Pop-ups! Love to hate them?

Pop-ups! Love to hate them?

A few years ago the inventor of the pop-up ad, Ethan Zuckerman, apologised for what he let loose on the internet. As you may remember these early pop-up ads were brash, irritating and ugly.

Lucky for us, the “humble” pop-up has evolved into a sleek and effective marketing tool that is now commonplace on many websites.

Our friends at Shopify have had an extensive look into why pop-ups are an essential part of your site. You can read their article here.

Email Automation: Explained

Unlike email newsletters and one-off campaigns where you create and send to a bunch of people in one go, an automated email campaign means you set it up once, and then it’s automatically sent to one particular person, when they meet a certain trigger.

Take for example somebody signs up for an account on your website. The first email might welcome them to your brand and show them how to get started. Two days later you might send them another email with links to some popular resources or offer them a discount code for a fist purchase.

Rather than manually creating and sending email campaigns to every person when they sign up – and again two days later encouraging them to make a purchase – you can set up automated welcome emails that gets sent whenever a new person joins, and at the same time, set up your second automated email with a trigger point (e.g. 2 days after initial sign up) with their discount code for their first purchase.

That’s the beauty of email automation: You save yourself time and money by only needing to set up the email once, and as people meet the trigger you defined (e.g. two days after initial sign up) the email will send without any additional effort on your part. It essentially ‘automates’ your email marketing for you. How awesome is that?!

 

How to Customise an Email Template in 7 Simple Steps using Nextwave’s Mailer

How to Customise an Email Template in 7 Simple Steps using Nextwave’s Mailer

Thanks to modern email design tools and templates, the days of having to know HTML and CSS to create amazing emails are well and truly behind us. Phew!

With the Nextwave Mailer email builder the possibilities or generating beautiful emails (that your customers will actually want to open and read) are endless.

In this post, we’ll walk you through the 7 simple steps to help you design and build a custom email (from start to finish) using an email template and the drag and drop email tools.

Step 1: Choose a template to get started
The first step in customizing your email is to select a template from the Nextwave Mailer template library. You’ll find a wide variety of templates to choose from simply by clicking on a category under the ‘create new’ heading on the left hand side of your screen e.g. newsletters, events, feedback etc.

The template you choose will be partially based on the type of message you’ll be sending, such as a marketing offer, transactional email, newsletter, announcement, or event invite. Different objectives call for different formats and layouts, so consider which template will complement the message and objective of your email campaign.

For example, let’s say you’re sending out an email marketing campaign to announce a new collection of items in-store and online. For this post, we’ll pretend we are an email marketer at Liberty Trading Co.

screenshot2

NOTE: TO SELECT AN EMAIL TEMPLATE, MAKE SURE YOU CREATE A NEW CAMPAIGN FIRST!

Before you can select your campaign template, you’ll need to create a new email campaign by clicking on the big green ‘create a new campaign’ button to the right of your screen, define the campaign and sender details and click ‘next’. This is where you can select your campaign template.

screenshot1

Step 2: Add a new hero image
Once you’ve selected the template you want to use, click ‘Replace’ to swap out the existing image and insert an image of your own. You can use a big, bold hero image that goes full-width across the screen.

screenshot3a

Step 3: Edit your image
Once you’ve inserted your hero image, you can edit it right within the builder. Simply click on the ‘edit’ next to the thumbnail image in the left sidebar.

Editing capabilities include everything from simply enhancing the image, to adding effects, rotating orientation, resizing, cropping, colour correcting, lighting, sharpness, and removing blemishes.

In the example below, you can see how clicking on the lighting option expands into more specific features such as brightness, contrast, highlights, and shadows.

screenshot4
Once you’ve made your edits, click ‘Save’ and your new image will be updated in the template.

Step 4: Add alt text and links
Now that your image is set, you can add alt text – this is the text that will display when a subscriber has images off within his or her email inbox. To add alt text, simply click on the image and add the alt text in the appropriate box.

Additionally, you may like to add a link so when your image is clicked, it takes the subscriber to your website or product page.

screenshot5

In the example above, clicking on an image of a cushion brings up the toolbar with these features on the left side of the screen.

Step 5: Tweak your template
Want to rearrange or add sections to your template? No problem, you can do so in a matter of a few clicks!

To add content sections such as text, images, spacers dividers, buttons or surveys, just select the appropriate button from the left-hand toolbar and drag it to the section of your email template where you want to place it.

screenshot6

Alternatively, if you want to rearrange sections (as seen in the example below) highlight the portion you want to move with your mouse (e.g. a product image such as the cushion highlighted below) and move it to the new spot. This is helpful if you don’t want to switch to a different template, but you’d like to see a different ordering of the sections.

screenshot7

Step 6: Add a CTA button and customize the copy
When it’s time to create a custom call to action button (i.e. SHOP NOW – as seen positioned under the product images in the screenshots above) that will drive customers to your website, all you need to do is to use the ‘Button’ option – located in the left sidebar. Then, when inserting your conversion-driving CTA button, ensure you customise it with your brand colours and text as well as size, style, corner type and alignment. All of these options will appear once you click on the button tool in the left sidebar.

screenshot9

The best part when creating CTA buttons now is that no HTML/CSS skills needed. Hooray!

