How to Prepare Your E-commerce Business for the Holidays

The holidays are upon us! While you may just be getting ready for Halloween, it’s vital to start thinking beyond that to prepare your e-commerce business for the winter holidays. In fact, most marketing experts believe that July is the right time to start planning, so if you haven’t yet, you’re already behind!

The holiday season can be an extremely profitable time for your business if you are smart about your strategy! Shoppers spent over $108 billion online during the holiday season last year, with online sales growing faster than traditional retail sales from year to year! To capitalize on that momentum, utilize the following strategies to get the most out seasonal promotional opportunities:

Create Holiday Strategies

Although we like to call the events starting from November to January, “the holidays,” it’s important to celebrate and plan for each one. The holiday season includes:

  • Thanksgiving
  • Black Friday
  • Cyber Monday
  • Christmas Eve
  • Christmas Day
  • New Year’s

Prepare a unique seasonal campaign for each holiday to offer your customers unique offers, products and designs to keep them coming back for more instead of making a single purchase.

Be Prepared

If all goes well, you will make record sales this holiday season. However, marketing your brand is only the first step to success. You must make sure that your business is prepared to deliver on the sales to keep up with customer demand.

Evaluate how much inventory you have in stock, and how quickly you can order more. It’s advantageous to reach out to your suppliers to inquire about their estimates for inventory during this time. They may very well sell out of popular items, leaving you in a lurch if you need to order something last minute and are not able to.

Many shoppers purchase last minute items, which is why you should consider offering different shipping options.  You may see an increase in sales if you allow your customers to get their deliveries in as little as 1 to 2 business days.  Research how much it would cost you to ship your items faster, and make sure to include those options on your sales page.

In preparation of increased orders around the holiday time, create your staff schedules early on, and make sure your employees commit to those schedules. People tend to take time off around the holidays, which is why you must make sure you have a sufficient number of workers ready to receive and prepare orders to go out.

Save

For any business to make money, it must first spend money. As such, you should save a considerable amount of money to both market and sell your products.

You will likely see an  increase in conversion rates during the holidays, but that also means that you will see more ad competition on social media. However, if you plan early, you can purchase ad inventory at lower prices than if you wait until the last minute.

If you simply cannot afford to compete with others for ads during this time, utilize other  resources to promote engagement. Start building an email list now so you have a completely free way to reach out to your customers to alert them about special deals and exclusive offers.

SEO

Online shoppers use seasonal keywords to shop for their products. Consider how your target shoppers would find your site, and optimize your content for those keywords.

They may include:

  • “Best Christmas gifts for teenagers”
  • “Funny holiday gifts”
  • “Employee holiday gifts”

Use Google Keyword Planner to search for keywords relevant to your niche, and try to choose the ones with the lowest competition and the highest monthly searches.

You can create Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns and bid for shoppers to click on your link, or you can add those keywords to your blogs, video descriptions and social media posts to encourage engagement for little to no investment.

People love to spend money around the holiday time, and you should consider how you can encourage them to do it on your site! The strategies outlined in this article are the first steps you should take to prepare. If you need financial help in investing in your business during this time, contact IOU Financial. We work with small and medium-sized businesses to fund their goals with loans up to $300,000.

9 Mistakes You Could Be Making On Your Website That Can Ruin Your Business

Having a website for your brand is a wonderful thing, especially if you are focused on working globally. You can use it to interact with your users, sell your products and services, share content on your products, market your services, share reviews etc.

It became a norm in the business world. Benefits of having a website are highly talked about and praised in our modern society. Experts say that having a website can improve your business, create a good image of your brand and help you expand and engage with more people.

However, no one really talks much about how doing things wrong on your website can deteriorate your image and cost you your business. There are common mistakes that are often made not out of ignorance but coincidentally or because of forgetfulness.

Effects of these mistakes can be seen in sales, website visitation rates and bounce rates. This is why you need to be aware of them and have tools and knowledge to improve your website, eliminate the mistakes you are making and inevitably, improve your business.

Here are some common mistakes and some solutions to them:

There is no social proof

Imagine visiting a website where there are no reviews – good or bad – no newspaper articles or banners claiming that the website is legit. Would you stay on that website and make a purchase confidently?

