Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Turn Negative Feedback into a Positive

Within the world of online buying and selling, managing your traffic, customer happiness and views are one of the most crucial factors in dictating whether a product gets sold or not. 

When a customer finds a product they are interested in buying, they first look at the price of the item and then they focus on the feedback. Customers will read a number of the different reviews looking at how other customers found the product and service. These feedback remarks will make or break a sale. If you have a number of customer reviews that are negative, it is going to put customers off purchasing the product and they will then look elsewhere for an alternative.

One of the ways to increase your level of positive feedback for your online ecommerce store is to encourage your customers to leave feedback on your store once they have made a purchase. Generally, the majority of people who go on  a store to leave feedback without being prompted to do so are those who have a problem with the service or product that has been provided. Asking your customers to leave feedback on your store will result in higher levels of positive feedback as people who have had a pleasant experience with your store will leave feedback in order to help your store grow.  

How can customer feedback help you? 

If you find that your store has received a number of negative comments, rather than feeling down about it, look at it as a positive. Negative comments give you a chance to greatly improve the performance of your ecommerce store. If you have a number of customer feedbacks stating that the product took too long to be delivered, they you should look as possibly changing your courier service or looking at your internal dispatch procedure to see if this can be sped up. As the old saying goes "the customer is always right," if one customer notices this problem then you can be sure that more people will pick up on it and you will receive more negative comments as a result.

If you are find that a particular product that is continually getting negative comments about its performance or durability, you should look to remove that product entirely from your store. While you purchase these products from a supplier, customers visiting your store will instantly associate any product they purchase with you, meaning that if a  product performs poorly for customers, it is going to be your store that suffers for it rather than the company that makes them. Removing the product entirely from your store will result in you no longer receiving this negative feedback.

Improving the running of your online store through customer feedback is going to help make your store more efficient and customer friendly. The better performance you can provide to your customers, the more you repeat business you are going to get. So be positive and turn that negative into a positive, these negative comments could be the best thing for you business, helping to bring it up to a higher standard that will result in great customer traffic and most importantly, greater sales revenue.

Unconventional Marketing Breeds Inspirational Growth

Like most aspects of life, when setting up an online ecommerce store there are many conventions which people tend to follow. This could involve selling your product a certain way, targeting a specific customer demographic or increasing your businesses branding.

When it comes to marketing, there are methods that have proven track record of providing a business with great brand awareness, social media following and customer growth. These marketing techniques involve producing blog articles (like I'm doing right now), placing banners or ads on websites and producing email marketing campaigns to attract new customers.

The fact that these strategies have stood the test of time proves their effectiveness and should definitely be incorporated into any marketing strategy. However, relying solely on these conventional marketing methods is going to limit the real growth and awareness that your business could achieve.

The fact that these forms of marketing have a proven success rate means that every single company out there is going to be doing exactly the same thing. With so many business all following the same marketing pattern, you are going to find that you are just one head in a very large crowd, all looking to get to the same place. This will result in slow movement forward as other businesses are moving exactly at exactly the same rate with you.

Now it's time to think out of the box! We've looked at the conventional and although it works, it isn't going to give you the dramatic growth that you could potentially achieve, so now we need to look at the unconventional. There are people out there who believe that the tried and tested conventional methods are the only way to go, but in a modern era when videos and other viral content are achieving worldwide notoriety, maybe it's time for you to look at helping your business take advantage of this growth.

Probably the most well known type of unconventional marketing is viral marketing. While this can be one of the most successful forms of unconventional marketing, it is also one of the hardest to achieve.

What is Viral Marketing?

Viral marketing basically involves creating video content that is both appealing to an extremely large audience and increases your brand's awareness. The viral marketing could simply be a an advert explaining what your product or service is and how it can help people. However, the most popular viral marketing videos are those which have absolutely nothing to do with what the company offers. It is simply an entertaining and memorable video that provides some sort of brand identity. For example, Cardbury's created a popular advert a few years ago which consisted of a gorilla playing the drums to the Phil Collins song "In The Air Tonight". This advert was different and entertaining, but had no mention of chocolate at all apart from the Cardburys Dairy Milk logo at the end. The video proved to be a massive hit both on television and across the Internet, with well over 10 million YouTube views. While Cardburys is already an established brand identity, I use this video as an example of how your viral marketing concept doesn't have to tell the customer anything about your product, it simply has to make audiences aware of your brand. 

Once they are aware of your brand they will then be interested in finding out what it is exactly that your business does. This will result in them typing your name into a search engine and visiting your website or social media pages.

The beauty of viral marketing campaigns is that, with social media sites like Facebook and YouTube, people who find a video that they consider entertaining, then share it with their friends. This means that your video could be sent across the world in a matter of seconds, achieving literally millions of views within a matter of weeks.

While only the most successful of viral marketing campaigns achieve viewer counts in the millions, this extreme gives you an idea of the potential audience that unconventional marketing can achieve as opposed to the usual conventions.

I'm not saying abandon usual marketing strategies. Creating articles, banners and adverts are all incredibly important in helping increase not only your businesses exposure, but also your search engine ranking and thus should be carried out on a daily basis. What I am saying is that rather than just relying solely on these methods, look to come up with some innovative and original ideas to target a whole new audience. Some of these "out of the box" ideas might work, others might fail, but giving them a go and seeing what they can achieve is only going to help your business. The more marketing tools you have at your disposal, the quicker you are going to achieve greater brand awareness for your business, it is as simple as that.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Facebook Vs. Google Display Network

For most (wise) businesses, there advertising expenditure must be perfectly selected to make the most out of their marketing budget.  Many companies may decide to target customers via social media giant Facebook, or the widely used Google Display Network, both of which target a huge following of consumers.  But who to choose?