Step 7: Preview on mobile
Before sending out your beautiful email campaign, be sure to preview it on mobile to ensure everything is displaying correctly.

You’ll see the mobile preview right within the builder simply by clicking on the ‘preview’ button to the right hand side of the screen. Scroll down to see how your template looks in this format from top to bottom.

screenshot10

Why is this step so important? Because research shows that about 53% of all emails are opened on mobile devices, and it’s the most popular environment for a subscriber’s first interaction with an email.

Now you know how painless it is to customise your email marketing campaigns using Nextwave Mailer – and without the need for coding or CSS skills – there’s no stopping you!

Using customisable templates as your foundation, you can design a unique, well-branded email campaign in minutes.

Email Marketing Campaign Checklist

Have you experienced that moment of dread when you discover an error in your email marketing campaigns? Or do you hover over the send button for what seems like hours wondering what you may have forgotten?

This is what we like to call ‘Sendphobia’ and it’s something many marketers have experienced.

However, by having a rock solid email signoff process in place you can eliminate errors and rid yourself of ‘Sendphobia’ forever.

 

What is an email sign off process?

An email sign off process defines the stages an email campaign goes through to ensure it is error-free and approved by all relevant people in your organisation.

It is made up of two critical parts: A map of the approval process and a campaign checklist.

For instance, we have a flow chart which lays out the whole email process from briefing the email through to post-campaign reporting. We don’t look at it every time we send email out, but it is there and it is defined. It’s useful to show new people who become a part of your working group as it will help them understand their place in the process flow.

We also use a campaign sign off checklist which we apply to every campaign. This specifies the person responsible for signing off their part of the email and confirms that you’ve also completed some pre-send tasks.

 

Why do we need an email sign off process?

In short, to avoid situations like this….

“I sent an email wrong, then sent it wrong again. To 700K. That was a bad day”
“I sent the wrong email to about 3500 subscribers in my second week on the job… Doh”
“I remember once sending an email to myself 25,000 times.”

However, it isn’t just about avoiding mistakes either.

An email sign off process is also really useful for setting the team’s expectations – what do they have to sign off (Is the information about a product correct? Do they approve the design?) and when are they expected to deliver their sign off by?

Chances are you’ve got a specific date you want your campaign to be sent by and anyone delaying on their feedback can disrupt that. Making people aware of not just their responsibilities but everyone else’s too increases awareness of the process and keeps the momentum going.

 

Building your own email sign off process

Step 1: Work out who needs to give approval

The first step in building your own email sign off process is working out who needs to give approval.

This is going to be different for every organisation and can even differ between different types of email campaigns (new product announcements versus new blog post emails for instance), so you’ll definitely need to customise this to suit your organization’s unique attributes.

A few questions to answer though:

  • Who needs to sign off on design and client compatibility?
  • Who needs to sign off on correct product information?
  • Who needs to sign off on legal requirements?
  • Who needs to sign off on spelling, grammar & links?
  • Does senior management need to sign off before sending?

Once you’ve worked out who is responsible for approval across different areas, it’s time to focus on defining exactly what checks each person needs to do.

 

Step 2: Work out what needs to be checked

Once you’ve worked out who is involved in the approval process, it helps to define what each person is responsible for checking.

Not only does this help to reduce errors in your campaigns, but it will speed up the approval process by making sure people only comment on the areas they are supposed to.

I’ve had situations in previous roles where campaigns took days to get approval because everybody wants to have their opinion on the color of the heading or the positioning of the image. By defining what people are in charge of checking, you put boundaries in place that prevents fruitless arguments.

Again, this is going to differ for your organisation and even between campaign types, but here’s a few ideas for ‘checks’ to include in your checklist:

  • Is this email being sent to the correct list & segment?
  • Has the ‘From’ name been checked and from a recognisable name?
  • Has a working ‘Reply To’ address been set?
  • Does it look as expected across desktop clients (Outlook, Postbox, etc)
  • Does it look as expected on mobile devices?
  • Does it include a working Unsubscribe link?
  • Are all product descriptions accurate?
  • Are sizing options correct?
  • Is product/stock availability correct?
  • Is the email subject line free from spelling, grammar or information errors?
  • Is the email preheader free from spelling, grammar or information errors?
  • Have you setup appropriate fallbacks for any personalisation tags used?
  • Is the email copy free of spelling errors?
  • Is the email copy free of grammatical errors?
  • Is there a plain text version of this email?
  • Is the plan text version free from spelling, grammar or information errors?
  • Do all links lead to the correct place?
  • Do all buttons link to the correct place?
  • Are all images linked and leading to the correct place?
  • Do all images have explanatory Alt text for when images are blocked?

