Author - Nick Throlson

Your Business’s Online Presence Is Important, Make The Most Of It!

It's pretty much an accepted standard at this point that pretty much every business needs to have some kind of presence on the internet. The internet has taken over so many aspects of the modern world that a business that isn't online may as well not exist at all in the eyes of many customers. However, that doesn't mean that every single business that has any form of online presence is guaranteed to be an automatic success. As with just about anything else, the internet is a tool that you can use to your advantage. However, a tool is as good as useless if you don't actually know how to use it. Just because you have a website that doesn't mean that it's going to actually make a difference to your business other than being a waste of time, money and resources. With that in mind, here are some ways that you can make the most of your business's online presence.

 

Think about your customer's experience

A lot of people think of the internet as little more than another delivery mechanism to get their business and their marketing out there where customers can see it. While this perspective isn't technically wrong, it does drastically underestimate the power that the internet has, and one way in which it's radically different to things like news adverts and TV commercials. The internet is fundamentally interactive. People can interact with almost anything that they come across online. They can pick and choose what they see with almost unlimited freedom; they can comment directly on things they see, replying to posts or commenting on videos. You need to think about this and be willing to take advantage of it in order to make the most of your online marketing. Create marketing that your customers will want to share and respond to. By using your marketing as a place to start a conversation with your customers, you're going to help them become much more engaged in both it and in your business as a whole.

 

Consult the experts

Just because you're able to run a successful business, doesn't mean that you'll be able to market it effectively. And even if you have an understanding of marketing, that doesn't mean that your understanding will transfer over to a digital platform like the internet. Because of this then you might want to hand over the reins to people with a little bit more specific expertise. A company like JRC marketing has a lot of experience in creating digital experiences that can have a huge impact on the way that your customers perceive you and your business as a whole. Whether you need to get a decent website up and running, create a dedicated online marketing campaign, or simply understand how to link together your social media platforms and website, finding a company who can help and support you in these things can be invaluable. It's often quite difficult for many business owners to imagine handing over any aspect of their business to someone else, but you should think about what is best for your company. It is far better for it to be in the hands of an expert than it is to stay in your hands when you don't really understand what you're doing.

 

Content is king!

If you've spent any time learning about digital marketing, then you've probably come across this phrase at least once or twice. A lot of people use it as a buzzword without a decent understanding of what it really means. The idea behind the phrase is that, while you might have been able to use traditional marketing methods in the past, the digital landscape, particularly when it comes to the millennial generation, doesn't respond to that kind of marketing anymore. Instead, you need to be able to create the kind of content that will engage with your customers outside of whatever it is that you're advertising. Think about some of the most effective marketing methods of the last few years. Most of them have done one of two things. They've either connected with customers on an emotional level, whether that's through humor or any other emotion. Or they've created a piece of content that their customers want to share with other people on their social media pages. A lot of the time, the fact that these pieces of content are technically forms of marketing doesn't really matter to a lot of customers. What's really happening is that, whether they realize it or not, a strong positive association with your company is being made in their minds. It's this kind of association that can be incredibly valuable when you're trying to attract new customers.

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8 Easy Ways To Boost Your Business Twitter Reach

Social media is one of, if not the most important aspects of marketing in today’s world. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and many other platforms can make-or-break a company, determining their ability to thrive on the world wide web.

On the surface, Twitter seems like the simplest social media platform of all. Its condensed messages don’t tell the whole tale, however. The entire business world is competing for followers, likes and retweets, and if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re practically guaranteed to fail.

Don’t fear! There are some simple and easy ways to boost any business’s reach via Twitter, as we’re documenting today. Let’s take a look!

Media Is King

Incorporating some form of media into your tweets is almost always preferable. Social media users are more likely to engage with a picture, GIF or video than a wall of text, and media’s potential to go viral is much more substantial too. It’s up to you how you do this – factual infographics, how-to videos and even your latest iPhone snap can result in fantastic levels of engagement. Just make sure it’s relevant.