A new infographic from Wordstream discusses the differences between the two networks, to highlight which is of the most value to businesses. 

M-commerce Customers on the Rise!

The power of mobile commerce is continually on the rise with a recent survey finding that 23% of all smartphone owners in the UK visit a retail outlet's store on their phone.

If you are running a small online store, you may think that this will have little impact on your own sales. The truth is you couldn't be more wrong.

If anything, this highlights the absolute necessity of having a mobile friendly version of your store.  The UK alone has a smartphone audience of nearly 6.5 million, meaning that nearly 1.5 million of these users visit a retail store on their smartphone. 

While smartphone users could still access your online store without you having an mobile commerce store, the web version of the store is not mobile friendly, meaning that it can be very tricky for customers to navigate around your store and purchase items. This will often result in customers becoming frustrated in the process and leaving the store altogether, visiting another retail outlet to purchase the product. Missing out on these kind of sales could be the difference between your online ecommerce store being a success and a failure. 

With the majority of brands and stores now focussing a large part of their marketing budget on increasing their presence and sales in mobile commerce, it is vitally important that all you look to establish some sort of mobile commerce presence, ensuring that you are maximising the overall exposure your store can achieve. 

We at eSellution offer our customers affordable ecommerce software, allowing you to set up your own mobile ecommerce store. There are no set up fees and no contract. The software is everything you will need to transform your online store into a mobile platform, ensuring that you aren't missing out on this huge customer market base. Visit: http://www.esellution.co.uk/mobile-commerce.html for more information.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

The Subject is Everything!

When people are creating an email marketing campaign to promote their online business or store or the products they sell, many tend to focus on the actual content within the email. They want it to be bright, colourful, inviting and informative, giving the recipient as much information as they can to entice them to visit their store.

Obviously, what is in your email is incredibly important, but many people tend to focus so much on this aspect of the campaign, that they overlook all other parts of it, particularly the subject. 

The subject of an email is the tag line or heading for that specific email. This is the first thing a person will see when they come across your email. Your subject line is literally the difference between your email campaign being a success or a failure! You could have the most amazing, insightful and enticing content within the email that would make countless readers flock to your site instantly, but if your subject doesn't engage and create interest, this content will never been seen. It won't be clicked on, it won't be opened, it will simply be sent straight into the users trash bin.

Starting to see how important the subject is? Having a good subject heading will give your email the best chance of success, meaning you won't have wasted your time creating something that isn't even seen.

When setting up an email marketing campaign, once you know the message you want to include within your email, you next need to focus on how to draw them into that content through the subject line.

But how do you know what is a good subject line? 

A good subject line should be engaging, thought provoking and above all appealing, it needs to stand out from the crowd, instantly urging you to click on it. However, with the shear amount of email marketing that sent to customers on a daily basis, by trying to stand out, you simply become one of the masses. 

What I mean by this is that everyone is looking for this edge that will help their email stand out in your inbox. For example, if you are running a promotion or a competition for your store, you may think that having the subject heading "WIN WIN WIN" is going to be a great way to catch the customers eye, enticing them with the chance for free products. In fact, when people see this type of heading, they instantly think that your message is spam and will more often than not send the message to the it of despair that is the trash bin.

How do you find the right subject line?

The best way to find the right subject line for your business is through the use of spread marketing. This works by sending test emails to a small number of customers to gauge the success of the subject. For example, if you have a email subscriber list of  20,000 customers, you may create five different marketing emails, each consisting of a different unique subject heading. You will then send each of these emails out to 1,000 different customers. After the emails have been send out, you will the be able to see how successful each email was in enticing the recipient to open it up. 

Once you have determined which is the most successful subject heading, you then send the email with that heading to the rest of your 15,000 subscribers. This will give your email marketing campaign the best chance of succeeding. 

When embarking on an email marketing campaign, preparation is key to success. Randomly sending out emails here and there is going to result in you receiving little success. Take the time to plan out an email, test out the different parameters and ensure that you are doing everything you can to make it a success. Monitoring the opens, traffic and other statistical data that your email generates will give you a good indication as to the success of each  email campaign.

While the content within the email is important remember that the other aspects of the email are just as important such as the subject, when you send it out and who you send it to. 

eBay's August Update Brings A Whole Host of Changes

This autumn, eBay will be rolling out a new set of updates which will see a whole host of changes aimed at helping both buyers and eBay store sellers. 

Removal of Featured First

This is one of the big changes that have been made by eBay in this update. For some eBay sellers this will be a great update while others will find it very scary. No longer will you be able to pay to have your items placed higher in the best match search rankings. The idea behind this is that you will no longer be able to essentially pay to have your item promoted, the field has been levelled for all sellers and you must now work hard to promote your store in order to make it a success. If you are struggling for ideas on how to promote your eBay store items, check out our "Achieve Higher eBay List Rankings" post.

Report a Buyer that Exhibits Bad Behaviour

If you are having a number of problems with one specific buyer, you can now submit a report about the buyer, stating any problems that you have been having. There are five different options you can choose when making making a report:

  • Buyer has made unreasonable demands
  • Buyer has left inappropriate feedback
  • Buyer abused the buyer protection
  • Buyer misused returns
  • Other problems
There is also an option to select if the buyer has not paid for the item. This will then send you through to the eBay resolution centre which will give you support and assistance in resolving the issue. 

Improved International Selling

Improving eBay's international selling is something that is going to be done over a number of updates, not just this one. The update that will be included in Autumn will allow sellers to input specific postage costs for each country.