Once you have worked out who is responsible for approvals and worked out all the checks each person needs to perform, then it’s time to build your Campaign Checklist.

 

Step 3: Build your campaign checklist

Now that you have defined who is responsible for approvals and what checks they need to perform, you can build it into a useable spreadsheet.

 

Step 4: Start using your checklist

Now that you’ve built a great email campaign checklist, it’s time to start using it to make sure your campaigns are free from errors.

While everybody’s email sending process is different and you can use it however you like, one of the best things to do is simply run through the checklist right before sending as this will ensure everything is ticked off before you hit the point of no return.

Here are a few tips for using your fancy new campaign checklist:

  • Use Google Docs – If your organisation allows, use the Google Docs version. It allows multiple people to be working on the one centralised document at the same time and keeps a record of all changes made, including who wrote what and at what time. That way, if something ever goes wrong you’ll know exactly who approved it and when.
  • Keep the document as an audit trail – Always keep the checklist in your company’s file system in case you or anybody else needs to refer back to it later.

 

In conclusion

Sendphobia can definitely be scary, but by building a campaign sign off process specific to your organisation and running through it each time you send an email marketing campaign, you can help prevent errors and actually make sending campaigns an exciting and enjoyable experience that drives business results.

So get your campaign checklist template in either Google Docs or Excel format and start using it within your organisation today.

Talk to us for assistance with email marketing


How to Lessen the Post-Holiday Sales Lull

How to Lessen the Post-Holiday Sales Lull

Now that the rush of online holiday shopping is coming to a halt, it’s time to consider how to lessen the blow of the January lull. It happens every year. While November and December are typically the biggest revenue-generating months, a vast decline in traffic and sales is common for January.

If you have not yet created a plan (or if it’s not a complete plan), consider some of these methods of trying to stay ahead of the game in the coming couple of months.

 

Plan for Returns and Exchanges

January is a good time to utilize online chat so you can not only provide quick answers, but also help guide customers to an alternate product versus a complete refund.

It’s also helpful to have an internal policy for handling customer requests, like offering free shipping if one opts to go with another item rather than a credit card refund. Or offering a bonus gift card to accompany a store credit.

 

Determine Sales and Clearance Items

Everyone expects to find holiday décor, wrapping paper, and other like items on sale starting now, and in January, but consider adding additional items (including gifts) to the mix. Not only will some be looking for deals on gifts for the following year, integrating neutral products can help increase average sale amounts, especially if you offer a threshold for free shipping.

Also consider offering sales on accessories for popular gift items. Think protective cases, refill packages and other popular add-ons.

 

Address Shoppers’ Needs Up Front

This is logical for certain product lines. For example, if you sell tablet computers, people may need accessories like cases and portable keyboards. Items that require supplies and accessories provide opportunity to cater to long-term customers. These items should also be advertised throughout the website in the coming weeks to take advantage of post-holiday needs.

 

Keep Distractions Away

You’ll also want to make sure your checkout process is streamlined to minimize cart abandonment, (things like; making sure only the available shipping methods are displayed, eliminate the use of CAPTCHA, simplifying credit card processes, and limiting distractions), because obviously you’ll be competing with many other online retailers also vying to create a steady flow of income during the month. Making the process easier & quicker will definitely help!

Sell gift cards? Make it easy for the recipients of the cards to check balances and redeem cards during checkout. (Now’s the perfect time to place a few test orders in this regard, incidentally.)

Regardless of what you sell, getting a jumpstart can help pave the way for the following months in the new year. While the January lull is certainly expected, some retailers have found ways to benefit. It’s an ideal time to try a few changes and see what works for your line of products.

Tips for creating Mobile-Friendly Emails

Tips for creating Mobile-Friendly Emails

Each time you send an email, you should be aware that a huge portion of your subscribers are going to open your message on their phones or tablets — not on their desktop computers or laptops.

It seems that every other week a new study cites an overwhelming number of people who read emails on their mobile devices — 51 percent according to Litmus, 66 percent according to Movable Ink.

The numbers vary, but the savvy content marketer knows that overlooking mobile-friendly emails is a big mistake.

A mobile responsive website design displays your content properly no matter how someone views your website, and you can ensure that the emails you send look great as well, whether or not you have a mobile-responsive email template.

Here are 10 essential tips for transforming your message into a mobile-friendly email. For more information on how Nextwave can help you with your email marketing, please don’t hesitate to get in touch or check out Nextwave commerce

1. Compose short subject lines

 

The amount of space mobile devices provide for displaying subject lines can make even the most succinct writer cry herself to sleep.

Even though some email clients will display your entire subject line text, many do not.

And since your subject line in an email is akin to your headline, you don’t want to cut it off and miss an opportunity to connect with your reader.

The solution is to either keep your subject line short — 40 characters or less is a good rule of thumb — or position the most important phrase of your subject line in the first 40 characters to maximize your chances of readers seeing it.

