How to Grow and Scale Your Brand (5 Tips)

Starting a business is difficult, and scaling a brand into something bigger is another challenge in itself. Many entrepreneurs don't realize that a company must be both flexible and sustainable in order to grow securely.

Fortunately, setting up your brand's processes and operations can be a relatively straightforward process. When you establish a solid foundation and streamline your workflows, you can increase your chances of navigating growth more easily.

In this post, we'll discuss why smart scaling is critical for any business that wants to last in the long run. Then, we'll look at 5 key tips you can implement to start growing your brand safely. Let's get started!

Why Scaling Your Brand Is So Important

In business, scaling is the idea of setting up your processes to foster and support steady (or rapid) expansion. If it's not done well, growing companies can get stuck with more customers than they can handle.

Alternatively, they may not be able to maintain a certain level of quality throughout the sales funnel due to the strain of growth. This can ruin a reputation and sink a business as well. Typically, this happens because inexperienced entrepreneurs focus on growth tactics before they've established their foundation.

To put it simply, many would-be-successful businesses have failed due to issues with scaling. In fact, about 19% of businesses fail within their first year and a whopping 50% fail within 5 years. Moreover, expanding too fast is often cited as one of the top reasons that companies go bust.

Therefore, if you want to protect your business from a similar fate, you'd be wise to think about scaling. That way, you can avoid this issue and grow seamlessly.

5 Key Tips for Growing and Scaling Your Brand

Now let's talk about how you can set up your business for growth and scalability.

1. Have a Clear Vision and Mission

Having a clear vision and mission is essential for your brand's image and identity. Your mission is your brand's purpose. It's what you are doing for customers and the world right now. A vision is the ultimate, long-term dream for your business, and it's linked to your brand values.

Nike has a meaningful vision and mission statement. It's short and simple, but it effectively describes what the company is doing for the world:

Vision and mission statement for scaling your business

A memorable vision and mission statement give your business direction. Customers and employees alike can refer to it for guidance around the purpose of your organization.

Coming up with your own vision and mission can take a long time, but that's okay. You'll want it to be something that means a lot to you. It should resonate with all the founding members of your organization.

To land on a mission, you might want to start by identifying your biggest selling point. Consider what sets you apart from your competitors. Then, expand on that with your values and goals.

Once you've come up with the winning statement, share it everywhere for customers, the public, and employees to see.

2. Optimize Your Workflows with Templates and Style Guides

Templates are pre-designed documents that can speed up the content creation process. They can eliminate the need for most formatting and designing, allowing you to simply fill in the blanks.

Essentially, templates can save you a ton of time. If you're looking for a beginner-friendly tool to help you create templates for your brand, Canva is a popular option:

Canva for growing a brand

This platform has thousands of templates for a range of different tasks and channels, including presentations, graphics, and even social media posts.

Creating company style guides can also increase your productivity and efficiency. This type of document can also help maintain consistency across your brand.

Ideally, a style guide should be as detailed as possible, but it should also allow for some flexibility and innovation. When creating a style guide, you might want to begin with logo designs, a color palette, typography, and image requirements. You can gradually build in more details as time goes on. 

3. Streamline Your Social Media Content

Social media content is one of the best ways to reach a wide range of potential customers efficiently and affordably. When you use social media, you can increase brand awareness and educate potential customers about your products and services.

Additionally, including powerful calls to action in your social media posts can boost your conversion rates. In a nutshell, if you want to scale your brand, you'll likely need to be on a range of social media channels.

nelio content plugin for growing and scaling a brand

If you use WordPress, you can use Nelio to get a head start on social media. Nelio Content specifically enables you to automate and schedule your social media posts on a variety of channels.

4. Build an Online Community

If you look at any large company, there's almost always a thriving online community associated with it. Spotify, for example, has been very successful in building an impressive group of followers.

Spotify has achieved this through its online forums, shareable playlists, and its Stars Program:

online community for scaling and growing your brand

One benefit of an online community is that it can minimize work for you. For instance, minor customer support issues can be discussed among community members in an online support forum. Furthermore, healthy communities tend to help spread the news about your brand for free.

To begin building a community, the first step is to create the platform itself. You'll need to decide between a more exclusive membership community and an open group. Then, you'll want to promote your new community to customers and any other potential members.

5. Design a Flexible Checkout Process

Creating a flexible checkout process is another excellent way to ensure that your business survives any rapid growth spurts. That's because a lengthy or confusing checkout process can clog up your sales pipeline.

Simplifying your checkout can prevent this. Furthermore, allowing customers to pay how they want and when they want will likely lead to more conversions.

With our tool, Buy Now Plus, you can make buy now buttons for an easy checkout experience:

Buy now buttons for scaling brands

Buy Now Plus allows you to securely accept credit card payments virtually anywhere. You don't even need a website to set it up.

Also, you can fully customize your buy now buttons and checkout. This means you can tailor it to your market and create a positive user experience for your customers.

Conclusion

Growing and scaling a brand can be a complicated task if you haven't set up clear workflows and strong documentation. Establishing a foundation is crucial if you want to enable your business to grow smoothly with your customer base.

To recap, here are 5 key tips for growing and scaling your brand:

  1. Have a clear vision and mission.
  2. Optimize your workflows with templates and style guides.
  3. Streamline your social media content.
  4. Build an online community.
  5. Design a flexible checkout process with Buy Now Plus.

Do you have any questions about growing and scaling your brand? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

The 5 Best Online Business Ideas for 2023

When starting an online business, there are no limits to what you can do. While you might already know that you can make a living by working online, it's hard to know where to begin.

Fortunately, there are plenty of online business ideas with plenty of potential for success. Knowing your options can narrow down your choices and help you make the right decision. That way, you'll be able to launch a business that works for you and improve your chance of success.

In this post, we'll discuss why you may want to start an online company. Then, we'll cover 5 of the best online business ideas this year. Let's get to work!

Why You Might Want to Launch an Online Business

If you're looking to start an online business, there are many avenues you can take. In the internet age, more companies are either entirely online or have a presence on the web.

Plus, the future of ecommerce is looking bright. Over 2.1 billion people made an online purchase in 2022, and online sales are expected to grow to over $7.4 trillion by 2025. If you sell online, you can turn a significant profit.

Additionally, getting a WordPress ecommerce site up and running is relatively easy. This is especially true when you use beginner-friendly tools to streamline your workflow and sell your products.

With our Buy Now Plus plugin, you can create “buy now” buttons in no time and provide a quick and easy checkout experience for your customers.

The Buy Now Plus homepage.

Our plugin enables you to sell from your website or social media accounts, making it a versatile option for anyone starting an online business.

Plus, our payment processor is built on top of the secure Stripe platform to protect your payments and customer data.

The 5 Best Online Business Ideas for 2023

Now that you know it's possible to start an online company, it's time to look at some of the top choices. Here are 5 of the best online business ideas to consider for 2023!