Another part of the future International update will be the introduction of a monthly XXL subscription. This is a feature that allows you to post your products on all European eBay sites and eBay.com.au for the same cost as the anchor package, which is £349.99.

eBay Gallery Image Change

eBay will be altering the way you can view product images in the gallery. The thumbnail images will now be much bigger than they previously were, giving you a clearer view of the product.

Also, when you hover your cursor over the image, the information box below the image will expand to give you a clear view of the product name, price and how to purchase it. 

Item Swatch Examples

This is a new feature that allows buyers to see all of the different colour options that a store has available. This means that as soon as a buyer clicks on a product, the page will instantly show what colours you can get the item in, rather than having to select from a menu. 

You can also add images of these different coloured products, you allow a potential buyer to see how each would look in each colour.

Another great benefit of this is that the swatch colour also becomes part of the search parameters. For example, if you sell different colour t-shirts, previously if the main image of the product showed a red t-shirt, only the colour red would be related to the product in terms of its search parameters. Now, even if the main image is a red t-shirt, the shirt will still come up in searches for a blue t-shirt if blue is one of the alternative colours available for the t-shirt. This opens up your product to whole new search results.

As the alternative colour images could now be used as your main gallery image in some search results, you must take care to ensure that all of your images are of a high quality. 

Fast 'N' Easy Logo on Listings

In October, eBay will be releasing their Fast 'N' Easy listings. This simply means that for all items that have a delivery time of three days or less, a small logo will appear in the 'Delivery' section, letting buyers know they will receive it within this time frame. This tool is a simple addition to help buyers decide to purchase an item from your store. 

Unit Prices

Although this may be way behind high street stores and supermarkets, eBay have finally introduced a metric system into some of their items. This means that when you purchase an item, you will be able to see how much one kg of the product will cost. This has been added simply to comply with European Laws about how  the price of certain goods should be displayed.

Customised Condition Feature For Second Hand or Refurbished Items

If you are selling used or refurbished items, you can state in the item condition not only if the item is used or refurbished, but you can also add a description beneath it saying what condition the item is in. This allows you to put it at the top of the listing, with 1000 characters available for you to use.

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Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Achieve Higher eBay List Rankings

When running an eBay store, the position your item appears in the listing is everything! Too low down and buyers will be unlikely to see it. The closer you are to the top of the list, the more your item will sell, it's as simple as that.

If you notice that your product sales are a little low or simply want to try and boost your sales higher than they previously have been, there are a number of different things you can do to improve your item's list position.

Check out your competitors - Lets say the item you're looking to sell is a clothing item. Check out stores which sell items similar to you and see how much they sell these types of items for. If you see that other store owners are selling the item for £30, place it in your store for £25. Generally users list their search results based on cheapest first. So if your product is lower in price than your competitors, it is going to appear higher up the ranking and be more appealing to buyers. However, before lowering the price of an item, you should factor in eBay and Paypal fees to ensure you are still making a profit on the product.

Use more keywords - When placing your item for listing, ensure that the title of the item has the keywords in it that buyers generally search for. There is no point selling a product but having a vague title that only loosely relates to the product your selling. This will result in it appearing way down the list on most search results. 

Become a top seller - High sales figures and a high positive feedback score will result in you achieving top seller status for your account. One of the immediate positives is that your listed products will instantly appear higher in search results. Not only will they appear higher, but the top seller tag will also make you appear more trusting to potential buyers, meaning your items will receive a lot more views and hopefully sales.

Correct categorisation - One of the more obvious solutions is to check that you have listed your item in the correct category. One of the more common mistakes that people make is listing a product accidentally in a category that has nothing to do with the product. This means that when a buyer searchers for items in a specific category, your item will not show up on these results. 

If you implement any of these into your products, you will instantly see a change in your product's ranking within eBay search results.

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New Final Value Fee Cap For eBay Sellers

On Tuesday 10 July, eBay increased its final value fee (FVF) for private sellers from £40 to £75. What this means is that for example, if you sell an item such as a laptop for £750, you will be required to pay a FVF of 10% which is £75. If you sell something that costs more than £750, the maximum fee you will have to pay will be £75. So even if you sell something for £1000 ,you will still only have to pay £75 in final value fees.

While this change happened two weeks ago, many eBay sellers have been surprised by the new final value fee when it has come to selling a product. When selling items privately on eBay, you should factor in this added cost before placing the listing to make sure you are happy with your profit on the item. Once the transaction has gone through, you will still be required to pay the new FVF even if you previously didn't know about it.

However, while the the FVF has changed, listing fees have stayed the same. Also, if you are privately selling motor vehicles, property or classifieds, these new final value fees will not apply. The fee will also remain unchanged for business sellers.

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Monday, 23 July 2012

Free Product Advertising With Pinterest

To make your store a popular online success, you must have a large amount of traffic that then turns into sales. However, if you have just set up a new online or eBay store, you may find that trying to advertise your product ahead of other online stores is extremely difficult. 

When looking at different avenues to advertise your products, one of the options you should strongly consider is using 'Pinterest.' Pinterest is a website that brings up a whole host of pictures that relate to a user's search parameters. When running an online store, this is a great way to advertise your product on a larger scale.

To put it in to context, one of the most popular search types of Pinterest is people looking for different styles of clothing. If you run an online clothes store, this is a fantastic way to advertise your products to people who have never even heard of your store, let alone visited it. If a person finds a picture they like, they can then click on the image, view the profile on the original poster view other pictures from your store. This will often result in people then typing your store name into a search engine in order to visit it. The great benefit of this is that it will mean the people who visit your store this way are already interested in a specific product, greatly increasing your site's conversion rate. 