2. Use a single-column template

 

On a mobile-device screen, multiple columns typically appear condensed and confusing to navigate.

A single column makes your email cross-device compatible and straightforward even when it’s viewed with different email clients.

Single columns can also simplify your design and spotlight your important content.

3. Keep your email under 600 pixels wide

 

While most modern mobile devices can handle responsive designs, there are exceptions.

When your email width is 600 pixels or less, users won’t have problems viewing emails that were formatted for large computer screens.

Set a width attribute in your email template’s table tag to 600 pixels or use the CSS width property to make this adjustment.

4. Use a large font size

 

Since a 10-pixel font is difficult to read on a desktop computer screen, and small screens make small fonts even smaller, most people will delete your email before they’ll squint and strain their eyes in order to read your tiny text.

A font size of 13 or 14 pixels makes your email substantially more readable on a small screen.

But don’t be afraid to go even larger than that. Large fonts make your emails easier to read on both desktops and mobile devices.

5. Display small images

 

Smaller images reduce load times and bandwidth. Many mobile users still use 3G or slower, connections, so the speed at which images load is vital.

If you have technical chops, or know someone who can help you, use responsive-coding techniques to load smaller images on mobile devices and larger ones on other devices.

Another option is to shrink an image by 50 percent and compress it at a slightly higher compression rate than normal to both load your images faster and conserve your user’s bandwidth.

6. Provide a distinct call to action

 

A call to action should prompt your email recipient to do something. Generally, that “something” is tapping (or clicking) a button that further leads him down the path you want him to take.

Your call to action needs to be large enough for him to easily and effectively do this on a mobile-device screen.

Fingers are not nearly as exact as mouse pointers, and while mobile manufacturers have created devices that accurately respond to your actions, they’re not perfect.

If your readers have to tap more than once to continue interacting with your content, then there’s a chance they won’t bother.

Display a compelling call to action that is at least a 40 pixels square — and preferably larger than that — to keep the reader engaged with your email.

7. Don’t make your call to action an image

 

Some email clients only display images from verified sending addresses. So if you use an image for your call to action and your recipient’s email client doesn’t have images enabled for your sending address, she will not see it.

After all the work you put into crafting your emails, it’s a bummer to miss an opportunity to get your reader to take action.

But the trouble is that when recipients do view images, they often improve click-through rates.

If you decide to use an image for your call to action, make sure the image has a descriptive ALT tag that matches the text that appears in the image, such as “click here.”

That way, even if the image isn’t shown, the message in your ALT text will still appear.

8. Avoid menu bars

 

As I mentioned above, since fingers are not precision instruments, tiny menu and navigation bars are frustrating to use.

I recommend avoiding them completely. It’s an email, not a website, so you don’t need a traditional menu or navigation bar.

With emails, stick to the basic building blocks of the web: links and images.

9. Don’t stack links

 

Stacked links cause the same problems as other tiny forms of navigation. Here’s an example of stacked links:

Google
Yahoo
Bing

If you imagine stacked links within a paragraph, you can see how easy it would be to accidentally click the wrong link.

Also, when two words are right on top of each other, you may mistakenly link the two words to the same destination rather than assigning a distinct link to each word.

Including multiple links in an email is fine, but be sure to look at a preview of the email and separate links with other text, images, or whitespace as needed.

The reader’s experience is your first priority

 

Think about your own experience when you encounter an email that doesn’t display properly on your mobile device.

Even if it’s from a source that interests you, you may not want to spend extra time deciphering the message.

And if you can’t see the action the sender wants you to take, you certainly won’t take it.

Instead of putting your reader in this undesirable scenario, you can easily create mobile-friendly emails that display properly on any device.

What special steps do you take to produce an optimal mobile-viewing experience for your email readers?

 

Using Nextwave Mailer, any email campaign you send will automatically be optimized for both desktop and mobile email clients – We can do all this for you – This means you know it will look just as great on an iPhone as it does in Outlook or Gmail. We even make it easy to see how your template will look on a mobile device as you build it.

15 tips for a user friendly E-Commerce website

15 tips for a user friendly E-Commerce website

15tips

 

With everyone getting into online sales, a user-friendly e-commerce site is a crucial investment that will keep your web presence strong and profitable.

Check out these 15 tips to make your e-commerce site more appealing to visitors:

1. What Do Your Customers Want?

There are a few things your users want from you before they will give you their dollars or their trust. Some of these things are tangible, some are intangible. Some of these things are good for you, all of them are good for your customers, and all of them are important if you want to keep your customers coming back.

2. Branding

Your customers want your site to be clearly different from other sites. They want to see your logo and your brand’s colours in ways that are instantly recognizable. If your brand’s colours are similar to other brands, especially competitors, you will have to find ways to differentiate your site. Confused customers are less likely to feel like they have had a positive experience.

