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.

How to Create a Perfect Sales Page (5 Key Tips)

A sales page operates as a one-page ad for your product or service. When someone visits this part of your website, they’re already thinking about buying from you – they just need a little push.

Your sales page must emphasize the benefits of your product, answer any misgivings the potential customer might have, and (above all) make it easier for them to commit. Fortunately, this isn’t hard to achieve with a few proven techniques.

In this post, we’ll go through five critical tips for building the perfect sales page. You’ll learn how to create a sales page, how to improve it, and how to get people to take the next step. Let’s get started!

Why It’s Vital to Fine-Tune Your Sales Page

Think about the last time you visited a sales page. It may have been for a piece of software, new technology, clothing, or even furniture. Did you decide to buy the product? Why or why not?

A sales page is important because it is the very end of a sales funnel. All of your marketing efforts are often focused on bringing leads to this key page. Once there, you’ll need to encourage them to take that final step and make a purchase.

An example of a sales page.

While a sales page may often look simple, there’s an art to building one that’s effective. The sales page for the HTC Vive (pictured above) doesn’t just describe the product. It also creates a value proposition (“gifts worth over $100”), makes it easier to buy (“Pre-order”), and addresses potential misgivings (“Get details”).

How to Create a Perfect Sales Page (5 Key Tips)

When optimizing your sales page, it might help to think about it like an ad you’d see in a magazine. It has to be compelling enough to encourage people to read it, and it needs to give them all the information they require to make an educated decision.

Let’s take a look at some tips for doing just that!

1. Punch Up Your Headlines

On the web, most people scan each page in an “F” shape. They read headlines, loosely scan the body, and then look at the conclusion. This behavior has many ramifications, including that it’s a mistake to write your headlines solely for search engine optimization purposes.

Instead, headlines should be written first and foremost for human visitors. They need to be simple, interesting, provocative, and useful. Your goal is to deliver immediate value to the customer, describing what they stand to gain from purchasing the product or service on offer.

For example, this sales page has an obvious value proposition – you can make dinner faster:

An example of a strong headline on a sales page.

You can use tools such as CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer to improve your headlines, making them more evocative, emotional, and transparent.

2. Deliver a Clear Call To Action

A call to action (CTA) tells a customer what to do next. On a given landing page, your primary CTA could be:

  • “Call us for more information!”
  • “Start a live chat!”
  • “Sign up for our email newsletter!”
  • “Buy Now!”

A CTA increases conversion rates because it lets the customer know what the “next step” is. Any time a customer is uncertain, you risk losing the sale. They may get distracted, or they might just not know where to go or what to do.

If you look at the following landing page, you’ll see that the CTA (“Watch Demo”) is as straightforward and visible as possible:

An example of a CTA on a sales page.

On a sales page, your CTA is generally a “buy now” button. This element provides a simple, clear, and effective way to increase conversions.

3. When Possible, Personalize

80% of customers prefer websites that deliver personalized experiences – those that are tailored to each customer. By creating an experience that is more likely to be relevant, you can increase sales.

Some companies personalize their sales pages by tailoring them to each customer’s location. Other websites use tracking cookies to detect the user’s prior behavior (such as products they liked) so they can promote relevant items. The more information you have about a user, the more customized your page can be.

A personalized experience can be as simple as geographically targeting the user’s location, or as complex as tracking their prior purchases. If a user is already logged in to an account, they can also be addressed directly (“Welcome back Kim!”) to make your website feel less impersonal.

4. Add Reviews and Testimonials

Why should a customer trust you? They may have never heard of you or your product before. Fortunately, reviews and testimonials can build trust with a company in a way that other marketing techniques often cannot. When readers relate to a reviewer and their problems, it primes them to see your business as a solution.

For example, this slideshow of testimonials highlights how the product can improve a company’s operations:

An example of testimonials on a sales page.

Rather than just describing how their product can help, this business lets you see the perspective of their existing (happy) customers.

Therefore, it’s smart to consider adding some of your company’s best testimonials to your sales page. As potential customers dig further into information about your product, they’ll see that it has helped customers just like them.

5. Make Sure Your Page Works on Mobile Devices

Mobile sales make up about 73% of all sales today. Still, many companies build their websites on desktop computers or laptops. It’s easy to forget that a sales page doesn’t just need to function on a mobile device – it has to look just as good on small screens as on large ones.

One way to do this is to be deliberate about your “above the fold” content. This is the text, images, and other elements that appear immediately on a user’s screen before they scroll down the page. This content should make your primary value proposition clear, and should be short and simple so it’s immediately viewable to visitors on mobile devices.

It’s also important to test your landing page on all the platforms you can, including on mobile devices. A “responsive” or “mobile-friendly” design will tailor itself automatically to whatever platform is being used, rather than requiring multiple versions of the website for each platform.

Conclusion

Your sales page is an incredibly important stop on the buyer’s journey. It’s the best place to increase conversions, so you need to make sure it’s well designed, clear, and compelling.

You can improve your sales page by following these tips:

  1. Make your value proposition clear through better headlines.
  2. Deliver a clear CTA to encourage the customer to buy.
  3. Personalize your page to increase relevance and engagement.
  4. Add testimonials to build trust and legitimacy.
  5. Ensure that your page works properly across all platforms.

As a customer, what makes you stop at a sales page? What does it take to get you to convert? Comment below and tell us about your favorite tricks of the trade!

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

How to Accept Donations Online (Everything Nonprofits Need to Know)

Many people prefer to complete tasks online. From scheduling appointments to paying electric bills, if users can't do it virtually, they might not do it at all. This same mentality can hold true when it comes to making donations.

Fortunately, enabling your nonprofit to accept donations from your website is a simple process. In fact, once you're online, you may find it's easier and more effective than using mailers or in-person events.

In this post, we'll explore why you should consider accepting online donations. Then we'll show you how to receive contributions using Buy Now Plus. Let's get started!

Why You May Want to Accept Online Donations

These days, many people prefer online donations and don't always have cash or checks at hand. If you're not able to accept online contributions, you're making it difficult, if not impossible, for these people to support your organization.