1. Create and Sell Online Courses

You can create and sell online courses if you're an expert in a particular area or industry. An online class can consist of anything, from science and engineering to foreign languages and cooking:

The Kitchn hompage for cooking courses.

This can be a profitable business model because you can make all the learning resources yourself. Then, you can use a membership plugin such as MemberPress to upload and paywall your educational content:

The MemberPress homepage.

MemberPress is a paywall, membership, and learning management system (LMS) plugin that helps you build online courses easily with a drag-and-drop interface. Furthermore, you can add online quizzes and enable learners to track their progress.

2. Open an Ecommerce Store

If you have a product you want to sell, consider opening up an ecommerce store. This business model lets you reach customers worldwide, with no limit to the merchandise you can sell online:

Skin City beauty products homepage.

You'll just need to factor in the costs of purchasing products and setting up your online store. Reaching customers can also be affordable, particularly if you opt for search engine optimization (SEO) techniques.

Additionally, you could use a platform such as Zulily. This site can showcase your products to interested customers and boost your sales:

The Zulily homepage.

However, if you opt to sell from your own website, we recommend creating a high-converting sales page. You'll also need robust security measures to keep your ecommerce customers safe.

3. Become a Graphic Designer

If you've always dreamed of working professionally as an artist, consider becoming a graphic designer. This career path enables you to create physical and online graphics for your clients:

Dagmar Studios logo for graphic design.

Working as a graphic designer can be highly lucrative. You'll also have the flexibility to work from home and choose client projects that align with your creativity.

If you don't have any credentials, consider taking an online graphic design course through platforms such as Udemy:

The Udemy homepage.

This platform offers hundreds of design course options to help you hone your skills. Then, you can start making graphic designs using Adobe Creative Cloud:

The Adobe Creative Cloud homepage.

Adobe allows you to create materials using video, design, photo, and user experience (UX) apps. You can quickly put together professional designs and sell your services from your website.

4. Try Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing has become a popular way to make money online. In this setup, you promote a third-party company's products with branded links. Whenever readers buy items through your links, you'll earn a commission:

How affiliate marketing works.

According to BloggingX, affiliate marketing is currently worth $12 billion. Plus, you can make money quickly if you have a dedicated audience on your site or social media platforms.

To get started, you'll first need to choose a platform, such as Instagram or Facebook. Then, choose a niche and search for affiliate programs within it that you'd like to join.

Next, it's just a matter of creating content and including your affiliate links. However, we recommend only promoting high-quality products that align with your audience's interests.

You might also consider writing honest reviews and including affiliate disclosures to build trust with your readers.

5. Teach English Online

Finally, English as a second language (ESL) is a growing industry. There are an estimated 1.5 billion English language learners globally, and much of that market is online.

Teaching ESL is a great online business idea if you have an educational background or a strong command of the English language. ESL companies such as Open English connect you with learners worldwide:

The Open English teaching platform.

Some companies require an ESL certification or a teaching degree. Alternatively, other lower-paying jobs just need you to be a native speaker.

If you don't want to work for a company, you could market your services directly through your site. You can sell lessons using Buy Now Plus and organize classes through a video conferencing platform like Skype.

Conclusion

Choosing an online business idea can be overwhelming. However, by doing a little research and selecting a field that aligns with your skills, you can set yourself up for success.

To recap, here are 5 of the best online business ideas in 2023: 

  1. Create and sell an online course using MemberPress.
  2. Open an online store and sell products using Buy Now Plus.
  3. Make money by becoming a graphic designer.
  4. Sell third-party products through affiliate marketing.
  5. Teach English to learners worldwide.

Do you have any questions about the best business ideas for 2023? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

5 Popular Payment Gateways Customers Will Appreciate on Your Site

Do you need a payment gateway for your online business? Here’s a list of our top picks of 2022 with tips for how to choose the right one!

If you want to start selling online, you probably already know that a payment gateway is a must. Yet with so many options to choose from, how do you make sure you pick the right one for your business?

The right payment gateway can increase conversions by providing customers with a user-friendly and transparent experience. Once you understand what each option has to offer, you'll be well-placed to choose a platform that's suited to your goals and niche.

In this post, we'll explain what a payment gateway is and how to choose the right one. Then we'll explore our 5 top picks, including the pros, cons, and pricing of each.

Let's jump right in!

How to Choose the Right Payment Gateway for Your Online Store

A payment gateway is simply a platform for processing payments. It collects payment data from a customer (such as credit card details), then processes and approves the transaction.

If you want to accept payments through any method besides cash and checks, you'll need to work with at least one payment processor. Often, it's smart to provide your customers with multiple options:

Payment method options

The right payment gateway makes buying online secure, quick, and easy. However, what works for one online business might not be ideal for yours. So it's important to consider your needs and target market before making a decision.

When choosing a payment gateway to work with, you'll want to consider:

  • The payment types and currencies you want to support.
  • The cost of using the processor, based on the transaction volume you expect.
  • Integration options for your website's ecommerce platform, and any POS systems and other third-party tools you use.
  • Whether a payment processor has a strong reputation and positive reviews, as well as PCI and DSS compliance.
  • Customer support, so you can resolve any issues quickly.

As you might expect, there's no one platform that's perfect for every use case. It's important to do plenty of research and consider all of the available options before settling on your top choice(s).

5 Payment Gateways Your Customers Will Love

Now that you know what you're looking for, let's take a peek at 5 of the top payment gateways available for WordPress websites.

1. Stripe

Stripe homepage

Stripe is one of the most popular gateways thanks to its unique approach to payment processing. It provides a range of tools to customize the payment process, giving you full control over your payment pages to create an excellent shopping experience for your customers.

Pros:

  • Feature-rich payment gateway
  • Many integrations with third-party platforms
  • Extensive wallet payment and local payment support
  • Accepts over 135 currencies
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Particularly useful for European businesses, as the transaction fees are smaller

Cons:

  • Customer service isn't as prompt and reliable as it could be
  • No card machine for in-person payments, so it's not ideal for merchants who are also running physical stores

Price:

Setup fees: None

Monthly fees: None

Transaction fees: 2.9% + 30¢ per successful card charge

The simplest way to start accepting credit card payments via this gateway is with our own Buy Now Plus service. It's built on top of Stripe, and is beginner-friendly, free, and easy to get started with.

2. PayPal

PayPal homepage

PayPal is one of the easiest payment options to add to your site, and one of the most trustworthy because it's so well-known. PayPal claims that offering this option to customers can increase checkout conversions by up to 44%. It also has quick transfer rates, making it an ideal choice for online businesses.

