7 Online Marketing Mistakes To Avoid

October 12th, 2018 Comments off

Online marketing can open up your business to a whole new world of customers, drive your sales up, and even help you connect with buyers on a deeper level. But what happens when you’re doing it all wrong? Read on to find out how these seven online marketing pitfalls could end up costing you dearly.

1. Not Making Use of Ad Targeting

With online ads, like social media promotions, you can reach tens of millions of people, but the wider you cast your net, the more it will cost you. What you need to focus on is maximizing your ad dollars and that doesn’t mean overspending. It means making the most of the money you do spend. Geo-targeting your ads to reach only the users who have access to your products, or targeting the age groups your product is geared towards will give you more revenue for your ad spend. Plus, it will save you from wasting money on users who are very unlikely to become customers.

2. Undervaluing Social Influencer Promotions

While traditional ads are excellent and the targeting feature makes them much more lucrative, discounting social influencer marketing is a big mistake many small businesses make. If you are careful in selecting an influencer with a large and engaged fan base, who already has the audience you are specifically looking to target, and whose content is in line with your business, you can see a real impact with social influencer campaigns.

3. Buying Fake Social Followers

Investing in black market services to help boost your numbers almost always backfires on brands. Even if your following is high, users can see when engagement is low – and so can Google! This may actually blacklist your website or social channels and decrease the confidence users will have in your brand. Smaller, more engaged audiences always outperform accounts with tons of followers and minimal interactions. Some brands also turn to automated commenting with bot services, but again, this will hurt your business more than anything else.

4. Not Offering Enough Rewards

Customers can have a hard time trusting a new brand on the market. Offering rewards like free shipping, discounts, or other limited promos can encourage your potential client base to give you a try. It’s also great to reward loyal customers so they continue to share your brand with others. Long-term, rewards work in your favor.

5. Not Providing Content

Whoever said users don’t want to read much online was sorely mistaken. Users actually prefer to connect with brands online and engage with them prior to making a purchase. Providing quality content can increase your connection to your potential consumer base and encourage customers to trust your brand more readily. Your content doesn’t need to be excessively lengthy. Choose quality over quantity and make sure everything you post adds value to your website and your reputation.

6. Not Engaging with Followers

Posting great content to your website and social channels is a good start, but you have to go the extra step and connect with your users on a more personal level. When followers comment, you should interact with them. This is your chance to reply, ask another question and really start a conversation with them. Opening up communication with your fan base can boost your engagement and encourage new followers.

7. Not Tracking Your Social Successes and Failures

Whether it’s promotions or social influencer campaigns, you need to keep track of conversions. This way, you will know exactly which ads are working and which aren’t. Some techniques work well in theory, but in practice, may not be right for your particular business. You need to find out which promotions work best for your brand and avoid wasting money on ads and campaigns that aren’t converting into revenue for you. You should also track the page views and shareability of your content to find out what your audience wants and appreciates.

Seller Confessions: My Biggest eBay Fails

September 24th, 2018 Comments off

Nobody wants to lose money, but even the most experienced eBay seller makes mistakes.  Here are three of my biggest eBay fails.  Read and learn.

 The Trader Joe’s Nightmare

About 8 years ago, I bought $1,000 worth of Trader Joe’s sea salt caramels to sell on eBay.  I’d never sold food before, but I looked them up, and they were in demand.  I soon realized that I had purchased too many.  Before I knew it, summer arrived, and I had stacks and stacks of these tasty treats sitting in my garage.  Although we were still getting orders, they were melting in transit.  People were not happy.   Unfortunately, I couldn’t wait until winter to get rid of them because they had an expiration date.  We started eating sea salt caramels for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  What else could we do?  I gained five pounds trying to get rid of those suckers.  Eventually, I gave the rest away as presents.  Remember: If you’re going to sell food, always check expiration dates, and be careful buying items that cannot be shipped in hot weather.  Lesson learned.

The Shoe Emergency

Many of our biggest fails involved shoes.  Years ago we did not understand the importance of inspecting preowned shoes before listing them.  Shoes can look brand new but may fall apart the first time they are worn if they have been sitting in a closet for years.  For example, some manufacturers produce soles that do not stand the test of time and will disintegrate or even split in half if they get old.  When we first started selling on eBay, we listed a pair of name brand clogs.  The woman who bought them worked at a hospital and thought they were an amazing deal!  Unfortunately, the first time she wore them to work, she left a trail of rubber wherever she walked.  The soles were literally disintegrating all over the emergency room.  Uh, oh.  Instant refund.