Enabling online donations can also help you to reach a wider audience. Rather than relying on more traditional methods, you can share your website across social media and email campaigns.

You'll also make it easier for your followers to share your information with their own networks:

Austin Pets Alive has several donation buttons on its website.

Finally, handling donations online can cut down on your paper usage. You can reduce or eliminate your reliance on paper mailers, saving you money on postage costs.

Accepting online contributions is also a significant first step for transitioning to paperless bookkeeping. As such, this method can be advantageous for environmentally conscious businesses.

How to Accept Donations Online (In 3 Easy Steps)

Now that we've covered the benefits of accepting online donations, let's look at starting the process with Buy Now Plus.

1. Sign Up for Buy Now Plus

When you sign up for Buy Now Plus, you'll be asked to connect your Stripe account. This step provides you and your donors with a secure payment gateway.

If you don't have a Stripe account, you'll be able to create one during the Buy Now Plus setup process:

Signing up for a Buy Now Plus account.

If you already have a Stripe account but would like to create a new one for donations, you can also handle that at this time.

Buy Now Plus enables you to add more than one Stripe account, which could come in handy for organizing your accounting.

2. Design Your Donate Button

Now that you have your Buy Now Plus account ready, it's time to create your first donation button. Start by logging in to your account and navigating to the Buttons page. Then, click on the Add New button.

Here you can add the basic information about your button. This is also where you'll choose which Stripe account to use with it:

How to create a new button in Buy Now Plus

You may want to set the price to Variable using the dropdown menu. This setting enables your donors to choose how much they'd like to give.

Alternatively, you might create a few buttons with preset amounts to encourage donations:

Changing the price option from fixed to variable.

Under the Advanced tab, you can change the text on your button. You can also set a URL that will direct users to a new page once they complete their donations:

How to change the text on a donation button.

Once you're satisfied with your button, click on the Create button to save it.

3. Share Your Button Everywhere

Finally, you can start sharing your button with your network. Buy Now Plus makes it easy to embed your button anywhere you can add a link.

You may want to start by adding the button in a few places across your website. You might include one in your main navigation menu as well as above the fold on your homepage.

It's also a smart idea to create a landing page dedicated to accepting donations.

You can still share your donation button even if you don't have a website. If you're active on social media, that's a great place to start. You can also include a donation button in your email campaigns.

Regardless of where you'd like to place your button, the process is pretty similar. Simply click on the Share button to the right of your donation button. You'll see a pop up with a link and an embed code:

Embed options for Buy Now Plus.

You can also use the social buttons to go directly to the platforms you'd like to share on.

Conclusion

Accepting donations online can be a smart move for any nonprofit. Your donors will likely appreciate the convenience, and it may even save your organization some time and money. Best of all, it's easy to get set up using Buy Now Plus.

Let's recap the three steps to accepting online donations:

  1. Sign up for Buy Now Plus.
  2. Design your donate button.
  3. Share your button everywhere.

Do you have questions about receiving contributions online? Ask us in the comments section below!

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

How to Keep Your Ecommerce Customers Safe (4 Tips)

If you own an ecommerce business, chances are the threat of a data breach is never too far from your mind. This is no surprise, considering how serious the consequences can be when information falls into the wrong hands.

While the possibility of exposing user information is a scary one, you're certainly not powerless to keep your customers safe.

You can significantly lessen the chances of a data breach by processing payments securely and following other safety best practices.

In this post, we'll look at why protecting personal information is so important for ecommerce businesses. Then, we'll share four tips for keeping your customers safe. Let's go!

Why Protecting Customer Information is Crucial

Perhaps now more than ever, data privacy has become a central concern for anyone who spends time online. Unfortunately, this wariness is in response to a rising number of data breaches, which has been trending upwards since 2005.

Ecommerce sites may be especially attractive to bad actors as they're likely to store payment details as well as personal information.

Stolen data is not only a concern for the owners of the information, but it can also have serious consequences for your business.

The financial impact can be especially devastating, as the cost to recover can be pretty high. In 2020, the global average cost per data breach was $3.86 million.

In addition to taking a financial hit, you could lose the trust of your existing customers, who may take their business elsewhere. These customers may also warn their networks against doing business with you, resulting in further losses.

How to Keep Your Ecommerce Customers Safe (4 Tips)

Now that we've discussed the seriousness of a data breach, let's look at a few tips you can use to keep your business and customers safe.

1. Process Payments With Buy Now Plus

Since payment information is especially sensitive, you may want to make protecting it your first priority.

Using a tool like Buy Now Plus will not only make the buying process easier for your customers, but it will also provide additional security as it's built on top of Stripe:

Buy Now Plus uses Stripe to keep payments secure.

Stripe is a very secure payment solution. All transactions processed through it are Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protected to keep data safe while it's being transmitted. Moreover, credit card numbers are encrypted and kept secure in Stripe's data center.

Getting started with Buy Now Plus is quick and easy, even if you don't have a Stripe account yet. To get started, click on the Connect to Stripe button on the Buy Now Plus login page.

Then, you'll be prompted to enter the email associated with your Stripe account. If you don't have one, any email will do:

The login screen for Buy Now Plus.

On the next screen, you'll create a password for your Stripe account. You'll then need to secure your account using a mobile number. Enter the code that you'll receive via text to continue.

At this point, you can either connect to an existing Stripe account or create a new account to use with Buy Now Plus:

Connecting a Stripe account to Buy Now Plus.

Next, you'll need to enter some details about your business, as well as some personal information.

When you're ready, you can connect your new Stripe account to Buy Now Plus.

2. Control Access With Strong Passwords

Chances are you protect sensitive information with passwords, so you'll want to be sure they're up to the task. Your best strategy for this is to follow some simple password best practices:

  • Never use the same password for more than one account.
  • Ensure that passwords are both long and complex.
  • Change passwords regularly.
  • Avoid sharing passwords.
  • Never write passwords down.

You might also consider implementing Multi-Factor Authorization (MFA). MFA adds an additional security challenge after an individual has entered this password.

This challenge could be answering a security question, entering a pin, or using a one time password (OTP) provided via text or email.

If you'd like to add this functionality to your WordPress site, you can use a plugin called WP 2FA:

The WP 2FA plugin which adds two factor authorization.