The site also allows users to 'Like', 'Comment' and 'Repin' an image. This means that if someone 'Repins' your product, the image could be viewed by thousands of people in a matter of minutes. This level of coverage for a small business can make a huge difference in your traffic and when it's completely free, you should make sure you take advantage of it.

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Improve Your Social Media 'Klout'

Are you using social media to help market your online ecommerce business? If so, you can keep track of how effective your social media account is by using 'Klout.'

Klout is a great website that rates your social media network, giving it an overall score out of 100 which you can then use to determine how influential your social media account is. With over 100 million social media accounts using Klout, it is a great tool to see how you can help improve your social media growth.

So, if you have checked your Klout score and found that it is lower than you would like, how can you improve your score?

Your Klout score is determined by three different categories; "True Reach," "Amplification" and "Network."

True Reach - Basically how many people act on something that you post. This could involve someone opening up a link that you have posted or someone sharing or retweeting your post for others to see. The more people you have that do this, the greater your Klout score will increase. When running your business, you must ensure your online store has some form of social commerce, allowing you to share content from your site to your social media pages.

Amplification - While 'True Reach'  measures how many people act on something you post, 'Amplification' measures how many other people act on this once it has been retweeted or shared. For example, you post an article on your Twitter account which is then retweeted by someone who is following you. People who are then following the retweeter then decide they themselves want to retweet it to allow followers of their Twitter account to read it. This will result in your amplification score going up. The more people that do this, the greater increase in your Klout score. 

Network - Out of the three categories, this is the easiest way to greatly increase your Klout score. If you have a number of different social media accounts such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, use the Klout website to link them all together. The more social media accounts you have linked, the more socially active you appear to the Klout program. This will result in your social media account receiving a significant jump in score.

The average Klout score for a user is around 20, anything above that and you will be well on your way to being influential in social media. If you are looking to become one of the most influential, you should be looking to achieve a score of over 70. However, to achieve this type of score you must have thousands of twitter posts, millions of followers and a whole host of people who constantly retweet and share your content. This level of influence is usually only achieved by celebrities and worldwide brands 'eBay' that has a score of 79.

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How Networking Can Improve Your Business

While increasing your public image through online marketing is vital in making your online store a booming success, you must make sure that you don't overlook the substantial benefits to offline face-to-face social networking.

Social networking events allows you to meet new clients, engage in person with your current customers and meet other business owners in the local area. 

Not only does it allow you to interact with people, it also allows you to give your business a face. Creating a public personal identity will greatly increase your business's reputation. This will increase the levels of trust in your current customers and new people you will network with, making it much more likely that they will visit your online business in the future.

What should you do?

When attending one of these events, there are a number of things you should look to do:

Meet as many people as you can - The more people you introduce yourself and your business to the better. You are there to not only promote yourself, but also your business. The more people you meet, the better it will be for your business.

Get involved - If you are attending an event which has a business presentation or a public speaker, look to get involved. Simply asking a few questions at Q & A session at the end is a great way to get some attention from everyone in the room. If you do ask a question, be sure to first introduce yourself and the name of your business.

Exchange contact details - While meeting people is a great way to get your name out there, to create substantial links you need to exchange contact details. These details should include your name, your business and how people can contact you or access your site. The easiest way to exchange this information is to have some business cards created before you attend the event.

Make use of these contacts - Gathering numerous business cards off people and then leaving them under a stack of papers somewhere in your office is not going to help your business progress at all. You need to follow up on this initial contact to ensure some sort of professional relationship is created. This could simply involve following them on Twitter or Facebook. Doing this simple task not only develops the professional relationship, but it also opens up your information all the people who also follow this individual.

However, while local networking events are important in helping a small business survive and grow, never forget about the importance of online networking through social media sites and other online platforms such as forums. Only when you are able to use both online and offline effectively will your business start to gain a substantial reputation.

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Friday, 20 July 2012

Guest Checkouts to Increase Your Conversion Rate

A recent study in the US has found that 8 of the 10 major stores have a better conversion rate when they allow their customers to purchase as a guest.

Asking a user to register their details before they are able to purchase products off their store is making some customers leave the site and look for alternatives, therefore lowering the conversion rate. 

What a customer wants is to visit an online store, select the item they want and complete the payment process in as quick a time as possible. 

How can this impact your business?

Well obviously, if you are an eBay store owner this is going to make no difference to your store and all buyers first have to create an eBay account before purchasing anything from any store.

However, if you run your own online store that is not connected to eBay, you make look at experimenting with your checkout procedure in an attempt to boost your conversion rate.

A guest checkout procedure will not only allow you to make more sales over a shorter period due to its increased efficiency, it will also stop your server from potentially becoming bogged down 

If you are looking to possibly add guest checkouts to your website, be sure to first analyse the security set up of your store. Some of the big brands have great security procedures in place, meaning that even if something goes wrong with a guest's checkout, they still have enough information to fix or cancel the transaction. 

When running a small business, every single sale is important. The last thing you want to do is have a transaction go wrong leaving you out of pocket or unable to get in touch with the guest buyer to solve the issue. Even if someone is using a guest checkout procedure, you must ensure you still record some contact details from the user such as their email address and telephone number. This means that if a product is out of stock or if there is any kind of delivery issue, you can contact the person easily despite them not having a registered account on your store.

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Thursday, 19 July 2012

Boost Your Store's Traffic With Affiliate Marketing

If you are struggling to marketing your business or simply don't have enough time to give it all of the attention it deserves, have you thought about using affiliate marketing.

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a process by which you hire and external company to promote your business across a number of different websites. While this is a great way to increase the amount of traffic your website receives, it is something that could end up eating in to your profits depending on which company you choose and how successful it is.

