10 Effective Ways to Make Shopping Easier for Customers

Customer service is the heart of any business. Without your customers, your business would cease to exist. It makes sense that the most successful companies focus on great customer service. When you keep your customers happy, they will come back for return purchases in the future.

If you provide great customer service, your customers are also more likely to recommend your services to their friends and family. Word of mouth marketing has been proven to be the most effective method of business growth. Forbes highlighted the importance of word of mouth advertising in an article from 2014, stating, “According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising. WOMMA and the American Marketing Association (AMA) decided to find out exactly what brands were doing about that fact. In a recent study, 64% of marketing executives indicated that they believe word of mouth is the most effective form of marketing.”

The online marketplace is incredibly competitive. In fact, the Wall Street Journal reported in 2016 that online shopping accounted for over half of all purchases made. Due to the rapid growth in the online marketplace, customers have a wide variety of vendors to choose from when making purchases. If your systems are outdated, or your customer service is lacking, your sales will suffer.

Keeping your customers happy should be your top business objective. If you want to continue to grow, customer service will become the lifeblood of your business. One facet of customer service is making the purchasing experience as pleasant as possible. When your systems function seamlessly it makes the shopping experience easier for your customers, ensuring that they will be satisfied by your service. Encourage your customers to become repeat buyers and increase your referral rate by improving your business processes.

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5 Considerations for Choosing a Web Hosting Provider

There is a whole slew of helpful information for the subject on blogging sites and how to get the most from your hosting options. While this information is important it all begins with the web hosting you have chosen for your needs.

Choosing the wrong web hosting options can have some of the following effects to your rankings and online authority for the worse. In the end, a poor choice can be a waste of cash, time and valuable resources.

Before deciding on the best web host for you there are 5 important points to consider:

1.The Biggest and Brightest Might Not Be the Best for You

There are many big-name companies out there that offer many great advantages and a wide variety of web hosting solutions. Some of these can even be quite versatile. Nevertheless, sometimes we get caught up in their excellent marketing strategies we forget one simple point: Web hosting is not a one size fits all gig.

The thing about big name hosting companies is there services are comprehensive, if you have a limited website with very basic needs it may be good for you. But you should also know that slow loading, downtime and slow customer services are another reality of these solutions and can affect your web site’s efficacy in the long run.

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6 Basic WordPress Security Tips To Keep Your Website Safe From Hackers

Most WordPress website owners realize security is a serious issue once it’s too late. Even though WordPress is secure, there are various malicious bots and hackers that like to target WordPress websites because they know website owners are lackluster when it comes to security.

However, with a little preparation and common sense, you can reduce your chances of getting hacked and keep your website secure.

Have a Strong Username & Password

Don’t choose “admin” as your WordPress username since it’s one of the most commonly attempted usernames in all automated hack attempts. If you’re still using admin as your username, the hackers are already one step ahead of you and will have no problem getting into your site sooner or later.

Changing the admin username is an easy process. Go to Users –> Add New User.

Fill out all the information, choosing a more complex username and a strong password that includes lower-case letters, upper-case letters, numbers, and characters. Change the new user’s role to Administrator.

Then logout of your website and log in with your new username and password. Go back to Users –> All Users, find your old user with the admin username, tick the checkbox next to it and select Delete from the drop-down menu. Click on Apply. On the next screen, make sure to attribute all the content to your new user and then click Confirm Deletion.

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8 Amazing Ways For SEO To Help Small Businesses

In a world full of large scale companies competing in a cut-throat environment, a lot of small ventures get beaten by a considerable margin. From logistical capabilities, enormous financial differentials, to overall company power, a small business just cannot compete with such huge corporations.

For small time entrepreneurs, the fact stated above may discourage them from starting home-grown ventures. They think that they’ll just end up with the other businesses that get eaten up by the “Big Boys.”

However, to the few who want to wade into deep waters and test the market, an emerging strategy is beginning to take the world by storm: Search Engine Optimization or SEO for short.

Here are some advantages that SEO can bring to small time business owners.

Cost Efficiency

One of the advantages that SEO can bring is that utilizing it doesn’t have to cost too much. As with other types of businesses, finances usually have to be spent. These funds are called investments. There are a lot of services out there that can offer help when it comes to SEO ranking.

Some companies who manage SEO, they have a “no rank, no pay” policy. This system means that if a blog or site does not appear to rank, then the entrepreneur doesn’t have to pay anything to that company.

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Social Media for Marketing

As a Small Business owner, it’s a wise decision to leverage the power of Social Media for Marketing to increase Brand Awareness and Build Customer Loyalty.

After years of being a Social Media Marketer, I want to share with you the 4 foundational keys to your long-term success online.

100% Commitment

It all starts with a commitment. When you truly make the decision to use Social Media for Marketing your Small Business, make sure you are fully committed to doing whatever it takes to be successful. This means that when you create a Social Media Account, you don’t just post for a week or 2 and then move on to the next one because you don’t see instant results or you lose focus.