Pros:

  • Simple to add as a payment option
  • Flexible option that supports credit and debit cards, mobile devices, QR codes, and contactless payments
  • Offers PayPal Credit, the option to spread payments out over time
  • Provides a consistent User Experience (UX)
  • Features predictable pricing

Cons:

  • Provides an off-site checkout experience that involves redirecting users to collect payments, rather than integrating into your website
  • Includes additional cross-border fees, so it may not be the best option if you rely on trade overseas
  • Accounts can be shut down immediately without any justification

Price:

Setup fees: None

Monthly fees: None (although the Premium version costs $30)

Transaction fees: Vary based on transaction type

3. Ayden

Ayden homepage

Next on our list, Ayden is a widely-known payment gateway used by Spotify, Uber, Microsoft, and eBay. It's a strong option if you prioritize security and compliance, and it has the added bonus of allowing you to learn about your consumer behavior patterns.

Pros:

  • Used by major companies, so it has a strong reputation
  • Accepts 250 payment methods and 150 global currencies
  • Features built-in tools to manage risks and track results
  • Relieves you of the burden of self-validation and compliance

Cons:

  • Not the best customer reviews
  • Limited features for brick-and-mortar businesses
  • Complex pricing structure, which is determined by payment method

Price:

Setup fees: None

Monthly fees: None

Transaction fees: Fixed processing fee of $0.12 + a fee determined by the payment method

4. Authorize.net

Authorize homepage

Owned by Visa, Authorize.net is one of the most established payment gateways available. It offers a range of options to suit your business, and works with almost any merchant account – and all over the world.

Pros:

  • Streamlines the payment process, making it a great choice for firms of all sizes, both online and brick-and-mortar
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Works with nearly any merchant account
  • Accepts more payment types than most of the alternatives, and is one of the very few gateways to accept PayPal

Cons:

  • Requires your business to be registered in the UK, Europe, US, Canada, or Australia
  • Charges a monthly fee, making it less ideal for smaller businesses or startups

Price:

Setup fees: None

Monthly fees: $25

Transaction fees: All-in-one option: 2.9% + $0.30. Payment Gateway Only option: 10 cents per transaction, 10 cents daily batch fee

5. Square

Square homepage

Last but not least, Square features an extremely versatile software that essentially transforms your customers' devices into portable POS terminals. It is a fast-growing payment gateway that centers around simplicity, making it perfect for smaller businesses and brick-and-mortar stores. It provides everything you'll need to accept payments and manage your business in one centralized system.

Pros:

  • A great option for merchants with physical stores as well as online businesses
  • Accepts all major credit cards and payment types (although not PayPal)
  • Extremely easy setup process, requiring users to download a free app and take payments using a mobile credit card reader that Square supplies free of change
  • Provides a smart, slick checkout UX
  • Allows you to sell easily on social media, integrating with Facebook and Instagram

Cons:

  • Has been known to withhold funds or accounts with little notice or justification
  • Limited customer support hours

Price:

Setup fees: None

Monthly fees: None (although Premium is $72)

Transaction fees: 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction for online payments

Conclusion

A well-optimized ecommerce store, top-quality products, and excellent marketing can bring lots of customers your way. However, if you don't provide them with familiar and easy-to-use ways to pay, you risk losing them before they make those final conversions.

To sum up, here are 5 of the best options for your payment gateway:

  1. Stripe: A feature-rich option with many tools to offer.
  2. PayPal: A popular and reliable gateway that supports many payment methods.
  3. Ayden: A more advanced choice with excellent security features and analytics.
  4. Authorize: An easy-to-use and streamlined option that’s a good all-around choice.
  5. Square: A gateway that’s quick to get started with and very user-friendly.

Do you have any questions about payment gateways? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

How to Make Money Fast on Clickbank (No Website Required!)

If you're a content creator or a digital entrepreneur, there's a good chance that you've heard of ClickBank. While this platform is highly popular among affiliate circles, it's also an excellent place for vendors to launch products or services.

However, you might be wondering how to do that if you don't have a fully developed online store (or even a website).

Fortunately, you can solve this problem by listing your products using “buy now” buttons. This way, customers can go through the checkout process without needing to step foot in a virtual shop.

In this post, we'll provide you with an overview of the ClickBank marketplace. Then, we'll show you how to use the platform to promote your products and make money fast. Let's get to it!

An Overview of ClickBank

ClickBank is an online marketplace where vendors and content creators can find marketers to promote their products:

ClickBank homepage

The platform supports a classic affiliate marketing model. This means marketers earn commissions when customers make sales through their affiliate links. This setup creates a win-win situation for both affiliates and sellers.

It's also important to note that ClickBank is ideal for digital content creators hoping to earn passive income. That's because when you're selling a digital product, your return on investment (ROI) is much higher. In turn, you can offer a higher commission, and affiliates will be more eager to partner with you.

With ClickBank, affiliate marketers can instantly find your offers and promote them. You don't even need an official website for your products.

Moreover, ClickBank's algorithm rewards high-performing offers, boosting them to the top results pages in its internal search engine. As a result, with ClickBank, it's possible to make money fast.

How to Make Money Fast on ClickBank (No Website Required!)

Now that you know how ClickBank works, let's discuss how you can get started on the platform. If you follow these steps, you'll be able to generate a profit in no time!

Step 1: Identify Your Product

Before you consider getting set up with ClickBank, you'll want to ensure you have a product that can succeed on the platform. As we mentioned before, due to a high ROI, digital products are excellent options:

An example of a digital product sold on ClickBank.

Here are a few examples of digital items you could potentially offer on ClickBank:

  • Ebooks
  • Video tutorials
  • PDF guides
  • Electronic software and services

While digital goods are more likely to perform well, you shouldn't be discouraged if you run a small business dealing in physical goods. You can still promote these items on ClickBank.

However, you'll want to ensure your supply chain and processing systems are in place beforehand. You won't want to accidentally create a bottleneck if your product gains unexpected traction.

Step 2: Design Your Offer Page

After identifying an appropriate product, you'll need to create an offer page. You don't need a full-blown ecommerce website to make money on ClickBank. However, you will need to provide affiliates with a URL that leads to a page where they can buy your product.

In fact, ClickBank strongly encourages users to create a landing page before signing up. Luckily, there are plenty of free landing page builders that you can use.

Carrd is an excellent option for this purpose. It offers an intuitive interface and plenty of templates to help you get started:

Carrd landing page builder

Once you've chosen a landing page builder and a design, you'll want to fill in the details for your product. Be sure to add relevant images and a detailed description of the item you're selling.

Since this is the only page people will see, it's a good idea to take your time creating this content. You may even consider hiring a copywriter to help you develop the best-quality content.

Step 3: Create a Buy Now Button

Since you don't have a website with a payment processing system, the next step is to make a buy now button for your new landing page.

Fortunately, our Buy Now Plus tool enables you to sell your product in just about any digital space:

Buy Now Plus homepage

What's more, our buy now buttons enable customers to easily make purchases without needing to sign up for accounts. Therefore, Buy Now Plus can streamline the purchasing process.

You can get started with Buy Now Plus in minutes. All you'll need to do is enter some basic contact information and create an account with Stripe.