Start Using Hashtags

Twitter’s hashtags are used to categorize tweets by a specific keyword. This helps businesses to extend their reach to those who are either tweeting or searching based around that keyword. You don’t have to use an existing hashtag either. By developing your own tag, you can encourage existing clients to spread the message in a unique and interesting way.

Paid Promotion

Just like Facebook, Twitter offers the ability to promote tweets to a wider range of users with the aid of payment. Tweets are configured to display to users whose interests are relevant to the topic and business, eliminating wastefulness in the process. You’ll want to pick a suitable tweet to promote though, so something advertising a competition, website or brand-new product are just a few advisable ideas.

Share Content, Build Relationships

It’s a common mistake for business owners to treat social media as a promotional tool and nothing else. The social aspect often gets lost, but in Twitter’s case, it’s more important than ever. Don’t be afraid to share interesting content and comment on other company’s posts. By doing so, you’ll start to build relationships, and before long, they’ll start sharing your content as well.

Tell People About It!

Expanding our Twitter reach isn’t just about the actions we take on the platform itself. We need others to know of its existence, and particularly those aren’t such regular users on the social media front. It’s easy to add social media buttons to our websites these days, while incorporating our Twitter handle on a range of physical marketing material is a two-second job.

Engage With Analytics

We all know the importance of analytics, and Twitter’s no different. The company’s own analytical tools can provide excellent insights as to how certain tweets are performing compared to others. Additionally, there are a host of free and paid analytics services for Twitter across the web, including Sprout Social and Hootsuite. Take the time to find what works for you.

Time Your Tweets

Another feature of these analytical suites is the ability to optimize your tweets’ timings. This is very much a time-sensitive platform, to the extent that the same tweet could generate hundreds of additional shares if posted at the optimal time of day. If you don’t want to be huddled around your tablet or smartphone 24/7, many of these services can automatically schedule your tweets for a certain time.

Competitions & Giveaways

Everyone wants something for nothing! If you’re going to run a competition, you need to make sure both Facebook and Twitter are involved. By incorporating requirements that entries must include follows, likes and retweets, you’ll begin to increase your reach far beyond its current limitations. And while the costs involved might prove extensive, it’ll hopefully lead to further profits down the line.

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Do's and Don'ts Every Web Developer Should Know

Do’s and Don’ts Every Web Developer Should Know

Web design has to be one of the most arduous modern day professions. Seeing your website going live may make up for all the hardships during development, but the result does not erase the fact that to reach it, you had to spend countless hours perfecting the code, troubleshooting, and minding the overall design. We offer several Do's and Don'ts that might cut your checklist shorter by reminding you of the few things you should be aware of at all times during development.

Don’t gamble early on

Don’t immediately go for the latest software or the greatest new build out, if you don’t have a solid plan how to go about working with it. Taking an unnecessary risk, in this case, might not grant you a high reward. By choosing the latest software that you and your colleagues might not be familiar with, you are using up time you do not have and opening up possibilities for bugs and troubleshooting for days on end. Start with a reliable software or platform, and once you have settled in comfortably, take smaller steps to experiment with completely new software. That way, if it even comes to losses, they are minimal.

Don’t access a user database directly with user-supplied information

When a database is accessed directly with the information supplied by the users, you are leaving the door wide open for possible security breaches. This could erase archives with very sensitive data, or give access to confidential information regarding your users. And it can all go into the input box on your website.

This is easily addressed by sanitizing user input: you limit how many characters they can use to input a username or a password, whether they can or cannot contain other symbols, and have the code reject any character input you have not pre-approved.

Don’t neglect SEO

Many developers have the tendency to leave SEO as the last thing to do for the website when, in fact, it is something that needs to be tackled as you go along. SEO is more than just keywords, content, alt text in images, etc. It also deals with back linking between pages, accounts for load time, gets rid of duplicated content, and keeps the hierarchy of important pages and links refreshed and constantly updated. So, to avoid having to restructure entire sections of your website, later on, take SEO into consideration from the very start.

Do keep users in mind

The safest way to stay on track with the original idea and design is to create a profile of what your typical user would be. When you know the demographic, and the target audience, it is easier to analyze the type of people that will be visiting our website. You can build the website around the given data: their age, occupation, financial standing, and lifestyle. These will dictate the user experience, from font styles to the navigation between pages.

