Tag Archives: Internet

3 Tips to Help you get Paid like a Pro with your e-commerce site 1 Aug

eCommerce: 3 Tips to Help you get Paid like a Pro

Collecting payment online through an eCommerce site has never been easier!

Making sales online without a way to get paid immediately is like opening a corner market and asking people to mail in a check — then waiting for it to clear before they can take home their fresh tomatoes. They want their produce now, and so do people who want to download your eBook or buy your product or service.

In short, in an era of instant gratification, businesses need to be able to serve up what’s on the menu before customers leave your store.

That’s great, you might say, but just exactly how does someone who’s just starting out take online payments? Doesn’t it require a merchant account with a major bank? Well, yes—and no.

That’s because at times a merchant account is the perfect solution. We’ll come back to it shortly. First, let’s talk about how to get paid when you’re new to the eCommerce game.

The all-in-one solution

Let’s say you sell T-shirts. They come in various styles, colors and sizes. You know you can’t just post a list of what you have on a web page and ask people to send an email outlining what they want, along with a personal check. That might work for a limited, one-time distribution for a specific event. But it would not be a practical way to run your business.

Fortunately, many ready-made online store options are available, including GoDaddy’s Online Store. In addition to providing a place to showcase your T-shirts, you are immediately able to collect payment through PayPal and all major credits cards. Funds will automatically transfer into your bank accounts.

By using this type of all-in-one eCommerce solution, you get a seamless way to collect payment.

For those entrepreneurs who prefer to let someone else get their hands dirty in site development, look for a reputable company that offers professionally built eCommerce solutions that include baked-on payment process (like GoDaddy’s Web Store Design Service).  Either way, you’ll have an automated way to collect money — so you can get paid.

The point-of-sale solution

We get it. Not all sales take place online. Whether you set up shop at ever-changing weekend festivals or showcase your T-shirts at the same mall kiosk day in and day out, you need a dependable way to accept a variety of payment types. Enter the point-of-sale (POS) solution.

From mobile credit card readers and apps like Square and PayPal to robust online bookkeeping tools with mobile payment capabilities, you’ve got plenty of POS options. Just be sure whatever point-of-sale solution you choose includes the following features:

  • Affordable. Look at costs including monthly fees and swipe rates.
  • Easy to use.
  • E-commerce integration.
  • 24/7 customer support.

As a busy business owner you’ll likely also benefit from time-saving features such as inventory management and industry-specific functionality like bill splitting for restaurants. It’s worth a bit of extra time to settle on a solution that’s the right fit for your and your business.

The CMS solution

Maybe you want to sell products from a website built on a Content Management System (CMS)  such as WordPress. In that case, you’ll need a few special parts:

  • Reliable web hosting, where you can install your CMS software. Be sure to choose a hosting provider (like GoDaddy for Managed WordPress) that guarantees uptime, keeps a close eye on security, and offers outstanding customer support.
  • The right theme. WordPress, in particular, offers myriad eCommerce themes. You want to choose a well-designed theme that features the functionality you need. Again, make sure there will be solid support available if you need it.
  • The right eCommerce plugin. Most themes don’t have baked-in eCommerce functionality; instead, they’re designed to work with an eCommerce plugin like WooCommerce for WordPress or Eshop for Joomla!.

Now, back to the business of getting paid.

In these types of cases, you’ll need to line up a merchant account or payment gateway. Stripe offers just such solutions for Joomla! and Simple Pay Lite for WordPress. Of course, there are others as well. The takeaway here is that before you can get paid, you’ll need to collect.

And with a store built using a content management system, you’ll need to integrate a way to do so.

Finally, you’ll want to secure your store with an SSL certificate to make sure your payments are accepted safely.

Before long, you just might be need to upgrade, and start the whole process over again to handle booming sales. We have a feeling you won’t mind.

About the Author: RuthAnn Hogue, GoDaddy

Based in Arizona, RuthAnn Hogue is the owner and founder of Whiptail Publisher’s Syndicate, a published nonfiction author and a contributor to the GoDaddy blog. The recovering journalist occasionally breaks out her 1979 Gibson Les Paul Custom Deluxe Silverburst rock ‘n’ roll guitar when she wants to let loose. A devoted fur mother, RuthAnn makes time to spoil all four of her Jack Russell terriers when she is not tweeting from @MyWhiptail or posting on Facebook @whiptailpublishing.

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How to Establish Your Brand in Social Media

This post originally appeared in the AZ Social Media Wiz Blog.

You are Your Brand!