3. Hot Products

Shoppers want to know what’s hot. Tell them right up front. Don’t make them search for the items you know they are looking for.

4. Latest News About Your Brand

If your brand has been favorably mentioned in the news, many shoppers want to know about it. It reinforces their confidence in their choice of your products. Don’t count on them to see these news mentions on another site. Make sure they have easy access to news article on your site.

5. Deals and Free Stuff

It’s true — some customers are only interested in deals and free stuff. If they know they can count on your brand for deals and free stuff, it’s probably because you trained them that way. It takes very little real estate on your homepage to make sure these users are getting where they want to go with a single click.

6. Free Shipping

Just about everyone is doing it. It may be for a minimum purchase, or it may be a loyalty statement, but free shipping is almost like table-stakes in online retail these days. It’s definitely a huge factor in lifetime value of the customer relationship.

7. Easy Sign In/Sign Up

Test those forms with actual users before putting them on your e-commerce site. One thing you definitely don’t want to happen is for a new customer to abandon a purchase because your sign-up process is confusing.

8. Strong Authentication

Some customers may complain about strong authentication requirements, but all customers appreciate knowing you have their security and identity best interests in mind. Once you establish authentication requirements, keep them that way. Playing around with this factor will only alienate customers.

9. Search

Make it easy for customers to find what they are looking for with a robust search function. This is a little more involved than having a search field on your pages. Not only should products, articles, reviews, etc. be indexed, but everything should be tagged appropriately with relevant metadata and keywords.

10. Clear Payment Options

Don’t let your customer find out on the last page of the check-out process that their international or American Express card will not be accepted for payment. If you make these little details clear early in the process, customers will not be frustrated by an unpleasant surprise and you will not be frustrated by abandoned carts.

11. Social Media Links

For some reason, people love to share their purchases on social media. Take advantage of this, and put social media links on every product page. Even if they don’t make a purchase, if they see something they like, being able to share it can help motivate them to come back later and make that purchase.

12. Easy Contact Info

It should be extremely easy to find your contact information and customer service phone number, hours of operation, address and other contact information. If you bury this information, you are basically telling your customers you don’t want to be found. Your customers will receive this message loud and clear — and go somewhere else.

13. Store Locator

Even if you only have one physical location, include a map on your site that clearly shows your location. Include directions that are printable. This is even more important when you have multiple locations.

14. Chat

For many customers, opening a chat session while on a product page to ask a few questions is much easier than dialing a phone and waiting on hold. This is a great way to increase conversion rates, especially with younger demographics.

15. Trustmarks

Security is paramount. Your customers want to know that you’ve got their backs when it comes to securing and encrypting transaction information. Displaying the logos of the firms (McAfee, Verisign, GeoTrust, Paypal, etc.) that are handling this functionality is an easy way to demonstrate that you are being proactive in this regard. For most of your customers, these logos have become symbols of a trusted relationship. Leverage this power.

Conclusion

One final thought: an experienced designer can answer a lot of your questions up front. But don’t implement what you think are user-friendly features without testing them with your customers. They are the ones who know!

What did you think of these must-haves and tips? Did we leave anything off this list? Let us know!

Why people leave your website

Why people leave your website

Attracting visitors to your website is only the first step — once they get there, you want to make sure they hang around.

What’s more, you want them to click through to other pages on your website, whether that means reading a blog post, filling out a landing page form, or (hallelujah!) actually buying something.

Why does it matter that your visitors stay on your site? Because, as an inbound marketer, your main goal is to attract and convert website visitors into well-qualified leads for your sales team. If visitors come to your website but then leave, you’ll only be fulfilling part of your goal.

To learn more about the reasons why visitors leave a website, check out this infographic from KISSmetrics, put yourself in your ideal customers’ shoes, and think about the ways you can improve your website and increase the number of potential buyers who stick around.

 

What-Makes-Someone-Leave-Website

10 ways to boost your sales on your E-Commerce website.

10 ways to boost your sales on your E-Commerce website.

It’s fairly simple now to become an online entrepreneur, thanks to technology and social media. Making a profit, on the other hand, is not always simple. There are small details that could greatly affect how your business thrives on the Internet — you can’t just put up an ecommerce portal and expect customers to come rolling in.

Building the smartest (and most successful) business website requires a lot of consideration. Online retailers must balance web design and development with marketing practices to successfully drive sales.

To add to the balancing act, your website and business will benefit when you consider what your customer wants and needs. Most are looking for a simple, straightforward shopping experience. Think about it — when is the last time you felt that way in a mall? There’s a reason shoppers are flocking to the web for their commerce needs — everything is tailored to them.

Christine Erickson has gathered a few tips for a successful ecommerce platform in the list below, some of which were suggested by Sucharita Mulpurur, an analyst at Forrester, and Ben Zifkin, CEO of Hubba.

Whether you’re a small business owner or an online shopper — as a customer, what features do you appreciate when you’re purchasing something on the web? Share your thoughts in the comments.

