how to shorten your ecommerce sales cycle

5 Practical Ways Content Marketing Helps Shorten Your Sales Cycle

We all know that in these times when everything has become digital the biggest tool of your marketing strategy is your website. But, of course, it is not enough just to have one. You need to design it carefully in order to allow your users to have free circulation inside it and all the information must be easy to find to make their trip through your sales funnel as fast as possible. Your prospects need to be fully aware of the nature of your business and you need to provide them with all the information necessary, so you don’t get yourself into the position where you will need to explain to your potential customers what is that your company does. In order to help your sales team use their time as effectively as possible in order to shorten your sales cycle, take a look at these tips:

1. Have your answers prepared

Today most of the people are reluctant to buy products or services right away. They want to know everything about a certain product before they purchase it, which results in series of questions that can take for hours. The point is that all these questions are quite similar, so you should gather them around and analyze them to find the certain pattern. When you do, just answer them and put those answers on your company website’s FAQ page. That way you will evade unnecessary questions and make the impression that you’re completely open to your buyers. Maybe it seems too difficult to ‛guess’ all the questions because people have different ways of putting them, but you just need to use effective keywords and every potential customer will find the way to the answer he or she seeks.

2. Spit it out

Most companies instruct their sales team to postpone the information about the price of a certain product or service until the end of the conversation, which can result in a wasted time. You’re gonna have to tell the price to the customers eventually, so don’t spend hours in the negotiations to realize in the end that they are not prepared for such price from the beginning. Instead, you should make a price page on your website with all the pricing information. That way you won’t be losing your time on people who are not prepared to pay the required sum and that transparency will also make your business honest and trustworthy. Just spit it out and then your salesman will do the rest.

3. Lead them the whole way

When it comes to buying services, your customers will want to know exactly what they get, step by step. We live in capitalist society and our new god is called ‛Calculation’, which means that nobody likes surprises anymore, especially when their money is concerned. That’s why you need to tell them in advance what exactly can they expect from doing business with you. That’s why you need to include a step by step breakdown of everything that will be happening once they purchase the service. You can use this breakdown to include some call to action buttons that will additionally drive the interested ones deeper into your sales funnel.

4. It’s not enough being honest, you need to prove it

Today we are surrounded by false information and exaggerating, so you can’t blame your customers if they are not ready to believe everything you say in the beginning. You need to back up every quality you claim to possess. If they are not able to see black and white proof, you won’t have the credibility in their eyes. You need to prove your worth through testimonials and case studies. But don’t brag and flatter yourself, that will cause suspicion immediately. You need to tell stories about your customers, not your company. If you want them to know you offer reliable and super easy storage solutions, you need to talk about satisfied customers whose life was changed by that product. Yes, changed. You should take examples where your customers were in the transitional moments of their lives like changing homes or expanding the business. This way you will have a voice of a satisfied customer but also an emotional factor to which your potential buyers can connect. They will be sure that you’ll take care of their possessions because you’ll have proven results and there won’t be a need for any additional proof that you’re a confident business choice.

5. Let them know who you are

Tell the story of your company through a portfolio where your work will speak for itself, without bragging. Do it like with testimonials and case studies – concrete results, spiced up with some images and maybe even video. People want to see with their own eyes, and that’s why it’s also a good idea to include pictures of your employees because customers’ money goes into their hands. If you give them a face and a name, your future customers will be able to develop their trust more quickly.

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Digital Marketing

How To Market Innovatively For Your Small Online Business

When marketing your small online business, sometimes the sheer amount of SEO, content, social media and link building strategies that you read about can be overwhelming to say the least. It becomes very easy to say to yourself that you just don’t have a chance because the resources available to you are tiny compared to your competitors.

But you have a distinct advantage. You can be nimble. You can change strategies at the drop of a hat and you can explore things that cumbersome competitors take too long to do.

There are many ways that you can be innovative and fill the gaps that competitors leave behind. And as you fill those gaps, you become a much stronger force over time, eventually being seen by competitors and Google as a company of value.

I’ve listed here some innovative ways that you can create a buzz about your business without breaking the bank. They require some work, but if you were afraid of hard work, you wouldn’t have started your business in the first place.

Publish written content on your site. You have heard it a thousand times, but, if done correctly, it really does help your site to start to get a footing with search engines and then visitors. I have yet to see a site that writes large amounts of content not be successful in its industry in all my years on the web. A top tip, if you can manage it, is to write ‘longform’ content on topics that relate to your product or service, which typically means anything over 3,000 words.

Become helpful on Reddit and industry forums. There will undoubtedly be a ‘subreddit’ about the business that you are in. Join that subreddit and genuinely help people out, giving answers to questions, pointing people in the right direction, and once you are a settled user in that community, and seen as someone who is helpful, you can start to (gently) promote your own content and services. If you tie that in with the content you publish (as mentioned in the previous point), then you can start to gain a following and make many more people aware of what you do. The same goes for any industry forums that may exist. But remember, your number one priority is to be helpful and of value before you mention your own business.

Be a valuable social media person. Until you have a steady stream of business coming in, much of your time should not be spent on social media, unless it is absolutely vital to what you offer. However, there is a way, when you start out to be a valuable member of your community on Twitter and Facebook and that is by sharing recent, useful articles and news items about your industry. This is so much more simple than people think. Use Google News to find recent articles about your industry, then share them, perhaps @mentioning the person that wrote the post and the company that it may be about. Do this several times per week and you’ll soon be seen as someone that offers value and will be followed and liked by important people within the sector.

Write a report about data or information in your industry. The larger companies in your industry do this and there is a reason. It works. They use these reports in many different ways to gain business. They build brand awareness, they gain email addresses when people swap an email address in exchange for downloading a report. They also work in ways such as mail posting (yes, remember that) reports to prospects and then calling them about it a few days later. These reports, if done correctly, are useful in so many ways. If you know your product, and can use the internet to find things, then you should be able to put together a 4-25 page report that is non-salesy and useful to potential buyers of your product/service. Big companies do it because it works, smaller companies don’t because they think it’s too much hard work – so do it while you have the chance and are nimble enough to do so.

Use freelance sites to build useful tools for your site. Have a look around sites in your sector. Some will have useful web tools that visitors fill in or interact with to gain a useful conclusion – such as calculators etc. You may wish to emulate one or some of these tools, or indeed have your own ideas having used other tools on competitor sites. You can post projects on freelance websites like freelancer.com or fiverr.com asking for tools to be created, but crucially, you pay nothing until you are satisfied that the freelancers bidding on your project are capable of doing what you require within your budget. You can drastically improve the stickability of your website by adding one or more tools and then sharing them with the correct audience.

Summary
As you can see, whether it be longform content pieces about your industry, web tools that are helpful to potential buyers, the sharing of useful industry news stories and articles, or answering questions on the appropriate subreddit for your business, content is important, especially at the early stages of a small online business. Use content to become a valued resource in your sector and you'll be well on your way to building an audience and an income stream.

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