Do focus on multi – platforming

You can decide to optimize your website for PC users only. And in a time when fewer and fewer people sit at their computers for longer periods of time, this would be a big mistake. A lot of e-commerce and browsing nowadays occurs via tablets, smartphones and other devices. To ensure the website is visited as frequently as possible, adapt the website so it can be seen and read clearly across multiple platforms.

Do save the user’s time

The attention span has been in decline over the last twenty years, and new technologies only sped up the process. It is the reality of the modern age and in order to succeed, you will have to adapt to this. Many expert web developers from Sydney advise “trimming the fat” wherever possible. Get rid of excess imagery in your gallery or pages that cause slow loading time; write shorter texts, then blend them with pictures to create quickly scrollable content that will also be informative and useful.

To sum up

Thoroughly plan how to go about the development process of your web page. There are countless factors that can impact not only the final outcome of your work but the process itself as well. As Murphy’s Law says “If anything can go wrong, it will”, so prepare for everything. It is wise to make your own checklist of Do’s and Don’ts upfront and keep them around as a reminder. The best way to stay on track is to create your typical user profile and tailor the design to them. In this way, you ensure that whatever choice is made, it is in the user’s best interest.

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E-Commerce Website Security Tips

E-Commerce Website Security Tips

 

The Internet is an amazing platform for any business that sells products, be it clothing, food, car parts, diet pills, or something else. However, there is no bigger threat to your business’ online presence than cyber criminals. The importance of securing your e-commerce website cannot be undervalued. The impact of a breach could be devastating, resulting in downtime for your e-store, as well as non-compliance fines, negative press, and broken consumer trust. This is the last thing any business wants. With that in mind, read on for some e-commerce website security tips to follow.

Demand strong passwords – Make sure all of your users have strong passwords by implementing requirements they need to meet when creating a password. For instance, enforce all users to create a password containing lower and upper case letters, special characters, and numbers. You can also introduce two-factor authentication for an extra layer of security. In most cases, users will be sent a code via email or to their smartphone, and they will need to enter this once they have input their password.

Don’t store sensitive billing information – You need to be cautious about the data you keep. Don’t store all customer billing information for the sake of it. In fact, you should keep as little as possible. Any of the data you do store needs to be heavily encrypted. When it comes to credit and debit card data, the only information you should keep a hold of is the data needed to process chargebacks and refunds. You will find more advice on securing customer data here.

Use numerous layers of security – One security solution is never enough. No security approach is perfect, and hackers are persistent, meaning they will always find a way in. That is why you need to ensure that they are met with another brick wall when they do.

Choose a secure e-commerce platform – There are many e-commerce platforms available today. However, a lot of people have a tendency to choose the flashier platforms over the secure platforms. The latter is definitely the most important. Choose an e-commerce package that enables you to enforce strong passwords. Also, the checkout page needs to be secure too.

Have a recovery plan in place – Last but not least, it is essential to have a technological service such as disaster recovery by Infrascale in place. No matter how much time or money you spend in securing your company, you can never fully guarantee that a breach will not take place. By establishing a recovery plan, you can ensure that the impact of the data breach is minimized as much as possible, giving your business a fighting chance of recovering from the horrendous event.

As you can see, there are a number of different ways you can protect your e-commerce website from a breach, and you are advised to take each and every method on board. After all, if you do not protect your e-store adequately, you are simply asking hackers to target your business.

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How to Start Investing or Trading with Low Capital

How To Personalize The Shopping Experience on Your E commerce Site

As customer expectations continue to rise, in the world of e-commerce, so, therefore, does the need of site owners to offer a premium online shopping experience. As e-commerce sites don’t have the luxury of tactility and interaction that physical shops offer, they must now work harder and more strategically to find a way to engage consumers and drive desire in order to ensure strong sales.

