Posts in Online Business

5 tips to drive business growth

April 18th, 2018 Posted by Online Business No Comment yet

Whether you want to scale up in leaps and bounds or at a steady incline, metrics are a critical part of tracking progress and success.  Want to chart your progress but don’t know where to start? Read these five tips to drive business growth and stay ahead of the curve.

1. Define success

In today’s digital world, many businesses plan in three month blocks – a 10 year plan just isn’t the case anymore when the world is changing so fast.  But despite of how far out you plan, mapping out where you want to be through a strong and clear business plan is critical.

2. Set your key performance indicators

If you have firstly mapped out what success looks like, use data to then define how you will measure it.  Identify which indicators, or KPIs, are critical to achieving your goals.

3. Understand your baseline florist on computer

Every journey has a start and end. If you want to set measures that will drive your business forward then start by understanding exactly where you are today in terms of business impacts, costs and finances. Factor in seasonal changes, external impacts and key trends when planning ahead.

4. Set effective targets

Effective targets encompass both an achievement and a time frame. Break your targets down into manageable tasks so they don’t seem so unachievable – think how much more doable it is to achieve one sale per day, rather than 30 per month or 360 per year.

5. Go forth and achieve

Once your metrics are in place make them part of the everyday conversation in your business. They should be transparent across your team and everyone should be clear of what they are working to, and what success looks like. Empower your team to contribute directly towards your goals and structure rewards so that they support goal achievement.

If you can successfully place measures and performance indicators into your business it will become much easier to track your progress towards the growth you desire. But keep in mind that these measures will only be effective if they empower you and your team to make the changes needed to make them achievable. Put effective growth measures in place today then measure, adjust and repeat to achieve the results you want.

12 tips to successfully sell on MYBC (or anywhere online)

January 10th, 2018 Posted by Bartercard, Online Business, Smart business tips No Comment yet

In today’s digital world it’s critical to cater to your market in the digital space.  MYBC is Bartercard’s online platform where you can list and shop 24/7 to increase sales and conserve cash flow.  Follow these tips to boost sales in MYBC, or anywhere online actually.

1. WRITE CLEAR DESCRIPTIONS
List the product’s main features within the description. Be concise and give shoppers everything they need to make a purchase on the spot, including the brand, size or dimensions, color, condition and model or make. Not listing enough detail might compromise the sale because the shopper may have to take the extra step of contacting you.

2. USE HIGH QUALITY IMAGES
If shoppers can’t see the stock in person, the images need to do the selling. High resolution images set a standard, add credibility and make an impact on sales – source a professional photographer through Bartercard and ask them what backdrops, angles and lighting will highlight the best features.

online shopping.jpg3. SHIPPING AND LOGISTICS
Consider the shipping and logistics of getting the stock to your customer. Although some online retailers offer same day shipping, delicate items may require more robust wrapping and take longer to send.

4. FAST RESPONSE RATES attracts repeat business. The most successful sellers dispatch within 24 hours of the sale, or are clear when dispatch will take place.

5. USE CATCHY HEADLINES
A headline will determine whether or not a customer will open a listing – make sure yours is catchy and always include the sale item in it. Don’t use acronyms – someone looking at your listing might not know what it is, and it could be a lost sale.

6. CHOOSE THE RIGHT KEYWORDS
Keep in mind what keywords customers will be searching, and include those words in your description. Consider if the term is ambiguous. A coffee table could also be a side table – cover all possibilities in the description.

7. INCLUDE YOUR BUSINESS NAME IN THE DESCRIPTION
If a customer knows you already and searches your business name, your listings will come up straight away.

8. BE CLEAR ON LOCATION AND SHIPPING
Not specifying the exact location will deter a sale. For example, if a shopper is in San Diego, CA, the location of the product is listed only as USA, and it’s not clear whether shipping is available, they might hesitate to buy. Be specific on the location and clear on whether you ship.

9. TAKE THE GUESS WORK OUT OF POSTAGE
Offer a flat postage rate on smaller items or include postage in the price to make it easier for your customers to make a snap decision. When it comes to larger items, list the postage costs for popular cities, so if your customer will have a rough estimate of what postage will cost them.

10. LIST PACKAGES
Whether you are a retailer or specialize in a service, you can package items on Bartercard’s website MYBC which is essentially free advertising for your business. For example, if you’re a café on Bartercard, you could place a listing for event platters or whole cakes baked to order. If you run a hotel or resort, you could list a 2 night stay & dinner package at your onsite restaurant. Or if accounting is your specialty, you could list a tax pack. Listing packages will put you in front of customers and drive new sales.