After that, you can create your first button. Then, simply copy its link and add it to your new offer page. Make sure to be strategic about where you place it. You may even want to add it in multiple locations.

Step 4: Sign Up for a ClickBank Account

Once your landing page is complete, you're finally ready to sign up for a ClickBank account. To get started, navigate to the ClickBank website and click on any of the Start Here buttons.

This will launch a start-up guide, which we recommend completing:

ClickBank start-up guide.

You'll need to choose a reason for signing up on the first screen. You'll most likely want to select I have a product I want to sell on ClickBank.

Next, you'll be asked about how far along you are in the process of creating your offer page:

ClickBank offer page description.

For this tutorial, we'll select I am still building the offer and getting ready to sell the product. With this setting, the site will provide useful advice and resources about the process. You can check them out and tweak your landing page if you like.

Then, proceed through the guide. You'll have to enter more information about your business and experience level.

When you get to step eight, you'll be asked about a product page URL. Just make sure to input the URL for your new landing page here:

ClickBank landing page URL.

The last step in the guide will be to enter your email address. After that, you'll be led to a page where you can complete the rest of the signup process.

Once you're all set up, it would be wise to familiarize yourself with the dashboard. You may even want to reference ClickBank's guide for getting started as a seller. This covers everything from HopLinks to creating a Thank You page.

Now all that's left to do is enter your product information into the ClickBank marketplace!

Conclusion

If you have a compelling product, ClickBank is a great place to start selling it. However, if you don't have a website yet, you may be worried about how to facilitate your sales. Fortunately, with buy now buttons, you can roll your sales and checkout page into one.

To review, here's how you can make money fast on ClickBank without an eCommerce site:

  1. Identify your product.
  2. Design your offer page.
  3. Create a buy now button using Buy Now Plus.
  4. Sign up for ClickBank.

Do you have any questions about using “buy now” buttons to sell your products on ClickBank? Ask us in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

4 Best Ecommerce Podcasts to Listen to in 2022

When you're starting an ecommerce business, it can be difficult to develop effective online marketing tactics. You may want to seek out expert advice, but that often comes with an expensive price tag.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ecommerce podcasts out there that are free and can serve as a valuable resource. These programs are hosted by industry experts who offer actionable advice on how to start your small business.

In this post, we'll discuss why ecommerce business podcasts are worth listening to. Then we'll suggest 4 shows that may help you improve your online store. Let's get started!

Why You Might Want to Listen to Ecommerce Podcasts

Over the past ten years, the popularity of podcasts has been steadily rising. These audio shows tend to be personal, portable, and engaging. Therefore, listening to them is now one of the easiest ways to learn about new topics.

Programs in the online business niche usually cover a wide variety of subjects, from online marketing to networking. Additionally, ecommerce podcasts tend to come in one of the following formats:

  • Interview: A recurring podcast host brings in different industry experts to ask them questions about their niche.
  • Conversational: Two or more hosts have an organic discussion about a specific topic that is related to business.
  • Educational: This may include one or more hosts who provide offer structured content that can be useful to the listener.

No matter the style, you'll likely benefit from tuning in to these programs. From discovering new industry trends to getting practical advice on how to grow your business, they are often gold mines of useful information.

What's more, there are currently lots of ecommerce podcasts available for you to stream. Regardless of your business' niche or your experience level, you're likely to find one that meets your needs.

4 Ecommerce Podcasts Every Business Owner Should Listen To

Now, let's cover 4 quality podcasts that cater specifically to online business owners such as yourself.

1. Honest Ecommerce

If you've received bad business advice, the Honest Ecommerce podcast might be for you. It aims to reveal truths about the ecommerce industry through its honest interviews between Chase Clymer and successful business leaders:

Honest ecommerce home page

Honest Ecommerce covers just about every topic, from creating long-term business plans to writing better emails. By listening to this podcast, you can gain actionable advice for running an online store, avoiding common mistakes, and reaching your sales goals.

Where to start: Are You a Store Owner or a Brand Owner?:

Honest ecommerce episode

In this episode, Clymer interviews Josh Firestone, who founded the clothing brand Bearbottom. They discuss Firestone's progression from being a party DJ to launching his own startup.

For beginner store owners who might be discouraged with their progress, they offer advice on staying passionate and patient.

Where to listen: You can find Honest Ecommerce on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Stitcher.

2. Built to Scale

On the Built to Scale podcast, hosts Darius Kunca and Justin Gecevicius explain how they went from broke university students to founders of AdKings Agency:

Built to Scale home page

Together, Kunca and Gecevicius have helped to scale many eight and nine-figure companies. Any business owner or ad specialist can benefit from their experience in developing successful marketing strategies.

By listening to Built to Scale, you can gain valuable insights on how to grow and scale a business. This program specializes in providing straightforward marketing methods and growth hacks that you can implement in your online store.

Where to start: Learn From Our Failures: Plan But Don't Overplan & How Simplification Is the Key:

Built to Scale episode

In this episode, the hosts give an example of a time when they overplanned a certain area of their business. They own up to this mistake and explain how you can plan more effectively.

Where to listen: Built to Scale is available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

3. My Wife Quit Her Job

In My Wife Quit Her Job, host Steve Chou shares how he grew his online store to replace his wife's salary:

My Wife Quit Her Job home page

This podcast offers a series of interviews with successful entrepreneurs. My Wife Quit Her Job offers tips on how to achieve your financial goals, improve your sales, and leverage strategic marketing.

If you're a beginner business owner, this podcast may be for you. In many episodes, ecommerce experts talk about their failures and how they overcame them to reach their goals.

Where to start: Social Media Strategy For New Ecommerce Store Owners With Alex Rossman:

My Wife Quit Her Job episode

In this episode, Chou brings Alex Rossman onto the podcast to share his social media marketing tips. Rossman is the founder of Rossman Media, so he gives credible advice on how to improve your website's sales and organic traffic.

Where to listen: You can find My Wife Quit Her Job on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Stitcher.

4. eCommerceFuel

eCommerceFuel is one of the most popular business podcasts. The host, Andrew Youderian, created this program to build a community for ecommerce store owners:

Ecommerce fuel home page

By listening to eCommerceFuel, you can discover predictions about the ecommerce industry and learn from reports on major brands. You can also broaden your knowledge about business development and management from deep dives.

eCommerceFuel can be ideal for more experienced business owners. Although it has certain episodes dedicated to starting a store, most of its content focuses on more advanced techniques, such as outsourcing or sophisticated marketing.

Additionally, Youderian designed an ecommerce forum for vetted store owners who need helpful advice from their peers. There, you can build relationships, get quick replies to your business questions, or search the archives to access past discussions.

Where to start: How Beardbrand Left Amazon and Grew 58%:

Ecommerce fuel episode

In this episode, Youderian talks with Eric Bandholz about the big changes he made to Beardbrand in 2018. Although they discuss specific content strategies and practical business moves, the entire episode feels like a casual conversation.