Your answer is probably no. According to study, approximately 70% of people look at reviews, testimonials and other social proofs before making a decision to buy.

People need a social proof to be sure that they will not be tricked. This is basic psychology – you need to know that someone has walked that path and came out unharmed and happy if you are to walk that path yourself.

And this is what so many websites get wrong.

Avoid this by adding customer reviews, even if they are just good ones to your website. Include your stamps of approval from influencers, newspapers, other businesses from your niche, social media. Do whatever it takes to prove to a new visitor that you will not trick them.

You have a bad layout and design

People are visual creatures. They like looking at pretty things and if your layout and design don’t meet their expectations, you can be in trouble.

Bad layout, for one, can be confusing and hard to focus on. This is another easy fix – you only need to hire an expert to help you figure out what is the best layout for your business.

Design is another place where a lot of mistakes can happen. Wrong color scheme, font or illustrations can lead you to lose a lot of customers. Go for neutral colors that are easy on the eyes, pick readable fonts and make sure that everything is consistency with your brand. Check out the competition and see what they are doing. Don’t let your website look outdated.

There are no social media tags

If you are a business without social media profiles, you know you are doing something wrong.

Social media platforms are so good for businesses because they offer a unique way to build and maintain a relationship with your customers, according to study conducted by Moz. You can see their complaints and praises in the comments sections and use that to improve your business, you can get them to like you better by being fun and interesting on social media – the possibilities are endless.

If you do have social media profiles or pages, share them on your website. A customer can make an easier decision about a sale if they see that you are truly working with real people. Sometimes, this is all the social proof you need.

You have a confusing navigation

People don’t like visiting a website and being confused. Make it easy for them to find a page and move around your site. According to study conducted by Joshua Porter, users are more likely to make 3 clicks on the website to access the target page rather than 12 clicks. If some information is hard to find, they are likely to give up and move on. This is really bad for your business.

Hire someone to review your website as a new visitor and through the fresh eyes, you’ll be able to see if your website is easy to use or not.

You don’t provide enough information

On your website, you need to be open and share enough information about your business and yourself. Display your contact information or contact page prominently  – it should be your main goal for customers to be able to find you easily. Then proceed to tell your story and share just enough for them to be entertained and for you to seem legit.

Sharing too much can also be a problem.

Collin Nevin, an SEO-specialist at Boomessays, states, “You have to give your users enough information about your website and yourself for them to see you as a relevant and trustworthy business and person. Don’t make the information too hard to find and don’t make yourself unreachable. Share your addresses both email and physical, numbers and tell your story.”

You don’t post quality content

Take your time and write content that will truly resonate with your readers. You will not be able to achieve much with bad content. You can hire writers, writing services or write it yourself, but it needs to hold all of the relevant information.

Another mistake with content that you could be making is not checking it for plagiarism. Google doesn’t like plagiarized content, favoring more fresh information and new takes on different subjects. This is why you should definitely employ the services of a plagiarism checker like Copyscape or UKWritings.

You don’t optimize your images for speed

Visual content is always a good idea but not if it slows you down. People don’t like waiting and if your page takes too long to load, they will not stay.

Make sure that everything is in optimal condition and test your website while imitating similar pressure that it would endure with an enormous flood of visitors.

“Anything that might slow down your loading speed is your enemy. People don’t like waiting. This is why you need to optimize your images, icons and videos so that they don’t slow your loading speed down but improve it. This isn’t hard to do but it will mean a lot for your website and your business,” says Miranda Grayson, a Web Developer at Essayroo.

Your site is not mobile-friendly

Most of the readers like to consume their content and get information on their mobile devices. If your website is not mobile-friendly, they will not ‘pinch and zoom in’ for too long and they will move on quickly to find another, mobile-friendly website.

You make grammar and spelling mistakes

According to new studies and statistics, people don’t like grammar mistakes or misspelt words. It signals them that your website is not to be trusted and that it may be a scam, potentially harmful for their devices. This also represents you as someone who doesn’t care enough to eliminate these when they are so easy to fix by using tools like StateOfWriting or SimpleGrad.

