If there is one thing that has changed in a big way over the course of the last decade, it is the importance of online business. Over only a couple of decades, the world has mostly transitioned from an in-person shopping model to one that is usually done from home while sitting behind a computer screen. If you are a business owner and you are seeking to more fully utilize the online marketplace for the purpose of furthering your business interests and increasing your profit, check out these tips for making your site into a high-tech trusted website.
Optimize Your Marketing Efforts with Smart Data
When people talk about “smart data,” they are simply referring to the practice of gathering information from customers. While there are naturally some privacy concerns here, customer data can be immensely helpful when you have a business decision to make. In most cases, your customer base is the backbone of your company. Without customers, you wouldn’t have much. So, getting to know your customers is key to determining what they want so that you can keep them happy with your product or services and coming back for repeat business.
How to Collect Smart Customer Data
But how do you go about the process of data collection? Obviously, any data must be obtained on a voluntary basis. Most of the time, your customers won’t have the time or the inclination to answer a survey or give you additional information about themselves. This is why you need to give them an incentive. It could be a small savings on your company’s goods or services, or it could be some kind of sweepstakes or any number of other incentives. Basically, you have to give the customer a good reason to take the extra time it takes to fill out that customer survey.
Trusted Industry Tools Help You Process Data
Once you’ve collected your data, you’ll need an efficient way of processing it. This is where some good customer analytics software will come in handy. If you don’t have an employee who is good with spreadsheets, you can usually automate the process with the right program. There are many different software options, so choose the one that suits your needs.
The Value of Customer Data
But how much of a difference does data collection make? According to research, data gathering and analysis can affect your sales by as much as 25 percent. In terms of business growth, the difference seems to be even greater, and data collection can make a difference of up to 85 percent. This is why no sensible business owner should be without crucial data to estimate and forecast the patterns of customer activity.
Find a Powerful Online Platform for Your Service
In the world of the internet, your choice of a platform is everything. Choosing a strong platform will help you connect with other services.
Web Hosting Services
For starters, you need to consider a web hosting company. Before you can even begin the process of building your site, you have to obtain a location and an address. In a way, web hosting companies are like the realty companies of the internet. They provide the online space in which your site will operate. As with a real estate company, it is of the utmost importance to find a company that is trustworthy. Don’t go with some no-name company if you can avoid it, or you will be taking a serious roll of the dice, risking the possibility of wasting your time and effort.
The big differences between hosting companies will come from their level of search engine recognition. A cheaper company is unlikely to deliver the traffic that your site needs to reach its full potential. It won’t do any good to create a visually pleasing site that is easy to navigate if no one can find it.
While there are many options, one of the most trustworthy platforms is WordPress.com. This site is very popular and with good reason. Several major publishers and industries trust WordPress because the platform provides incredible integration with other systems and media.
Web Design Services
Now, we come to the subject of web design. Teaching yourself to build webpages is not an easy task, and learning how to do it takes away a lot of time that could be directed toward the things that you’re best at. Even if you consider yourself an expert at web design, the time it takes to build your own site can usually be better spent elsewhere. It is important to remember that building websites is a specialized skill and that there is no shame in hiring someone else to do the job. Creating a simple webpage that consists of some pictures and maybe a link or two is really easy, but basic sites like that are not going to deliver the high-volume results that you want. Sure, you could just throw something together, and something is always better than nothing, but this article is intended for those who want to take it to a higher level. You should also consider whether you need an expert that specializes in a particular area. For example, Clay.Global, a San Francisco-based agency, specializes in user experience design.
Make Your Web Marketing Efforts Stand Out
The title of this section might well be an oversimplified piece of advice. With any kind of marketing, standing out from the rest of the crowd is essential. Remember, while you are trying to stand out from the crowd, everyone else with something to sell is doing the same. The real trick here is creativity and originality. There are many business ideas that have fallen flat on their face, not because of poor quality, but because they did not offer anything unique.
Tech Options to Help You Boost Your Marketing Efforts
Make sure that you promote your site on every social media site that you can, utilise a Facebook ad agency to help enhance your presence on Facebook. In many ways, social media has become the most important place on the internet. Like the public square in days of old, social media gives everyone a chance to get their message out. Don’t neglect any of the major social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and all the rest. Think of your social media accounts as a fishing net. You never know what is beneath the water until you drop the net, so the safest strategy is to cast a very wide net. The wider your net, the more little fishies you are likely to catch. In this case, the term “little fishies” refers to site hits, and those will translate directly into revenue through advertising.
Make sure that your company’s social media pages stay updated and full of new information. If you just slap a website onto the web and leave it there without frequent updates, it will not attract new hits nor will it raise your company profile or move up in the search engines. Not only this, think about adding a business page on a search engine so you can be seen more frequently.
When someone makes a comment or asks a question, make sure that you respond in a timely and polite fashion. Remember, you aren’t just trying to impress that potential customer. You are also trying to impress anyone who might come along later and read the messages. Since social media messages are usually visible to everyone, it provides people with a large amount of information that they can check and cross-check. A smart customer will use your social media as a way to do research on your company before doing business with you.
