Thanks to social media, you’ll need to rethink your marketing strategy and how to sell to your customers. Only 14% of people trust ads alone because customers want to really know what they’re buying, and that the advertising isn’t just hype. There is also information circulating about a product online that goes beyond the advertising. 77% of online shoppers tend to take product and service reviews and ratings into account when making a purchase. On top of that, customers want businesses to make a connection to them—at least 8 out of every 10 customers expect businesses to be active in social media.
Staying active in social media means posting quality content on your respective pages. That means bringing calls to action through targeted social ads—remember your social media etiquette—and keep engaging with customers. This helps build a community where customers feel welcome and more comfortable with not only the products and services that you might provide, but with the people in your company as well.
Using tools such as TrueSocialMetrics and Facebook Insight among others will help you determine what to post and when to post it. Facebook Insight might be the most important tool—43% of those surveyed in a 2014 Mashable study said that they could not live without Facebook, making it the go-to social network as of this writing. Although it doesn’t have the reach of Google Ads, it reaches one of the most important audiences—those between the ages of 18 and 34. 72% of those between 18 to 34 years old are habitually online, and many businesses engage with this demographic.
You should offer your customers incentives on your landing page—whether it be additional content, eBooks, webinars or training, giveaways or consultations, customers are always looking for that little extra when they decide to invest their time and money into your business and the products and services that you provide.
A great way to remarket to customers is to install a remarketing pixel on your landing page, so it can install a cookie to display your ads to them on Facebook or Google. This will allow you to hopefully get a conversion even when there was none the first time you engaged the customer, and keep your business fresh in potential customers’ heads.
You need to utilize multiple venues to create interest in your products, such as emails, product-specific offers, blog content, webinars, and of course, remarketing to those you have already reached out to before. These venues will allow you to reach certain customers as well—some like to sit down and read if they take interest in something, such as webinars or blog posts, while others only have time to read the status update and move on, such as Google, Facebook or Twitter. Engagement through all channels should help more of your leads become customers.
But Wait, There’s More
Getting your leads to become customers is a difficult task, but it doesn’t stop there. Getting your customers to come back over and over again depends on how well you engage with the community and provide quality customer service via social media. Some businesses offer incentives to repeat customers—for example, if you buy $100 worth of products or services, they get a free product or service. You will also need to keep posting new and engaging content—no one likes reading the same thing over and over.
Paying It Forward
As previously mentioned, 14% of all people trust ads alone—that means 86% trust other customers more than they do your ads. Loyal customers are also advocates for your business. The fun part about your customers advocating your business’s products and services to other potential customers is that it costs absolutely nothing for the business other than providing a great customer experience. Getting these people to like and share your content is essential as they can reach the customers you haven’t reached yet, and possibly convince leads that didn’t become customers the first time around to become a customer this time around. High reviews will lead to more and more conversions and loyalty towards your business.
One of the most important decisions companies have to make is determining pricing, as it could mean gaining more customers while raking in profits too. Sellers can price their services or products however they want but not everyone can set the right price. According to McKinsey & Company, “On average, a 1 percent price increase translates into an 8.7 percent increase in operating profits.” Yet, almost 30 percent of companies fail to determine their best pricing every year.
Very few businesses take a scientific approach to setting prices and focus more on trial and error but by doing this they could be losing thousands of dollars that could have been profit if their efforts fail. So, how can companies avoid missing out on profits by figuring out the best price for their services? Well by implementing big data of course.
According to Nancy Rubin using big data will help your business:
- Discover new patterns that will have an effect on your company
- Collect detailed information that can be used to help you make the best decisions
- Predict trends and outcomes more accurately
- Achieve a better understanding of the habits your customers have when making a purchase
- Find any problems that your company may have so that you can fix them and work more efficiently
- Develop certain products and services that exceed the needs of your customers
Using Big Data to Figure Out the Best Price
When doing big data research you should always ask the questions that you would want to know about your own company like:
- What products are customers most likely to buy?
- What is the best price for my product?
- What is the value of social media marketing?
- Why are customers not returning?
- What are customers’ opinions about my current pricing?