Where to listen: eCommerceFuel is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Google Podcasts.

Conclusion

There's a steep learning curve for anyone trying to grow an online business, but tuning in to the top ecommerce podcasts can help. By listening to these free programs, you can gain valuable knowledge that may help you boost your bottom line.

To review, here are 4 of our favorite ecommerce podcasts you should consider listening to:

  1. Honest Ecommerce. This show advertises itself as a platform for sincere business advice. You can tune in to its interviews with business owners to gain realistic insights into your field.
  2. Built to Scale. On this podcast, the hosts chronicle their journey from being broke to founding an ecommerce growth agency. You can learn marketing tips and hacks for scaling your online business.
  3. My Wife Quit Her Job. This program is for those who are looking to grow their businesses as a substitute for salaried pay. The host offers advice on how to set and achieve your financial goals.
  4. eCommerceFuel. This podcast offers a community for more experienced entrepreneurs. By listening to its weekly episodes, you can learn how to form better business relationships.

What's your favorite ecommerce podcast? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

5 Cheap Marketing Strategies that Work (And How to Use Them)

To stand out in today's crowded online environment, it's important to take strategic measures to distinguish yourself from the competition. However, when you're an entrepreneur or own a small business just starting out, you likely won't have a huge budget and will look for cheap marketing strategies.

Fortunately, you don't necessarily need one. There are plenty of cheap marketing strategies that you can utilize to help spread brand awareness, increase engagement, and, ultimately, drive conversions.

In this post, we'll provide you with a list of five cheap marketing strategies that actually work. For each, we'll discuss what makes them beneficial and some tips for getting started. Let's jump in!

1. Encourage Customers to Leave You Reviews

One of the best ways to market your business is finding ways to help increase customer trust and loyalty. To do that, you need social proof. This is evidence you show consumers that your company is valuable and trustworthy.

Encouraging customers to leave you reviews can help other consumers form favorable impressions of your brand. Seeing real people leave positive feedback can make your business seem more credible and trustworthy.

Customer reviews are also forms of User-Generated Content (UGC). This type of content is organic and can be excellent for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) purposes.

There are a handful of tools that make it easy for your customers to leave you reviews, too. For example, if you want them directly on your website, you can use a plugin such as WP Customer Reviews:

The WP Customer Reviews plugin.

If you have a physical company location, we also recommend signing up for Google My Business:

The Google My Business website.

This platform lets your customers leave you reviews directly on Google, translating to ratings on Google Maps. It can also be great for local SEO purposes and attracting consumers in your area.

2. Run Social Media Contests and/or Giveaways

Another cheap marketing strategy you can use is running a contest or giveaway on social media. This method is also another way to encourage UGC.

Giveaways are effective because you can run them for relatively cheap. For example, you can offer your own product, a coupon or discount, or a gift card. You could even partner with another brand to help cross-promote businesses.

The contest could be something as simple as a photo caption contest. In this scenario, you could ask users to create the funniest caption for one of your Instagram posts.

Alternatively, you could use the contest as an opportunity to generate leads by asking participants for their email addresses to enter the giveaway:

An example of a giveaway email form.

To get started, you could try using a plugin such as RafflePress:

The RafflePress website.

This tool makes creating and managing contests and giveaways incredibly straightforward. It comes with a drag-and-drop builder as well as pre-made templates to help you get started.

3. Create, Publish, and Share Valuable Content

Content marketing is one of the most cost-effective forms of advertising available. It lets you share your knowledge and expertise, which can help build credibility and authority. At the same time, marketing can boost engagement among your target audience.

Getting started with it is easy, too. You can begin by publishing blog posts on your website. This can also be a powerful way to boost your SEO rankings. Google tends to favor sites that regularly publish high-quality content.

To get started with a list of keywords and topics to target, you can use the Google Keyword Planner:

The Google Keyword Planner website.

With this free tool, you can start with a basic topic such as “web design”. Then you can find relevant keywords and phrases to include in your content.

Remember that, to be considered valuable, your content needs to be relevant to your audience. Therefore, it's wise to base your material around answering questions your customers already have.

In addition to your blog, you can also publish content across your social media channels. You can help reach a wider audience by using hashtags, tagging other businesses and partners, and consistently engaging with users in the comments.

4. Start an Email Marketing Newsletter

Email marketing is another cheap marketing strategy that you should consider incorporating into your arsenal. It is incredibly flexible and allows you to target new audiences and engage your existing customer base as well.

To make it as effective as possible, we recommend building your campaigns for specific customer personas. Doing this will make it easier to create highly targeted messaging that appeals to certain kinds of shoppers.

To help build your subscriber list, we also suggest including a signup form on your website:

An example of an email signup form.

To make a form, we recommend using an all-in-one email marketing solution such as Mailchimp:

The Mailchimp WordPress plugin.

This tool lets you create and manage all aspects of your email newsletters and campaigns in one place. It also comes with a WordPress plugin so you can seamlessly integrate your account with your website.

5. Conduct Surveys

Rounding off our list of cheap marketing strategies is conducting surveys. Asking your customers and audience for their feedback directly is one of the most inexpensive yet valuable tactics to improve your offerings.

Using surveys can provide you with relevant, essential data to use in future marketing campaigns. Furthermore, it can also make your customers feel heard and appreciated. It's an excellent way of letting them know that you care about their opinions.

Plus, creating and distributing surveys is incredibly cheap. For example, you can get started using a tool such as WPForms:

The WPForms plugin.

This is a freemium plugin that you can use to create contact forms and surveys. Then you can publish your content across the channels of your choosing, including your website, social media, and email platforms.

Conclusion

As a business owner, promoting your brand is a pivotal aspect of your success. However, you may be working with a tight budget. If that's the case, you might need to get a little creative with your marketing.

As we discussed in this article, there are five cheap marketing strategies you can use:

  1. Encourage users to leave you reviews.
  2. Run social media contests or giveaways.
  3. Create, publish, and share valuable content.
  4. Start an email marketing newsletter.
  5. Conduct surveys.

Do you have any questions about using these cheap marketing strategies? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

6 Best Days of the Year to Run eCommerce Promotions

After you established a strong brand and made your first online sale, you probably hoped that running an ecommerce store would feel like clockwork. However, in order to gain loyal customers, you’ll likely need to run frequent promotions.

Fortunately, you can use some key dates to guide you. Taking advantage of the most important ecommerce sales bonanzas, such as Mother's Day and Cyber Monday, is key. That way, you can create dynamic marketing campaigns for times of the year when people are already spending lots of money.

In this post, we’ll discuss why you may want to base your promotional calendar on some specific holidays. Then we’ll highlight the six best days of the year to run online sales. Let’s get started!

Why You May Want to Run eCommerce Promotions on Specific Holidays

While evergreen content and promotions are essential for any online business, holiday deals offer a unique opportunity. These limited-time offer sales will likely draw attention in a way that run-of-the-mill discounts cannot.