11. GET YOUR LISTING FEATURED
It’s worth investing a small T$5.95 (trade dollars) to get your listing featured on MYBC which will take the sale item to the top of the list. Featured listings are shown to sell five times more than unfeatured listings, so it’s a small investment to make for more sales.

12. VARIETY IS KEY AND WILL BOOST SALES – having several listings on MYBC will let you see what’s selling fastest.

 

Written by Bartercard Australia.  Read the original post here.

How to Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Business

August 23rd, 2017 Posted by Marketing, Online Business, Smart business tips No Comment yet

With technology introducing a number of new platforms and devices to the world, it can be hard to know which will be beneficial to your small or medium-sized enterprise (SME). Should you make your website available on mobile? Where do you spend your time and money with marketing? Is LinkedIn a viable platform to receive small business growth? Today, we want to deal with this last question because there still seems to be some confusion surrounding LinkedIn.


What Is It?
 – For those of you living under a rock for the past few years, LinkedIn is a social networking site but it’s widely considered to be a professional environment. Whereas Facebook and Twitter will deal with social interactions, LinkedIn provides an opportunity for businesses to network and job-seekers to create an online profile (essentially acting as an online résumé).

As an entrepreneur, you might be wondering how you can use this platform to grow but we have compiled some of the biggest tips below;

Advanced Searching – Nowadays, there are various ways of reaching out to potential clients/customers and the ‘advanced search’ feature on LinkedIn can compete with the very best. After entering your search, you can filter by demographic, industry, position, company size, and much more. If you were to pay for the premium option, you can even utilize even more search options and this helps to recognize certain similarities between customers or potential customers themselves.

In addition to consumers, you could even use the advanced search feature to find potential employees so you don’t have to waste money on hiring the wrong people; an extensive LinkedIn research plan can help you choose the person with the right skills, mindset, and culture for your business.


LinkedIn Pulse
 – As blogging platforms go, LinkedIn Pulse is one of the very best and a great way to connect with people and show your expertise within your niche. Whether news articles regarding your industry or simple advice pieces, you can upload content regularly and the notifications system ensures that all your connections will be alerted immediately. With high-quality content, you can be seen as a market leader and gain the trust and credibility companies need to grow online.


Ad Targeting
 – As we all know, Facebook is fantastically clever when it comes to ad targeting but LinkedIn deserves a mention too. As an entrepreneur, you need to know that the right people are seeing your ads and this can now happen with the custom ad settings. After creating your ad, you can get as specific as you wish by selecting a certain job title, a certain company, or even an entire industry. With this, you know that the right eyes will see your ads rather than wasting money targeting a wider market; fewer of which are actually interested in your product.


LinkedIn Groups
 – At first, LinkedIn will encourage you to join up to 50 groups but between eight and twelve is a little more manageable. With key groups in your industry, you can contribute and really earn a name for yourself. As long as you provide genuinely useful information and appreciate the other users rather than constantly spamming, this can be a great way to make contacts.


In truth, there are so many tips for small business growth on LinkedIn that you would be reading all day if we listed them here. For example, you can upload PDFs and videos for your company, gain endorsements from previous clients and employees, use Alumni Groups, regularly post status updates, and just generally have a page where potential clients and employees alike can see what you’re all about and whether you are the right fit for them!

5 apps every small business owner should have

July 12th, 2017 Posted by Bartercard, Marketing, Online Business, Smart business tips No Comment yet

In a fast-paced business world where everything is constantly evolving, scaling, minimizing and customizing to the consumer, technology is essential to stay on top.

Whether you’re a start-up or established brand staying relevant, these apps can cut time, let you work on the go and support you in the 1 million things to think about every day.

 

Consider adding these free apps to you smartphone.

  1. Tired of collecting paper receipts in shoeboxes? Genius Scan lets you scan receipts on your smartphone and export them as PDF files later.  Apps like Xero also let you snap and file paper receipts to save time and space.
  2. Lose the pen and paper – Evernote is a digital notebook that lets you capture, create and organise notes and tasks from anywhere.  Sync Evernote across devices to find everything instantly.
  3. Invoice2Go lets you create professional invoices and quotes anytime, anywhere so you can work away and still stay on top of jobs and payments.
  4. Assigning a task to a graphic designer can take time, but Canva is lets anyone design instantly through its simple drag-and-drop artwork creation. Facilitating 52 million DYI designs, Canva lets you pick from over one million layouts, photos, illustrations and fonts plus upload logos to create customised on-brand designs.
  5. Find Bartercard businesses around you, pay an invoice, process a sale and view your available balance using the Bartercard mobile app. You can download the mobile app from the Apple App StoreGoogle Play or Microsoft.