Conclusion

While there are many benefits to having a website, there are also a lot of mistakes that you can make. Some of them are on this list and if you follow these tips on how to fix them, you’ll set yourself up for success.

Guest Post: About the Author

Grace Carter is a content manager at Paper Fellows and Academized, online writing services. She checks content quality, curates writers and explores marketing possibilities. Also, Grace is a tutor at Eliteassignmenthelp.com, academic website.

The Pros and Cons of Mass Messaging for Small Business

If you’re a small business looking to get your message out to a large audience, email blasts aren’t always the most effective mode of communication. While you may think to yourself, I’ve put thought and effort into the perfect newsletter; who wouldn’t want that? The truth is, emails can become like unsolicited phone calls. Many individuals sign up to receive a business’s correspondence, but never actually open an email because they’re too busy or don’t believe the message will appeal to their interests. Let me propose another marketing solution: text message service

Here are some advantages and disadvantages to incorporating a text messaging campaign into your marketing strategy.

Pros:

People Sign Up for Text Messaging

Consumers need to opt in for text messaging when providing their number to a business. This means that those who receive your text messages have specifically stated that they want to hear from you. This eliminates the worry that your text messaging will be regarded in a negative light. They are most likely happy to receive a text from your business.

Email Companion

Due to character limitations, there is only so much you can cram into one text message. You may have an entire newsletter full of relevant and valuable information that a text message simply cannot support. However, using text in conjunction with your email is a smart, effective strategy for optimizing audience engagement. For example, you can send out a text message to advise customers to lookout for an upcoming email.

Current News

With emails, a lot of people will see that they have a notification, but if it is not something urgent, they will leave the email to look at for a later time. Text messaging typically receives a much more immediate response as people keep their smartphones on them throughout the day.

Cons:

Let’s talk about the drawbacks. As mentioned earlier, text messages must be brief. You can’t put a lot of information in your mass messaging blast because you don’t want to annoy your customers with a multi-text message. Also, there’s no room for elaborate graphics or to include the company logo, which is important for brand recognition.

Standing Out

Take into account that consumers may sign up for scores of text messaging blasts. Even the large department stores have text message updates. How can you stand out while contending with these large corporations? You will have to exercise some creativity so that when your text message gets to their phone, they find it unique and enticing and are prompted to take action.

 Getting Volunteers

As we said before, people need to opt into text messaging. People feel more inclined to sign up for email blasts as it is less personal. Even though everyone gets emails on their phone, receiving text messages from businesses can feel invasive to certain people. It’ll be your loyal customers who look forward to text message updates.

No matter if you own a bakery, a flower shop, or a liquor store, you will have to find new ways to reach your local patrons. By implementing a business text messaging campaign, you’re opening up a way to communicate with people and add that old personal touch that has almost been forgotten in this large, technological era. If you’re in need of some extra funding to implement a mass-texting service, IOU Financial can help! With up to $300,000 available in 24-48 hours, you can get the funds you need to grow your business quickly and easily.

Guest Post: About the Author

Ron Kinkade is the Director of Marketing at Call-Em-All, an automated calling and group texting company that provides solutions for small and medium sized businesses, large corporations, membership organizations, community groups, and individuals. Ron has more than 15 years of experience with a proven track record of success. Ron is a graduate of Illinois State University.

Email Marketing Stats You Need To Know

Email marketing is a key marketing tactic for any small business. It’s a great way to stay in touch with customers and drive business at the same time. In fact, for every $1 spent the return is about $44, fantastic for any business. And by using an email marketing service it’s easy to make emails that your subscribers want to read. But there’s so much more that emails can do to help keep your customers interested and engaged in your business.

And the infographic 24 Email Marketing Stats You Need to Know is a great resource to get ideas. To help you get started, here are a couple of ways you can use this information to make your emails better.

Email personalization

Personalization can have a big impact on how your subscribers interact with your emails and your business. Just by adding a first name to a subject line makes your email 26% more likely to be opened.

