One of the biggest reservations and fears about marketing is that it won’t work – that they’ll invest all this money in trying to promote their business but they won’t get any results back. What if there was a way that you could have thousands of people promoting your business (blogging about you, running banner ads, sending out e-mails and creating video reviews about your business) to drive more sales to you for free?
Now what I’m talking about is affiliate marketing. You can setup special codes on your website and have people come and sign up to your affiliate program and promote your business for free. So what’s the catch? Well it’s if and only if you make a sale that you then pay that person that sent that buyer to you.
You can also refer to it as “no lose marketing” as it revolves around having commission only sales people in the market working and bringing sales to your business and putting money on your bank account and its only then that you pay out commissions to successful affiliates.
Support your affiliates
In order to have people promote your business consistently, you need to provide them with enough materials and actually make it easy for them to promote you. This means ready to use banner ads, e-mail templates, video promotional material and anything that would make it easier for your affiliates to promote your business.
Don’t be a scrooge with what you are prepared to pay your affiliates. Prior to starting Think Big Online, I used to be a fairly successful affiliate for a number of other businesses and making a very good income just from promoting other people’s businesses. From my experience I can tell you that when comparing different affiliate programs people will consider:
Now typically, if anyone was offering less than 10 percent, I wouldn’t even consider promoting them. It’s not because I am greedy but rather its because I have affiliate expenses as well – running websites, creating content and putting time in building my business in order to be able to send buyers to their respective merchants.
Depending on what product you are selling, 10 percent may be too much but the main point is that you want to offer a percentage as high as possible. The higher the percentage, the more affiliates you are going to attract. More importantly the high end affiliates – the ones that are going to probably make 90 percent of your sales, they are not even going to bother with your business if your affiliate program is too small with insufficient incentives and if you’re making it hard for them to promote your business.
One other thing that you can do to encourage or support your affiliate is to pay them regularly and if you can provide pay outs once a week that would be fantastic! A lot of affiliate managers and merchants only pay out once a month but if an affiliate is seeing money getting dropped into their bank account every week, that is a really big incentive and it’s a good reminder that they are making money from you and that they should go and actively promote your business even more and drive more sales.
It’s really a win-win situation and you can’t possibly lose by having an affiliate program setup and managed properly.
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Let’s me start things off by saying that there are only two ways to make money in business - sales and marketing. Now ask yourself, if you can’t make money without marketing then why would you limit the amount that you are willing to spend on your marketing campaign?
It seems really crazy but you’ll see a number of huge companies out there that say “our marketing budget is $2,000,000 a year”. That’s basically like saying that you only want to make a certain amount of money in a year. It’s absurd to think that you could lock in a marketing budget and actually stick to it which would mean that’s what you are prepared to make for the year or for whatever period of time it might be.
Now it’s not to say that everyone needs unlimited funds to throw at marketing or that you should just invest as much money into it and expect good things to happen because it just doesn’t work that way. What I’m trying to say is that people often severely limit their business by setting fixed parameters around their marketing budget.
3 steps for getting the ultimate marketing spend
The first step is defining a budget and a time period for testing your marketing campaign. It is a given that you need to have tracking in place so that you know exactly what ROI you are getting on your marketing investment. Let’s say for example that in your ecommerce business, we allocate a budget of $5000 dollars to test some adwords over the next 3 months.
Step number 2 is sticking to that set period and investment then assessing what’s giving you the best ROI that you can keep doing and what you need to stop doing.
The third step is defining a ratio of your marketing investment versus the returns that you are getting. Unlike having a fixed budget if you have a ratio and you keep hitting that ratio, the more traffic that you can drive that is converting to sales the more money you are going to make on the back end. All these should become very predictable over time. Let’s say you put $1000 dollars on the front end and $5000 comes out the back end like a machine.
That’s the beauty of doing business on the Internet – everything is transparent and can be tracked so it’s easy to see exactly what you are looking for as you setup a predictable machine that just keeps pumping money through. It may sound corny but that’s exactly the kind of opportunity that ecommerce businesses offer. The only time that one should set a fixed marketing budget is for testing purposes only.
A recent study done by Nielsen showed that only 40 percent of people actually trust and believe any form of advertising on the Internet. At the same time, a staggering 70 percent of people tend to believe and trust reviews from peers which includes people online that they don’t even know. How can we utilize such a fact to our advantage?