This free plugin is easy to set up and supports several OTP-generating apps. You can also configure it to force users to set up MFA immediately or give them a grace period.

3. Collect Only the Information You Need

Simply put, hackers can't steal information that you don't have. For this reason, it's best that you only collect the information needed to provide an efficient service. Remember that you can always ask for additional details later.

Aside from security concerns, asking for too much data up front can contribute to a poor customer experience. The last thing you want is to be losing customers during your signup or checkout process.

If you've already collected information you don't need, you might want to delete it now.

You'll not only keep your customers safer, but this can also help you comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

Take the time to carefully consider what information you truly need. You may want to develop guidelines for the collection, storage, and eventual deletion of customer data.

Firm policies are beneficial if you work with a small team to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

4. Keep Your Software Up to Date

Outdated websites and software make desirable targets for hackers. Once word gets out about a vulnerability, it will likely be exploited quickly.

To keep your website safe, it's important to be vigilant about any updates developers release for the software and tools you use.

You'll want to be especially aware of any emergency patches which are often issued in response to a potential threat.

You can be even more proactive about this by regularly checking your software vendors' websites for any updates you may have missed. Ensuring that all of the plugins on your site are updated on a regular basis can help keep your site safe.

Conclusion

As the owner of an ecommerce business, you have an obligation to your customers to keep their private information secure. Fortunately, there are ways to protect both your customers and your company.

Let's recap the four tips we shared for protecting user data:

  • Process secure payments with Buy Now Plus.
  • Control access with strong passwords.
  • Collect only the information you need.
  • Keep your software up to date.

Do you still have questions about keeping your customers safe? Let us know in the comments section below!

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

How to Convert One-Time Shoppers into Loyal Customers (5 Tips)

Let's imagine that holiday sales were at an all-time high, and you started the year with a solid first quarter. However, as you scaled back on ads business began to slow considerably.

People are still buying from you, but you're surviving this quarter on a tiny group of repeat buyers.

By improving your brand's reputation and providing your customers with extra value, you can avoid that scenario and attract a larger base of loyal customers who keep coming back again and again.

Over time, this can stabilize sales throughout the year, helping your business get through those seasonal slumps more gracefully.

In this post, we'll share five tips to help you convert one-time shoppers into loyal customers without adding a lot of extra marketing costs. Let's dive in!

1. Start an Email List

Roughly 60% of customers prefer brands to contact them via email. It’s an easy, unobtrusive way to reach people.

An email list shouldn’t be pushy or make users feel like they have to sign up. Instead, you may want to give each customer an incentive to join, such as a discount on their next purchase:

An example of a signup page that offers discounts.

The example above is a simple and clean signup form that asks for nothing but your email address. It also offers a clear benefit – a 10% off code when you sign up.

However, once you gain a new subscriber, you'll need to keep them on your list. Let's take a look at two effective ways to retain subscribers.

Create a “Welcome” Automation

Creating welcome automations might be the best way to convert your time into value. They’re quick and easy to set up, and you can change the content to keep it relevant over time.

Some email list service providers like ActiveCampaign and Mailchimp offer straightforward ways to set up these automations. They also have a wealth of resources for writing welcome emails that convert.

Your initial email should include some information about your brand and what kind of content subscribers can expect from you. You can also add links to resources, flagship products, and your social media accounts.

Offer Discounts to Subscribers

Another effective way to retain subscribers is by offering discounts or freebies. Your discount doesn’t have to be anything big: 10-15% is common. If you’re offering freebies, this might be a test drive of your product or free samples.

Of course, you’ll want to make sure that customers have a reason to remain subscribed to your newsletter.

Follow up with great content they can look forward to, as well as regular offers and goodies. That way, customers are more likely to stick around for the long term.

2. Use Recurring Payments

Recurring payments are a great way to keep customers engaged and deliver their favorite products every month. Therefore, you may want to consider offering subscriptions to your best selling items:

An example of a subscription service

As you can see in the example above, Shaker & Spoon delivers all the mixes and other fixings to help spruce up your drinks. Every drink has a background story, and they’ll teach you how to make it just like the pros.

If you’re looking to introduce customers to new products, you can also provide a subscription box service. For example, if you run an online food shop, you could deliver a mix of snacks or ingredients on a monthly basis.

3. Collect Feedback and Feature Reviews

Reviews can help you gain the trust of new customers and get a holistic picture of the customer journey. You can use this info to improve the customer experience and see if there are any concerns you need to address.

The simple act of asking for feedback shows customers that you care and are dedicated to making improvements. People appreciate being asked for their thoughts, especially if they feel that they’re contributing to your success.

It's important that you make it easy for buyers to leave reviews. For instance, you could include feedback forms on your site, or enable reviews through third-party platforms such as Google My Business:

An example of a feedback form

Surveys are another great way to collect feedback and testimonials. You can email customers a link to a short survey that asks about their shopping experience.

WordPress form plugins like WPForms make creating and managing these types of surveys super easy.

Moreover, you can ask customers if they would be interested in being contacted for a testimonial. You can then feature these testimonials on your website, email copy, or social media pages.

4. Provide a Frictionless Shopping Experience

According to recent studies, shopping cart abandonment rates sit at almost 70%. One of the leading causes of this phenomenon is a long, complicated checkout process.

An easy checkout process can help you drive higher conversions. It can also encourage users to make additional purchases from your store.

Therefore, you want to make sure your site visitors are able to process their orders in a quick and efficient manner, without having to sign up for an account or being directed to other pages.

Fortunately, Buy Now Plus can help you simplify the checkout process with powerful buy now buttons. You can even cut out some extra steps and take users straight to the checkout page to complete their orders.

5. Set Up an Affiliate Program

Affiliate marketing allows publishers and influencers to promote your products for a cut of the profits. For instance, you can give affiliates the option to advertise your products using trackable links or discount codes associated with their accounts:

An example of an affiliate program application

This strategy helps you build a loyal customer base, especially if you’re also offering discounts to affiliates on top of their normal commissions.

It can also help you reach a wider audience, and thus increase your sales.

