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BigTurns Platform is More than a CMS (Content Management System)

Published by Charles Brodeur

BigTurns is an online business platform.  What’s an “online businesss” platform?  If you’ve not come across this concept before you probably talk about a CMS (content management system).  BigTurns platform at its most basic level is a CMS system, but it’s so much more…

What BigTurns does is take all the elements that a traditional online business needs to be successful and merge them into one holistic solution.  The elements that I’m talking about are CMS, e-commerce, email marketing, CRM, analytics and reporting. 

Typically a business will run all these systems separately in different environments.  By doing it all in one place will save you money, but having these fully integrated can make marketing so much more targeted and accountable.  Calculating ROI on email campaigns and affiliate schemes is so much easier and can done “out of the box”. 

The system also helps to build accurate profiles of your customers because every interaction they have with your website, whether it be completing a form or buying a product is recorded against their CRM record as can every email you have with them.  This means any member of staff can pick up that customer and at a glance can see exactly their history with the company.

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Five goals for your Website

Published by Charles Brodeur

I was recently asked to give some advice to a friend who wanted to have a web designer design her website. My friend runs a salon and she was one of those people who knew that she needed a website but didn't know about the business...

She had no idea what Web Designers charge, she didn't know how her website would work for her, she hadn't thought about what content she was going to put there, she just knew it was 2010 and every small business needs a website. Well, it was time to teach her a couple of things as a favour and help her with her strategy for her website.

I went through 5 strategies with her when I explained the opportunities with a website:

Goal 1: Selling Online

The most well known goal for eCommerce Businesses where you're looking for an extra channel to sell your products and services.

Strategy: To reach sales targets and reduce shopping cart abandons, you'll need to focus on an all-in-one eCommerce site complete with catalogs, products, shopping cart, shipping and a payment gateway and that provides an interesting and seamless shopping experience. Don't forget to add extras like upselling, recommended products, product galleries and plenty of credible product information to help meet your sales and orders targets.

But what happens when you can't sell online because what you sell is a physical service or you're not running a for-profit business? There's 4 other goals you can set for your Online Business to get return on investment...

Goal 2: Build Your Community

This goal applies particularly well to non-profit organizations like Churches, local Neighborhood organizations, Community organizations, Charities etc - they need to have online conversations/discussions with their current members and attract new ones.

Strategy: To build an online community, you'd need to nurture a social site with a discussion forum and post regular news on a blog to keep visitors coming back. Make a space for photo-uploads to show what's going on in your community, post podcasts of speeches or presentations for your visitors to download in a members-only area. Make sure members know about your site and that they contribute as well!

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A Solid eCommerce Strategy is the Key to Success

Published by Charles Brodeur

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is a constant battle online. I call it "Shiny Object Syndrome". It is so easy to lose focus these days and bounce from one great idea to the next before we have fully executed on the first great idea.

That's why we need a plan that follows a the path to success. 

Decades ago, business owners had it easy - they weren't dealing with the rapid and volatile change we deal with today.There was a strategic, focused way of managing a businesses that you may remember - the 4 P's.

The 4 P's, aka the "Marketing Mix", is a combination of four marketing ingredients that you must constantly balance and control when running your business.

The 4 P's are still relevant today, and we have a bit of an update to applying them to the eCommerce Business:

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Setting up the eCommerce Platform

Published by Charles Brodeur

About 4 years ago, we were looking into starting a new business, online. As an accomplished businessman we started thinking about what we were going to need to be successful. A website was the obvious starting point. It had to be easy enough to add and change content - because websites live or die on the basis of fresh, useful content.

Next - we needed a way to manage leads and customers. You need to be able to react quickly to new leads and follow up on old ones. Then, marketing. Email marketing to be precise. A permission based list of people who are receptive to hear your message is priceless. And don't forget - online shopping. Selling online is the most important function we needed to do.  We wanted to process orders 24 hours a day.

That's a basic list. There's more, like community forums, affiliate programs, blogs and so forth. But let's keep it simple, ok?

So, checklist in hand (we are pretty organized kinda guys) we went looking for something to do all this and we found Content Management Systems, and Customer Relationship Management systems, and Shopping carts, and Email Marketing Solutions, and Site Analytics. So we signed up to all these services and downloaded what we needed to download.

OK great, we thought, let's get started!....Or not.

We got frustrated. Because running any business is a little like racing a car. You've got to push hard, stay ahead of the pack and be smart about how you race. But our  problem wasn't that we couldn't race. We were wasting our time trying to build the nice, fast car.

The other problem was we found ourselves spending a lot of time trying to keep all his separate systems in sync. And more than once we forgot one of the five or six log in details we were supposed to remember.

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5 Steps to a Successful Email Campaign

Published by Charles Brodeur

Step One: Make full use of your permission-based email software package. BigTurns has a ton of advanced features for handling your campaigns. It makes it easy to create and send your newsletters. It will manage subscriptions and bounced messages for you. It automates a lot of the grunt work involved in an email marketing campaign.

Step Two: You'll have to decide what type of campaign you want to run and how frequently you want to send your messages. I recommend sending at least a monthly newsletter. Of course, if you sell more than one product, it might be a good idea to send multiple messages. Just be sure to keep your broadcast times consistent. You may consider sending promotional messages offering a discount or coupon for your product.

Step Three: Add a sign-up form to your website. The sign-up form lets you collect a group of addresses for your sending lists. We've found that it's generally safe to import anyone who did business with you in the last year or so. Just make sure to send content relevant to what they purchased. (Always provide value!)

Step Four: Create an effective email template. A lot of email software programs include HTML templates. BigTurns actually comes with over 300 professionally designed templates. You can also create one in-house or use a graphic-design service.
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About Sales and Marketing Automation

Published by Charles Brodeur

This is the first Post for The eCommerce Blog from Sales and Marketing Automation. 

Our mission with this blog is to promote eCommerce Best Practices to Small business owners. We will be including topics that relate to building eCommerce Sites, marketing eCommerce Sites and managing eCommerce Sites.

We are not sure where this journey will take us but the general direction we are going to set out on is to expose the tricks that make successful sites sell.

We will discuss topics like eCommerce Technology, SAAS, Email Marketing, Internet Marketing, Blogging, Content, Conversion, Customer Automation, and more.

I will be the main contributor to the blog postings, and all of our contributors will some how be related to BigTurns Business Systems, an eCommerce Consulting Company with an eCommerce Platform for sale and a team of eCommerce Consultants.

I Hope you like it.  Read More

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