One thing that we can recommend and what we actually like to do for some of our best clients is to setup a system that automatically sends an auto responder or email to clients following their purchase after a week or two of receiving their product or service. This way, we can ask them how things are going and hopefully get them back to the website and happy enough to leave a good review.
Now one great way to motivate people to go out of their way and get them to leave a review or star ratings on your website is to provide vouchers. Vouchers can encourage buyers and customers to come back and purchase more from you and essentially repeat the entire cycle.
Ultimately all these things build up massive proof on our client’s website so that when new prospects come to the website they’ll see glowing reviews about how great their services are and how the products are good and delivered on time. Basically it’s all about leveraging off the 70 percent of the trust mentioned earlier. It’s a simple approach to increase sales or profit for your website and snowball your way to ecommerce success!
Why people are not buying from you?
Now let’s say that you have a 3 percent conversion rate on your business website which means that for every 1000 people that you send to your website, 30 people buy. Such a conversion rate is fine – it’s the average but what most people fail to think about though is the reason why 970 people actually visited your website without buying anything and what can actually be done about it.Leave things as they are and you can bet that you are leaving a lot of profit on the table.
The strategy that we recommend for some of our best clients is to actually tag the people that visit the website and “follow” those that don’t purchase with banner ads with the intention of sending them to a landing page designed to ask them why through a survey. The data acquired can then be used to improve one’s website and conversion rates in order to get more people to buy in the future.
Now as an incentive and to encourage more people to buy from your website, you can offer vouchers. You may think that it’s a bit excessive but consider how valuable it is – you have a large number of people that actually visited your website without buying anything and it presents an excellent opportunity to know exactly why! In the future, you can then significantly increase your profit going forward by helping and encouraging website visitors to actually purchase from you.
Let’s say for example that you’ve offered a 100 people with a $50 voucher. Most people would write it off as a $5,000 dollar cost but not if it enables you to afford a 100 percent markup on cost of goods in which case it should only cost you about $2,500. Such a cost is certainly well worth it when it enables you to determine exactly why people are not buying from you and rectify issues that are hindering you from making more sales!
Suppose your average sale value is $50 and your conversion rate is 3 percent. What if we can increase that conversion rate to 4 percent with the feedback that people are giving about your website? Now based on the example given earlier - 1000 visitors converting at 3 percent at a $50 average sale value, that amounts to $1500 in sales.
Now if we are able to increase that rate by employing the strategy mentioned which includes doing a survey and running our website based on what our prospects want and need, we would be able to make $2000 for exactly the same traffic with no additional expenses aside from our initial survey going forward thereby increasing our business by 25 percent!
Don’t just take my word for it. Go try it out and lets us know what results you get! If you found this useful please subscribe to our channel, share the video and leave a comment below. I’ll be seeing you in the next video!
Too often, we find a lot of people that get into the ecommerce business for all the wrong reasons. Many think that having a web business is great simply because they don’t have to deal with customers anymore and they can “hide” behind the computer screen and let the website do everything for them. Yes you’ll make a bit of sales and money but if you really want to grow your business and turn it into something worthwhile, you still need to have that service element in your business.
Three of the most common things that people in the ecommerce business tend to hide and cut corners on often losing a heap of money in the process include:
Phone number – some people think that it’s a good idea to hide business phone numbers and simply not show it on their website. Someone looking to make a purchase but have a few quick questions in mind would not be able to contact anybody about it.
In the brick and mortar retail business, that’d be like putting up your hand and telling customers that they can’t talk to you about any questions or concerns they might have about your business. How do you think customers are going to feel about that?
Chat – hiding or failing to utilize chat functions. It’s a function that all businesses these days can seamlessly and inexpensively have their webmaster install on their website instantly. However, many online businesses tend to excuse themselves out of such functions saying that they simply won’t be around to cater to chats without considering that such functions can now be easily integrated unto phones these days making it fairly easy to do.
Just by having chat enabled on your website, we can typically see a dramatic increase in sales conversion not to mention the fact that a high portion of customers that actually do take the time to chat with you are more likely to make a purchase.
Support desk – there are plenty of support desks in the market that can be easily integrated to business websites and perhaps your website already has one! It helps businesses collate all interactions with clients and customers in one place. More importantly, it makes clients feel more valued as you are more effectively able to address their needs, problems or concerns from shipping delays and issues with your products or services to arranging returns or scheduling repairs.