Holiday deals can be designed around vibrant color schemes or a particular seasonal product. This makes them more fun and interesting.

Furthermore, this sort of playful content is great for social media, such as on Instagram:

An instagram post image offers 50% for a holiday sale.

Even when they are less flashy, these campaigns still create a sense of urgency that can be hard to resist.

Additionally, holiday campaigns are ideal when you're hoping to create a comprehensive conversion funnel. This is especially true for your email marketing efforts. Through this channel, you can use targeted messaging to create hype around a holiday sale well before it arrives.

Furthermore, as your business grows, cyclical sales on specific days can signal to your audience that you're dependable. For all of these reasons, we recommend that every ecommerce business consult the most important holidays when creating a promotions strategy.

6 Best Days of the Year to Run Ecommerce Promotions

Now, let's go through some of the most lucrative holidays for ecommerce stores. To keep it simple, we're going to go through them in chronological order.

1. Mother's Day

In the United States, Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May. When polled, Americans anticipated spending a total of close to $30 billion on gifts for their moms.

After all, mature gifts typically have a higher price tag. Therefore, if you offer any sort of luxury goods or services, you won't want to miss out on this one.

If you're not sure how to approach Mother's Day sales, you can always offer a limited-time gift card:

Amazon's Mother's Day gift cards.

Amazon gives customers the option to send gift cards in sweet, themed boxes that feature flowers and hearts. You might want to experiment with a similar tactic. Also, keep in mind that this holiday falls just before the start of the summer season, so you may want to broaden it to offer site-wide sales.

2. Father's Day

Father's Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of June. When it comes to dads, buyers anticipate spending about $20 billion collectively per year.

Additionally, this holiday is perfectly timed to coincide with any last-minute purchases your buyers need to make before their summer travels.

Once again, you can upsell your customers by offering irresistible, site-wide deals. Rapid flash sales seem to be particularly popular on Father's Day:

A Father's Day flash sale advertised on Instagram.

While we typically recommend that you give your customers ample time to take advantage of a deal, the occasional flash sale can make an impact. You may also want to use short and sweet discount codes that feature the word “dad”.

3. Back-to-School

Instead of one specific day, back-to-school promotions can encourage many weeks of increased revenue. We'd recommend offering these sales starting in mid-to-late August and running them through early September.

Since fast-growing children have a diverse set of needs, many ecommerce stores will be able to benefit from back-to-school sales:

A back-to-school sale advertised on Instagram.

If a youthful aesthetic is not ideal for your brand, you can always modify this theme to make it more seasonal. You could swap out your website's usual banners to feature your fall sales instead.

4. Black Friday

By now, the modern phenomenon of Black Friday is well-known. When Americans are resting at home, recovering from their Thanksgiving stupor – they shop.

They turn to their desktops (where purchases are most profitable) or their mobile devices to get a head start on their Christmas gifts. This makes it one of the most valuable days of the year for ecommerce businesses.

You can't go wrong with Black Friday sales. At this point, consumers expect them:

Macy's Black Friday sales.

In fact, you may even damage your image if you don't offer Black Friday deals. Since this is the most iconic flash sale of the year, we recommend alerting your customers well in advance about the terms of your promotions.

You can do this via email, on social media, and in your website's header. Additionally, you might want to reserve your boldest discounts for this day, since customers have come to expect more and more.

5. Cyber Monday

The term Cyber Monday was coined by the National Retail Foundation in 2005. It was meant to encourage buyers to shop online – and it succeeded.

Thanks to these efforts, the Monday after Thanksgiving now marks one of the most important online sales days of the year. Its continuing success proves that ecommerce has a bright future. This day has been so successful that it has now transformed into Cyber Week:

Cyberl deal days at Kohl's.

This provides the perfect opportunity to offer a wide variety of discounts. You can offer percentage-based site-wide sales, or promote free gifts to motivate your shoppers. If you have the resources, you'll likely want to re-brand your entire site so you can further maximize sales.

This might also be a good time to introduce new products or services, as it will help ensure that they make a splash. If you don't have the budget to go big for Cyber Week, you can also offer more modest deals, such as free shipping, content upgrades, or giveaways.

6. Boxing Day

Officially, Boxing Day is the day after Christmas. Its origins are rooted in charitable acts, but today it is often considered the ‘Black Friday of the UK'.

However, on December 26th, American shoppers may be just as likely to turn to their favorite online stores in search of ‘after Christmas deals':

A year-end flash sale advertised on Instagram.

This is likely because, similar to Thanksgiving, people are usually still on vacation. One unique benefit of this day is that you have plenty of flexibility when it comes to marketing it.

For example, you can use the term “after Christmas” or “end-of-the-year” to describe your sales. Since this will likely be the last promotion on the calendar, you may want to go big in terms of discounts.

Conclusion

If you’ve been searching for innovative ways to bring in new customers (and keep them coming back) regular promotions can be a perfect solution. However, it may seem daunting to generate original ideas for these temporary deals. That’s when you can lean on an ecommerce holiday calendar for help.

From Mother’s Day to Boxing Day, classic festivities offer great opportunities for profit. Modern ecommerce bonanzas such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday provide even more universal chances to boost your conversions.

For best results, don't forget to spread the word about your deals and make it easy for customers to join in using ‘buy now' buttons.

Do you have any suggestions for the best days to run ecommerce promotions? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

3 Warning Signs that Your Business is Failing

There are almost always warning signs that your business is failing. Online stores generally don't collapse from one day to the next. If you've been selling online for a while and your business is doing well, there'll likely be plenty of warning if things aren't going well.

Knowing what those warning signs are will enable you to take action before it's too late. As such, you can respond before your business is losing money or you barely have any customers left. You likely won't get to that point if you act decisively.

In this article, we'll discuss three warning signs that your business is failing. We'll talk about how to tackle each of these situations and their potential causes. Let's get to it!

1. Sales Keep Falling Month After Month

Almost anyone that runs an online store will tell you that sales vary depending on the time of the year. Most stores do the bulk of their sales during the Christmas holiday season. In turn, this increased revenue can make up for slower months throughout the year.

A single month with low sales can be just a blip on your radar. However, if you notice that sales keep dipping over time, you're probably looking at a much larger problem.

Some potential causes for sales numbers dropping can include:

  • Focusing on seasonal products. If your store focuses on seasonal products, it stands to reason they'll only sell well during that specific season. Outside of those weeks or months, you're probably looking at low sales across the board.
  • Your prices aren't in line with the competition. In some cases, prices can fall across an entire niche due to new, cheaper products entering the market. If you plan on having a higher price point, you need to justify it with higher product quality.
  • Your product quality is dropping. If your store's products leave consumers unhappy, bad reviews and a lack of return customers will quickly start to affect your sales numbers.
  • There's a problem with your online store. In many cases, low sales can stem from problems with your store, such as long loading times or an overall poor customer experience.