Affiliate marketing companies are paid based on commission. Some companies charge a commission on sales made by people who have accessed the store through the affiliate site, while others charge simply based on the click throughs they generate to your site. Like I said earlier, each of these can be more costly than the other depending on the success of the affiliate marketing.

For example, if the affiliate marketing company charges commission based on the click throughs, it means you will have to pay for the service even if it does not generate a sale on your site. However, if you have a high conversion rate in terms of people who visit your store and then make a sale, you will most likely find this will be a cheaper option than a sales commission rate. This is because the commission rate for a sale will be much higher than the click through option as you are actually making money from the transaction.

Looking at the opposite end of the spectrum, if you receive high levels of traffic but a smaller number of sales, you would be better having the sale based commission as it would most likely save you money. However, if you have high traffic but a low sales conversion, it is most likely other parts of your business you need to look at to determine why the conversion rate is so low. 

The main problem with affiliate marking comes not in what the concept offers, but how you track which users have visited your store solely because of the affiliate marketing. To combat this you can either purchase affiliate software that allows you to monitor the visitors it generates, or join a affiliate network. 

Things to consider

Before making a decision to either use affiliate software or an affiliate network you must consider:
  • Will it integrate with your current shopping cart software?
  • Is online support assistance available should you require it?
  • Is there a no risk trial period for you to give it a go or some form of money back guarantee?
  • Is the costs for the software and the commission costs worth it based on how much income are generating? 

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Promote Posts to Increase Your Facebook Following

You may have just decided to have a great sale or promotion on your store that a number of people will love. You post the sale on your Facebook page for all your followers to see. However, if you don't have many Facebook followers, how do you let everyone out there know about this awesome deal they are missing out on?

Using Facebook's 'Promote' service allows you to send out these post notifications to people who are not following your business. These might be people who are friends of people who like your Facebook page, or people who have similar key factors such as geographical location and interests. While all these sounds like a fantastic way to advertise your business and increase your following in the process, what you need to bear in mind is that this service is not free. As the old saying goes: "You have to spend money to make money."

How to 'Promote' a Facebook Post

Once you have created the Facebook post you wish to send out, select the 'Promote' button next to the 'Post' button. Select how much you would like to spend promoting the post. The more you spend, the more people will see your post. You will be able to get an idea of how many extra people your post will reach by looking at the 'Set your budget' section underneath where you have entered your budget total. For some businesses, it may be better to have a small initial budget just so you can just how successful the service has been. If you generate a large number of followers from promoting the post, increase your budget the next time you do it.

However, this service is only available to businesses that have between 400 and 10,000 followers. If you have a business that is below 400 followers, check out some other tips from eSellution on how to increase your followers: "How to Build Up Fans for Your Facebook Store."

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Facebook Advertising to Market Your Business

Facebook have recently decided to launch their own service, 'Facebook Exchange' that allows businesses to advertise on Facebook. Despite the obvious popularity of Facebook some people may still ask, how beneficial is Facebook advertising actually going to be for my buisness? The answer is very beneficial!

With reportedly over 500 million daily users on the social networking site, the opportunity to promote your ecommerce business is substantial. However, if you decide that your business should embark on the Facebook Exchange, who will actually see your advertisement?

How Facebook Exchange Works

When a Facebook user visits an external third party site, the cookies for that site are marked by Facebook Exchange. Then, when the user next visits Facebook, advertisements will appear along the side of the various Facebook page advertising products and services similar to the page external page you previously viewed. 

How Do You Get Your Business to be on Facebook Exchange?

If a business is looking to have their advert appear on Facebook, they will hire Demand Side Platform (DSP) company. A DSP is a company that communicates with Facebook allowing a business to customise their performance indicators such as target audience and cost per click. They also allow a business to bid on specific ads that relate to your business. However, competition for these ad slots are incredibly high with a number of different companies all attempting to get them. The company who has bid the highest amount for the advert slot that relates to the users third party website will get their advert placed on Facebook. 

The real problem with advertising on Facebook is that users will always have the option to opt-out of having a specific Facebook Exchange adverts appear on their Facebook page. This means that you could have a number of people visit websites that relate to your business, but if they have opted out your advert previously, it will not appear on their page no matter how much you have bid for the slot. 

Despite this potential negative, the positives of using Facebook Exchange are huge. This is underlined by the fact that Facebook are predicted to increase their advertising revenue this year by 60% to over $5 billion.

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Are you utilizing Google +?

As you strive to achieve your social media standing in this ever emerging world of online networking sites, have you considered using the Google+ platform to convey not only your personal/professional profile, but also that of your business? The informative infographic below designed by Chris Brogan, highlighted on Smart Insights explains why greater interaction should be placed on the new social network: 


Tuesday, 17 July 2012

What eBay's 'Like' and 'Want' Buttons Could Do For Your Business?

eBay are currently experimenting on their website by adding 'Like,' 'Want' and other social media buttons to some of their stores. 

If this becomes a standard feature across all eBay stores, how could this potential new feature impact your business?

Well, the obvious positive straight away is the ability to create greater interaction levels between your eBay store and Facebook. Having your customers 'Like' or 'Want' a particular product on your eBay store will provide two glaring positives. Firstly, it is great advertising! If someone likes or wants one of your products, the item will be added to their eBay listings and gives them the option to share with friends via Facebook. The notification including the product itself will then instantly appear on this person's Facebook news feed. This will mean that all of their friends will be able to see your product. Secondly, it will also provide a direct link to the product within your eBay store. That type of direct traffic is great not only for attracting customers, but also increasing your websites search engine ranking. Secondly, having a number of buyers 'Like' a particular product gives you an added indication of which items are currently popular with the wider public.