 

Adapted from an article written by Bartercard Australia on Jun 15, 2017

8 tips and tricks to sharpen your emails

May 25th, 2017 Posted by Online Business, Smart business tips No Comment yet

Read this before you press send.

Follow these eight simple tips and tricks to sharpen your emails and get the response you want.


1. Tailor to the recipient

Don’t spray and pray – mass blanket emails just don’t get read beyond the first line.  Taking the time to tailor your emails to the receiver is worth the extra time and effort.  Use their first name and understand what they want so you can structure the email around a solution.


2. Lead with your main idea

Start with the crux. Tell the reader why you are contacting them in the first line, then flesh out the rest of the details.


3. Keep it concise

No one wants to read a long, convoluted email. Remove unnecessary words and keep it to the point.


4. Use active voice

Instead of writing ‘The meeting will be held in room 2’, write ‘I’ll be delighted to see you at the meeting in room 2’. The active voice is clear and direct to elicit the response you want.


5. Proofread and edit

Check your email is clear, concise and error-free.  Stick this checklist in your workspace to wipe out email mistakes:

Email Checklist

  • Subject line
  • Spelling
  • Grammar
  • Dates
  • Times
  • Links
  • Pricing
  • Image copyright

Check each point twice to eradicate errors.


6. Add a catchy subject line

Give the reader a reason to open the email. Pick the most relevant, catchy and pertinent information and avoid clickbait – it might boost the open rate but it will also boost unsubscriptions.


7. Be polite

You can make any point politely and it won’t come back to haunt you down the track.


8. Don’t hit send

Sending an email is a simple way to tick off a task, but according to Collective Hub, it takes asking six people face-to-face to achieve the same effectiveness of a 200 recipient email blast.  See where you can wipe out email and communicate in real time instead – especially when asking for a pay rise, pitching to investors or asking to meet a superior.

 

Useful tools to improve your email:

As with most things in life, there’s help on the internet. These tools will help you get the most out of your emails:

  • Easy Word Count will check the length of your emails, ensuring that they aren’t too long. You can also check your spelling too.
  • Boom Essays: Want someone to check your emails before you send them? Send them to this service, where they can proofread them for you.
  • Paper Fellows: This writing community will help you get the most out of everything you write at work.
  • Assignment Help: If grammar’s not your strong suit, this writing service will help you get to grips with it.
  • Cite It In will help you get the right citation for any source you use in your writing.
  • Essay Services: Got an important email to write? This service can put it together for you.

Use this advice the next time you are writing an email. It’s amazing how much a simple message can improve when you implement these simple steps. Send effective emails to receive the response you want!

 

Blogpost by Mary Walton on May 24, 2017
You can read the original post on the Bartercard Australia Blog

How to boost e-commerce and sales in 2017

May 10th, 2017 Posted by Bartercard, Marketing, Online Business, Smart business tips No Comment yet

Every day more traders are becoming aware of the potential and power of selling within Bartercard’s online trading platform MYBC. Many members are achieving sales within just a few days, if not hours, of creating a new listing and are recognizing a real opportunity to boost business growth.

In this week’s blog we see what actions successful members are taking every day to make thousands in online sales to achieve growth. We also look at simple e-commerce mistakes to avoid.

 

Take these following steps for online success.

1. Communication

It’s important that if someone has trusted you enough to purchase one of your offers, you make contact within 24hrs. Just because you are selling electronically, where you often don’t see or speak to the buyer, doesn’t mean general business communication practices go out the window.  Making contact with a buyer in a timely manner builds trust, puts their mind at ease, and they believe that you intend to follow through on your promise. Ask yourself how you would like to be communicated to if you were the buyer?

2. Transparency

You want to position what you are selling in the best possible light without misleading the buyer. Be clear, honest and reveal as much detail as possible about an item you are selling. If the item you’re selling has a scratch or a ding, make it clear. Your buyer will appreciate the honesty and want to transact with you in the future.

3. Detail

Providing as much detail about your listing as possible is vital for converting a lead into a paying customer. You will be amazed at how many people view your listing and decide not to buy, because there just wasn’t enough information included. If you are creating a listing with the intention to sell it, take the time to provide detail, otherwise there is no point slapping up something quickly with not enough information included.

