Hey, Ecommerce Companies – Location Still Matters!

September 10, 2014

Check out this recent article from Small Business Trends on optimizing eCommerce:

If you have an eCommerce business, you probably think that location doesn’t matter. But that isn’t always the case.

New research from the Wharton School suggests that real-world factors such as location can actually have a big impact on online businesses. In this instance though, the location that matters is that of the customers rather than the business itself. In an interview with Knowledge @ Wharton, Marketing Professor David Bell explained:

“What we’re finding is that it’s still about location, but this time it’s about the location of the customer. Where is that customer and with whom does that customer also live? That’s what’s really important in the world of eCommerce.”

The reason that a customer’s location matters so much is pretty simple, when you think about it. Existing customers can sometimes be the most powerful source of referrals, even for online companies. That’s because customers often talk to friends and acquaintances in the offline world about their experiences with online companies. So their location, in relation to potential new customers, is paramount.

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The 3 Biggest Factors in Your Small Business Website’s Success

September 9, 2014

Check out this recent article from AllBusiness Experts on the pillars of a great website:

Is your small business website poised for success? A recent poll asked Internet users what they expect from websites—and meeting their demands is actually pretty straightforward. Here’s what the study, the State of the User Experience Report, found are the most important things customers care about when visiting a website.

1. Website performance: A high-performing website loads quickly, streams without buffering and otherwise delivers from a technical standpoint. This is by far the most important thing customers care about, cited by 52 percent of respondents.

What defines “loading fast”? Sixty percent of consumers polled say they won’t wait more than five seconds for a Web page to load; about 20 percent won’t even wait three seconds. If a website doesn’t load quickly enough, more than 30 percent of respondents say they leave and buy from a competitor’s website instead.

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Nielsen: Narrower-Targeted Ad Campaigns Perform Better

September 8, 2014

Check out this recent article from ClickZ on focusing your advertising campaign:

The number of ad campaigns that reached their intended targets declined across the board, particularly among the Gen X demographic.

Fifty-nine percent of ad impressions served across all consumer segments reach their intended audience, according to research from Nielsen Online Campaign Rating (OCR). The figure, which is down by 10 percent from 2013, illustrates a decline that correlates with targeted audiences that are narrower and more focused.

Nielsen’s OCR analysis, which included almost double the sample of last year’s study, looked at consumers’ online behaviors and how marketers can appropriately tailor their advertising campaigns to them.
It broke the population into six demographics zones, each representing a targeted segment by age and gender. Demographics one and two represent people with an age span of 30 years, with the latter focused on males or females individually, as opposed to lumped in together.

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Gut Instinct vs. Data: Which Is More Important When Making a Business Decision?

September 5, 2014

Check out this recent article from AllBusiness Experts on sound decision making for your business:

I once heard a father telling his son that the best way to make a big decision in life is to ask 50 people for their opinions and then do what your heart tells you. This line of thinking proposes that research should be the first or foremost step of any big decision, and this certainly makes sense. It only stands to reason.

In business, however, many famous CEOs have discounted research and data and made some very tough calls based largely (if not solely) on their gut instinct – sometimes leading to riches and other times to catastrophic losses.

Take Steve Jobs, for example. He was famous for making critical decisions at Apple without first consulting fact-based business data. In 2010, Jobs accurately predicted that the tablet could actually overtake the PC one day, despite many data reports to the contrary. Following his intuition, in April of that same year, he launched the iPad, disregarding the many doubters who doomed it to fail.

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Your Customer’s Life Is Happening NOW – How Are You Responding?

September 4, 2014

Check out this recent article from ClickZ on effective email marketing:

Consumers’ lives are becoming more and more fast-paced. How can marketers keep up with a customer base that expects everything to be taken care of “now”?

Technology is speeding up the way consumers receive information and interact with the world. People today expect search results to show up immediately, videos to stream on demand, instant updates on friends and family’s status, location, and activities, and news alerts the moment anything happens. We are getting used to an “everything now” world, where instant gratification is no longer just a customer demand; it’s becoming the new norm.

In a recent HBR blog post from professor Roland T. Rust titled “Most Marketers Flop at Real-Time Customer Interactions,” he talks about how the market needs to head toward “adaptive personalization systems” to meet today’s consumer demand. This concept sounds very similar to what we at StrongView call contextual messaging.

There are several ways marketers are responding to this “everything now” mentality. Whether you call these tactics real-time response, adaptive personalization, or contextual messaging, they’re all part of the next wave of digital marketing focused on providing the real-time interactions that customers now demand.

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How to Keep Millennials From Getting Bored and Quitting

September 3, 2014

Check out this recent article from Bloomberg Businessweek on managing millennials:

Question: I’m having challenges with attracting and retaining younger employees. Do you have any thoughts about keeping millennials interested and challenged so they don’t jump ship after 18 months on the job?

Answer: millennials—those born between about 1980 and 2000—are the largest U.S. generation since the baby boomers. Simply by virtue of their numbers, they are poised to make up 75 percent of the U.S. workforce by 2025. So learning how to work with them and keep them on staff should be an important goal for every employer.

Certainly, if your company is not paying competitive salaries or hourly wages, it should come as no surprise that employees in all age ranges are jumping ship for better money. Ask those who are quitting if they would stick around if you gave them raises. If money proves to be a major issue, take a look at what you’re paying across the board and you’ll improve your retention rates immediately.

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When Does a Customer Actually Become a Customer?

September 2, 2014

Check out this recent article from AllBusiness Experts on defining “The Customer”:

For most businesses a customer becomes a customer when they buy a product, sign a contract, or agree to terms of a deal. But I wonder if that view of the journey to convert leads to sales misses the bigger reality.

What if, just for conversation sake, you began to view someone looking into your services as a customer. Or, better still, someone just beginning to talk about what they learned at your free workshop as a customer?

Now, it’s true, neither of the above “customers” has paid you a dime, but what if you began to run your entire business as though your job was not one of selling someone, but one of doing everything you could to build trust in those who expressed interest?

What if that group became customers in your mind at that point and you created tools and processes to start serving them right then and there?

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3 Ways to Keep Your Small Business Growing and Gaining Ground

August 29, 2014

Check out this recent article from Small Business Trends on key ways to grow your business:

As many business leaders spent the last year focused on cutting costs and staying competitive, small-business employers specifically took measures to hold fast – making careful choices about hiring, compensation and employee benefits options.

The 2014 Aflac WorkForces Report for Small Business found that only 12 percent changed employee hours from full- to part-time in 2013 while 34 percent said they gave employees smaller raises than in previous years. As these decisions were made by small-business owners, the study found that 64 percent of employees at small businesses are extremely or very satisfied with their job, compared to 17 percent of employees at large companies and 19 percent at medium-sized companies.

Maintaining a happy workforce, while keeping an eye on the bottom line, is a tough job to juggle. Below are three important ways your company can gain momentum in a slowly rebuilding economy and changing health care landscape:

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