For those who run not only an eBay store, but also a Facebook store, this could be a fantastic way to increase your following within Facebook. If one of your items are posted on a persons wall, one of their friends may then look to see if they can find a fan page or store within Facebook that is linked to your eBay store. The main reason for this would be to see if your store currently has any news, sales or offers advertised on the Facebook page.

However, some store owners believe that this addition is a waste of time and one which would of been better spent improving levels of communication between the buyer and sell. The possible button additions have also been met with mixed views by eBay buyers. Some believe they are a great addition, allowing people to keep track of what they like, while others think it is somewhat an invasion of their privacy as others should not be able to see what products they like. 

While the positives of these buttons in the eyes of the seller are clear to see, time will tell as to whether it is something that eBay will integrate across all of their stores.

Your Social Media Voice

I think it's safe to say that everyone now understands how important social media is when creating interest and awareness in your business.

However, simply creating accounts on various social media sites isn't going to be enough to make your business a household name. 

What you post, when you post it and what voice your posts are in are all important in generating interest and followers for your social media content. 

The first thing you should do is generate content on a daily basis. This may be articles you have written yourself, articles shared from other users or offers and promotions from your business. Posting content every day allows you to create a regular following who will revisit your social media accounts each day expecting new content. 

While you are a professional business, your posts and status updates don't have to be written in a formal fashion. In fact. writing in a authoritative voice is likely to make users feel less comfortable about visiting your site. Writing in a personal style allows you to relate to your audience. This creates almost a conversational tone, which instantly makes users comfortable on your page.

The beauty about social media is that it is a two way interaction platform. Normal marketing avenues are simply one way communication with you sending a message to the consumer. Sites like Facebook and Twitter allow not only you to communicate with your followers, but for them to communicate right back. Taking the time to respond to any questions, queries or comments your followers have is a great way to not only get some customer feedback to help improve your business, but is also a great way to build up personal connections with consumers. The more personal connections you create, the more potential customers you will be generating for your online business.

Although many businesses look to separate their online and offline marketing into two different strategies, you shouldn't overlook the benefits in advertising one platform across another. The best example for this would be Twitter's use of hashtags. It's obvious that when looking to build a Twitter following, the majority of your followers are going to be people who have seen the content posted on your Twitter feed and then decided to follow you. However, placing your Twitter address of 'hashtag' on other promotion items will also have a large impact on your social media following. 

Many businesses have taken up this concept of offline advertising for an online platform by placing the addresses of their social media sites on store windows, posters and even television adverts. Placing your social media identities anywhere and everywhere can only be a good thing. Not only does it increase your online following, it creates extra avenues for brand promotion.

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Monday, 16 July 2012


Online Marketing: What Not To Do

Although it is very unlikely that any online marketing will seriously damage your ecommerce store or business, some marketing campaigns can be more successful than others.

The last thing you will want to do is spend a your time planning and implementing a marketing strategy, only for it to have little or no affect in raising the awareness of your brand. 

When carrying out your marketing strategy you should look to avoid the following mistakes:

  • Marketing to a large demographic - Sending out your marketing promotions to anyone and everyone. Not only will this take a lot of time and potentially resources, you could be sending them out to people who have no interest whatsoever in your business. This is a waste of time to both you and them.
          • What you should do - Focus your marketing promotions on a niche audience. These are people who you know will be interested in your product/service to some degree. This greatly increases the amount of traffic and awareness your business receives. 

  • Basic, cheap looking website and promotions - While you may be looking to save as much money as possible, the look of your website and marketing promotions is very important. If you have a website that looks cheap and unprofessional, the likelihood is that it will put off any customers from visiting your store.
          • What you should do - Assign a budget for your website and promotional material that is not too expensive but still allows you to create something that is professional and appealing to visitors. Remember, first impressions count, so make the right one with inviting promotions.

  • Poorly written content - The home page for your online store is the first port of call for all potential customers. If you have a website that has a number of different spelling, punctuation or grammar mistakes, it is instantly going to make your business look unprofessional and unappealing.
          • What you should do - Once you have completed your website content, ask a number of people who you trust to read through the content and see if they can see any mistakes you have made. This then allows you to make sure all of the content is spelt correctly before it is published.  

  • Not monitoring website traffic - Knowing how many people are visiting your site, how many of them stay on it and how many are going to other pages on your site is vitally important. If many people are visiting your home page and then leaving straight away, it tells you that something about your home page is putting them off. If you don't monitor your website's traffic, you will struggle to truly maximise the potential traffic and business your site can achieve.

  • Not using social media - Believing that simply using emails, leaflets and other promotion material to advertise your business is only going to get you so far when creating a brand awareness. Within online marketing, social media is everything. With millions of people using social media every day, it is a form of marketing you cannot afford to ignore.
          • What you should do - Create accounts for your business on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Create details about your store including what services you offer and how people can access your site. Generating followers across these social commerce platforms will result in your business gaining a large amount of public awareness in a very short space of time. 

There is a fine line between success and failure when carrying out marketing campaigns. Make sure you take the time to correctly plan your strategies to ensure the best possible results.

The Pros and Cons of SMS Marketing

Exploring different marketing avenues is always key to maximising the coverage and awareness your business will gain. Similar to email marketing, text message marketing (SMS) is a great way to reach a large audience instantly and depending on your SMS distribution agency it could be very cost effective. However, unlike all marketing campaigns, there are things you should do and things you shouldn't.

When deciding on the type of text message marketing, there are two types; 'Broadcast' and 'Narrowcast.' 'Broadcast' involves sending out messages to the general public whereas, 'Narrowcast' involves sending out messages to a small, targeted audience. 

If you are looking to reach a whole new audience then the 'Broadcast' option would be the way to go. However, if you are looking to create repeat business and advertise your current offers and sales to your existing customers, 'Narrowcast' is for you.