4. Images

If you want to increase online sales, you must have high quality images. The more clearly you can show a product, the better. Try position it near a window, turn all the lights on, shine a spot light on the image – anything to remove shadows – so a buyer can clearly see what you are selling. If using MYBC, make sure you provide a minimum of four images. Click here to discover more photography tips and tricks.

5. Delivery

Take the guesswork out of the costs involved in postage/delivery. Try and include delivery in the price if possible and/or offer a flat postage rate on smaller items. It might seem better for you (the seller) to state that shipping is the buyer’s responsibility, but it may cost you sales. If selling something large that you could potentially drop off locally on your way to work, consider listing it as free local delivery. Doing this makes it easier for the buyer to receive the goods, and they are more likely to buy from you again.

6. Think laterally and create packages

If you are a mechanic, offer a bundled package that includes oil change, wheel alignment, suspension and engine clean. If you are a restaurant, package a dinner for two with a bottle of champagne. Give people ideas! MYBC is free advertising for your business. Don’t wait for customers to come to you. Create value for others and bundle your product/service into attractive packages!

7. Make your listing ‘Featured’

It’s worth investing an extra T$5.95 to get your listing featured on MYBC, which will place your offer in the prime position on the home page. This will place your listing in front of thousands of Bartercard members when they first login, as well as catch them when they are in a buying frame of mind and looking to spend.

8. High Standards

It is clear that the people who are making thousands in online sales have incredibly high standards.

The standard of their offer, listing or presentation is representative of their attitude and the results follow. For example, the best restaurants who attract the most customers and make the most sales, generally have the best standards. From the moment you walk in, the premises is exceptional and attention has been applied to the finer details.

This is exactly the same when creating a listing online, if you maintain high standards and take the time to present an exceptional offer, whilst paying attention to the finer details, you are guaranteed to attract high quality customers and increase your sales success.

Following these simple steps will help you succeed in online sales and attract new customers to your business.

MYBC is free for Bartercard members and will attract new customers who are actively looking to spend.

Visit mybc.bartercard.com and start your listing today.

For more information about growing your business, visit bartercardusa.com.

 

 

Article adapted from a Bartercard Australia Blogpost.

Take Control of Online Reviews

April 26th, 2017 Posted by Online Business No Comment yet

Online reviews can be a complicated puzzle to solve. Whether it’s Yelp, Google, or a social media platform, it is crucial for any successful business owner to stay on top of what customers are saying about your business.  Here are some steps you can use to take control of the online review process.

  1. READ AND RESPOND: 
    Although there are several online mechanisms for leaving a business review, it is important to read them all, and respond accordingly.  If a customer is dissatisfied, they are 20 times more likely to talk about your business than if they were satisfied.  Be prepared to read unfavorable reviews and react with a “solution”.  Carefully think your response through, be apologetic, and most importantly, welcome the customer back with an incentive if necessary. Never get caught up in an argumentative way.  Peaceful solutions and positive responses will also catch the attention of prospective customers who may read the review.  Let them see that you are attentive to even your most dissatisfied customers.
  2. SOLICIT REVIEWS: 
    When a customer has a good experience with your business, encourage them to leave a positive review.  You can also provide incentives for doing so, by way of discounts on future business.  Soliciting positive reviews from your most satisfied customers can help build an invaluable positive rating.  Always remember, prospective customers are more likely to give you their business if they see you providing good service.
  3. USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO ENCOURAGE REVIEWS: 
    With the influx of social media as a forum for business promotion, it is possible to encourage positive reviews by offering online promotions.  When a customer takes advantage of one of these promotions, encourage the customer to leave a review on the page.  This creates a chain of dialogue directly with the customer so others can see first-hand how you handle customer opinions and reviews.  Keeping your social media dialogue positive is easy to do because you have more control over content on a social media page than say a Yelp or Google review platform.

So, put your best foot forward and take control of your online reviews.

Tips on promoting your business using social media

April 19th, 2017 Posted by Marketing, Online Business, Smart business tips No Comment yet

So you say you’re not a social media buff? Perhaps you just don’t know what all the hype is about.  It’s easier than you think to use social media for marketing to launch your business into cyber-success.  Here are just a few easy steps to get you started.

  1. FIND THE BEST FIT

There are several different platforms to choose from when using social media for marketing: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest just to name a few.  Figure out which ones your target audience is most likely to use and sign on up, but don’t shy away from unconventional social media platforms either!

  1. ALWAYS MAINTAIN BRAND CONSISTENCY

While you won’t use the different social media platforms for all the same purposes, you’ll want to maintain a consistent brand image. Make sure your username and logo are the same on every account. You want people to be able to recognize your brand easily; even the best message won’t do any good if it can’t be traced back to you. Remember, too, that visuals are important—an amateurish Facebook page will hurt your brand more than help it.  Any lack of attention to image will surely impact your credibility.