You Need to Know How to Establish Your Brand in Social MediaWhether you like it or not, you are part of your brand. Especially if you’re a consultant, service provider, designer or professional anything.

You join a group like the chamber of commerce or an association as your business to promote your business. However, you attend networking lunches and other events as yourself. At that point, you are your brand!

So, your personal profiles in the social networks play an important part.

I know some of you want to stay as incognito as possible – get over it.

Like joining a networking organization, you get out of it what you put into it. That’s how today’s marketing works.

You can automate a lot of the media, but you still have to be social!

Is your LinkedIn profile 100% complete? Are you an “All-Star” or at least an “Expert”? If someone Googles your name, your LinkedIn profile usually comes up in the top 3 search results. And remember, you only have one chance to make a good first impression!

You Need to Know How to Establish Your Brand in Social Media
Having a LinkedIn profile without your picture is like going to a networking event with a paper bag over your head.

Just like you wouldn’t go to a networking event with a paper bag over your head – your online image is just as important. You don’t want fuzzy graphics or logos that are cut-off.

An incomplete social media profile is like having a sloppy lobby!

Branding should be consistent on all the social networks. They are like extensions of your website. People should know in seconds what you do and what you have to offer.

The average person has an attention span of 7 seconds.

Google indexes all the social media profiles – both personal and business.

Social Media is Here to Stay

It’s no joke. Yes, it could be fun and entertaining and annoying at times, but if you know how to work it properly, it can be a very effective marketing tool.

The key is to clearly identify your target market(s) and figure out which networks they use the most.

Though you should have a presence in the major ones: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn, not everyone has to be on Pinterest, Snapchat or Instagram. It all depends on who you want to reach.

If you’re more B2C (Business to Consumer), you should be mastering Facebook, Pinterest and maybe Instagram. If you’re trying to reach the younger generation (12-24), you should check out Snapchat. B2B (Business to Business) – focus on LinkedIn and Facebook. If you want to drive traffic to your website (and who doesn’t), then you can automate content to Twitter and Google+.

About the Author:

Giselle Aguiar, AZ Social Media WizGiselle Aguiar, founder of AZ Social Media Wiz is a social media, inbound and content marketing specialist & trainer helping business owners learn how to leverage the power of social media marketing, increase traffic to their websites, generate leads, increase brand awareness and establish themselves as experts in their fields. She’s the official social media, newsletter and blog manager for Greater Phoenix SCORE and teaches once a month at SCORE. Join her on Wednesdays with the Wiz on Facebook Live at 4 pm MST every Wednesday.

 

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Credit Card Processing 4 Apr

Top eCommerce Trends for Small Business

The world of eCommerce has revolutionized the way that customers shop and ultimately how businesses sell their products and services. The large company in New York City and the small business in Denver can now compete for the same customers with the click of a button. Having your business online has never been more important.

However, it can be challenging for small business owners to decide which ecommerce strategies to embrace. Fear not! Let’s check out today’s top ecommerce trends for small business.

  1.  Free shipping/ shipping options

Shipping has to be the No. 1 question that most customers ask themselves when buying online. When will my purchase arrive? How much will it cost?

If you are selling an online service, then shipping might not be a concern; but if you sell a physical product, shipping is one of the top trends you need to consider to win the eCommerce game. 

Some larger eCommerce companies such as Amazon offer free two-day shipping with Prime, but you can compete with free priority shipping at a certain purchase point. Other companies add free shipping to a membership program. Consider offering a variety of shipping options.

Here are some examples of how companies big and small are taking advantage of this top eCommerce trend:

Cupcake Royale offers a variety of shipping options.

If you are a small business who cannot offer free shipping, dazzle your customers with a variety of shipping options! One of my favorite local Seattle businesses, Cupcake Royale, offers a handful of great shipping options — including Same Day PostMates Delivery.

Cupcake Royale offers a variety of shipping options in their ecommerce site.

Body Shop offers free shipping to members.

Body Shop offers free shipping to members in their ecommerce site.
The Body Shop is offering free shipping to members and 20-percent off of the entire purchase.

Amazon offers free shipping to Prime members.

Amazon offers free shipping to Prime members and to customers who order $35 or more on the ecommerce site
Amazon offers free shipping to Prime members and to customers who order $35 or more on the site.

2. Multiple payment options

Payment method are a hot eCommerce topic because customers around the world may not necessarily use the same type of payments. In addition to the traditional Visa/MasterCard/ Amex/Discover options, many eCommerce companies are now looking at additional payment methods to ensure that all customers can make purchases easily.