In order to be able to add a first name to an email, or any kind of personalization, you need to make sure you have data on your customers. The easiest way to ensure you do is by checking your email sign up form. A name and email address are basics, but if you want to personalize with other information, you’ll need to make sure that’s included in your form.

You can use data collected from your email marketing – such as who is opening emails or what links are being clicked on, data from your website analytics or even surveys- to get what you need. One of the easiest ways to add the data you need is to send an email and ask for it.

The more information you know about your email subscribers, the more you can tailor and personalize your emails to your customer’s needs. 50% of marketers feel they can increase email interaction with personalization, try it and see how it works for you.

Automation

With a good email marketing program, you can add automated emails to your marketing for even better results. These are emails that can be created ahead of time and sent out when someone takes an action to trigger them. Examples are welcome emails, transactional emails, or shopping cart emails.

By using automation, you can get emails to your customers when they need to see them. They won’t need to wait for you to create them. The less time they have to forget your company, the better the chance they’ll stay connected.

Wrap up

The value of email marketing goes beyond just sending emails about sales. Taking a little time to collect some data on your customers can make your marketing easier and more effective. For more useful email stats, take a look at the infographic below.

Guest Post: About the Author

Shane Phair is the SVP of Marketing at Campaign Monitor, an easy-to-use email marketing tool that allows every marketer to send targeted newsletters to grow their business. With beautiful templates, a drag-and-drop interface and engagement-based segmentation, Campaign Monitor has helped more than 200,000 growing businesses take their email marketing to the next level.

 

Are you Monitoring Your Online Reputation? How to Get Started.

The advent of the internet age has made competition for all businesses a bigger challenge than it ever was before. As customers are no longer constricted by time or distance, they’re able to purchase goods from around the world.

Since it is difficult to compete by offering unique products or lower than average prices, business owners should strive to provide the best customer service, which goes a long way in keeping current customers loyal and attracting new clients.

It’s important to monitor your online reputation to see what is being said about your brand online because 74% of shoppers base their purchasing decisions on positive online reviews. That means that if you have poor reviews about your products or services, you may be losing out on ¾ of your potential sales! Read on to see how you can get started with monitoring your online reputation to help your business succeed!

Set Up Google Alerts

Google offers an incredibly useful tool that all business owners should become familiar with; and the best part is that it is completely free! Instead of dedicating hours of your time on a weekly basis to scouring the web, Google Alerts will email you when your business is mentioned online on websites, blogs, etc.

Setting this up is easy; simply log into or create a Google account and set up words or phrases that you want Google to track. This can include your company’s name or the names of products or services you offer.

Know Where Your Audience “Hangs Out”

Although Google Alerts is a great resource, you can’t rely on it to report 100% of what goes on online. This is why it’s important to know your audience—customers, employees, investors, etc., and learn where they hang out online.

If you have a physical location, such as a restaurant, body shop or hair salon, it’s likely that your customers tend to frequent review sites, such as Yelp.

If you target a younger demographic and/ or offer products or services that are presented well in photos and videos, such as a travel agency or a clothing boutique, your target audience may be found on Instagram.

On the other hand, if you offer professional services, such as bookkeeping or accounting, you may find your company being mentioned on professional sites, such as LinkedIn or Glassdoor. Remember that your employees may also leave reviews about the experience of working at your company, which can influence shoppers!

Verify Your Information is Correct

While the internet offers a multitude of benefits, it also often takes the control out of business owner’s hands. You can’t regulate what a person or a company posts online, and that may lead to wrong information about your business being posted.

Yext is a helpful tool that can help you manage listings on review and location sites, such as Yellow Pages. It automatically reviews these sites and alerts you when a mistake is found or there is no information at all.

This will help you keep your contact information, address, business hours and link to your website current so your customers can always find you.

Monitoring your online reputation is the first step; however, the most important step is the second one. If you notice a bad review or wrong information about your business posted online, do something about it! If a customer had a negative experience shopping on your site or visiting your brick-and-mortar location, reach out to them and attempt to make it right. Showing your online audience that you are invested in your brand’s reputation and committed to providing the best customer service will go a long way in setting you apart from the competition!