The Fashion Fiasco

In another instance involving shoes, a buyer purchased a pair of beautiful designer heels.  She wore them to work with her favorite outfit.  A few minutes after she got to work, one of the heels fell off – the entire heel.  So embarrassing!  She hobbled around the office for the rest of the day.  Luckily, she thought it was funny.  We quickly issued a refund, and offered to send her a pair of shoes for free.   We now know the importance of closely inspecting all preowned shoes before listing them on eBay.  In addition, we have purchased a one million dollar insurance policy that covers us if anything goes wrong with the products we sell.

Selling on eBay is an adventure, but, like anything, it does come with some risks.  Luckily, each of these fails taught me an important lesson and made me a more successful seller!

 

About the Author

Miriam Otto is an eBay blogger and credentialed teacher with 13 years’ experience selling on the site.  She was a frequent guest on eBay Radio and has participated in eBay seller panels and projects.  Her blog, The eBay Life, is an all-in-one resource for eBay sellers.

Gearing Up For Back-to-School Season: 5 Tips to Increase Revenue

August 6th, 2018 Comments off

Back-to-school season is the second biggest shopping season of the year – both for e-commerce as well as retail. The only season that doesn’t beat back-to-school is the Christmas and Holiday season. The average back-to-school shopper spends more per household (estimated $510 per child) than the average shopper spends on Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day COMBINED!

Pretty amazing, right? That’s why we thought it’s the perfect opportunity to delve a little deeper into Deloitte’s recent 2018 Back-to-School Survey. The report closely examines the shopping habits of 1,200 parents of school-aged kids (in grades K-12). Let’s take a look at major insights you can use to win the back-to-school season!

#1 Pull Out Your Best Promotions

Parents will be spending about $510 per child this year. Pull out all the stops to make the most of the season. Use your most effective promotions and incentives on these big spenders. Back-to-school shoppers tend to love the hassle-free convenience of free shipping. It’s also the perfect time for that once-a-year BOGO (Buy One, Get One) that makes your products irresistible to shoppers!  Added Benefit:  having these valuable customers make a purchase will keep your store fresh in their mind for the holiday season!

#2 Don’t Ignore Mobile

More back-to-school shoppers are going mobile. In 2018, 49% of shoppers will use a desktop computer to purchase school goods, down from 57% in 2017. Conversely, the number of mobile shoppers is rising year-over-year, with 53% of shoppers planning to use their mobile phones to make purchases in 2018 vs. only 49% of shoppers in 2017. If you’ve been waiting to gear up for mobile e-commerce, now’s the time to kick your mobile presence into high gear! Don’t forget to increase your mobile bid modifiers in your paid search campaigns and test your mobile landing page experience to make sure the customer can easily find what they are looking for.

#3 Get the Timing Right

Parents spend more than 50% of the entire school-related budget for the whole year within the back-to-school season. Don’t let shoppers who will be spending half their budget within a small window of time slip through your fingers. Build urgency into your offers to make the most of the season. Then plan to take a final run at late shoppers who might have been late to make purchases. Let them know there’s not much time left!

#4 Back-to-School Means It’s Computer Buying Season

Back-to-school used to mean buying new clothes, some pencils and notebooks. For today’s students, heading back-to-school in the fall means having a new computer for their schoolwork. 23% of shoppers with school-aged kids plan to buy a computer or other hardware device. The average spend for these shoppers was $299. That’s great to know for computer manufacturers. It’s also important for sellers of laptop cases, computer backpacks, and all the essential accessories that go along with computers.

#5 Pens, Pencils, Plus So Much More

According to Deloitte, more than $27.6 billion will be spent in 29 Million households on 54 million children in 2018. The biggest categories for these back-to-school shoppers are school supplies, but there are a number of related important items they’ll be buying. They’re also looking for apparel, sporting goods, electronics, books, music, plus other related items. The key here is looking broadly enough at what back-to-school shoppers want and thinking about it from their point of view. Yes, that’s notebooks and pencils. But it’s so much more!

Categories: Small Business Marketing Tags:

Big Ways to Improve Your Google Shopping Campaigns

May 21st, 2018 Comments off

Have you ever noticed those little picture ads near the top of a Google search page? Those are Google Shopping ads. They’re unique in what they can do – and great for increasing online sales. So, let’s run down a few ways to make the absolute most of a Google Shopping campaign.

Optimizing Your Google Shopping Data Feed

To begin your Google Shopping campaign, you’ll need to upload a data feed in CSV or XML format. Your data feed document should have all the info that appears on your ads: Price, Taxes, Title, Description, Product URL and Image URL. Depending on what kind of product you have, there may be optional fields you can add. For example, you can add color and size for apparel items.

Which additional details need to be added? Make sure your feed is optimized with all the relevant details. Imagine if someone asked if you wanted to buy a “Sweater”? The first thing you’d ask is… what kind? Then if you liked the description of the sweater, you’d want to know if they have it in your size.