Here are some of my favorite payment gateways:

PayPal

PayPal eCommerce payment system

PayPal is popular payments method that many customers feel comfortable using to buy from businesses online. And now that PayPal has announced that it will be setting up payment transfers to Cuba, there is almost nowhere on Earth where this payment method will not be accepted.

Stripe

Stripe payment processing

Stripe is a new company making a huge dent in the online payments space. They offer the ability to add easy-to-use payments to your checkout experience. The nice thing about Stripe is they offer their own payment forms so you don’t have to pay someone to code it for you!

  1.   Retargeting

Retargeting has to be one the top eCommerce tricks that has turned simple online shopping experiences into millions of dollars in profit. Let’s look at an example to show you the power of this trend.

Let’s say you go to a physical store with the intent of buying shoelaces. However, once you get into the store, you start looking at jeans and T-shirts and end up buying those items instead. Once you leave the store, that retailer had no idea that you were looking for shoelaces to begin with. This results in lost revenue for the business.

On the other hand, when a customer shops online they have to type the product into a search bar or click on a particular product to look at it in more detail. By capturing this information, you can retarget that customer with specific products in which they’ve shown an interest. You might wonder if customers get tired of being retargeted — probably not.

Most customers want to feel as though you understand what they are looking for when they visit your site online. Retargeting is a great way to demonstrate that you do.

A lot of retargeting is done through search engines (Google Ads) and social media (i.e. Facebook), but you can retarget customers with products they’ve shopped for on your dedicated ecommerce site. Here’s an example of how Amazon retargeted me with headphones after I searched for similar products on the site:

Amazon retargeting ecommerce

Ready to take your eCommerce business to the next level? Consider implementing one or more of these strategies to captivate your customers.

About the Author:

Angeley Mullins with GoDaddyCurrently working on marketing and product initiatives for GoDaddy, Angeley Mullins is an accomplished strategy, marketing and business development professional who has seen success bringing businesses and ideas to market. She has led marketing for global exports at Amazon.com as well as business development projects at Lehman Brothers. Angeley also has a strong history of partnering with leaders on social business initiatives. She believes that through technology, education and social awareness, we can solve some of the world’s greatest challenges. Connect with Angeley on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter @AngeleyMullins.

 

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How to deal with social media trolls 11 Jan

How to Deal with Social Media Trolls

Your mother always told you, “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” If only the Internet had listened to your mom. Today, those with nothing nice to say are very busy on the Internet. We call them trolls (basically, online troublemakers).

And while the benefits of maintaining a social media presence are numerous and well documented, there is a potential downside: What happens if you find your Facebook, Yelp or Twitter page assailed by a troll?

The Internet has granted everybody a voice, and as such, the exposure social media grants can be a double-edged sword. While you get to share in all of your successes, anybody who feels wronged by your business will have a platform to voice their concerns as well. In some cases, this can be a healthy process for feedback. Sometimes people are just out to start a fuss. So how do you tell the difference, and what do you do if you find someone trying to rouse rabble on your social media pages?

  1. Don’t respond to everyone.

The first and most important thing you need to understand is that not every comment or negative review merits a response. You can’t please everybody, and you can’t control certain circumstances. Even the most successful businesses have critics, and that is never going to change.

Your business is your pride and joy, but try not to take discouraging remarks too personally. 

How to deal with social media trollsAnd remember that in some cases, social media is a legitimate avenue for feedback. These posts, reviews and comments are coming directly from your customers’ mouths, and the more sensible criticisms can be gleaned for advice toward improvement.

  1. Stay focused.

While you are logged in, stay focused. You may have the power to change the world, but your business’s FourSquare page is not the place to start a movement. Nor is it the place to express or engage in personal or political beliefs. You are here to represent your business and keep your customers informed. Don’t let an unhappy spammer draw you into something unrelated.

If you do directly interact with a critic or troll, make sure you stay professional. This is your business, and the Internet is a very public place, so put your best foot forward. Gordon Ramsay may be famous for humiliating people, but you are not Gordon Ramsay. Remember to use correct spelling, and don’t engage in sensitive or potentially offensive topics.

  1. Try to move the conversation.

Do your best to move the conversation to a more private place. Request that the customer send you an email so you can converse directly about their grievance. This allows you to add a personal touch to your customer service and directly address any issues without airing any dirty laundry. It could also prevent personal information from being shared by either party, which could be important depending on the nature of your business.

