Small business owners find this blog to be a great resource for sales and marketing strategies.

The Benefits of All-In-One

Published by Charles Brodeur

Last weekend I moved into a new house. In the usual flurry of last minute craziness, I managed to pack my stuff and get my furniture to the new house. Now I've got a list of things to do:   Read More

Nine Common Mistakes Retail Stores Make Online

Published by Charles Brodeur

Sure, your web store looks just great and you have a right to be proud of it. But did you ever sit with a focus group to see what problems they had with it? Did you ever have top web site designers analyze it to find its hidden flaws? Have you listened to dozens of eTailers describe in detail how they vastly improved their online sales and conversion rates just by making basic design changes that eliminated the most common web site design faux pas?

Online retailing is expected to return to double-digit growth this year, and the web merchants that enhance their web site design and usability early in the year will lead the way. The growth will be achieved by avoiding the most common web site design and usability mistakes that cause shoppers to abandon the retail sites and result in an average conversion rate of just 3%.

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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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Ways to optimize your Online Shop

Published by Paul Pyrlik

The year 2010 should be used to optimize your existing eCommerce Platform. Many Online Shops I see out there have enormous potentials for improvement. Some of them can't be implemented easily, e.g. Clean URLs (URLs which just reveal their resource, but not their technology) - here you are often limited by the technology and platform you use. However, there are many things you can do in the field of technical Search Engine Optimization (SEO). For this purpose one option would be to create a whole new template to get started. You can overhaul the GUI (graphical user interface) and optimize the template for all the search engines like Google and Yahoo. What needs to be done for this can be listed quickly:
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Single vs. multi-currency Online Stores

Published by Paul Pyrlik

When you are setting up an online store you should consider in which currency you charge your customers. Either you accept only one currency or you offer your customers the opportunity to choose from different currencies. In this article some of the of the Pros and Cons of single and multi-currency stores are discussed.

Single-currency Store

  • Allow anyone around the world to purchase - but in your currency.
  • The customer's bank takes care of the currency conversion.
  • Are easy to set up - one payment gateway, one set of prices, one set of shipping options.
Here's an example: You set up your store on a xyz.com site. Every visitor on that URL will be shown US product prices, US shipping options, US tax codes an so on. The visitors will be charged in US dollars via the payment gateway that is assigned to the USA.

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5 Steps to SEO On Page Set Up

Published by Charles Brodeur

Ever wonder if the basics from grade school would come in handy in your business life?

Getting your website ranked best in internet search results uses all of that knowledge. Search engine results are based on those science, math and English courses. Internet technology is the science that allows "spiders" to comb the "web" for data applicable to a search inquiry. Search engines have unique mathematical algorithms that formulate your website's relevance to that inquiry. Finally, your English lesson is where writing the copy on your website can help tie all of that together for best results. In the following, you will get valuable tips on creating titles, copywriting advice, using graphics, and keywords to better place your website in search rankings.

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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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Selling Tips for Online Business

Published by Charles Brodeur

Once you have your website up and people have started visiting it, your battle has only just begun. Everything is for sale in the Internet from snake oil to – maybe – atomic power barbecues. Why should people buy from you and how can you be sure you are making money on the sales? Making money on sales seems easy – if you buy for $8 and sell for $10, you have made a $2 profit. Right! Wrong.

It may have cost you $3 to sell the product and you won’t know it till you have lost a lot of money. So here are some things to keep in mind.

Know why people should buy from you. If you don’t, how will they? You need to know your product or service inside out. Nothing is ever perfect. Your product will have its weaknesses. Recognize them, try to minimize them and work with what you have.

Believe in your product. It’s not enough knowing it’s good. You have to believe it. This belief will come out in your approach to sales and add value to the sales pitch. Would you buy a Rolls Royce from a salesman who could recite why it is the best car in the world if you felt he did not really believe what he was saying?

What is different about your product? What benefits does buying from you provide to the customer as compared to other similar items or suppliers? These are called USPs or Unique Selling Points and make your product stand out in a crowd. Know these strength and capitalize on them when selling.

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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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