If you need financial assistance with establishing your improving your online presence, turn to IOU Financial. Our company specializes in small business loans of up to $300,000 in as little as 48 hours.

Outsmart the Spam Folder: How to Create Emails Guaranteed to be Read!

Email marketing is an important strategy for companies to connect with their current and potential customers. “Every $1 spent on email marketing produces $44 in return, probably because 58% of adults wake up and immediately check their email,” according to a source

Most business owners know the importance of collecting emails from individuals who visit their physical locations or their websites. Whether you create social media contests or offer newsletter sign ups, there are many ways to collect emails to be able to reach out at a later time.

The challenge to email marketing is there there is so much competition within the inbox as most people get dozens, if not hundreds, of emails per day. How do you prevent your email from going straight to spam and encourage people to actually open and read it? With this tips!

Include the Person’s Name

To help your readers cut through the clutter, make your email stand out by including their name, or they business name right in the subject line.

Examples of this include:

  • Amy, Start Off the Fall Season with a Fresh New Hairdo!
  • Paul-Find out How You Can Save 20% on Your Car Maintenance
  • Learn How Restaurants Such as Cheesecake Factory Increased Sales With 3 Easy Steps

Establish the Value of Your Offer

As you have seen in the previous examples, the subject lines didn’t just include the recipient’s name, but also clearly showed the value of the email offer. Online users are so bombarded by various online messages, that they are used to spending just a few seconds assessing what is relevant to them.

As such, creating an intriguing email subject line is the biggest determinant of whether your email will be read or tossed into the trash bin.

Utilize the Four U’s Approach

To write a great email headline, follow the Four U’s Approach, which directs the writer to:

  • Be Useful: How can your email improve the life of the reader, make something more affordable or easier?
  • Be Ultra-specific: What exactly are you offering?
  • Be Unique: How will you set yourself apart from the competition?
  • Be Urgent: Why should they respond right now and not ignore the email?

Connect on An Emotional Level

The three steps above helped the reader open and read your email, but how do you get them to act? Whether you want them to make a purchase, sign up for an offer, share your content, etc., try to establish an emotional connection with readers to help this happen. As half of all purchasing decisions are driven by emotional connections, emotional marketing is key to raising your sales.

Instead of simply listing an offer, incorporate a funny anecdote or share an experience with your readers. Include elements from stories, such as a beginning, middle and end and possibly even a moral lesson. Use this approach to inspire your audience to take action or simply to let them know how important they are to you!

There are many ways to optimize your email marketing according to your company’s unique needs. IOU Financial can help with a small business loan that will allow you to hire a marketing professional or invest in email marketing software that will offer personalization options and other features to create unique emails sure to captivate your customers’ attention.

How to Effectively Set Up Your Website to Collect New Leads

Content has always been a very important component of inbound marketing, and now more so with Google’s algorithm that reward fresh, relevant content. Without good content, it is hard to drive visitors to your website or convert them into leads.

Decide on your messaging strategy:

Here are four questions to ask yourself about your website’s content:

  1. Do visitors immediately understand what the website is about?
  2. Will visitors know which page they are on and why?
  3. Can visitors easily navigate to the next page?
  4. Is there some value proposition to cause visitors to interact with your site rather than someone else’s?

An affirmative answer to all four questions will translate into more traffic, more leads, and a lower bounce rate.

Here are a few tips for making sure your message gets out:

  • Use headlines and subheads to outline your most important ideas on each page. Avoid clichés, doublespeak and jargon.
  • Offer a powerful value proposition. That means either giving away something of value of offering it at an incredibly attractive price. Anything from downloads to free offers can be used.
  • Include clear calls-to-action, which direct visitors on what to do next to benefit from the value proposition. Put links into the body content that direct readers to registration dialogs, data intake forms, exclusive offers, etc.
  • Perform A/B testing on your copy and headlines to see which alternative yields better results. There are online tools from Google and others that help determine which variation drives more conversions.
  • Go beyond simple product content. Offer eBooks, videos, whitepapers and other types of educational content. This attracts visitors who may not know yet that they want to buy from you – they are on the outer tip of the marketing funnel. Suck them into the funnel with free, valuable content.
  • When delivering a sales pitch, use a writing style that matches colloquial one-on-one conversation. Pronouns like “you” and “we” are preferred over “one” or “they”. Never talk down to your audience.
  • Your content should help visitors solve their problems. Don’t go around bragging about how you are the best – instead make a point of explaining how your content helps viewers.