The important thing to remember here is that unless the product info is part of your data feed, it won’t make it to your ad. Give your prospects everything they need to buy.

The Right Titles and Descriptions for Your Shopping Ads

Now, let’s look at a few ways to juice up your ad. Make sure to include relevant keywords in the title and description, which will help your product get matched to a query. It’s not enough to just list the model number, which will only attract people looking for that exact model. You’ll be losing out on a lot of potential customers.

Let’s play a little good product title/bad product title to get it right:

  • Bad product title – “Black Shoes”
  • Good product title – “Black High Heel Pumps – Size 8 – Women’s Shoes”

See how much more targeted the second option is? A good title has specific keywords like “high heels” and “pumps” to perfectly match anyone looking for a pair of shoes like that.

Next, be sure your description also has keywords, plus the selling points that would make someone want to buy. The description is where you can put your best selling points. Think of it this way… the title is the “what,” and the description is the “why.” Once someone clicks through, give them your best sales pitch to convince them to buy.

Successful Bidding Strategies for Google Shopping Ads

Google Shopping works the same way as an auction. When a user types in a search like “floral throw pillows,” Google checks all of the prices bidders (retailers) are willing to pay. The highest bidders will win the opportunity to be shown to the consumer looking for “floral throw pillows.” That’s how the system works, now we’re going to give you some tips to make the system work for you.

Don’t Set the Same Bid Across Your Campaign

One of the biggest mistakes is to blanket the same bid across an entire campaign. Determine the bid by looking at the value and profit margin of each product.

Start with Best-Sellers

You’ll have enough variables to deal with when beginning a Google Shopping campaign. Start with your best products, where you have a strong competitive advantage. Some products with low profit margins may never make sense to include in your feed.

Use Custom Labels to Create Bid Groups

Custom labels can be applied to your data feed to create price groupings. Try putting higher converting products together, and giving them all higher bids. Put lower bids on the group of products that don’t convert as well.

Optimizing your campaign is a continual process, but following these tips will give you a big head start.

Categories: Small Business Marketing Tags:

How Google’s Search Console Tool Can Help Webmasters

May 4th, 2018 Comments off

Google Search Console is one of the best resources for webmasters out there — and it’s absolutely free. While many site owners and webmasters may currently use some of the tool’s features, they might not be taking full advantage of everything it offers. If you are in charge of your company’s website, you can maximize its marketing potential by becoming a Google Search Console expert.

What is the Google Search Console?

When your website is not working as it should, you risk losing potential clients and current customers. Identifying these issues quickly is key to ensuring your website ranks high in Google’s search rankings.

The Google Search Console helps identify certain technical issues that could impact your SEO rankings.  will send you notifications by email whenever there is a problem with your website. You can also monitor Google SEO rankings to make certain your site is at or near the top of the list of search returns. You can learn about spider crawl issues that can drag down your search rankings. This resource allows you to monitor, in real time, problems that can make your website a liability instead of a marketing asset.

3 Important Features to Use in Google Search Console

Google Search Console offers a number of features that allow you to identify potential issues and correct them quickly. The following are just a few of these tools:

1. Keyword Reports

You will have access to a report that tells you how many keyword searches on Google brought people  to your site. The report can be adjusted by month and the  information allows you to refine your SEO strategy to target specific keywords that will generate more profitable traffic to your website. You can adjust the reports to see important metrics such as impressions, click-through rate (CTR) and the average position of your site’s ranking for specific keywords.

You can also filter your data by device (i.e. mobile, tablet and desktop) and country to see if any traffic patterns exist.

2. Total Website Pages Indexed by Google

This data displays  the total number of indexed URLs (pages on your site) that Google has discovered and is showing in their search results.  These pages could be any page on your site, including pages that you do not want to show in Google.  If there are pages that are not indexed, a common problem with new content, the Google Search Console will provide options for site owners to add the URL to the Google search platform.  The system will also allow you to remove URLs or identify URLs that are being blocked by tools such as robots.txt or the XML sitemap.

3. Site Errors/Problems

Sometimes there are technical issues in the server that are preventing Google from properly indexing your website.  Google Search Console provides a “site error section” that alerts you to these technical issues and provides you with tips to correct the erros.. Google warns that a 100 percent error rate in any of the categories indicates your site is down or misconfigured. An error rate below 100 percent may indicate that the site is overloaded or not configured properly. In either case, the issues might be transient, but they will still require investigation. The Google Search Console helps you identify and address these issues quickly to minimize the impact on your client base.

The Google Search Console is an invaluable free tool that helps ensure your website’s success. Additionally, it makes your job much easier by continually providing the information you need to optimize your site’s search position

Categories: Small Business Marketing Tags:

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