You can easily set up an affiliate program on your existing WordPress site using a plugin like Easy Affiliate. This tool also enables you to track your conversions, process your program applications, and manage your members more efficiently.

Conclusion

Building a loyal clientele is a long-term game. However, by implementing a few effective strategies, you should be able to convert most of your first-time buyers into repeat customers.

In this post, we shared five tips to help you retain your customers:

  1. Start an email list that introduces your brand and provides additional value.
  2. Use recurring payments for frequently bought products, and offer subscriptions boxes.
  3. Collect and share reviews to help customers connect with your brand and gain their trust.
  4. Provide a frictionless shopping experience by streamlining the checkout process with Buy Now Plus.
  5. Set up an affiliate program with Easy Affiliate and offer discounts to your members.

Do you have any questions on how to convert one-time shoppers into loyal customers? 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 Create a High-Converting Facebook Ad (3 Proven Tips)

As one of the world’s biggest social networks, Facebook Ads is the perfect way to connect with new customers and grow your audience. However, you’ll also face some stiff competition – in 2020, ten million advertisers used Facebook to promote their products and services.

Fortunately, there are tried-and-tested techniques that you can use to create high-converting Facebook Ads. By optimizing your advertisements, you should be able to attract the attention of social media users and convince them to interact with your ads. 

In this post, we’ll explore the reasons why so many businesses are investing billions into Facebook advertising campaigns. We’ll then share three tips for crafting show-stopping ads. Let’s get started!

An Introduction to Facebook Ads (And Why You May Want to Use Them)

With a built-in community of roughly 2.89 billion monthly active users, Facebook is the biggest social network in the world. Today, countless businesses use Facebook to promote their products and services.

Thanks to services such as Buy Now Plus, it’s even possible to sell on this platform directly, with no website required.

If you really want to drive conversions, then you may want to consider running a Facebook Ad. This is paid content that appears in the desktop or mobile version of the News Feed:

An example of a Facebook Advertisement.

Facebook also displays ads in its right-hand column. If you're a mobile app advertiser, then your ad may even appear outside of Facebook, via the Audience Network

When it comes to crafting the perfect ad, Facebook is a flexible platform. You can include everything from text and photos, to videos, special offers, and even events. This enables you to get creative and craft advertisements that will stop Facebook users in their tracks. 

With a huge audience, Facebook Ads can be very beneficial for new stores who are looking to secure their first sales, but also established businesses who want to grow their audience.

With the average internet user spending 145 minutes on social media every day, Facebook can also help keep your customers engaged over the long term.

As an established social network, Facebook has a wealth of information about all of its users. You can leverage this data to create highly targeted advertising campaigns.

This combination of a huge global user base and powerful targeting options makes Facebook Ads an excellent platform for driving sales. To get started, head over to the Facebook Ads Manager:

The Facebook Ads Manager dashboard

In this dashboard, select Create. Then, simply follow the onscreen instructions to craft your first Facebook Ad. 

How to Create a High-Converting Facebook Advertisement (3 Proven Tips)

The Facebook Ads Manager does a good job of guiding you through creating your first ad. However, if you’re really going to smash your goals, then it helps to have some tricks up your sleeve.

Here are three proven tips for creating high-converting Facebook ads.

1. Run Targeted Campaigns

Your typical Facebook user shares a lot of information. You can put this data to good use by creating targeted ads. This can deliver higher conversions, by only serving ads to people who are likely to make a purchase.

When creating your advertisement, you’ll have the option to target users based on their location, age, and gender. You can also target people based on their interests. This includes everything from sports to vegan food, meditation, and even specific hobbies:

Selecting the interests of your target audience in Facebook ads.

You can also target users based on behavior data. This includes their prior purchases, political views, and whether they have an anniversary coming up in the next 61-90 days:

Facebook's targeted audience settings.

Alternatively, Ads Manager has a Lookalike Audience feature. You can use this to reach individuals who are similar to your most engaged existing customers:

Facebook's Lookalike Audience settings.

Lookalikes can be a powerful way to connect with people who are likely to be interested in your business. When creating your Lookalike Audience, you’ll be asked to choose a source audience. Facebook will then search for people who have similar qualities to the people in the provided source.

You can also choose the size of your Lookalike Audience. Opting for a larger audience increases your potential reach, but may reduce the level of similarity between the Lookalike and your source.

By contrast, choosing a smaller audience will more closely match your source, but it may result in fewer people seeing your ads. 

2. Experiment With the Structure of Your Ad

Many businesses choose to structure their Facebook Ads as a single image or video. However, there are other formats available, including carousel ads and collections: 

A carousel Facebook advertisement.

Carousel combines multiple videos or images into a single ad placement. This is ideal if you want to create a showreel featuring all your best products or most popular services.

You can also use this format to display social proof, including multiple customer testimonials or reviews. This can be an effective way to convince new customers to take a chance on your brand. 

Meanwhile, Facebook Collection is a group of items. This can be a dynamic and engaging way to highlight all the features of a particular product, or for displaying multiple items in a single placement. 

When the user clicks this ad, it will expand into a full-screen, scrollable Instant Experience, formerly called Canvas. This also makes Collection a great tool for encouraging new customers to explore your brand and learn more about what you have to offer.

3. Optimize Your Facebook Advertisement With A/B Testing

Creating a high-converting Facebook advertisement can be a challenge. Every target audience is unique, and it isn’t always easy to predict the kind of content that your customers will respond most positively to.

That’s where A/B testing comes in. This enables you to create variations of the same advertisement:

A/B testing in Facebook

You can then monitor the results, and pinpoint the variation that’s delivering the highest conversion rates. For example, you might experiment with different calls to action (CTAs) to see which one achieves the highest click through rate (CTR). 

Then, you can simply deactivate the under-performing variations and invest all of your time and effort (and advertising budget) into the ad that’s providing the best results. Therefore, A/B testing can remove the element of guesswork associated with designing a successful Facebook Ad.

By testing a large number of variations in quick succession, you can quickly build up a detailed picture of your target audience’s advertising preferences. This is an invaluable insight that you can use to improve your future campaigns.