Share quality content:

When we speak about quality content, we are actually talking about quality, unique content. If you copy, you die. Search engines pick it up right away and penalize you, sometimes by de-indexing you altogether. If you have nothing original to say, don’t say it. Next, write to the highest language standards you can. Humans appreciate good grammar, sentence construction, proper spelling and logical thought. Your original content should educate or entertain its readership – boring content is, well, boring. People are busy and need to extract value from your content, or they will spend their time elsewhere.

There are times when it helps to provide evidence to prove a point. If, in the course of presenting your material, you quote facts, statistics, events, etc., give them some backing with a credit, either inline or as a footnote. A backlink to your source would be appropriate.

Finally, try to avoid jargon and clichés, such as “cutting edge” or “mission critical”. These phrases have been so overused that they have lost their meanings. They turn off readers and make your content seem suspect. Prose that contains phrases like “ground breaking” seldom is. Often, spammy websites substitute clever headlines and captions for clear content. You can’t trick your readers into enjoying your content with snappy headlines alone. Give them clear, concise material and leave the gimmicks to others.

If you’re looking to re-vamp your website and need to hire a marketing pro to do so, IOU can help with the funds. Visit our site at www.ioufinancial.com to learn more about how you can borrow up to $300,000 in under 48 hours.

 

Facebook Ads: The Basics for Small Biz

Being the most prominent social media platform around the world, Facebook can’t be ignored when it comes to planning an advertising strategy for your small business. Two billion people around the world use this platform every month, which gives companies a large potential customer base to connect with. The benefits of creating Facebook ads is you can set ad campaigns to any budget, and they can be viewed on any mobile device!

Setting Up Facebook Ads

Business Ads Manager allows even the most novice online user to set up eye-catching and relevant ad campaigns for their customers with these steps:

  1. Click on Create New Campaign
  2. Select a campaign objective—Decide what the main goal of the ad campaign is so Facebook can optimize features to help you get there, including:
    1. Awareness: brand awareness or reach
    2. Consideration: traffic, engagement, etc.
    3. Conversion: sales or store visits
  3. Name the campaign
  4. Choose your audience—Choose who sees your ads based on their location, age, gender, language and even interest and behaviors
  5. Set up Ad Placement—Facebook has the option to determine where your ads will be shown, or you can decide yourself. It’s important to note that the cost of the ad will vary based on where it’s placed. The options include:
    1. Facebook News Feeds
    2. Facebook Right-Hand Column
    3. Instagram
    4. Audience Network
    5. Instant Articles
    6. In-Stream Video
  6. Choose your daily budget and when you want to start/ stop running your ads
  7. Add content—Add a video, photos and or text to make your ad go live!

How to Track Facebook Ad Campaigns

Although business owners choose their daily budgets, it can take a significant investment to reach a wide audience on Facebook. As such, it’s advantageous to track the results of the campaigns and see which ads outperform others. Your audience may prefer videos over pictures, or they may respond better to one type of text over another.

Here are the steps to track ad campaign results:

  1. Click on Ads Manager.
  2. Choose between Campaigns, Ad Sets or Ads to see the analytics for each one
  3. Click on Columns dropdown menu
  4. Click on Customize Columns and decide what you want to track, such as purchases
  5. Click Apply to see results

The great thing about Ads Manager is that it provides options to not only see results but to test your ads and then make meaningful changes to help them perform better.

Finding Your Target Audience

Possibly the most important step in reaching your objective when advertising on Facebook is finding your target audience. You may create the most compelling ad, but if the people who see it have no need for your product or service, they will not buy it.

If you already know the demographics of your customers, Facebook can create a Lookalike Audience of similar people to show the ad to.