  1. Sometimes you have to deal with a troll.

Of course, some people are downright mean for little reason. It is best that these people be ignored if at all possible. Avoid an argument or debate in a public forum, especially if it is over something trivial like the price of a cup of coffee.

If you find someone actively “trolling” your page and harassing you or your customers, the best thing you can do is to block them and apologize for the inconvenience to your other viewers. Serious threats to you or your business should be treated the same way you would treat in-person threats: Report them immediately.
Keep in mind that there is such a thing as bad PR, and that affects your livelihood. So, knowing how to tell a rotten egg from a legitimate complaint is important, as is knowing when to ignore these complaints and how to best handle them. And the upsides of social media marketing will likely outweigh the downside of dealing with a few pesky troll

About the Author

Eirk WongErik Wong is a small business/tech consultant for GoDaddy and a freelance pop-culture writer. He has written a regular column for a current events blog, and his commentary has been featured on realclearpolitics.com. Connect with Erik on Google+. The world’s largest domain name registrar and Web hosting provider, GoDaddy gives small business owners the tools to name their idea, build a beautiful online presence, attract customers and manage their business. To get more tips for your small business—including articles, videos and webinars—check out the GoDaddy Training Hub.

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Take Social Media Seriously in 2016 9 Dec

Take Social Media Seriously in 2016

If you thought that social media and digital marketing were a fad when you first heard about it, I certainly hope that you now realize that social media is not going away and everything is going digital.Social Media is here to stay. Resistance is Futile!

Resistance is Futile

Remember the Borg? OK, that’s something sci-fi fans will recognize from Star Trek the Next Generation. Their line:

You will be assimilated.
Resistance is futile.

Well, digital marketing is similar. If you don’t assimilate it into your business, you are going to be left behind in the dust. Resistance is futile and very unwise.

So what do you have to do to take your business to the next level in 2016? Make a decision. And it all stems around your budget. Now’s the time when you should be thinking about your business plan and budget for 2016 – so it’s vital that you include social media marketing as part of your marketing plan.

There’s two ways you can approach this.

Hire someone to do it for you or learn how to do it yourself.

If you want to hire someone to do it for you, your choices are contracting with a social media services company or an ad agency. This takes a hefty budget. Depending on their experience, anyone worth their salt charges from $500 – $2500 a month depending on what needs to be done.

The other option is hire someone to do it in-house. Here you have to factor:

  • Education – has this person been trained how to properly and effectively market on social media and by whom?
  • Experience – how long have they been on social media? Just because they are young and know how to post on Facebook and Instagram doesn’t mean they know how to market on social media.
  • Time – are they going to be full-time or part-time? If part-time, do they have another job that may be conflicting? If full-time, take into consideration salary, benefits, etc.

Yet another option is to train one of your current staff members on to marketing properly on social media. This person should be creative, somewhat tech-savvy and eager to learn. Think about how he or she is going to incorporate their current tasks and social media along with blogging 2-3 times a week. You can also rally a team of different people with various skills which would require a comprehensive strategic and tactical plan and someone to be the leader.

OR you can learn how to do all the social media yourself. Here you’ll have to carve out the time to:

  1. Take classes to learn how it all works and how to do research, planning and analytics as well as when, where and what to post on which networks.
  2. Do research to get to know your target market, find out which networks they frequent and what their interests are.
  3. Learn the culture and lingo of each of the major networks.
  4. Learn how to use the tools to curate content, schedule out posts, blog and monitor your social messages.
  5. Analyze your efforts each month to see what’s working and what’s not working, if you met your goals and to plan for the next month.

It’s your choice, but you cannot afford to ignore it any longer. Why?

  1. No one is going to find you on Google search
  2. Your competition is going to beat you out
  3. No one is going to know you exist

What do you want to do next? Not sure? It wouldn’t hurt to talk to a SCORE mentor – especially when it comes to budget/cash flow, business & marketing planning. Click here to schedule a free mentoring session.

I’ll also be happy to give you a free 30-minute phone consultation and analysis of your current efforts. Click here to schedule yours.

About the Author:

Giselle Aguiar, AZ Social Media WizGiselle Aguiar, founder of AZ Social Media Wiz is a social media, inbound and content marketing strategist & trainer helping business owners learn how to leverage the power of social media marketing, increase traffic to their websites, generate leads, increase brand awareness and establish themselves as experts in their fields. She’s the official Social Media, Newsletter and Blog Manager for Greater Phoenix SCORE and offers Social media classes at the new AZ Social Media Training Center. 602-738-1700. You can connect with Giselle online at LinkedIn or on Google+.

 

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