Significant dips in sales can be scary. However, if you pay attention to your store's metrics, you can easily spot when the downward trends begin. Then, you can use that information to figure out the problem (and turn it around).

If your store's sale numbers suddenly fall to zero, that usually points toward a technical issue with whatever ecommerce solution you're using. Having an ecommerce solution that enables you to set up simple, customizable checkout pages (such as Buy Now Plus) can prevent technical failures from happening:

A Buy Now Plus checkout screen

Using an ecommerce solution that you can quickly troubleshoot is essential to running a successful online store. That way, if you encounter technical issues, you'll be able to fix them quickly and not miss out on potential sales.

2. Bad Reviews Are Piling Up

Bad reviews can be catastrophic for an online store. A slew of negative feedback can be enough for sales to take a significant downturn, even if the comments themselves are inaccurate:

Multiple bad reviews can be warning signs that your business is failing.

Getting bad reviews is unavoidable if you run an online store for a long time. However, if you're treating customers correctly and offering outstanding products, negative feedback shouldn't outweigh positive comments.

If you run an ecommerce store, you'll need to track two different sets of reviews. Those are:

  1. On-site product reviews: These are the reviews that customers leave for specific products and services. Negative feedback should tell you which service areas your consumers find lacking.
  2. Reviews on third-party websites: Tracking these reviews can be hard unless your company profile is on platforms such as Google My Business or the Yelp website. However, regularly searching for your business' name should enable you to find out what customers are saying about you around the web.

Paying attention to negative feedback is essential because you can be confident that many potential customers will be reading it. A staggering 91% of consumers actively look for reviews before making a purchase. If they see a lot of negative comments, they may choose not to use your business.

If your reviews include ratings, we recommend that you start paying close attention if those numbers fall below 4.5/5 or the equivalent on a ten-point scale. It's essential that you look for repeating complaints in reviews so you can identify pain points with your services and solve them.

3. You Have No Repeat Customers

For many businesses, repeat customers are the ones that keep the ship afloat. Once you convince a consumer to make that first purchase, the chances that they'll make another one are as high as 60 to 70%. Moreover, retaining existing customers costs significantly less than attracting new ones and marketing to them.

If you've been running an online store for a while and you lack repeat business, that doesn't bode well for the future. In most cases, it means one of a few things:

  • You're not selling products or services that lend themselves to repeat purchases.
  • Customers are not satisfied with the quality that you offer.
  • Your customer service experience is lacking and users don't feel heard.
  • The purchasing or shipping experience is not user friendly.

Paying attention to customer testimonials and reviews should enable you to spot all of these issues well before your company goes bankrupt. Not having repeat business might not mean that your store will go under. Still, in a best-case scenario, it severely limits your growth potential.

Conclusion

There are almost always warning signs that a company might go under. Many store owners only pay attention to profits. While that's not necessarily a bad thing, you might miss obvious warning signs that your business is failing.

Some of the most common warning signs for a failing online business include:

  1. Sales keep falling month after month.
  2. Bad reviews are piling up.
  3. You have no repeat customers.

Do you have any questions about turning a failing business around? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook,Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

What You Need to Know Before Starting an Online Business

In a world currently driven by eCommerce, now is an excellent time for starting an online business. Learn what you need to know before getting started!

With the world increasingly becoming a digital-first environment, now is an excellent time to consider starting an online business. However, doing so is no easy task, and it's essential to make sure that you're adequately prepared.

Fortunately, doing a solid amount of research and planning can help ensure that your company succeeds. While errors and mistakes are inevitable, you can reduce your missteps and challenges by taking a strategic and careful approach.

In this post, we'll start by discussing the benefits of starting an online business. Then we'll cover five key tips to consider before you get started. Let's jump in!

The Benefits of Starting an Online Business

There are many benefits to starting an online business that can make it a rewarding and lucrative professional path.

Firstly, customers increasingly turn to the internet to find the products and services they need. You can purchase virtually anything you need online, from groceries and clothing to consulting and professional services:

The Amazon homepage.

Another benefit of an online business is reaching a global audience. You aren't limited to the geographical location of your establishment, nor do you have to deal with costs such as office space rental.

Furthermore, starting an online business can be pretty inexpensive once you have your product or service. You only need to account for a domain name, hosting, and web design and development costs. With the right small business tools, these aspects become easier to manage.

This isn't to say that starting an online business is easy. Certain disadvantages can come with it, such as a crowded online space that makes standing out from competitors difficult. Moreover, you'll need to understand digital marketing trends and techniques.

Fortunately, there are ways to prepare yourself to overcome such obstacles with relative ease. Proper research before launching your business can help increase the likelihood of success.

What You Need to Know Before Starting an Online Business (5 Key Tips)

Now that we've covered the benefits of starting an online business, it's time to dig into what you should know before you do. Here are five tips you can use to make it a productive and profitable endeavor!

1. Take the Time to Create a Detailed Business Plan

With any business, it's crucial to dedicate time to market research and developing a sound business plan. Doing so will help you identify concrete goals and determine how to measure your performance and progress as you grow.

There are a variety of elements that your business plan should cover, including:

  • Your target audience and customer personas
  • An executive summary and mission statement
  • A market analysis
  • Financial planning and a budget

You can make the process easier by using a business plan template:

A business plan template.

The more comprehensive and detailed your business plan, the easier it will be to get your company off the ground. Ideally, we recommend starting with a two to five-year plan.

2. Start With a Service Before Moving Onto Products

It usually makes sense for most online businesses to start by selling services, then eventually moving to products. Services tend to require less investment and development.

Once you get your footing, you'll be in a more stable position to expand and scale your business to incorporate products. This approach can also make it easier for you to find and nurture customer relationships to learn about your target buyers and their most important needs.

3. Invest in Website Design and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

When running an online business, your website is of utmost importance. It influences how customers perceive your brand. Your site also affects your engagement and conversion rates.

Therefore, a large portion of your focus should be on developing a high-quality website optimized for users and search engines. It's also a good idea to select a premium WordPress theme to showcase your products and services in a professional, reliable light.

There are plenty of free options available in the WordPress theme directory. You can also use marketplace sites such as Envato:

The Envato website.

However, even the most beautifully designed website won't help drive sales if customers cannot find it. This is why it's also essential to invest in Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

It's important to make sure your content is correctly optimized for Google best practices and ranking signals. You can do this is by installing a plugin such All In One SEO (AIOSEO):

The AIOSEO WordPress plugin.

You can also use PageSpeed Insights to analyze your site and identify opportunities for improvement. Knowing which tools to use can go a long way in optimizing your website.

4. Focus on Optimizing the Customer Experience

You can't have a successful business without satisfied customers. Therefore, it's crucial to provide a positive User Experience (UX).

This process can include creating a seamless checkout process with plenty of payment gateway options. We also recommend minimizing the number of steps needed for customers to complete their purchases.