1. Easy Navigation

In order to get customers to purchase your product, they must know how to get to it first.

2. A Great Search Bar

Even if your site is easy to navigate, nearly every sucessful website has a search bar. It’s a quick and convenient way for customers to find exactly what they need.

3. Keep it Simple

Provide an easy payment system. Consumers are more likely to purchase your product if the checkout is streamlined and straightforward.

4. Extra Features

Though the payment process should be straightforward, users shouldn’t feel like their options are lacking.

Keep in mind that some are purchasing your product as a gift. So, offer services like wrapping, receipts, personalized notes and returns. These features give a customer more reasons to buy, whether it’s for them or someone else.

5. Looks are Everything

You’ve likely spent a lot of time on your product — why not show it off in the best quality possible?

Showcasing your products in visually appealing and interesting way is a great way to grab potential buyer’s attention.

6. Give Details

Data-sharing has evolved the retail world. Basic information like sizing, color and availability are necessary, but it helps the consumer to know things like how the product was made, how it will be shipped and what others are saying about it.

7. Shipping

Make sure your shipping costs are apparent before the customer’s final checkout. The earlier they know about additional charges, the less likely they are to abandon their cart.

8. Be Honest

No one likes to feel tricked after they’ve made a purchase, especially one that they’re not happy with.

Make sure that your policies are upfront and in plain language so customers know exactly what they are in for.

9. Be Human

Customers may like the anonymity of online shopping because it provides privacy and trust. But a personalized experience will likely bring good reviews and recurring shoppers.

10. Be Browser and Platform Friendly

Sites that run smoothly on multiple browsers and different Devices will drive more sales. Online shoppers are not going to wait around for a slow site to load or purchase something they can’t see because the image is broken.

 

 

 

ROBOFORM!! no more forgotten passwords.. PERIOD!

ROBOFORM!! no more forgotten passwords.. PERIOD!

IMG_20140804_150800Roboform is without a doubt the most time saving useful tool for your day to day computing life!

RoboForm remembers your passwords so you don’t have to! Just remember your one Master Password and RoboForm remembers the rest- it’s that easy! Our bookmark-style Logins automatically log you in to your favorite websites with one click.

Price: $10.00 USD the first year, then $20 every year after. Its the best value period! But please, don’t take our word for it, try for yourself! Download Now

We recently recommended Roboform to Allan from Careers Migration Australia. Here’s what he had to say a week later..

Matt, oh by the way that tool you recommended. You’ve changed my life, cannot believe it. Seriously though, you have. i was drowning in passwords, you have taken years off my life. Thank you! 

Allan Pitman, CEO Australian Educators

The best value period! But please, don’t take our word for it, try for yourself! Download Now

SEO For Google Plus: How to Optimize your G+ profile.

If you want to explore the full potential of some of the most influential social media platforms, you cannot afford to ignore G+ (Google Plus), with its ever-growing popularity or its plethora of amazing marketing opportunities. Facebook and Twitter may be trending these days, but keep in mind that they aren’t the only channels that you should focus on when it comes to creating and applying a successful set of off-page SEO strategies.

Julia Mccoy, from socialmediatoday.com has some handy hints on how to capitalize on SEO results using G+, outlined here:

Not many people are aware that Facebook and Twitter actually stop Google from accessing and utilizing a great percentage of their data. On the other hand, G+ doesn’t keep any secrets. This is only one good reason why you should work on your Google Plus optimization efforts as soon as possible. Here’s an experiment done by the Moz blog on the topic:

“If you use Google+, perform a search for your name and check the domain distribution of first 100 results. The graph below shows what happens when searching my own name.

 

Even though I use Twitter and Facebook far more often, Google+ dominates the search results. Google+ even beats SEOmoz and my own blog. Multiply this for 100’s of millions of people, and you can begin to comprehend the scope of Google’s platform.”

Creating a winning strategy for Google Plus, in 5 easy steps:

1) Optimize Your Profile and Profit from Limitless Editing Power. Start by optimizing your Google Plus profile. This means that you have to complete all fields (profile image, website URL, business details and so on). All in all, your profile should be a mirror of your interests, capabilities, goals, vision, mission and purpose in business. Getting your Google Plus page verified by the mighty Google also helps, since it allows you to build credibility and trust. You should know that Google Plus allows you to erase and rewind. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, this platform offers you the chance to profit from limitless editing power. Therefore, you can go back to your old posts and fully edit them, anytime, anywhere.

2) Make Sure Your G Plus Title Tags Are Optimized. The very first sentence of your G plus posts becomes a part of your title tag; therefore it can impact your rankings and maximize your click-through rates. Opt for the most relevant keywords and note that the title is the first thing that people analyze before reading your post. Your title tags should be short (around 65-75 characters), compelling and concise.