Conclusion 

It’s impossible to overestimate Facebook’s potential for expanding your reach, building brand awareness, and boosting your bottom line.

If you’re not advertising on Facebook, you’re almost certainly missing out on dozens, or perhaps even hundreds of sales.

Let’s quickly recap three proven tips for creating a high-converting Facebook advertisement:

  1. Run targeted campaigns.
  2. Experiment with the structure of your ad.
  3. Optimize your Facebook advertisement with A/B testing.

Do you have any questions about advertising on Facebook? Let us know in the comments section below!

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

How to Choose the Right Payment Gateway for Your Online Business

A recent survey shows that 68% of online shoppers abandon their carts. As a business owner, you may be looking for an effective way to encourage more users to complete their orders in your ecommerce store. 

Fortunately, the right payment gateway can help you increase your conversions. By choosing an efficient platform for online transactions, you can provide a better User Experience (UX) and a safer checkout process.

This may, in turn, help reduce your cart abandonment rate.  

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at payment gateways and the different options available. We’ll also cover the key factors to consider when choosing a payment solution for your store. Let’s get started!

An Introduction to Payment Gateways

A payment gateway enables online transactions between shoppers and merchants. Typically, this service requires a user to enter their details to finalize a purchase:

An example of a payment gateway

The gateway then verifies this information and processes the payment. This facilitates the secure transfer of funds from the buyer’s account to the seller’s account.

There are different types of payment gateways available to online sellers. Let’s take a look at the most popular ones. 

Classic vs. Modern Payment Gateways

Some sellers use classic gateways such as Worldpay and Authorize.net to process credit card payments. They tend to have lower transaction fees than other available options. Moreover, they enable buyers to complete a purchase without leaving the merchant’s site.

However, classic gateways normally require store owners to open a merchant account with a bank. They can also be a bit difficult to set up. 

Meanwhile, modern payment gateways such as PayPal provide more efficient service and are very easy to set up. Sellers don’t need to create merchant accounts for these gateways – they can simply integrate them with existing bank accounts.

The downside is that these gateways tend to direct customers to their own platforms, which can harm your conversions.

Moreover, they normally charge higher fees per transaction, so they might not be the most cost-effective choices for larger businesses. 

Hosted vs. Non-Hosted Gateways

As we have seen, a payment gateway can be hosted on a third-party site or integrated into your own store.

A hosted gateway takes care of the entire transaction process. It also has measures in place to prevent fraud and ensure data protection. Thus, it offers both sellers and merchants peace of mind.  

However, some users may be wary of being directed to platforms that they’re not familiar with. This may result in them abandoning their purchases and doing their shopping elsewhere. 

On the other hand, if you enable shoppers to enter their payment details directly on your site, you may experience higher conversions.

A non-hosted gateway can blend seamlessly into your store, projecting a more professional image and helping you build trust with your customers. 

However, using one of these gateways means you’re responsible for protecting your customer’s data. You’ll also need to ensure that all transactions are secure and watch out for fraudulent activities. 

How to Find the Right Payment Gateway for Your Business

Every store has its own needs. However, there are some things that every online seller should consider when choosing a payment gateway for their store.

The first is security. For your own safety and that of your clients, you’ll need to ensure that your chosen payment method follows the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS):

The homepage of the PCI Security Standards Council

Another thing to consider is efficiency. Around 18% of customers who abandon their shopping carts do so due to prolonged and complicated checkout processes. Thus, it’s important to choose a payment gateway that facilitates quick and efficient transactions. 

On the same note, you’ll want to ensure that the payment gateway is accessible and easy to use on different platforms. If most traffic to your site comes from mobile devices, it’s a good idea to choose an option that enables swift transactions. 

For instance, some mobile phone users may feel frustrated if they have to enter their credit card details into multiple small fields. Therefore, you may want to opt for a service that enables customers to complete purchases in just a few clicks. 

Finally, you’ll need to look at the transaction fees. Depending on the size of your business, some solutions may be more cost-effective than others.

For example, classic gateways may be more viable for large companies. Meanwhile, modern gateways might be more suitable for smaller stores. 

3 Popular Payment Gateways

Choosing the right payment gateway for your store can help you reduce your cart abandonment rates and retain your customers. Let’s look at three popular options to consider. 

1. PayPal

PayPal Business homepage

PayPal is one of the most popular payment methods among online shoppers. This platform enables users to purchase using the funds in their digital wallets linked to their bank accounts. 

Pros:

  • It is a secure and trusted platform, which can help you boost conversions.
  • It’s very easy to set up.
  • It supports payments from most countries and currencies.
  • You can use it to set up recurring payments.

Cons:

  • There is limited online support available. 
  • PayPal may freeze or suspend your account if there is suspicious activity.
  • The platform has high chargeback fees.

Transaction fees: 2.9% per transaction on standard credit card payments. 

2. Amazon Pay

Amazon Pay for Business

Another popular option is Amazon Pay. This service provides a quick transaction process by using data stored in the user’s Amazon account to finalize online orders. 

Pros:

  • It enables seamless payments on different platforms.
  • It stores payment and shipping details to make the transactions simpler.
  • The platform includes Amazon fraud protection.
  • It is user-friendly.

Cons:

  • Its accessibility is limited to Amazon users.
  • It has a long signup process for merchants.
  • Amazon Pay may shut down your account on suspicion of violating its terms.

Transaction fees: 2.9% per transaction, plus an additional $0.30. Fees for international transactions go up to 3.9%.

3. Stripe

Stripe homepage

Stripe is a powerful solution for any type of ecommerce site. Besides enabling merchants to process transactions efficiently, it also offers top-notch security and protects businesses against fraud. 

Moreover, you can use Stripe with our Buy Now Plus plugin to create PayPal-style buy now buttons for your store and customize them to match your branding. Additionally, you can sell products directly on social media – no website required! 

Pros:

  • It has an accessible and helpful customer support team.
  • Stripe gives you access to multiple reports and customer data.
  • The interface is user-friendly.

Cons:

  • Its refunds do not include processing fees.

Transaction fees: 2.9% per transaction, plus an additional $0.30.