One of the best ways to do this is with buy now buttons:

An example of a buy it now button.

You can easily add one of these elements to your site using our Buy Now Plus plugin:

The Buy Now Plus website.

You can quickly design and create your own buy now buttons to use across various channels. Then your visitors can check out immediately, helping to increase revenue.

5. Social and Email Marketing Are Key

Social media and email marketing are powerful, cost-effective solutions for generating brand awareness, driving traffic to your website, and reaching your target audience. It's wise to develop a marketing strategy that incorporates both platforms.

We recommend figuring out which platforms your target audience uses most and focusing your campaigns there.

For example, Facebook Advertisements can be highly effective and affordable:

A DreamHost Facebook ad.

You can even sell directly from social media, whether you have a website or not. Regardless of your strategy, it's crucial to create a strong social media presence that is consistent with your branding.

Social media and email can also be incredibly effective for engaging your customers through targeted messaging. You might consider starting an email newsletter to help promote your brand, expand your reach, and drive traffic to your site.

An easy way to do this is to use a tool such as ActiveCampaign:

The ActiveCampaign logo.

This email and digital marketing platform can help you create and grow your subscriber list. You can also use it to collect leads, track email marketing analytics, and design custom customer experiences across every channel.

Conclusion

In this digital era, now is the perfect time to consider starting an online business. However, knowing where and how to begin can be difficult. Fortunately, all it takes is a little research and planning.

As we discussed in this post, here are five tips to consider before starting an online business:

  1. Spend time creating a detailed business plan.
  2. Start by offering services before moving onto products.
  3. Invest in your website design and SEO.
  4. Focus on optimizing the customer experience and checkout process.
  5. Social media and email marketing are key.

Do you have any questions about starting an online business? Let us know in the comments section below!

4 Ways Small Ecommerce Businesses Can Use Big Data

The amount of data that business owners can use is constantly growing and becoming more complex. This can spell trouble for a business that isn’t equipped to manage or utilize the available information.

Fortunately, the potential benefits of big data far outweigh the negatives, and this is equally true for small ecommerce businesses. With adequate planning and clear objectives, you can leverage big data in multiple ways.

In this post, we’ll explore four ways to make big data work for you. These applications are goal-oriented, require little upfront investment, and deliver speedy returns. Let’s take a closer look!

An Introduction to Big Data (And Why It Matters)

In a nutshell, big data refers to large volumes of information. These are data sets so substantial and complex that they are unwieldy and difficult to manage with traditional methods.

Big data can be structured or unstructured. Structured data includes customer contact information, transaction histories, or anything that can fit neatly into a spreadsheet:

A balance report is an example of structured big data.

In contrast, unstructured data includes social media content, customer reviews, or anything without a predefined format. The latter can require more advanced storage techniques such as data lakes.

Both of these types of big data are important for small business owners because of the valuable insights they can provide. Learning more about your customers and their behaviors means you can offer better services and streamline your operations.

Since so much business happens in the digital world, big data affects small business owners just as much as giant corporations. Let's now see how your small ecommerce venture can utilize this information.

4 Ways Small Ecommerce Businesses Can Use Big Data

There are so many ways that small businesses can utilize big data, and it would be overwhelming to take all of them on. The applications we’ve listed here are starting points for improving customer retention, boosting sales, and making your processes more efficient.

To collect big data, we recommend using software such as AFS Analytics:

You can collect big data with AFS Analytics.

This powerful tool uses real-time monitoring and reporting to show you customer data related to engagement, conversions, buyer journeys, and more. We'll also explore some free data collection methods later in this article.

1. Improve Customer Service

Quality customer service is one of the most crucial elements of running any successful business. When customers feel taken care of, they’re more likely to recommend the business to others and become repeat buyers.

One of the major advantages of doing business in the digital age is that almost all consumer interactions can be turned into learning opportunities. Each time a customer makes contact, whether to ask a question, make a complaint, or leave a review, you can use the event to improve customer service.

You might utilize big data by monitoring response times across various communication channels. Customers have different wait time expectations for each platform.

For example, consumers using live chat will wait an average of 35 seconds for a response before leaving. By monitoring your communication delays across all channels, you can identify any weak spots.

2. Create Buyer Personas

Buyer personas are important tools for any business. They are fictional representations of your target audience.

These representations can contain superficial information such as ages, locations, genders, and job titles. They can also focus on more nuanced information like challenges, desires, and objections.

Customer personas can be useful for ecommerce businesses because they help with personalization and targeted marketing — the modern consumer has little patience for marketing that isn’t relevant.

A straightforward, free way to create buyer personas is to use Google Analytics. You can take a look at the location, gender, and interest data in the Demographics section to understand your ideal customers:

Demographics with Google Analytics.

To get the most of the demographic data available to you, you may have to tweak a few settings. However, there are some clear instructions that make the process easier.

3. Decrease Cart Abandonment

Cart abandonment is one of the main reasons that ecommerce businesses lose sales. This Baymard Institute study showed an average abandonment rate of almost 70%. Therefore, improving the checkout experience could be very worthwhile for your company.

A major reason for cart abandonment is the various hurdles a customer must overcome to complete a purchase. Factors such as load times, pop-ups, finding the checkout button, or too many input fields to complete can create friction.

As such, reducing friction is one of the most effective ways to decrease cart abandonment and increase sales.

You can use big data to reduce friction in several ways, and you don’t need anything more powerful than Google Analytics. The platform has a Conversions and Shopping Behavior tab that displays this data:

Using big data to identify cart abandonment with Google Analytics.
Image source: SaleCycle

To identify friction in your sales process, investigate when customers leave your site. Look closely at which stage consumers abandon the buying process, and you can identify trends.

For example, if a consumer has added items to a cart, they may just be shopping on multiple sites simultaneously. If they’ve made it to the checkout page and then left, there may be too many obstacles in their way.

4. Personalize the Customer Experience

Personalization is key to doing business. Consumers even expect it, especially with ecommerce.

For example, a study found that 80% of consumers like to receive emails with product recommendations similar to previous purchases they’ve made:

Amazon product recommendations.

In addition to targeted marketing, you can personalize the customer experience by using a visitor's preferred currency and language. You can even use greetings for repeat buyers to encourage loyalty and win their business in the long term.

Using surveys is a great way to gather tons of relevant data about consumer preferences. You can then utilize this information to personalize their experiences.

Conclusion

Big data is powerful. Massive corporations and small businesses alike can use it to improve their operations and make better-informed decisions. However, this information can also be overwhelming without a clear plan of action.

Let’s take another quick look at how small businesses can take advantage of big data:

  1. Improve customer service to upgrade the buying experience and earn customer recommendations.
  2. Create buyer personas to better understand your customers and improve marketing.
  3. Decrease cart abandonment by identifying points of friction and improving your conversion rates.
  4. Personalize the customer experience to encourage consumer loyalty.

Do you have any questions about big data for small ecommerce businesses? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn!

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