These are but a few of the simple and affordable solutions that you can implement in your ecommerce business to exponentially increase sales without taking too much of your time. If you found this useful please subscribe to our channel, share the video and leave a comment below. I’ll be seeing you in the next video!
A lot of people in the ecommerce business don’t really think about it but there is barely any instance in the real world that money changes hands without a problem being solved. Think about it – there is never an issue or a problem solved without its rewards and nothing is rewarded without a problem being solved. How does this apply to your ecommerce business though?
Now let’s be honest – when it all comes down to it, people don’t really care about your product and price point for the most part. What your prospects do care about is what your business and product can actually do for them!
When it comes to web marketing and generating traffic for websites, one needs to think about the problems that their business is meant to solve. Define this matter well and it will make sales and profit a lot easier as well as ultimately grow your business quicker than any other means possible. If you are thinking about the problems that your business is meant to solve, ask yourself these two questions:
Without a doubt, a business that is capable of solving more problems than others is in a perfect position to make more money. Get your business to solve bigger problems for people then you’ll be able to make more money in addition to establishing a bigger and stronger business going forward.
A great and simple approach to finding out what are the problems your prospects are having in the market is by running surveys. A lot of people simply don’t want to do it and dismiss surveys as a complete waste of time often taking too much time and effort to setup but if we know that the only way for businesses to truly succeed is to effectively solve people’s problems, surveys are something that businesses simply shouldn’t overlook especially when it’s a perfect way to actually ask people exactly what their problems are!
Now once you get a concise answer from your survey, all you have to do is focus on solving those problems. In the ecommerce business, some of the problems you should be solving for your customers by default include:
How do you go about setting the right price for your product or service? That’s a question that people in the ecommerce business often end up asking themselves. Well a common approach for many businesses is to look up competitors and attempt to undercut them in terms of cost or charge more and add a premium to the products or services offered.
Another way that people often go about is through percentage of sale. So let’s say the manufacturer gives you the product for a set amount of price plus your mark up percentage equals the selling price on your ecommerce website. The problem with these methods is that it often leads to a lot of errors and involves a lot of guess work that can lead to businesses overpricing or under pricing the products or services that they offer.
Now the real answer to the question on how to set the right price for your products or services is actually fairly simple – it’s however much the market is actually willing to pay for it! The truth is that there is no exact mathematical formula for coming up with the right price for your product or service. What businesses should do instead is focus on asking the market how much they are willing to pay for individual products or services in order to maximize profit. How should one go about doing it though?
Well you can start by split testing prices on your website to see which ones actually end up bringing more profit in your bank account. Let’s say you are in the business of selling cameras and you’ve set a price of $500 because that’s what most of your competitors are selling at. However, if you’ve taken the time to install split testing software on your website you can then run different prices for your product – perhaps $500 for one visitor and $600 for others.
Of course goal of split testing is to determine over time which price point contributes the most profit to your bank account. Think about it – at the $500 price point you have to consider a number of fixed costs that you’d have to deal with in order to deliver your products or services to your customers which includes:
What if through split testing, you find that your market is willing to pay you $600 for your product? That means you’d be able to add $100 of pure profit to your bottom line. Sure it might decrease the number of buyers that actually do make a purchase from you but you will most likely find more profit in your pocket at the end of the day. You may be surprised how much profit your business is potentially missing on if you stick with your original price point without proper split testing!
Don’t simply take our word for it though – take the time to split test your prices and see what it actually does for your ecommerce business. If you found this useful please subscribe to our channel, share the video and leave a comment below. I’ll be seeing you in the next video!
Doubling your profit overnight
Looking for ways to quickly and effectively increase profit in your ecommerce business? Well the best way of doing just that is to remove any risks perceived by your buyers.
Now the biggest and most common risk buyers are often so concerned about is investing or buying a certain product or service and not getting what they really need out of it. Some people are still skeptical about making purchases online not to mention giving out their credit card information with no assurance in shipping or a refund. What people in the ecommerce business needs to do in their marketing campaign and their business website is remove such risks from the sale.
