If your company isn’t widely known yet, it’s important to let potential customers know you are a legitimate business and you will take care of your customers. Here’s how you can do that:
Show them you’re a legitimate business.
There are so many fake websites in the world, people have begun to question what’s real and what’s fake. To ensure customers you exist and they can trust your website, you should make sure you state your address and a phone number. Not knowing where your company is headquartered adds doubt and may prevent potential customers from taking the action you hope for. On your website, include a telephone number, your business address, and the story or history of your business on an “About us” page, or on your social media site linked to your home page.
Have a means to contact you.
If you do not have a “Contact us” page or a link to contact your business, visitors will hesitate to connect with you. If they don’t believe they can follow up with you for help or questions about a purchase, why would they trust buying from you? Just as it’s important to get your business presence online via social media such as Facebook, Twitter and others, it’s also important to have your contact information out there on each site, as well as on your home page so visitors can contact you with inquiries.
If you want visitors to subscribe to your company newsletter, be sure to have a means to unsubscribe in the email. People don’t wish to get spammed when they are no longer interested in receiving your emails, and it reflects poorly on your company if they start complaining about it or writing bad reviews. Also, if you have an online form where visitors can make inquiries, prepare a privacy statement so they feel safe giving you their information.
State your policies.
Whether you are selling a product or a service, be sure to state your online and offline policies. If you are selling products online, state your policies for payment, shipping, and return procedures. Having these policies and procedures clearly stated will help garner customer trust in your company’s stability and credibility while reducing any misunderstandings that could arise from a customer’s shopping experience.
Larger online companies have very clear statements about their policies. You might want to review some of those to get ideas for your own, however, it would be worthwhile to talk to a legal advisor that can help you prepare statements that reflect specifically who you are and what you do.
In my previous post, we defined the customer experience. In this article, I want to show you an example of a poor customer experience I had recently so we can all learn a lesson from it.
Two weeks before Christmas I decided to purchase a few items from a company in Hong Kong. The prices were very reasonable and from the photos they appeared to be well-made. I placed my order and then I received a message from the shop the next day that the items would take 2 to 4 weeks for delivery. I asked to cancel the order. The very next day, the store replied and said it would ship the package via DHL that day, so I thanked them and politely asked for the tracking number.
After two days passed, the online status changed to “shipped” and I sent them yet another message requesting the tracking number. They replied that one of the items was sold out and they would not be able to send the package out for 2 to 4 weeks. Remember where we started two days ago?
I requested to cancel the order again and they replied that if I pick another color they could ship my order right away. To make it up to me, they even offered to double the product. I picked another color and thanked them again.
A day passed, and I still had not received a tracking number so I reached out again. Eight hours later, they finally sent me a tracking number. By then we were headed into the weekend, and I went online to track the package – which stated a shipping label had been created, but nothing else. The shipping status sat like that for two more days without any updates.
Three days after I received a tracking number, the system finally gave me an update that a package had been received for shipment. So much for a smooth shopping experience!
Here are the lessons I learned:
1) Keep the customers in the loop.
2) Never promise something you cannot deliver right away.
3) Don’t lie.
Treat your customers the way you would like to be treated – the golden rule of life is also applicable when it comes to providing a good customer experience.
Our day-to-day shopping experience is becoming much more removed from any human contact. Even “Live Chat” on many commerce sites are driven by artificial intelligence rather than an actual person on the other end. For this reason, it’s critical that business owners evaluate their “customer experience” to make sure it’s still a pleasing and easy one. Even if customers never actually engage with a human during their purchase experience, it’s important to remember that human emotion is what will make the final purchase decisions.
According to Wikipedia, the “customer experience” in commerce is “the product of an interaction between an organization and a customer over the duration of their relationship.” So, as business owners we should evaluate the interaction we have with our customers as it pertains to three key elements: Customer Journey, Touchpoints, and Ecosystems.
This is the complete story customers will take away from their experience: from initial contact, through the process and into the future relationship. Almost like laying out a map of before, during and after the purchase took place and identifying the flow of the customer behavior.
To analyze the customer journey is to understand their motivations and interactions from beginning to end. For example, if you own a car dealership, you may map out a customer’s journey by understanding their motivation to buy a car, find out what influenced them to contact you (e.g. commercial, billboard, website), learn about the interactions you had with them (e.g. phone, email, social media) and how long the process took. Mapping out your customers’ journey can help you understand what you’re doing right and where you need improvement.
These are the points in which you present your business to potential customers, and even interact with them throughout the customer journey. It is the varying ways your company displays information to a prospective customer. For example, a retail store window display will be a touchpoint where your brand is represented. A TV commercial for a car dealership, an interaction with a sales person, or a simple e-newsletter you send out to your subscribers are all touchpoints where you are interacting with your customers.