3) Get in Touch with Influencers. Be sociable and always give people something to talk about. Make new connections. Add new people to your circle; ask other users to add you to their circle, share a post with a few influencers, tag them in a photo, mention them in posts, start meaningful conversations, invite them to an event and so on; just make sure you don’t cross the line. Strangers who are a tad too friendly on Google Plus are often cataloged as spammers and get banned till the end of times.

4) Count on a Killer Author Pic. Cyrus Shepard from Moz has conducted an experiment with his Google Plus profile pic. The results were amazing and predictable to some extent: in a world in which looks are extremely important, your profile pic says a lot about you and your competencies. A perfect (real), professional-looking picture of yourself taken in a very flattering light can boost your website traffic.

5) Stay Active. Whatever you do, do something. Inactivity is one of the capital sins when it comes to social media marketing strategies. You don’t want to be one of the many inactive users that have a Google Plus account, but refuse to put it to good use for one reason or another. Give your readers at least one good reason to use the 1 button. According to Business2Community, you can accomplish this goal by simply:

  • Posting quality content on a regular basis
  • Creating and updating content based on the needs, interests and expectations of your audience
  • Connecting Google Plus to your website and all your social extensions

Last, but definitely not least, don’t forget to connect your web content to your Google Plus profile via Google Authorship. This is the simplest method to reaffirm your authority, increase your influence and enable readers to identify your content in no time.

 

Facebooks Organic Reach Decline: How to Respond

Brands that use Facebook for marketing have seen a sharp drop in engagement.

Coupled with recent changes to the news feed algorithm, marketers are finding it harder and harder to generate organic buzz. Speaking of the News Feed, no one really knows for sure how Facebook decides what appears on it, but some elements are well known as weighing factors:

  • Post types that receive the most user interaction
  • Posts that users hide or report as spam
  • How a user interacts with Facebook ads
  • The device that is used to access Facebook and the speed of its connection

Facebook has told marketers that they should consider paid distribution “to maximize delivery” of their messages in news feed. Translation: You must pay to play.

The team at Offerpop, a social marketing platform that enables users to create and launch Twitter and Facebook campaigns, compiled the infographic below to illustrate at a high level how brands can combat Facebook’s reach decline by revamping their digital strategy.

Blogging

Blogging

Business blogging has seen a meteoric rise in the last few years, and all signs point to the trend continuing in earnest in 2014. Unlike your social brand pages, a successful business blog is a platform you own, and should serve as a hub of your social presence.

While curated content is a key piece of a successful content strategy, over 50% of marketers say that original content is still the most important content asset for their business. Blogging is a great way to speak with your brands unique voice.

The art of blogging truly lies in creating share-worthy, likeable content that people want to engage with. Additionally, including a blog on your website’s URL allows you to regularly share fresh content, gain links back to your site, and move up the rankings in Google. The result? Increased website traffic, more social interactions, and new customers.

blogging

According to Digital Buzz Blog, there are 2 million blog posts published each day. And each one is screaming for attention.

Here are some tips to help you on your way:

1. Define your Goals

Get really specific about what the purpose of your blog post is.

 2. Find your Readers

After you’ve defined your goal, you need to determine where your ideal readers are so you can reach them.

(Alltop.com is a great tool to use to find similar blogs, sorted by categories.)

3. Find out what you need to do in order to get your audience to give their attention to your blog post over your competitors

Personal stories, Hints, Tips, Lists? Research your competitors and see how you can improve on what they are doing relevant to your site, and capture readers.

Share, Share, and Share some more. Facebook shares may not turn directly into cash in your pocket, but prolonged exposure and attention just might.

..which brings us to:

4. Distribute your Post

Guest Blogging is a helpful way to get some exposure also. One of the fastest ways to get attention to your blog post is to leverage someone else’s audience.

 

 

Video Marketing

Did you know, short 6 second brand videos are seen 4 times more than a standard brand video.

However, Video marketing involves more work. It has to be timely, relevant, memorable, and most importantly, optimized if you’re going to see any return on investment.

One of the latest trends is using Stop Motion Animated clips (which can be made through a wide selection of Apps) to boost your brands profile.

 

 

10 ways to make your wesbite seem more trustworthy

A typical new visitor to your website will determine whether to stay or leave within the first 15 seconds. Since the web got infinite alternatives to your site, it’s crucial that you immediately instill a sense of trust. So without further ado, here’s 10 to make your site seem more trustworthy at first glance.

1) Invest In Design

An aesthetically pleasing site will show the visitor that you’re serious and didn’t just hack something together in the dark hours of the night.
A well-designed site (not to confuse with over-designed) shows that you’ve spent time and money on it, instilling trust.

2) Show A Pulse

It’s important to show new visitors that the content they’re seeing isn’t on some old abandoned site left for the eternal Internet archive.
Display some recently updated content (with a date) to show that your site is up to date. Having a blog or an embedded Twitter feed are great ways to show your site and people behind it are still active.