Conclusion

Choosing the right payment gateway for your online store can help you increase your conversions and reduce your cart abandonment rate. It’s important to opt for a platform that is secure, cost-effective, and easy to use.

One powerful option for ecommerce businesses is Stripe. This popular payment gateway facilitates efficient and secure credit card payments. It also protects merchants against fraudulent transactions.

Moreover, you can connect your Stripe account with Buy Now Plus to add high-converting buy now buttons to your store and social media pages.

Do you have any questions about finding the right payment gateway for your business? Let us know in the comments section below!

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

How to Sell on Social Media – Even Without a Website

With an audience of over 3.6 billion, social media is a popular platform among online sellers. However, many fall into the trap of assuming that, before you can unlock the true power of social platforms, you need a website.

This is far from true. Today, many business owners sell to customers around the globe, without splashing out on web hosting, a domain name, or any of the costs typically associated with running a successful ecommerce site.

In this post, we’ll look at why Twitter, Facebook, and other popular social platforms are revolutionizing the ecommerce industry. We’ll then share three ways to sell products on social media, with no website required. Let’s get started! 

Why You May Want to Sell Products on Social Media

Social media is a powerful tool for building brand awareness and promoting your products. However, you can take things one step further and sell products directly on social platforms – even if you don’t have a website. 

There are several reasons to use social media as your primary ecommerce channel. First, you can sign up for all of the major social media platforms for free.

Even if you have zero budget, you can create a Facebook account and promote your products to 2.80 billion active users.

By contrast, launching an online store requires you to purchase a domain name and invest in web hosting. You may even need to enlist the services of professional designers and developers. 

In addition, social platforms often come with built-in analytics and tools. This includes Facebook Audience Insights:

Facebook Insights can help you sell products on social media.

By using these tools to continuously analyze and evaluate key metrics, you can identify the content and activities that deliver the highest conversions. You can then use this data to optimize your future social media strategies and secure even more sales.

When you operate an ecommerce site, you’ll often have to invest time and effort into implementing third-party analytics. For example, many website owners use Google Analytics with their WordPress website:

The Google Analytics dashboard.

This setup requires time and effort. Depending on the tool you choose, you may even need to purchase a license or pay a subscription fee. 

In addition, social media is a time-sensitive platform, which makes it ideal for encouraging impulse purchases.

Someone scanning social media may spot your product and decide to purchase it before it gets lost in their timeline. By tapping into this spur-of-the-moment decision making, you may be able to boost your sales.

How to Sell Products on Social Media (3 Ways)

Social media offers an opportunity for online sellers to make more money. However, it’s not enough to simply publish posts about your products.

To help you make the most of this golden opportunity, here are three effective ways to sell products on social media.

1. Post to Facebook Marketplace 

Facebook Marketplace comes with a built-in audience of one billion customers. You can use this peer-to-peer marketplace to sell your products directly on Facebook:

You can sell products on social media using Facebook Marketplace.

Users will see Marketplace ads in their timeline and in their recently viewed items. This gives you a chance to catch the eye of potential new customers, without relying on them to specifically search for your products or brand. 

There’s no fee for listing items on this platform. This makes Facebook Marketplace one of the most affordable options for selling products on social media.

Facebook Marketplace is far from unique, as there are hundreds of online marketplaces to choose from. However, not every customer will feel comfortable purchasing from strangers on sites such as the Craigslist classified ads site.

Some websites even have a reputation for being filled with scammers and people pretending to be someone they’re not.

Here, Facebook Marketplace has a huge advantage. Each buyer and seller is connected to a personal or business Facebook account. This level of transparency can make even the most suspicious of customers feel comfortable making an online purchase.

2. Join an Affiliate Program

It’s possible to sell products without an inventory. By becoming an affiliate partner, you can promote a merchant’s products to your followers and get a cut of every successful sale. 

A quick search will reveal hundreds of affiliate programs that you can join. The key to generating the maximum revenue is finding the affiliate program that’s the best fit for your target audience

To start, it helps to consider the platform’s general user base. For example, 41% of TikTok users are aged between 16 and 24. If you’re planning to post your affiliate links to TikTok, then you’ll need products that appeal to this demographic.

It’s also important to find products that fit with your established brand. This will make your promotions feel more authentic, which can help drive conversions. 

Most of the big platforms have built-in analytics that you can use to learn more about your followers. For example, you can use Twitter Analytics to explore your audience’s locations and interests:

The Twitter Analytics dashboard.

This information can help you find brands and products that resonate with your followers. After enrolling in a program, your merchant will provide affiliate links.

However, these URLs can be long and complex. To make these links more shareable, you may want to consider using a link cloaking plugin such as Pretty Links

3. Add Buy Now Buttons to Your Social Content

Social media is designed to be a rapid-fire tool, where people discuss events and respond to posts in real time. This time pressure already makes social media a great platform for promoting your products.

However, you can increase this sense of urgency by adding buy now buttons to your posts:

An example of a Buy Now button.

You can use our Buy Now Plus service to create a range of cross-platform, social media-friendly buy now buttons. This service integrates with Stripe, so your followers can fast-track straight to a Stripe-powered checkout and complete their purchase within seconds.

Thanks to this integration, you can even accept credit card payments without a website:

The Stripe checkout.

The complexity of the checkout process can have a huge impact on your cart abandonment rates. In fact, 34% of shoppers will abandon their cart if they’re forced to create an account. By helping you simplify the checkout process, Buy Now Plus can also help you boost your conversion rate. 

Conclusion 

We all know that social media is a powerful tool for raising brand awareness and promoting your products. However, you can take this one step further and complete the sales transaction entirely on your chosen social platform. 

In this post, we looked at three effective ways to sell products directly on social media, without having to set up an online store:

  1. Post to Facebook Marketplace (for free!).
  2. Join an affiliate program and promote products to the right audience.
  3. Add buy now buttons to your social content, using a tool such as Buy Now Plus.

Do you have any questions about how to run a successful ecommerce business without a website? Let us know in the comments section below!

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

How to Monetize Your Blog (4 Revenue-Generating Tips)

Thanks to the rise of user-friendly content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress, it’s never been easier to create a blog. However, you may want to convert all of that time and effort into cash at some point. 