Removing your buyers’ risk from the sale
So how exactly do you go about removing buyer risks which may be hindering your business from maximizing profits? Well the easiest way to do this by confidently offering guarantees and one of the best guarantees that you can see in the market today is a 365 days no questions asked money-back guarantee. As a merchant, you may feel uncomfortable about offering such a guarantee but in return buyers would be more confident and makes it more likely for them to actually make a purchase.
Now going such a route may get you to process a couple of refunds but think about it – you are probably going to have to give out refunds any way for buyers that are unhappy about your product or service. We can’t change the fact that there will always be customers who are unhappy about what your business offers and will demand a refund so you might as well have a guarantee in the first place and attract as many buyers as possible.
Most people are honest and will generally do the right thing. Some of the things that you can expect to happen once you start guaranteeing your products or services includes:
Now looking at it hypothetically, let’s say that you’ve had a number of people visit your ecommerce website and in a month, 200 of them actually made a purchase totaling to $400 so your average sale value is $40. How fantastic it would be if you’ve managed to increase the number of buyers in a month to say 300 and your average sale value to $50? From the same amount of traffic, you’d be increasing your net sales from $8,000 to $15,000.
It’s certainly all possible by offering guarantees and getting rid of anything that buyers would interpret as a risk in their decision to invest or purchase from you. Of course don’t simply take our word for it and go try it out for at least 3 months and see how it works out for your business. If you found this useful please subscribe to our channel, share the video and leave a comment below. I’ll be seeing you in the next video!
Effective use of blogging for your ecommerce business
Most ecommerce websites have blogging capabilities these days and for good reasons. For one thing, it enables us to create more relevant and useful content for your target market. Needless to say, this translates to more opportunities for bringing in traffic from major search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.
One other reason why people need to take a good look at blogging for their ecommerce business is the fact that it presents a great opportunity to add credibility to your business by blogging up topics that are relevant to the products or services that you offer. You can consistently blog about the latest products that are coming out in the market as well as presenting reviews and drawing out comparisons.
All these things can serve to build more credibility for your business and generate more traffic which means more purchases in your online shopping cart.
Having a blog is like having your own media platform – you can broadcast anything you like and control the manner in which your business is perceived in the market. It’s something that a lot of people tend to overlook and yet it’s a powerful marketing tool that no ecommerce business today should miss out on especially in improving both sales and search engine rankings.
Topic ideas for your blog
Having trouble coming up with good topics for your blogs? Well why not check out Google News and simply type in keywords that are relevant to your product or service. You’ll see trending topics and current events in another country which can give you ideas on what to write about. You can also check out relevant forums and look up hot threads to see what people are actually talking about in your market.
Another great way of looking up topic ideas for your blog is to look up industry leaders in your market and reputable manufacturers. Follow their blogs using an RSS reader such as Google Reader and uncover great ideas for your blog topics and put them up on your ecommerce website which will ultimately help attract more visitors and more sales.
Integrating ecommerce with offline marketing
A lot of people in the ecommerce business believe that there is no need for them to bother with offline marketing at all which is rather unfortunate. Offline marketing presents a huge opportunity especially after a sale as it enables businesses to re-engage previous buyers and make it more likely for them to actually do business with you again.
Some of the quickest and most affordable ways to effectively supplement your ecommerce business with offline marketing is to provide buyers with small business cards aimed at leading them back to your ecommerce website or better yet to one of your social media profiles – Facebook page, Twitter account or Pinterest. Whatever the case, it’s important to remember that the sales process doesn’t have to end after hitting the checkout button and think long term keeping your customers coming back to you.
Another great way to leverage offline marketing in your ecommerce business is to offer coupons after every sale. It’s a good strategy for getting customers to purchase again from you sometime in the future as you effectively attempt to draw them back in with great discounts or offers that they claim for a set period of time. The goal is to somehow create a habit for your buyers and get them to keep coming back to you with repeated purchases.
One other thing that you can do is have knick knacks or give away items made specific to your brand that is useful enough for them to keep and utilize in a regular basis and at the same time remind them about your business should they need anything. Depending on the nature of your business, the item can be a pen or a bottle owner engraved with your brand or business name on it.
There are a lot of affordable promotional products out there that you can include with your product or service for an additional dollar or so. It’s a small price to pay but can add a lot of value for customers and that extra bit of wow enabling your business to make its mark in the minds of your customers as they are better able to recall your business and what it’s all about.