If you are not sure who to target, Facebook’s Audience Insights is a great tool. Simply type in an interest or topic close to your field, such as Ford Motors, and you can get information about the people interested, such as their demographics, what other pages they like, where they live, their relationship status and more!

You can then use this information to set up your custom audience on Facebook. If you need financial help in hiring a professional to set up your Facebook ads or to increase your social media reach, a small business loan can help. IOU Financial has worked with many companies to help them reach their goals with loans of up to $300,000. Click here to learn more and contact us today!

Google Adwords: The Basics for Small Biz

To keep your company profitable and competitive, it is important to create a strong online presence. To accomplish this goal, a necessary tool is Google Adwords, a search marketing tool. Unless you’re an internet or marketing expert, this process may be confusing, which is why we are going to break down the basics of using Adwords for your small business.

What is Google Adwords?

There are two ways to help your website rank higher in Google searches, organically or by paying. If you have a new website, it can take months or even years for it to climb the rankings, causing your site to live in obscurity and losing out on sales. As an alternative, Google allows you to pay to have your site show up on the first page of Google.

The paid results show up on the top of or to the right of organic results, and while they look almost identical, they do have a “Sponsored” label to identify them.

How Does Adwords Function?

Adwords allows you to advertise based on keywords (words or terms relevant to your business) that your customers are likely to search for when looking for your products or services. The tool provides relevant data, such as how many people search for the keywords, what the competition for each term is, and how much it would cost every time a person would click on the keyword (PPC).

Once you find relevant keywords, you can bid on them against your competitors, and if you place the highest bid, your link would appear in paid Google search results.

How to Set Up Google Adwords?

Once you have your keywords, you can set up a paid campaign on Google Adwords by following these steps:

  1. Select a campaign: Google gives you a variety of options for the type of campaigns you want (video, search, etc.). Select the type you want and give it a name.
  2. Choose the area: Decide where you want to advertise by country, state, city or even metropolitan area.
  3. Choose your bid strategy and budget: Google allows you to choose how to place bids, depending on conversions, clicks, views or impressions. You can also set daily maximum bids to stick to your budget.
  4. Fill out Ad Extensions: This is additional information you want your ads to show about your company.
  5. Write a headline and short text for your ad.
  6. Insert keywords.
  7. Set your default bid: The max you want to pay per bid.
  8. Enter your billing information.

How Do you Track Your Google Adwords Results?

Any time you spend money on marketing or advertising, it’s important to track results to see what is effective and what isn’t. Over time, you will see which keywords bring the best results, and you can concentrate on specific campaigns to help with your ROI.

To track your Google Adwords conversions, follow these steps:

  1. Click on Tools, and then Conversions in your Adwords account.
  2. Click on the +Conversion button.
  3. Click on website to track the results.
  4. Name the specific action you’re tracking, such as how many people sign up for your newsletter, make a purchase, visit a site, etc.
  5. It’s possible to define a monetary amount under the value section if you only offer one product/ service. For example, if you sell T-shirts for $19.99, that is the value you’d input. If you sell items for different amounts, you can specify that amount value for different conversions.
  6. Count: Choose to either count one conversion per ad click, great to track leads, or for sales, you can track every conversion.
  7. Conversion: Decide how long you want to track the ad for, from 1 day 90 days.
  8. Click Create.

By concentrating on finding a new audience base with paid online marketing, you can expose your brand to new customers and grow your sales. If you would like to hire an expert in this field to share their expertise in this area with you, or need financial assistance in paying for online ads, IOU Financial can offer easy and fast small business loans. Visit our site at www.ioufinancial.com to learn more about how you can borrow up to $300,000 in under 48 hours.

Ways to Utilize Customer Stories for Growing Your Startup

Customer stories seem to be really powerful. Startups should be smart enough to take the fullest advantage of inspiring customer stories or customer experiences. We know that only a great product cannot spell success. For a startup to grow and succeed you would be requiring both great marketing and also, a great product.

Startups usually do not have amazing marketing budgets. They may not be in a position to splurge on a single advertising campaign. However, the best thing about startups is that they do not require thousands to spend on advertising. Startups are known to boast strengths that they could utilize for fueling their marketing and grabbing customers. Customer stories could be used effectively for achieving incredible growth. If your business gains a lot of recognition, you could earn a lot of profits and you could make all your business debt repayments promptly on time. Your startup would be prospering without any hiccups.