Helpful Strategies to Use
Once you start receiving big data results then you can start implementing some helpful pricing strategies to boost sales.
Experiment with Different Prices
Big data can help provide you with the information you need to identify current trends among a variety of buyers and any trends your competitors may be following. You can then use these trends to determine the best pricing for each group.
Dan Ariely conducted this famous experiment that is available in his book Predictably Irrational. The example here shows three options for subscription for The Economist
When 100 MIT students were asked to choose the option that they would prefer, 16 students chose A while 84 students chose option C. None chose option B, which was solely print subscription at US $125.
Dan Ariely then removed the second option and again asked 100 MIT students which option they would prefer.
This time round, there were more students opting for the first option. Indicating that , though the middle option for only print subscription wasn’t chosen by anyone, it still played a vital role in customer preferences.
Create Different Versions of Your Product
There may be a market for different versions of your products or services and big data can help you find out if those markets exist. For example, if a customer really wants your product or service but simply can’t afford it you may want to consider creating a simpler version at a lower price.
Offer Multiple Payment Options
In a world where using cash is becoming less common accepting various methods of payment like Paypal, American Express, etc. as a way to increase sales would make your company more technologically up-to-date.
While big data can help you determine the best pricing for your company through research methods, companies should be wary of the fact that there have been some issues in the past where customers felt ripped off when companies experimented with different pricing towards different groups. The important aspect here is to listen to customers and to make necessary changes before it is too late, neither would you want to lose custom to competitors nor would you want a lot of customers but dwindling profits. This is where a company’s listening post moves to the forefront of business communications. Remember, not all customers will call in during work hours, so relying on after hours call support would benefit tremendously in the long run.
One of the toughest things for a business to get correct is pricing but by using big data you will be that much closer to getting it right. It is about using available resources intelligently to zero in on optimum pricing.
Guest author Nick Robson is an SEO expert and presently works as a consultant for many small businesses. He loves writing and combines this passion of his with his knowledge of SEO to create compelling content.
Turning your fragile and precise network settings over to an automated system may be a difficult thing for traditional business owners to handle. But in the digital age, it is imperative for businesses to remain agile and efficient – and network automation enables you to do exactly that. Manually operated networks are at the mercy of the natural human limitations of speed, focus and consistency.
Save Precious Resources
As the following article shows, you may look at “How network automation helps your company improve”.
First of all, it costs less and dramatically reduces strain on your IT department by automatically handling run-of-the-mill tasks that they would have to otherwise do themselves.
Do you want to pull an already overly taxed IT pro off of a job just because the network was interrupted? Allow your IT department to keep other projects on track by automatically running your network.
Automated Networks are Fast Networks
Most processes run faster when they are automated. Manually regulated networks not only are at the mercy of human error and time limitations, but if the person who is in charge of the network leaves the business – specifically if they leave suddenly – it is nearly impossible to maintain continuity.
Automated systems are better at recognizing new devices, which is an absolute must if you’re part of the BYOD revolution. When network changes are made, it is far more difficult – and time consuming – for people to get the network running again afterward.
Automated Network Configuration Backup
Network configuration backup is a crucial, yet often overlooked component to network stability and data security. If there is a disaster or network interruption, a recent backup point is the surest way to a quick recovery and reduced network downtime.
On the data side, configuration backup dramatically reduces the chance of accidental data leaks or intentional breaches by outside hackers. Only around one-third of companies perform network configuration backups regularly. Of those that do, 20 percent still do their backups manually. This is time consuming and leaves room for human error. Automatic network configuration backups keep your data safe and your network prepared for problems.
Whether it’s to unburden your IT staff, to ensure consistency and speed or to guarantee that your network configuration will be backed up correctly on a consistent basis, the clear benefits of automation are among the only guarantees in business.
About the Author: Andrew Lisa is a freelance tech writer. He covers business technology and Internet security.
Surety bonds are a great failsafe for your business, but choosing the right surety bond at the right rates isn’t always a sure thing. Depending on the type of contract, your business has a number of surety bond options to choose from, so it’s important to make the most educated decision possible.