Fortunately, there are lots of ways to make money as a blogger. If you’re generating a healthy amount of traffic, you’re in a prime position to turn your visitors into revenue. 

In this post, we’ll discuss why so many people are monetizing their blogs. We’ll then share three of our favorite revenue-generating tips. Let’s get started!

Why You Should Consider Monetizing Your Blog

There are many different reasons why people decide to start a blog. You might have dreamed about monetization all along. Alternatively, perhaps you’re knowledgeable about a particular subject and want to share your passion with the world:

An example of a passion blog about growing succulents.

You might even use your posts as part of a content marketing strategy for a related business. 

Regardless of why you started blogging, running a successful blog requires time and effort. At some point, you may want to be reimbursed for all your hard work.

Blogging can also turn into an expensive hobby. While there are plenty of free tools, you’ll usually end up investing some hard-earned cash into your blog. 

Most commonly, these costs include purchasing web hosting and a domain name. However, you can also incur additional miscellaneous fees.

For example, you may pay for specialist training to help grow your audience. Alternatively, you might run advertising campaigns on popular platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or Google.

By monetizing your blog, you can recoup some of these costs and perhaps even turn a profit.

While blogging is a hugely competitive industry, it’s still possible to convert a popular site into an additional revenue stream. You might even achieve the ultimate dream and trade your job for a career as a full-time blogger.

How to Monetize Your Blog (4 Revenue-Generating Tips)

If your blog has an audience, there are many ways to convert those visitors into revenue. Here are three ways to earn money from blogging.

1. Use a Paywall Plugin

As with any product, one of the easiest and most straightforward ways to make money off your content is to sell it.

If you have a WordPress site (and what blogger doesn't?), a high-quality paywall plugin is your best bet. The most popular one out there is MemberPress – and for good reason.

The MemberPress homepage.

The plugin is super easy to use, requires no coding, and lets you do things like…

  • Create a new paywalled site
  • Add subscriptions to your existing site
  • Use super customized paywalling with flexible sampling (lead-in, metered, and hard paywalls) like The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times, for example
  • Create and sell online courses
  • Build a dedicated community
  • Accept credit cards and digital wallet payments right on your site

The real beauty of MemberPress is in its Content Protection Rules and Memberships functions.

Through Content Protection Rules, you can really drill down how you monetize your content. You can protect…

  • All content – Your entire website
  • Posts categorized and posts tagged – All content under a specific category or tag
  • Single posts – Any individual post
  • All posts – All posts except those you specify as exempt
  • Custom URIs – Specific URLs (super useful if you want to restrict content like ebooks or digital downloads)
  • Custom post types – Any custom post type you create

MemberPress basically makes your blog work like any of the big, fancy online publications out there. And if you run into any issues with the plugin – or your site in general – reach out to the MemberPress wizards over at WP Tech Support.

2. Become an Affiliate Marketer

As an affiliate marketer, you’ll partner with third-party businesses and promote their products and services via your blog. You’ll earn a commission for all sales originating from your unique affiliate links. 

Affiliate marketing is big business. With annual spending estimated at $12 billion, bloggers have a huge opportunity to make money online. 

A quick search will reveal hundreds of affiliate programs that you can join. To help drive conversions, we recommend searching for a partner or products that will appeal to your existing readership.

If you’re unsure about your audience demographics, then you can learn more about your visitors using a tool such as Google Analytics:

The Google Analytics dashboard.

It’s also wise to feature products related to your blog’s content. For example, if you write about your experiences as a parent, it may make sense to promote baby-themed products.

These relevant promotions will make your affiliate links feel more authentic, which can help drive conversions.

While using affiliate marketing is one of the most popular ways to generate money from blogging, affiliate URLs aren’t always pretty.

These links are often long and complex with obvious tracking codes. They can be off-putting to your readers, who may even wonder whether these odd-looking URLs are spam.

For this reason, we recommend simplifying your affiliate URLs using a link shortener such as the Pretty Links plugin:

Monetize your blog using the Pretty Links plugin.

With Pretty Links, you don't have to worry about lengthy URLs scaring your readers away. Simply enter the target link into the dashboard. Then, the plugin will generate a shorter, neater alternative, ready for you to post to your blog.

3. Enrol in an Advertising Network

Many businesses, including blogs, generate revenue by selling advertising space. There are various ad networks, but Google AdSense is one of the biggest platforms. In fact, it is used by over 38 million blogs and websites.

All of Google’s ads are mobile-responsive, so you can earn revenue regardless of whether readers are using a desktop, smartphone, or tablet.

Google even tailors these adverts based on the visitor’s geographical location, which is great for driving conversions.

There are multiple ways to display Google advertisements on your blog, but WordPress users may want to check out Site Kit. This plugin adds a range of popular Google services to your WordPress dashboard, including Google AdSense:

The Google Site Kit plugin.

After activating and configuring this plugin, you’ll need to wait for Google to approve your blog. However, as soon as you get the go-ahead, it will start displaying ads across your site.

Site Kit will even optimize your advertisements automatically by determining their optimal sizes, types, and placements. With this tool, you can avoid alienating your readers by displaying intrusive or irrelevant adverts. 

4. Add Buy Now Buttons to Your Blog Posts

Some of the biggest websites in the world use buy now buttons to encourage visitors to make a purchase. These buttons simplify the purchasing process by enabling customers to jump straight to checkout:

An example of a buy now button.

Although they’re commonly associated with ecommerce giants such as Amazon and eBay, you can add buy now buttons to your blog posts. If you sell products or services in addition to writing articles, these buttons can convert your readers into customers.

Alternatively, you can use buy now buttons to promote your affiliate URLs if you're part of an affiliate network. 

Even if you don’t have any products to promote, you can still monetize your site using buy now buttons. Many writers publish blogs for free but ask visitors to donate if they enjoyed the content.

If you create your buttons using a flexible service such as our Buy Now Plus plugin, then it’s easy to transform them into donation prompts: 

The Buy Now Plus dashboard.

By simply changing the button’s label, you can start accepting donations. Buy Now Plus even supports variable pricing, so your readers can choose how much money to send you. This flexibility may result in more contributions. 