Respond the Right Way to Negative Feedback
In particular, make sure to respond appropriately if someone has a negative or skeptical comment. Make sure that you (or the person who runs your social media for you) resist the urge to get defensive or nasty with a critic. If you do that, it makes your company look bad by making customers suspicious. No one wants to deal with a company that can’t handle a little scrutiny.
On the flip side of the matter, you cannot simply allow negative claims about your product to pass unchallenged. Often, companies will attempt to artificially create bad press for a rival company. They do this to hurt their competition, and also because it’s really easy. Don’t fall into this trap. When a customer (or a potential customer) has a grievance or a concern, address it with a plain and matter-of-fact tone. You don’t want to come off as overly defensive or overly patronizing, so the best approach is to focus on the facts regarding your products and services.
Break Away From Industry Convention in Marketing Efforts
Don’t shy away from using outdoor on-the-street advertising if you can afford it. People have a tendency to gravitate toward brands that are familiar, even if people have little to no knowledge about those brands. Like any animal, humans naturally gravitate toward that which is cozy and familiar. So, in order to take full advantage of this fact, you need to put your brand name out there in popular culture.
As a final note, consider the inclusion of something funny, weird, or quirky in your advertising campaign. A flat statement that describes your company and its activities is simply not enough. The modern world tends to bombard people with advertising from every possible angle, making it all the more difficult to stand out. A funny joke or a quirky catchphrase can make a big difference. Case in point: Dell computers. This company is best-remembered for an old ad campaign in which a funny-looking guy says “dude, you’re gettin’ a Dell!” The ad campaign was so catchy that it is still remembered to this day. If you grew up in the ’90s, you probably know exactly what ad this was! In keeping with this line of thinking, consider the commercials that you found to be the most memorable, and use them as a blueprint for your own ad plans.
Show Your Customers That You Hear Them
A responsive company is always going to have a certain advantage. A smart consumer will always consider the customer service aspect when considering which companies to patronize. No matter what you are selling, people need to know that they can get ahold of you in the event of a problem and they also need to know that the problem will be resolved in the quickest manner possible.
What Makes for Outstanding Customer Support
Some people seem to think that a contact form on their website is enough. In most cases, it is not. A contact form will usually lead the customer to send an email, which may go unread for hours, days, or even weeks at a time. This is unacceptable to most customers, as many of them are working people who just don’t have the time or the inclination to keep calling some company over and over again until their issues are resolved. Many people will simply pack up and take their business elsewhere.
Don’t Forget the Personal Touch
What you need is a good non-automated phone line. While an automated line may save you a few bucks, it will cost you business in the long run. Don’t you hate it when you ring up a customer service line, only to be greeted by the voice of a robot? It is safe to say that virtually everyone prefers to speak to a live person. It is also important to hire telephone operators with good communication skills and a good command of whatever language they will be using.
All of these things combine to make a customer feel special. You don’t want them to feel like a cog in a machine or a brick in a wall. You want them to feel that their business and their feedback matters. Naturally, customers tend to appreciate courteous and prompt attention. Their buying habits will most likely reflect the level of care that they have received.
Continually Upgrade and Update Your Systems
If you are running a high-traffic website that is used by thousands or even millions of people on a daily basis, technical issues will be a frequent occurrence. You need reliable servers, and have them implemented in a way they can be scaled up easily. There is just no way to run a massive network without the occasional problem. If your system goes down or makes key mistakes, it really makes your company look bad. Whether it is true or not, customers will judge you harshly for a site that is clunky, buggy, and difficult to navigate. In today’s tech-savvy world, it is often easy to separate newer sites from the older ones.
Keep Your Company and Customer’s Data Secure
Security is perhaps the best reason to keep your systems updated and upgraded at all times. The internet, in spite of its welcoming and open nature, can be a dangerous place due to the frequency of hackers and hacking attacks. Some hackers are merely jokers who take delight in wreaking havoc with someone else’s computer systems. Some other hackers are scammers and thieves who can gain access to important financial information and try to rob you for every penny you have. If even one of your customers is victimized by such a person while using your service, there is a high chance that someone might try to hold you accountable. Without a properly updated system, a hacker can get in. Don’t even doubt it.
Keep Your Site Running Fast
Site speed is another good reason to keep your systems running with the latest updated software. Even if people really like your site, slow speeds and high levels of lag may chase them away. If you have any rivals who offer a service or a product that is similar to your own, it becomes even more important to have a fast and smooth-running website. Once again, bear in mind that the customer is under no obligation and that they can always throw up their hands and take their business elsewhere.
In closing, it is important to always remember the importance of innovation. The need for innovation in marketing is one of the key reasons that good marketing skills are hard to teach. How do you teach someone to go against the grain and do something different? If you are having trouble with creativity issues, there is no shame in hiring more qualified and creative people to get the job done. With a little determination and the right kind of people, you too can enjoy the profit and prestige of owning one of the most frequently used sites on this huge and pervasive thing that we call the World Wide Web.