
The advent of AR filters for Instagram stories allow influencers and brands to create their own customized filters. Customized filters can only be viewed and unlocked by followers of that particular Instagram influencer. This allows Instagram users and brand influencers to connect on a new and different level. Also, some brands have been able to create interest and stories about their influencers. They do this by taking them on vacations. They are allowed to document this experience, post online and let their audience react. This creates an adventure for followers to connect to. This is a very important tool for influencer marketing on Instagram.
It is quite obvious that influencer marketing on Instagram is very important and will continue to play a big role in the coming years. The hub of influencers, brands and Instagram users has already been established, and word is rapidly spreading about how money much these Instagram users are making. Along with the amount of the influencers available continuing to rise, so will the tools used to improve influencer marketing for brands as well. Come 2020 influencers will control over 90% of the population of potential customers on Instagram as they already control more than half.
Statistics have shown that a number of items have been purchased right after being promoted by an online influencer. It has been estimated that influencer marketing on Instagram will be a billion dollar industry by 2020. 22% of 18-34-year-olds made a large purchase after the product was endorsed by an online influencer. This is not a surprise as 39% of active Instagram accounts are influencers. These accounts also have over 15,000 active followers which in total indicates a large percentage of the Instagram society. Relevant influencers have the power to pull off a very high number of sales in quite a short period of time.
In short, online users can easily persuade the majority of their audience to make use of a product or service that they recommend. Here are some quick stats to back it up.
- 70% of millennial consumers are influenced by the recommendations of their peers in buying decisions. A survey conducted by Collective Bias involving 14,000 respondents in the US, reveals this influencer marketing statistic.
- The same survey reveals that 30% of consumers are more likely to buy a product recommended by a non-celebrity blogger. Consumers can relate more to these influencers and value their opinions more than that of celebrity influencers.
Consequently, there are complications to influencer marketing on Instagram. This greatly affects its growth and development. Some influencers have a negative attitude to work and to its audience. 94% of influencers agree on the importance of authenticity and transparency. These key factors are needed in marketing on Instagram. When an influencer lacks these, it results in an eventual loss of audience and credibility. Also, brands working with such an influencer at the time will be forced to withdraw. Influencers are also worried about the number of fake followers and bots on Instagram. Sometimes it’s difficult to find the right influencer when a handful of them have fake followers.
The Future of Instagram Influencer Marketing and Where We Are Headed
If you are already active on Instagram, you likely already know how active the platform is with influencer marketing and with their paid advertising. Being in the online marketing and advertising space, most of us will see this even more clearly.
Influencer marketing has become a full-time profession. It is expected to evolve and become a bigger industry come 2020, and years beyond. The companies and brands that make moves earlier and lock in some of these smaller influencers now may go on to see a much higher ROI int he months and years to come.
Statistics have shown that influencer marketing on Instagram is on the rise, and if you aren’t currently using it, your competition likely will.
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Maximizing the ROI of Exhibition Marketing by Leveraging Your Blog
Many business owners mistakenly believe that trade show marketing is obsolete. They believe that it is better to focus on educating and reaching potential customers through their blog or posting videos on YouTube. Marketers that make this assumption are missing out on an excellent source of potential new customers. Trade show marketing is alive and well. PwC estimates that the exhibition event industry is worth $14.3 billion. Rather than viewing exhibition marketing as an outdated strategy, you should combine it with your digital marketing strategy.
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You can definitely reach a lot of customers through content marketing. However, many customers want to see you show off your products at local exhibitions. Tradeshows are A much more personal form for interacting with customers.
If you want to make the most of your tradeshow marketing strategy, you should leverage it with your blog. Here are some ideas to consider.
Use your blog to educate future customers about products before they attend your tradeshow
Most people stumble upon trade shows while attending another, larger event, such as a county fair. They have no prior knowledge of the products or vendors at the tradeshow.
As a trade show vendor, you aren’t going to get as much value if your prospective customers aren’t informed beforehand. You are going to need to dedicate the entire event to educating them and answering elementary questions.
This is where your blog can come in handy. Take some time to write blog posts about your upcoming trade show. A marketing expert we talked to from RollerBanners suggests having an FAQ section so you can let people know about the different products that you are going to showcase. You can even embed a couple of videos about your products, so readers have some idea of what to expect when they attend your trade show.
Customers will have a better idea about your products after reading your blog posts. They will attend your trade show more prepared and ready to ask more helpful questions. By asking more informed questions, they will have the information they need to decide whether or not to make a purchase.
Encourage customers to contribute positively to the discussion
Most exhibition events encourage two-way conversations. This format can be a blessing or a curse, depending on the comments of the attendees.
If customers have a negative perception of your product, they may make negative comments that will dissuade other people from making a purchase. On the other hand, people that express positive sentiments about your products well encourage others to consider buying your products.