        • Can be cost effective marketing - Employing a mobile phone agency to send out the text messages on your behalf can by much cheaper than printing and distributing other forms of advertising, such as flyers.
        • Easy to create - Requires no HTML, no images, you simply put the text you want the user to read and how they can access your store. 
        • High reliability - Unlike email marketing, SMS marketing is not subject to filters. SMS marketing ensures your message will be delivered to the customer and will not be subject to being filtered out as spam or junk. 
        • Ecologically friendly - Unlike leaflets and flyers, there is no use of resources such as paper or plastics. SMS is green source of marketing!
        • Seemingly limitless market growth - With the number of mobile users growing at a rapid rate each year, the number of customers you are able to reach is endless. 


        • Users think it's spam - Some of the users will think that the text message is just spam and will delete it without looking at it. 
        • No title - Unlike emails, you cannot have a subject title to draw the audience in. It simply displays the text in the message straight away
        • Limited space - The information you can include in a text message is limited to a specific number of characters. While this makes your message more direct, it can result in you having to leave out other information.

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Friday, 13 July 2012

A Starter Guide to Online Marketing

Starting your own online ecommerce store but don't know where to start? Well don't worry, help is at hand!

The image below provides you with all the information you could ever need in telling you how to optimise your business's marketing strategy.

Whether your looking to embark on email marketing, social commerce or search engine optimisation, there's everything you need to know to help take your business to the next level.

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Using QR Codes to Advertise Your Business

According to a study carried out by the Internet Advertising Bureau, over £203 million was spent on mobile advertising in 2011, more than double that of the previous year. One of the causes of this significant increase is the ever growing use of QR codes.

What Are They?

QR codes are a form of mobile marketing that allow you to direct users to your site without having to provide any links or text. They are basically a more advanced type of barcode.

The huge difference between the two is that a barcode is a one-dimensional code that holds up to 20 numerical digits, whereas, QR codes are two-dimensional and can hold thousands of alphanumeric characters. This means they can hold significantly larger amounts of data.

How Do They Work?

When coming across a QR code either in a magazine, flyer or other from of advetisement, the user would then use QR reader app on their smartphone to scan the image. Many smartphones now offer these QR readers to users for free. The code would then instantly advertise your business or product by sending the user an email or text or directing them to your website in their mobile browser.

How Can They Help Your Business?

Originally used to track auto parts, they have now become an ever growing part of advertising with 50% of all smartphone owners using them. Out of this 50% percent, 18% then go on to make a purchase on the store. This shows the significant amount of traffic and sales QR codes can generate for your business. 

With QR codes becoming an increasing part of advertising, it is believed that around 48% of businesses will invest in the technology within 2012. This demonstrates the importance to look at QR codes as a possible advertising tool when marketing your online ecommerce store.

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We Need You!

How important are reviews?

Here at eSellution, we constantly strive to provide you with competitor beating service; therefore we love your feedback so we can improve the level of assistance your business gains.  This is why our support team are consistently on-hand to provide guidance and support at every hurdle, to help your company achieve its goals and grow.  You help us, help you!

A recent post by Olery highlighted the importance of reviews to a business.  If you are a satisfied customer we would love to hear why you choose us to be your business's eCommerce software solution! If you have a minute, please support us at Trustpilot, and let the world know how your business has moved into the online world of eCommerce selling.

Thanks in advance, the eSellution team!

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Thursday, 12 July 2012

Managing Your eBay Store - Insertion Fees

When setting up your online eBay store, one the many things you need to factor into your profit and loss information is how much you will have to spend on item insertion fees.

Insertion fee costs will vary depending on the level of eBay subscription you currently have. There are currently three different eBay subscription levels; 'Basic,' 'Featured' and 'Anchor.' With each of these three packages you receive a different number of features. 

When listing one item on your eBay store, if you have the 'Basic' or 'Featured' package, you will be required to pay an insertion fee of £0.10 and £0.05 respectively. While this may not seem like much, when you are listing 1000's of items, the costs can soon eat into your profits. 

One of the benefits of the 'Anchor' subscription is that you will not be required to pay any insertion fees whatsoever. However, as the 'Basic' subscription costs £14.99 and the 'Anchor' costs £349.99 it is up to you to decide whether the overall benefits of the anchor package are worth paying the added monthly cost. 

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Help Your eBay Store Sell Worldwide

With 97 million shoppers across 14 countries, have you thought about selling the products in your online eBay store to an International market?

However, before embarking on International sales, there are a number of factors you must consider.

Target The Right Market For Your Business

The key to selling products Internationally is to find a gap in the market where your product will be able to prosper. Broadening your market will help increase traffic to your store, but only if the market is interested in your product. For example, there is no point selling video games that are region specific to a part of the world that can't play it.

International Postage Costs

However, before selling your products to various countries, you must first check what shipping or customs costs will need to be covered. Depending on these costs, you may find that you only sell certain items to an international market. For example, if you are selling a product for £6, you will find that international customers are unlikely to purchase the product if they will have to pay an additional £4 in postage costs.

Additional Seller Fees

When listing your products on eBay sites in other countries, you will be required to pay additional fees. These fees will vary depending on which country you are posting your items in. Be sure to factor in these fees to your figures before deciding whether or not to open up to an International market.

Payment Process

Ensure your eBay store can receive Paypal payments. While eBay allows you to use a number of different payment methods worldwide, Paypal is a universal payment method that is simple and can be used by anyone. Although you will be required to pay a fee to Paypal in order to carry out the transaction, it is a safe and easier way to carry out any transactions compared to other International payment methods.