Some call this the ecosystem for the customer experience; it’s the space where the customer ends up and he or she can be highly influenced by things like design, features the user-friendliness of a website. Or how about the lighting and ambiance, music and signage within a store or office space. What kind of emotional response will the customer have to these things? Will it be a pleasurable experience for them?
You might think you don’t need these “corporate” lessons because you are running a smaller business, but that is simply not true. Regardless of the size of your business, or type of business, understanding your customer experience, especially if there is very little human contact, is a necessary way to evaluate how well the engine is running.
PSP inc has once again made the list for Largest Minority-Owned Businesses. The list is compiled by the Puget Sound Business Journal - PSP is ranked 35th this year.
We are very thankful for the growth we have had in 2016 and look forward to a strong 2017. Thank you for your support and your business.
Once you have your website and social media sites up and running, it’s just the beginning of a constant cycle of strategizing, reviewing and re-evaluating what works and what doesn’t. Since the New Year starts very soon, we’ve compiled a list of things to do during each phase of your strategic cycle this coming year. We’ve listed these phases for you, including steps to help you evaluate and elevate the success of your online business...
Determine what your internet marketing goals are and then set your objectives to achieve them. Make sure your goals and objectives are measurable, and do not use any subjective words such as “more” or “bigger.” By measurable, we mean being able to score how well you did to meet your goal and complete your objectives.
2) Design and Development
Design and develop your website and social media according to your goals and objectives. List the key elements you want to include in each, such as keywords, your brand messages, and your tone of voice.
3) SEO, Social Media and Blogging
Have a means to stay connected with your customers and audience on a regular basis. You can use a blog and social media like Facebook to do so. Make sure you inter-link your blogs, website and social media sites for search engine optimization purposes. Use them to promote each other! And your website should be updated regularly so search engines will crawl and re-index your site often, which is good for SEO.
Implementing the analytics tools we discussed previously
, let your site run for a while. Once you have a little time and enough data under your belt, you should check to see how things are going, web traffic wise. What you assumed would work while designing and developing your site may or may not be true, and analytics data will give you that insight.
Based on your analytics data, adjust your site and media accordingly. A/B (and C) Testing mentioned in my previous blog post
may come in handy when it comes to analyzing and adjusting your content and strategy. Without any maintenance, your strategic plan for online success will fall short.
After completing phases 1 - 5, you need to circle back and review your strategy again, completing the cycle. This is the best time of year to do that since you only have a few days left before starting fresh in 2017. And remember, there is no one way to do things right so have a few different objectives this year, take a leap of faith and try something new!
After you get a chance to evaluate how your website and/or social media efforts performed in 2016, it is time to reassess your content. After all, the message you have on those websites is the key to conversions and the success of your online business.
So how do you do that?
One way is to see where you appear in Google search results. Simply search keywords relevant to your business to see if your website shows up anywhere in the first 10 pages or so. If you did not show up, you might want to narrow your search by including your city, state, or even a region within your keyword phrase to see if that works. For example, I would look for PSPinc by searching the keywords: “web hosting company Bellevue
If you did show up, that’s great, but there is usually room for improving your position in the search engine results (SER). There are a couple things you should also consider.
First, you need to make sure you are logged off from your Gmail account. If your browser knows who you are, it will display ads that are very specific to you (based on your past searches and web behaviors), so you may not get the same SER as your potential customers. You could simply click on the tiny globe icon towards the top right of your Google search results page to see the “global” results. Just make sure your search results are not biased to you only.
Second, look to see how many results you get with your keyword search. After you plug in your keyword and search, the number displays at the top of the search results page above the first listing in small gray font. If you search broad keywords with lots of listings, you might want to narrow down your search. It is said people are using longer keyword phrases to be less competitive while targeting a more specific audience with specific interests. So we suggest you try that with three or more words in your search term.
If your website doesn’t show up at all in the SER no matter what you search, we need to figure out if your site has been “indexed” by Google - meaning registered into their database. The simplest way to find out is to enter your domain name, or URL, in the search field. If your site is still nowhere to be seen, maybe we can help. Just call us at PSPinc
so we can analyze your website for free and give you more specific feedback.
What is A/B testing, also called “split testing”? It’s another way to test your marketing strategies, or web campaigns side by side to see which one performs better and converts into the action you want taken, such as a sign-in, an email lead, or sale. Let’s say you want to know which day of the week an e-newsletter will get opened by the most people. You can send similar emails on different days (or different times of day) to see if the timing impacts the open rate.
A/B testing will allow you to make more fact-based decisions rather than guessing about what works and what doesn’t. It’s another way to review the performance of your marketing strategy.
But I would even go further. What if your less successful case of A/B testing can be improved to exceed the conversion rate of your more successful case?
I suggest doing A, B and C testing:
You start with three test cases: A, B, and C.
Let the campaigns run for a duration of time.
Compare the result of A, B, and C.
Drop the worst performer and add case A+ (assuming A did the best) to see if you can do even better with the best case.