  1. USE VARIETY TO STAY INTERESTING

People join social media to be social! Your followers will start dropping rapidly if all they see are ads for your services. Diversify your posts with interesting or funny images, articles, videos, and links related to your industry to get people to click that, be careful to avoid posting anything that may serve to alienate customers.  In between all the hilarious and thought-provoking content, you can slip in posts about your services that won’t come across as pushy advertising.

  1. MEASURE YOUR SUCCESS 

When using social media for marketing, it’s easy to use tracking data to monitor your progress.  Google Analytics is a good place to start, and it’s easy to understand.  The ability to see which of your posts generated the most clicks to your website can be a huge help in determining what works and what doesn’t when using social media for marketing.  This is the feedback you need to continue a forward progression.

Be bold. Be creative. Take stock in knowing that you’re exposing your business to a customer base you could never have reached otherwise. Social media can be the difference between moderate and high business traffic, so get started!

 

Top photography tips and tricks to make your brand stand out

April 12th, 2017 Posted by Bartercard, Marketing, Online Business, Smart business tips No Comment yet

Photographs are key to standing out in a digital world – whether on social media, a company website or in a marketing campaign. Did you know there are 60 million new photos uploaded to Instagram daily?

This week we list the top photography tips and tricks from Instagram superstars to give your brand cut-through – whether you’re snapping on a digital SLR or your smart phone.

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2017 Means Marketing

March 15th, 2017 Posted by Marketing, Online Business, Smart business tips No Comment yet

This week Alan Thompson of Stingray Branding explains why now is the perfect time to think about your 2017 marketing strategy.

Do you go get the yellow pages when you need a plumber or photographer? No?! Well surprise, neither do your clients. While we always want word of mouth to be a large part of our marketing strategy and hope to count on it forever, it is not the only form of marketing, nor should it be the only marketing you put all of your future in the hands of.website design, marketing, web design, development.
But I have a website, why would I need to do anything else?
Our firm hears this half question, half answer a lot, and the answer is no. Simply having a website is not enough and certainly never will be. Most business owners feel that because they have a website, even if it ranks on the first page of Google search results their marketing is perfect and it’ll stay that way. Well, Google makes changes every day to how they rank websites in their search results, and a website that is not making proactive and reactive changes to adjust with them will not stay on the first page.
So what are some of the big changes I haven’t thought of?
Have you heard of cyber security and all the breaches the past couple of years? Well, they are kind of a big deal and Google doesn’t take it lightly. Therefore, a major change coming is any site that does not have a security certificate installed will have a notice displayed by Google saying the site is not secure. Do you think your clients will want to buy when Google starts saying their connection isn’t secure? Of course SSL’s have helped your website rank better in searches for years, but this is a big move to make it even more important. I’m sure you know your site has to be mobile responsive for user friendliness. Did you know that if isn’t your website will also reduce in ranking results.
Ok, so a website and social media must be the end-all, be-all right?
Unfortunately, no. Marketing in 2017 is so much more than just posting on Social Media and having a nice, effective, and resourceful website. As marketing becomes more competitive and your competition gets better at it, you have to step up your game too. If you don’t have an effective inbound marketing strategy with at least 3-4 inbound marketing techniques, our team can help you create your 2017 marketing strategy. Effectively implementing a blogging program, a newsletter follow up, relationship marketing, and a digital strategy are all marketing methods you should have working for you and that you know how well they work.
What does this all mean for you?
Simple, NOW is the time to make a plan to implement new marketing strategies, refine your current marketing platforms, and review the analytics from your 2016 marketing efforts (if you don’t have them, make a plan to start tracking in 2017).

If the thought of all this marketing stuff is overwhelming, or maybe you just don’t have time…. Call, E-Mail, or Book an Appointment with the Stingray Branding team today and pay using your Trade Dollars!

 

About the Author
Alan Thompson got into marketing for the same reason you are reading this article – he had to market and didn’t know how. Several years, a college education, and thousands of hours of experience later, a Marketing Guru has been developed. Outside of marketing and networking, you’ll typically find Alan spending time with his kids and family, at a Gators game, or on a surfboard.

Alan Thompson, Marketing Guru for Stingray Branding
Toll Free: (844) 239-8467 | Local: (843) 480-4476
info@stingraybranding.com | Book an Appointment
www.stingraybranding.com