For example, click fraud detection company Clickcease, is attending conferences around the world all the time. The benefit here is two fold:
- They get to increase exposure to their brand and meet new businesses and potential clients.
- The visibility and one-on-one interaction is a great way to build trust and new clientele.
However, it’s also important to understand that not all businesses and brands have the time or budget to attending conferences around the world. For times like these, it’s best to use your blog to facilitate positive discussions which may have also been relevant at marketing trade shows.
Here are few ways it can help:
- You can use your blog to dispel any negative assumptions people might have about your product. This will help discourage people from asking leading questions that could cast your brand in a negative light.
- You can highlight some of the milestones you have reached and unique selling points about your products. Did you get an honorable mention from a reputable organization in your area? Talk about it on your blog. People might discuss the positive elements of your product amongst each other at your event or ask positive questions about the admirable elements of your brand.
- People that are not going to be interested in your product will be less likely to attend. Although there is always a possibility that hecklers will come by to express their criticism, most people that don’t like what you have to offer will simply avoid your event after reading your blog post. This means they won’t be around to spread negative feelings about your brand at your tradeshow.
Your blog is a great platform for facilitating discussions about your brand. Why not use it to encourage positive feedback with other customers at your tradeshow?
Attract more targeted attendees to your event
Old school marketers used to measure the success of exhibition marketing by the number of people that attended an event. In the digital marketing era, marketers understand that the quality of leads is more important than the quantity. Attracting more targeted leads significantly increases your opportunity to make a sale.
You can use your blog to draw more interested participants. The easiest way to do this is by reading blog articles and optimizing them around relevant keywords. For example, if you are running a trade show in Dallas, Texas to promote a couple of woodworking tools you created, you could optimize your articles around the following keywords:
- “Woodworking trade show Dallas”
- “woodworking events in Dallas”
- “woodworking schools in Dallas”
- “Learn about woodworking in Dallas”
You could also add the names of other surrounding cities so that you could reach people in those areas as well. People going on Google to learn more about woodworking will stumble upon your blog posts and learn about your upcoming events. Then they will be more likely to attend your events and consider making a purchase.
Optimizing your blog for SEO is an excellent way to draw targeted leads to your tradeshows. Here are some tips that will help.
Build backlinks to your blog from local websites
Offsite optimization is one of the most important elements of SEO. You can have exceptional content on your blog, but it won’t start ranking until you have built quality backlinks.
There are a number of ways that you can build the links to your blog. Some of them are much more effective than others. A lot of the outdated SEO strategies that worked well 10 years ago are pretty much worthless today. Submitting articles to generic article directories like Ezine Articles is not going to give you quality results. Also, most of the old website directories have either been deindexed by Google or have started adding the “nofollow” tag to outgoing links. You won’t get any link benefit from using them.
So, how do you go about building quality links to your blog to promote your events? One of the best approaches to use local news and other websites. There are a couple of reasons this is better than using generic platforms for building links:
- Backlinks from local sites will seem more relevant to Google.
- These websites are not constantly getting spammed by people looking to promote their websites. They will be more comfortable using the “dofollow” tag.
- Websites owned by other businesses in your area will be more likely to trust you if you are also local. They will be more comfortable sharing your event.
Try collaborating with at least five local websites. You might be surprised to see how much your rankings increase afterwards.
Optimize your blog for every city within a couple of hours
When you are trying to optimize your website to reach local customers, it is easy to get tunnel vision. Most businesses only optimize their website for their own city. They forget that there might be a dozen other cities within a reasonable driving distance. If you optimize your blog for those cities, you might be able to reach those customers too.
Create high-quality articles that are at least 1,000 words long
When you are writing a blog post about your upcoming tradeshows, you should make sure they are as detailed as possible. Google tends to rank websites higher in the SERPs if most of the articles are 1,000 to 2000 words long. The average article on the front page is 1,900 words long. You will find that a lot of local competitors are still ranking for websites with short-form content. However, this is usually because there isn’t much competition. You will have a strong advantage if you use longer articles.
You can also learn more about SEO and blog page length here.
Share testimonials on your blog
Your tradeshow could help people decide whether or not to purchase a product. However, it never hurts to try influencing customers before the event.
If you can give customers a positive impression of your brand before the event, you will have an easier time coaxing them into making a purchase. One of the best ways to do this is by sharing testimonials on your blog.
Testimonials have been proven to be very effective at increasing conversion rates. They will both entice people to attend your event and make them more willing to make a purchase once they visit.
Use your blog to follow up with customers that attended your tradeshow
Most of the other strategies outlined here focus on encouraging people to attend your tradeshow and making them more open to your pitch. However, your blog can also be great for engaging with people that attended your event.
The average person needs to be exposed to your brand seven times before they make a purchase. They might not be ready to become a customer after attending your tradeshow. However, if you encourage them to visit your blog for more information, they might be ready to make the commitment. You can also use your trade show to get them to join your mailing list so you will be able to engage with them more regularly.
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