Conclusion

Creating a successful blog takes time and dedication. At some point, you may want to be reimbursed for all of your hard work. 

Let’s quickly recap three ways to monetize your blog:

  1. Become an affiliate marketer, using a plugin such as Pretty Links.
  2. Enrol in an advertising network.
  3. Add buy now buttons to your blog posts, with our Buy Now Plus service.

Do you have any questions about how to make money as a blogger? Let us know in the comments section below!

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

How to Use Stripe Reports to Grow Your Business

A quick glance at the Stripe dashboard is all it takes to get an overview of your finances. However, if you really want to maximize your profits, then it’s time to dig deeper. 

Fortunately, the Stripe platform has everything you need to generate in-depth reports. Armed with this information, you’ll be able to see the impact of all your marketing and advertising activities.

You might even be able to root out suspicious payments, including fraudsters.

In this post, we’ll explore the purpose of Stripe reports and why they’re essential for achieving success.

We’ll then show you how to generate the detailed financial accounts you need to help your business reach its full potential. Let’s get started!

An Introduction to Stripe Reports (And Why They’re Important)

Payments are the lifeblood of your business, so it’s vital that you monitor them carefully. This is where Stripe reports come in. 

Stripe’s reports generally fall into two categories. Firstly, balance reports are an itemized list of all the transactions made from your account, similar to a traditional bank statement:

An example of a Stripe report.

Meanwhile, the payout reconciliation report helps you match the payments received in your bank account with the activity in your Stripe account.

As such, payout reconciliation reports can be handy if you use Stripe to make payments via a business bank account. Note that these documents are only available if you have automatic payouts enabled. 

By analyzing these reports, you can gain a deeper insight into your customers. You may also identify opportunities to increase your sales.

For example, some data might indicate that you’re attracting high traffic from a particular region. In this scenario, you might devise marketing strategies that specifically target this demographic. Therefore, you could convert this influx of visitors into paying customers. 

Additionally, Stripe reports can help you zero in on fraudulent activity. You can then take steps to limit the financial impact on your business. 

The Two Types of Stripe Reports (And How They Work)

To take a closer look at Stripe’s reports, log into your dashboard and select Reports from the left-hand menu.

Once you’re there, you’re ready to explore Stripe’s payment reconciliation and balance reports in more detail. Let’s dive in! 

1. Stripe’s Balance Report 

To export your balance report, navigate to Reports > Balance in the Stripe dashboard. You can then use the controls to set a date range.

The Stripe dashboard will update to display your starting and ending balance for the selected period. It will also show a high-level summary of your activity during this period. This data can be useful for getting a quick overview of your finances. 

For a more in-depth look, click on Download. This launches a popup where you can specify the number of columns to include in your report: 

The Stripe Report dashboard.

Next, click on Show. You can then choose which columns to display in your report: 

Stripe's Download Report dialog.

When you’re happy with your settings, click on Download. Stripe will now generate your report as a Comma-Separated Values (CSV) file.

This document can help evaluate your cash flow by displaying each reporting category's gross, fee, and net values.

The report can also help you to calculate Stripe fees. This process isn't always easy, because increasing the overall sales also raises the corresponding Stripe charge.

However, monitoring the balance report ensures that you’re passing the appropriate fee on to your customers. You may also want to use this document when seeking external funding, such from as a shareholder or investor. 

2. Payout Reconciliation Report

Navigate back to the Reports tab and select Payment Reconciliation. Then, select a date range.

This section will now update to display a breakdown of the automatic payouts received during this period, grouped into reporting categories.

You can then select Download. At this point, you have the option to download a Summary. This is the data displayed in the Payout Reconciliation section of the Stripe dashboard:

The Payout Reconciliation export settings.

Alternatively, you can select Itemized. This will download a complete list of the individual transactions that are summarized in the Stripe dashboard.

If you select this option, then you can choose which reporting categories to include:

The charges and refunds settings, in the Stripe Report dashboard.

Charges include payments from cards plus any other payment methods. If you’re authorizing and capturing payments separately, then only the selected charges will be included here.

Meanwhile, Refunds will display data for all the payments you’ve refunded to your customers. Just be aware that this doesn’t include charge failures or partial capture reversals. 

After making this decision, you can use the Columns and Show/Hide controls to specify which data to include in your report. Then, click on Download

Reconciliation is an important accounting process that ensures the money spent or earned matches the money leaving or entering your account.

After generating this document, you may want to check for fraudulent activity or financial statement errors. For example, you can use source_id to connect a transaction to a particular Stripe object.

You can also use subscription_id to pinpoint how many sales come from billing subscriptions connected to your Stripe account.

How to Get the Most Out of Stripe Reports

It’s wise to check your Stripe reports regularly. This puts you in a strong position to identify any suspicious activity before it causes irreparable damage to your business. 

This data can also help you evaluate the success of your marketing and advertising efforts. For this reason, it could be smart to schedule a review following all major campaigns.

However, you can also refer to Stripe’s reports throughout your campaigns. In this way, you can refine and optimize your in-progress marketing and advertising strategies to deliver even better results.

Since these reports contain such a wealth of information, it’s important to share your findings with other departments.

Wherever possible, we recommend sharing the raw data. Your co-workers may have a unique insight or interpretation of the results.

If you’re using other financial tools, you may want to consider integrating them with your reports. By doing so, you can have a single location to analyze all of your financial data.

If you’re using QuickBooks accounting software or the cloud-based NetSuite, then you'll be happy to know that Stripe reports are compatible with both tools. 

Conclusion

Keeping a close eye on your funds is essential for any business owner. While the Stripe dashboard does provide an overview, you could benefit from analyzing detailed data records.

To help you assess the health of your business, let’s recap the two categories of Stripe reports: 

  1. Balance report: This itemized Comma-Separated Values (CSV) file can help evaluate your cash flow and accurately calculate Stripe fees. 
  2. Payout reconciliation report: A breakdown of the automatic payouts received in your bank account. It is ideal for identifying suspicious activity, including potential fraudsters. 

Do you have any other questions about how to get the most out of Stripe reports? Let us know in the comments section below!

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

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