3) Humanize Your Website

People don’t trust a website – they trust the people / brand behind the website. That’s why you should use real images of you and your team. This way people can see that a real person is behind your site, and not some robot. It humanizes your website.
You can take this a step further by using videos to present you, your team, or your products.

4) Utilize Social Proof

Social proof – showing that other people use and trust your site – is a very important factor in establishing trust, as it’s deeply rooted in human beings to look at how others behave and then mimic it. Social proof can be as simple as having a Facebook fans / Twitter followers / RSS subscribers counter or user comments on your site. Alternatively, you can also use more detailed and in-depth “proof” such as customer case studies or video testimonials.

5) Make It Speedy

Slow loading sites tend to come across as less serious, degrading the trust relationship. It doesn’t really matter why your site is slow, web visitors expect your site to load in a few seconds or less. You can, however, cheat by speeding up the perceived load time.

6) Familiarity Breeds Trust

New visitors will feel familiar with your site much faster if it’s easy to use. A well-structured site tapping into the most common web conventions goes a long way in making your visitors feel familiar with (and thus in control of) your site.

7) Leverage Other Brands

Partner logos, services you use, trade organizations you’re affiliated with, places you’ve been reviewed, site seals, etc. – it’s all good ways to leverage the brand power of other organizations. Affiliating yourself with these brands shows you’re in good company, suggesting that the visitor will be in good company with you too.
This is why you often see sites boast “Seen in New York Times” and so on – even if the actual mention had negative elements. If you sell something and don’t have any other brands to tap into then simply showing the logos of credit cards you accept on your site is better than nothing.

8) Who Art Thou?

A good about page is a great way to quickly instill trust in new visitors curious about your site. Make the visitor feel she knows you and your site better and send her to the primary content on your site – content she is likely to be interested in.


9) Don’t Hide

On the Internet anyone can be anonymous. Don’t be. Displaying your real address tells the visitor you have nothing to hide. Furthermore, if the visitor knows the place, you’ve got something in common too. If you live in a more obscure place and cater to an international audience, then consider showing your address on a map. Actually showing your address on a map makes an otherwise unrecognizable address seem more trustworthy, as the user can literally see the place exists.


10) Proofread

Obvious grammatical and spelling errors on your site will immediately tell the visitor that you aren’t taking his time serious – a bad start for establishing trust.
In our experience, grammatical and spelling errors are more forgivable on informal channels such as your blog, Twitter account, Facebook page, etc – part of the appeal is that the content hasn’t gone through multiple layers of marketing teams, copywriting, proofreading, etc. On your more formal channels and all static pages hiring a proofreader can be a good idea and easily worth the cost.

Feedbackify – private real-time feedback from your website visitors

When you run a web-based business, customer satisfaction is key. Users who have an unpleasant experience on your website are unlikely to return or recommend the site to their friends, which is why a web-app called Feedbackify has come up with a system that lets online entrepreneurs get feedback on their websites in real-time. Visitor feedback that’s delivered through Feedbackify is private and quick, just the way it should be.

Sign up for Feedbackify and get started creating your very own feedback form using the web-app’s form editor tool. In addition to adding written questions, you can also add ratings-based questions that encourage visitors to rate certain elements of your website on a numeric scale. Create question categories, reorder those categories until you’re satisfied, and then upload your company logo to give your Feedbackify form a custom look. When you’re ready to deploy your new form, you can use Feedbackify’s feedback tab configurator to make a custom tab to appear on your existing site. When visitors click the tab, they’ll be transported to your Feedbackify form, where they can let you know how your site is functioning and whether there’s any room for improvement.

When the time comes and you’re ready to take a peek at what people have been saying, head to your Feedbackify dashboard page. In addition to being able to see the answers and ratings that your visitors put in, Feedbackify will also add context to the feedback by supplying you with your visitors’ geographic locations, operating systems, and browsers. Based on this information, you can begin to sort through feedback based on category and subcategory until you’ve really dug down into the opinions of your most valued online visitors.

Practical Uses:

  • Find out immediately if there is a problem with the way your site is functioning
  • Keep track of common complaints made by your online visitors
  • Make it easier for customers to purchase the products they want onlineUse the ideas you’ve gathered from visitors to improve your customer experience
  • Find out immediately if there is a problem with the way your site is functioning
  • Keep track of common complaints made by your online visitors
  • Make it easier for customers to purchase the products they want onlineUse the ideas you’ve gathered from visitors to improve your customer experience

Insider Tips:

  • See the IP address and geographic location of any user who leaves feedback
  • Feedback can be filtered by category and subcategory
  • Use the feedback tab configurator to create a custom web tab in any color
  • Copy and paste the generated code to add a Feedbackify tab to your website

What we liked:

  • Feedbackify delivers feedback in real time, so problems can be addressed immediately
  • Adding a tab to your existing website is a great way to bring people to your Feedbackify page without interrupting your site’s flowFeedback forms can be set up with as many, or as few, questions as you want
  • Users can create their own custom feedback categories