Now you have A, B and A+ to compare.
Repeat this cycle until you figure out the top-performing case.
Sometimes you won’t narrow it down and make a final decision on which test case works best. You may end up increasing your budget and efforts to include all three marketing strategies, or you may decide to do just one or two on a larger scale. Whenever you reach the comfort zone of good results, you can increase the budget to launch the full-scale action.
The point is this: Analyzing your marketing strategies and actions, and readjusting them over and over must be performed in continuous cycles. Never stop this process if you want to keep learning and marketing your products and services successfully. A/B/C testing can help you continue this cycle.
With online marketing tools such as Google AdWords, Facebook, etc., you can easily manage and control your test cases until you figure out your perfect (or nearly perfect) formula.
If you really want to get serious about setting up analytics to understand and track your web performance, you might think about using Google Analytics. In fact, this is the perfect time of year to set it up so you can start fresh in the New Year and collect a full year of data in 2017. Without analytics data, you’re in the dark as to how to improve your online performance and you could be missing out on growth opportunities. Let’s discuss how you can get started with Google Analytics.
First, you need to have a Google account. If you already have a Gmail account, you could use that account, but if you are using it for personal use you might want to create a separate account for your business. Once your business account is set up it can be used for analytics, but you can also tap into some other handy web tools like Google Webmaster Tools and AdWords. The best part about it, all of this is free to you!
Once you have a Google account, you can login to Google Analytics
and select the Admin tab from the menu. It will show you three steps: 1) Account, 2) Property, and 3) View. Set up Account and Property first, and then click “Tracking Code” under “Tracking Info.” There you will set up web and mobile app tracking to obtain the code for your site. Once you get the tracking code, you need to embed it within your site. Either you need to do it, or you need to contact someone who can help you do it.
You can also configure items such as Goals so you can see your conversion rates. You can even add filters that discard any traffic to your website that comes from within your own company – because the point is to track new site visitors, not the people who work for you. Google has a simple video on YouTube explaining how to set up Google Analytics
If it all sounds like a big hassle to set this up, and you’d rather not do it yourself, call us! This is what we do. Let PSPinc
help you get set up with analytics and open your eyes to a wealth of new data that can help your business grow.
When it comes to measuring your marketing efforts online, Google Analytics is best known for its analytics capabilities, but you do have other choices that are available to you for free. Today we will introduce some of them.
For your site ranking:
There is a free and interesting site called Alexa.com
, which is now a subsidiary of Amazon.com. It measures your site’s ranking (popularity) in the world, or in a specific country. You simply go to alexa.com, type in the domain name, and it will give you the traffic statistics for that website.
PSPinc has a popular free Japanese learning site which was ranked 251,277th place as November, and 32% of its traffic comes from United States. It also shows things like bounce rates, related sites, average daily page views, and duration on the site per user.
For your mobile performance:
Analyzing your site’s performance shouldn’t be based solely on traffic; you should also assess its quality. And a big indication of a good quality website is how user-friendly it is on mobile devices. Google has repeatedly stated it gives more favorable search engine results to sites that are mobile friendly.
You can go to Google's Mobile-Friendly Test Page
and type in your website address. It will tell you if your site is mobile friendly and also show you how it appears to mobile users.
For your domain history:
is a non-profit digital library of all previously published websites. You can enter a URL into the search field and find out a lot about its history and when it came into existence. Archive has captured the history of over 270 billion web pages across a 20-year span. The site was founded in 1996 and our website pspinc.com
was first captured and stored in their database in December 1996!
Some of the terms used to measure your key performance on social media will look different than what you use to analyze your website. Here are a few terms you should understand when assessing your social media performance...
How much exposure did you get through social media? How far and wide is your distribution? For example, how many additional fans, followers, or subscribers have you gained? Obviously it is good to have a bigger reach, but you also want to make sure you have the right audience captured in the pool of people to whom you distribute your message.
Once you built your following, how often did you engage them? If you have 1000 followers on Twitter but you don’t tweet them daily or even weekly, you give them nothing to engage and retweet, therefore limiting your capability to gain new followers. When followers like and retweet something you post, they are broadening your distribution by exposing you to their followers and so on. If you never post, don’t expect to broaden your reach.
Once you get the distribution and engage the users, the next important factor to assess is conversion: How many users from Facebook or other social media took the next step to contact you, hence, converting into a lead? For example, if you got 1000 likes on a Facebook photo, how many of those users turned into a lead? Conversions are much harder to track because you have to rely on your offline customer service to constantly ask and figure out where the lead came from, but it’s a good system to put in place nonetheless.
Ask yourself: What is your goal and objective for social media in 2017? And what would it take to get the distribution, engagement, and conversion in order to succeed? As you make plans, remember that it may not be easy to judge whether your effort to engage on social media has paid off just by looking at one statistic, so be patient and look at the numbers from a holistic view.
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