Surety bonds create a safety triangle for your business by inviting a third party into the business contract. This triangle protects your business from unfulfilled obligations and contracts by guaranteeing the obligation is performed. With that said, a huge advantage for your business with surety bonds is contractor prequalification.
Surety bond companies require that any party your business signs a contract with is prequalified to do the work. This gives your business the financial peace of mind that any obligations mentioned in the contract are completely fulfilled. In the event contractual agreements aren’t met, your business receives the benefit of the bond.
Other Financial Benefits
With a surety bond in place, your business always receives the financial protection of the bond and the risk falls solely on the other party.
As the following article shows, in addition, when it comes to “Surety Bonds: The Process, The People, and The Price”, the premiums you pay are applied to the financial backing of the surety company.
This means your business is paying for a protection guarantee, not just a contract middleman.
Does Your Business Need a Surety Bond?
Well, that depends on a few factors. First of all, whether or not your business needs a surety bond with an outside contractor largely depends on the value of the contract. For instance, a construction contract with a value of $150,000 or more does require a surety bond.
Although your business may not have a contract valued at that amount, there are other types of common contracts that require surety bonds. Small service contracts and certain supply contracts require ongoing surety bonds for example.
If you’re unsure whether your business needs a surety bond, you can contact the Small Business Administration or your local surety bond company to find out.
How to Save Money on Surety Bonds
Just like any other service that benefits your business, there are costs involved with hiring a surety bond company. The costs and premiums are usually minimal depending on the size of the contract, but there are still ways to save money during the surety bond process.
Among the ways to do this:
- Pairing with Pre-qualified Parties – Pairing with pre-qualified contractors saves the surety bond company time, which saves your business money.
- Improving Your Credit Score – Surety bond rates are based on your business’s credit score among other factors. Improving your business’s credit score makes you less of a risk in the eyes of the surety bond company, this will result in better premiums.
- Extended Bonds – In some cases, buying your surety bond for longer periods of time results in lower rates because the cost of the bond will stay the same until it’s time to renew.
If your business is about to enter into a contract with an outside party, then it’s important to consider the surety bond pointers above.
About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including risk management and small business.
The cloud has been around for several years, but many businesses are just now taking advantage of its benefits. Still others are considering it but hesitating out of concerns or a lack of understanding. If you have a new or small business, you may not see how it can work for you.
Understanding the Cloud
A lot of terminology is used in technology that many business owners and managers may not understand or pay attention to. However, it is important to understand exactly what the cloud is so you know if it offers benefits for your business.
Cloud technology allows businesses to store programs and various data on the internet instead of using a server or hard drive. It can be used for any department in an organization.
The article, “6 Steps to Establishing a Cloud Call Center”, even discusses how to create a call center using the cloud. Every department from human resources to accounting to operations can utilize the cloud for programs and data they need.
According to a report sponsored by Virtustream, about 54% of businesses use some form of the cloud either with private or public cloud options.
The numbers are expected to grow with the increase in off-site workers and mobile employees that need to access information or programs from wherever they are.
How the Cloud Benefits Your Business
Every business or organization has different reasons for using the cloud. However, one of the most common benefits seen in utilizing cloud storage is in cost savings over other solutions.
Here are some other advantages to moving a business to the cloud:
- Versatility – Businesses can use the cloud to store just about anything. They can store projects, customer data and other information for easy access. It allows them to create virtual workspaces for collaboration.
- Flexibility – With the cloud, companies can hire workers from anywhere instead of being limited to the local applicant pool. Information can be shared through the cloud so employees in different states or countries can work together. It also allows employees to locate information or use programs while they are traveling or meeting with clients instead of waiting until they get back to the office.
- Efficiency – Workers can get more done in less time with easy access to the files or programs they need.
- Cost-savings – Many businesses see the savings they can enjoy by not having to purchase on-site servers or hire extra staff to manage the information. Other savings include not having to install hardware or software updates or not making new purchases every time an employee is added.
Businesses of all sizes can benefit from cloud technology.
Whether it is to create a call center for a small business or hire new talent from another state or country, cloud storage gives a business more opportunities and a greater chance at success.
At the end of the day, any business can and should take advantage of this technology.
About the Author: Joyce Morse is an author who writes on a variety of topics, including business and technology.