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Greater Seller Protection from Unfair Customers

Many people believe that the only people who are in need of protection on eBay are the customers from potential rogue traders. In fact, the truth is that many sellers are also at risk of some customers seriously harming the reputation of their basis.

Back in March, eBay introduced new policy guidelines to help give sellers increase protection from customers. This mainly focussed on ensuring that customers were no longer able to leave unfair or untrue feedback on a store owner. 

On eBay, feedback makes or breaks a business. If you receive large amounts of bad feedback, the odds are customers will stay away from your store, seriously harming your sales. However, eBay have combated this by providing sellers with a 5 star rating if they meet the following requirements: 

  • Tracking is uploaded or item is marked as dispatched within one working day of the payment being received.
  • The payment is made through Paypal. The payment must be made through Paypal as this is the only way eBay can see the date when the payment was made. 
  • The handling time is one day or less.
  • There was no communication between the buyer and seller 14 days before the payment was made up until the buyer leaves the feedback. 
If you have met these requirements, you will be protected from receiving an unfairly low detailed seller rating (DSRs) from the customer.

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Improve Your Business By Becoming a Top Seller

With over 400,000 stores on eBay in the UK, creating an eBay store that stands out from the crowd and appeals to customers is important. To create that bond with any potential customers, it is vital to not only have an online store that is welcoming, but also an eBay seller status that is trustworthy.

You can gain instant levels of trust in your customers by achieving 'Top Seller' status. You can become a top seller by meeting the following requirements: 

  • Have an eBay account that has been active for 90 days
  • Have at least 100 transactions in the last 12 months
  • Have at least 98% positive feedback
  • Be part of the PowerSeller programme
  • Meet all requirements for Detailed Seller Ratings (DSRs) and eBay Buyer Protection

Benefits of being a top seller

When you manage to become Top Seller, you will receive a number of added bonusues that will significantly help you run your store. These include: 

  • Improved Best Match visibility - The 'Best Match' feature is the most important part of the Top Seller programme. This gives you an average of 20% more visibility in search results.
  • Get up to a 20% discount on final value fees - This offer is only available to those selling products on eBay.co.uk or eBay.ie.
  • Get a badge on your store's listings - This badge instantly instils confidence in customers, making them more likely to purchase from your store.
  • Get a chance to be part of 'Featured First' - Gives you the opportunity to to have your products appear on the first page of search results.
  • Improved search standing for fixed price listings -  Moves you further up the ranking of search results meaning your product will be seen by customers sooner. 

When looking to create a successful eBay business, it is absolutely vital that you achieve this 'Top Seller' status if you want your business to be as successful as it possibly could be. 

Top Tips to Make Your eBay Store Competitive

Competition with other eBay stores is a constant battle if you want your store to be as popular as it could be. However, you don't have to spend a large amount of time and effort to make your eBay store a success.

There are a number of simple actions you can carry out which will allow you to keep your eBay store as competitive as possible. 

  • Detailed item descriptions - The more information you include about a product, the better chance you have of a customer purchasing it. This should include an in depth description of the product. For example, if you are selling a digital camera, you should include how many megapixels the camera has and what features it possesses.

  • Include item specifications - When listing the information include the dimensions, colour and style of the product. For example, if someone is looking to purchase some furniture from your store, it is important that they know they size and colour of your product to allow them to see if it will fit in their home and whether it will compliment other items they own. 

  • High Quality Images - Allowing customers to see the product they are potentially buying is paramount when looking to gain sales. If you are selling a product with no image, it is likely that people will be put off from buying it. When setting up your eBay store you should get some high quality images of your items to entice customers and make your store seem more professional. 

  • Careful Delivery  - If a package from your store arrives at the customer poorly packaged or late, the likelihood is that they will be put off from visiting your store in the future. Remember, a poorly packaged product can make any postal insurance void, meaning it will cost you more money to replace the product. Having a delivery system that allows you to pack items carefully and ship them as soon as possible will always be favourable to the customers. The quicker the customer receives their item, the happier they will be!

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Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Why Your Small Business Should be on LinkedIn..

Make sure you don't just rely on typical Facebook and Twitter, as LinkedIn continues to get overlooked


As a small business, running a social media front while in the early stages of start-up or with low staff numbers can be resource heavy.  Simply starting up a social networking page for your business then not engaging with it regularly to communicate and gain custom is worse than not having a page at all; it portrays a negative, lazy, unprofessional image of your brand, (which I'm sure you don't want).  Therefore, it is essential that you select a social media platform which can benefit your brand through developing an online presence, and getting the business known and spoken about.

A recent survey showed that of all the main social media sites, LinkedIn saw the biggest rise of usage, increasing from  25% to 31% between 2010 and 2011, a bigger jump from Facebook, whose usage increased by 3% to  44%. Twitter on the other hand suffered a drop in usage from 19% to 18%.  These figures suggest LinkedIn is set to grow further, and is the perfect professional platform to showcase your new or smaller business.

When endeavoring to develop your business's social media presence, LinkedIn can be the ideal place to earn advice at the same time as getting your business name out there. Your business should use this platform which is the meeting place for over 161 million professionals worldwide (March 2012, LinkedIn), as a key tool to gain advice and industry knowledge; to learn how to create a strategic company presence.  A LinkedIn profile also helps your business have a more personal and approachable image, as people are able to get to know you and your employees.

Having a LinkedIn profile makes it easier for your business to be discovered, members can find your company using LinkedIn’s advanced search tool.  It will also make you rank higher on Google search results pages, increasing customer awareness and generating new traffic to your website.  

You must also remember than LinkedIn is a key place to showcase your key skills and knowledge, so milk it! Help your small business stand out - after all, your human resources build the strength of your company.

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