You have got to agree that there is a massive difference between simple promises and real results. Every startup promises to provide a solution to a particular issue that sounds pretty exciting. However, nothing could persuade potential customers better to purchase anything than when they are actually sure that it works perfectly. This is exactly where the customer stories fit in. Startups could use effective customer stories for demonstrating how their specific products or services would be solving problems and making things easier for you. Customer stories must be powerful enough to motivate potential customers to ultimately take the buying decision. Let us explore how customer stories actually help in boosting marketing.

How Customer Stories Help in Boosting Marketing

Customer stories or powerful case studies could be utilized all through the sales and marketing funnels. They are supposed to be truly important not simply because of their versatility and flexibility but because they play a pivotal role in the accomplishment of three core responsibilities.

They Help in Building Credibility

If you are a startup and have recently started your business, it is necessary for you to convince your customers of your credibility. You need to prove to potential customers that you are trustworthy. If you are able to successfully demonstrate that there are several other people who are relying on you and are pleased and happy with your company, it becomes easier for the prospects to appreciate your worth and take the final step confidently toward buying your product or service.

They Demonstrate & Prove How Your Product Actually Works

It is obviously tough for people to understand how a product would be functioning when it is actually presented to them, in the abstract. A case study that reveals the story about the way you have assisted your customer would help other customers to visualize precisely how they would be benefitted if they work with you.

They Would Be Assisting You in Up-Selling & Cross-Selling Customers

While creating a customer story, you would be asking your customers to actually share the slightest details of how they have been successful in generating higher profits by using your product or service. When your customers start reflecting on the various benefits they had experienced with the help of your product or service, it is quite likely that they would want some more services or products from you.

Ways to Create Convincing & Compelling Customer Stories

Effective customer stories could be taking different formats including videos, written stories, and audio recordings; however, the persuasive case studies would be having certain things in common.

They Would Be Talking About the Core of the Issue:

Prospects are interested in knowing if your products could solve the issues they are facing. You must communicate very clearly that you appreciate and understand the problems and the associated pain.

They Describe in Detail the Precise Solution You Provided:

When you describe in detail and talk about precisely how you had helped in solving the problem, your customers would be visualizing the solution clearly in their minds. They could easily visualize how your product would actually work.

They Demonstrate How Exactly the Customer Was Benefitted:

Precisely how much revenue was generated by your product? How much savings did the customer achieve? How much time did he save? How many new customers did your client gain after using your service or product? The more clearly you are able to highlight the benefits, the easier it would be for potential customers to understand your true worth.

They Use Actual Names & Pictures:

People would not be convinced if you present a wonderful case study without including the actual name of the company. Most customers are reluctant about sharing details and personal info with others. So, it is essential to ask upfront if your customer is actually willing to contribute personal details while participating in the exercise. Many customers, on the other hand, would be incredibly excited and enthusiastic about the entire affair and would cooperate with you.

Easy Tips to Promote Your Customer Stories

  • Publish your customer stories on your website.
  • Publish a fascinating blog post.
  • Share the customer story on your social media platforms.
  • Incorporate inspiring customer stories into your presentations.
  • Request your loyal customers to share your authentic customer stories with their contacts.
  • If your customer has done something newsworthy with the help of your product, turn your customer story into an important press release to grab a whole lot of attention.

Conclusion

Stories are supposed to be shared experiences. Humans are actually hard-wired toward receiving information basically through storytelling. So customer stories would work great wonders for the growth of your startup. Customer stories could truly improve your marketing, sales, and PR. However, the outcomes depend largely on how well you go about creating customer stories and utilizing them to your advantage. Startups are clever enough to take advantage of inspiring and persuasive customer experiences for achieving unprecedented growth.

Guest post: About the Author

Marina Thomas is a marketing and communication expert. She also serves as content developer with many years of experience. She helps clients in long term wealth plans. She has previously covered an extensive range of topics in her posts, including business debt consolidation and start-ups.