The best way to ensure consumers are staying on our e-commerce sites for longer and are making it all the way through to the checkout is by personalizing the shopping experience that we are offering. Below are our top tips on how to provide premium e-commerce environments that will ensure strong sales and steady growth.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence can sound like a rather overwhelming, confusing and somewhat futuristic term. But for anyone involved in the world of e-commerce it is not a term that you can ignore. Continued development in the field of artificial intelligence, otherwise known as ‘AI’, is providing e-commerce site owners with a wealth of new opportunities on how to improve the customer experience they are offering their consumers. AI in e-commerce helps to build better connections with customers, build loyal relationships and therefore drive conversion, so it is crucial that all e-commerce entrepreneurs are getting their heads around how it can improve what we can offer.

Not only can AI improve the customer service you are offering it can also lead to increased conversions and increased customer loyalty. It can allow you to add virtual shopping assistants that can monitor and track consumer movements and therefore predict future activity. AI can allow you to send alerts to your consumer if you are offering a discount on an item they have been showing interest in but have not yet purchased. It can allow customers to chase and track the progress of their packages and allow them to feel that they can stay on top of their order. These are just a few of the ways AI can improve the quality of your online shopping experience, so as you can see it’s well worth the time investment to understand how it can help to build the quality and complexity of your business.

Influencing

With customers becoming so much more technologically savvy and demanding in their online purchasing behavior, personalizing their experience is all about understanding those growing demands and needs, reacting to them in order to be able to influence. Consumers want to feel that they are part of an online community whilst also feeling that their individual needs are being catered to. That almost contradictory balancing act is not an easy one for e-commerce site owners to get right.

Providing a cohesive and tailored experience to your consumers is no mean feat and takes careful planning and detailed consideration. Your brand should be offering your consumers, more than just products. Your brand should be offering access to a certain lifestyle, giving a sense of inclusion and should encourage consumers to engage with the brand and products in order to really become a part of that community.

Once consumers begin interacting with your products that is when they truly feel part of that desired community and their experience becomes personalized, unique and, most importantly for you, loyal.

Therefore driving your consumers to engage with your brand via social media platforms will ensure that your customers feel that the communication between themselves and your company is two-way and they can, therefore, feel important. Encouraging your consumers to begin interacting with you online will help build a community and a ton of content surrounding your products. This will, in turn, raise the profile of your brand and increase consumer confidence both of which will mean your position of influence will be radically increased.

Create Customer Loyalty Schemes

Customers love nothing more than a good deal, so creating loyalty schemes will make your customer feel that by staying loyal to your site will bring them rewards that they just can’t miss out on. However again, this should not be a one-size-fits-all approach and should be approached with that same objective of trying to personalize.

Approach customer loyalty schemes analytically and with the intention of making each consumer feel special and valued. Research the main desires, wants and needs of your customers and tailor your loyalty schemes to reflect the fact that you understand what your clients need and that you are there to deliver. Think of unique customer experiences that you can offer on your site, individualized promotions, tailored email campaigns. Maybe you can even think about how you can create a VIP offering to your most dedicated clients to make sure they feel really taken care of and appreciated. Whatever it is making sure it feels customized and really personal to each of your consumers.

Create a Varied & Layered Customer Experience

One consumer's favorite feature on your site might be another consumer's worst. Therefore, offering a multi-channel consumer experience can mean that you are catering for a wide range of tastes and preferences. Building many different interesting layers into your e-commerce site incentivizes customers to explore the various options at their disposal so think carefully about the different facets that you can bring to your site to make consumers want to explore and delve into the interesting layers of your product offerings. This will not just increase customer engagement, it will create the illusion of a more personalized shopping experience, as consumers will be approaching the site in their own unique way, in turn boosting your conversion rates.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is the best way to communicate with your customers in a one-on-one way. With the right sort of marketing message you can grab the attention of your consumers and make them feel valued and that their relationship with your brand is a powerful one. After monitoring and researching the patterns occurring on your site, think carefully about what those consumer patterns are revealing to you about your customers and their experience on your site. Then find a way to communicate that you understand their needs and offer the perfect solution to their problem. This personalized approach will make them feel that you know them, that you care and that you see them a valued individual consumer.

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