Tip: The worst thing you can do for your Brand Awareness is to create multiple accounts and leave them dormant for months on end. This doesn’t give a good first impression nor does it build trust with your target audience.

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5 SEO Tasks Your Secretary or Assistant Can Do in Their Spare Time

When you’re out of the office or during downtime, your secretary could be completing SEO tactics that won’t take up too much time. He or she could be maximizing your website in the search engines in between answering your phones or scheduling your appointments.

1. Research and Target Relevant Keywords

Before adding more content or following any of the other suggestions, it’s vital that your secretary is able to find relevant keywords for your industry. The keywords should be more specific than a general one like HVAC, home builder or lawyer. When you choose keywords, they have to be more specific to ensure that you’re moving up in the search engine rankings. It’s not enough to publish a website. If you want to find organic traffic through SEO, you have to find the right keywords. If you’re a personal injury attorney, use keywords like car accident lawyer or slip and fall attorney to gain relevant traffic. You can use Google’s own keyword planner to find the right SEO keywords.

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Social Media Tips for Small Business Owners

Growing the awareness of a small business on social media is not easy, particularly if you are providing a relatively niche service such as window furnishings. However, that’s not to say it is impossible. When I took over my company’s social media channels, we had just 167 followers on Twitter… just over a year later, we are now on over 2,300 – a number which continues to rise. Similarly, the Facebook likes have gone from 1,200 to over 3,300, completely organically.

Offer Incentive

Buying followers is never a good idea, and it is easy to spot if a company has done this thanks to the many dead accounts on their Follower page. Nonetheless, if your social media accounts are in need of more followers, one organic way to grow your numbers swiftly is to run a competition. Sponsor a post on Facebook and Twitter, ensuring you hashtag the word “competition” within the post, and offer a prize that is related to what your company does.

For example, we recently ran a competition to coincide with Roald Dahl Day, which gave five people the opportunity to win a cushion in a Roald Dahl fabric of their choice. All they had to do was follow and retweet the post, and with a £20 budget behind the Tweet, we got over 400 new Twitter followers, and the post was retweeted more than 800 times.

Naturally, you will lose a few followers once the competition is over, but thousands of people across social media will have been made aware of your company and what you do.

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5 Ways to Leverage Social Media for Small Business

There’s no doubt social media is one of the most cost effective marketing channels. With almost 2 billion social media users worldwide, it comes as no surprise that millions of businesses are using social networks to build their audience, grow brand awareness, generate website traffic, generate leads and get ahead of competition. For small businesses, there is no end to the growth opportunities effective social media marketing campaigns can bring.

There are 5 main ways small businesses can leverage the power of social media to grow.

Method 1: Putting together a social media strategy

A social media strategic plan is simply the summary of everything you plan to do and achieve for your business using social networks. Your plan should first include the social network or social networks you plan to use. There is no need to join every social network if their audience doesn’t match the one you wish to target. For example, Pinterest attracts mainly women who are into arts and crafts, so if your business targets men from the corporate world, Linkedin might be a better fit. You plan should also include the content you plan to publish, making sure it’s not too one-dimensional. In other words, your content should be a balance between posts about your business and products, posts about your customers and staff to humanize your brand, educational information for your audience, etc…

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Why Facebook Marketplace Is Not Just Another Sales Channel

The recent launch of Facebook’s new Marketplace service has been met with more than a little acclaim in Australia and elsewhere. It’s now possible after all, for individuals to buy and sell items among people in their immediate local communities.

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Will Facebook Marketplace eventually kill off the suburban garage sale? Probably. The service, after all, is available directly through Facebook Messenger, an app used by over 450 million people each and every day.

Why Local Businesses need to Start Looking at Marketplace

However, while Facebook Marketplace is being marketed as an easier, more localized alternative to platforms such as Ebay for everyday users, Marketplace has phenomenal potential for local business owners also.

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Small Businesses, Social Platforms and Mobile Marketing; A Force To Be Reckoned With

Struggle is a term familiar to most business owners. When starting out, I’m sure at some stage we’ve all experienced a couple of slow weeks or months, and have wished we could stand up high with a megaphone and attract brand new customers from far and wide.

Luckily in 2016, the internet is the largest possible megaphone, and a well planned mobile marketing strategy is key to broadening your customer base and preventing those dreaded, slow weeks.

Advancements in technology have effectively provided small businesses with the lifeline they require to climb and compete against the ‘big players’.

Consider the last time you received a text from your phone provider alerting you of a usage update, could you have called back that number and spoken to an individual?

How about the last time you received an email from your gas or electricity provider — could you reply if you’d wanted to, or did their address contain a ‘no-reply’ warning? Big corporations are typically not in a position to connect with customers through technology in the personalised ways small businesses are able to.

Connecting with your customers or clients through online marketing is the key to conversion in modern times.

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