How Online Chats Can Increase Your Sales 


customer support

Have you got a strategy for helping your customers when they get stuck on your website? For e-commerce, e-tailers and service providers that offer complex products, services and a variety of pricing options, users can struggle to find the right product for them. Through introducing online chat, you can help these customers in real time and increase your sales as a result. 

Even the best websites on the planet don’t convert all users because people have differing wants and needs and each user is at a different stage on the path to purchase. And we know that not all websites convert fantastically, so that’s why we have general enquiry phone lines, contact forms and customer service email addresses. 

The thing about the above methods of contact is that they drive people away from the site, they can be expensive for the company to handle and they don’t always result in sales.

Phone Calls
Phone calls are typically costly for the company, as having to staff, furnish and equip a call center will inevitably eat into your profits. This wouldn’t be as much of a problem if every call that came through led to a sale, but that’s not what happens in reality, especially on general inquiry lines. 

Emails
Emails break the user journey, disrupt momentum and cost a lot to handle. Go and visit Apple or Amazon right now and try to find a customer service email address. You’ll be just as likely to discover a cure for cancer or a reincarnated dodo. 

At first glance, emails appear to be a perfectly acceptable method of handling contact. At least with emails, you can respond to them at your own convenience. However, responding to emails is more costly than taking phone calls and the potential back and forth exchange as your staff attempt to capture everything they need in order to resolve the customer’s query can rack up the cost into the hundreds of dollars. Plus, by the time the potential customer receives a response to their query, they’re no longer on your website, they’re no longer in the mind state to purchase and they might even have already made the purchase from a competitor. 

Contact Forms
Contact forms are no different to emails. In fact, if you don’t have a CRM, there’s a pretty good chance that your contact forms generate emails! This doesn’t work for your company because it’s costly and it doesn’t work for or your customer because it takes too long to process. 

Introducing Online Chat
Online chat can tackle the pitfalls of all three of the above communication channels and increase sales while the customer is on your website Through introducing online chat, you can increase your customer service and sales through:

  • Explaining product features, terminology, pricing, delivery, returns policies and all other queries in real time
  • Recommending the perfect product according to specific customer needs
  • Directing customers to pages they can’t find or products they weren’t aware of

And, it’s good for the business because:

  • It’s more efficient - chat operatives can chat to 3-4 customers at a time
  • It’s cheaper – no need for heavily staffed call centers or staff spending hours exchanging emails
  • It’s quicker – if you can answer the customer’s query as and when they crop up, you can increase the chances of making a sale through keeping the user on your website and helping them along their journey while they have the intent to buy 

Online Chat Providers
There are a variety of online chat providers including:

  • LivePerson 
  • Comm100
  • BoldChat
  • Kayako Fusion
  • LiveHelpNow
  • Website Alive
  • Velaro

If you’re having any trouble implementing your online chat solution or if you want this feature built into your new website, get in touch with us today and we’ll be happy to help.

 

 

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Posted by Monday, October 20, 2014 10:58:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C ecommerce inbound marketing online marketing sales SMB web trends

What Is Internet Marketing? The Most Significant Insight You’ll Ever Learn 

In this video, the godfather of web design, Jeffrey Zeldman, talks about how he first got into the field back when websites looked like this:


internet marketing

It’s well worth taking the time to watch it, whether you’re a web designer, digital marketer, small business owner, even a CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Everyone that has any involvement in internet marketing whatsoever will learn something significant that could change the way you view the world wide web forever.

Around 12 minutes into the video, Zeldman makes a comment that exposes a truly organic outlook on what the internet is and what websites are. It’s a fundamental principle that web designers, developers and digital marketers across the globe should have tattooed across their foreheads, stitched into the inside of their jackets and etched onto their fridges. Go watch it and see if you notice it. I’ll wait here.

Did you find it? Just in case, I’ll tell you what I’m getting at: 

When referring to websites and web designers back in 1995 and comparing their philosophy to his, Zeldman said:

“Nobody was thinking of the web as an exciting presentation medium.”

That insight is so striking, it’s worth reiterating. Zeldman saw (and hopefully still sees) the internet as an exciting presentation medium. How many businesses out there today see their website as an exciting way to present?

As the internet becomes more accessible through the likes of DIY website builders2 and user-friendly platforms like Wordpress, Tumblr and Blogger, are we foregoing creativity for the sake of pulling more people online?

It would certainly appear so, given the amount of similar websites out there. More or less every website seems to follow the same template: logo in the top-left corner, menu across the top, side bar to the right or left (or both) and content in the middle or left aligned. 

There was a fantastic talk on this (among other things), given by Matthew Butterick, called ‘Bomb in the Garden’. You can read the transcript here (and you should). Butterick highlights an absolute abundance of websites; big companies like magazines and newspapers and TV channels, that all have, not just terrible websites, but extremely similar websites! Here’s just a few examples of some of them: 


internet_marketing_sample

internet_marketing_sample2

[Images borrowed from Unitscale]

It’s not just the ‘classic’ style that’s similar, even the more contemporary ‘flat design’ leaves us with with the same issue:

internet_marketing
[Image source]  

Believe it or not, the two above examples are two entirely independent websites created by two entirely independent companies. 

So what’s happening? Are we neglecting exciting presentation in favor of convenience? Are we foregoing creativity for the sake of playing it safe or giving people what we think they want?

At Fast Track, we’ll build anything you design, so break out of the shackles, refrain from designing for your client or browsers and focus on nothing else but your users. Get in touch with us today and let’s talk about how we can break the mold.

 

Monday, October 13, 2014 3:58:00 PM Categories: B2B content development inbound marketing online marketing SMB web trends

Six Tips for More Effective Video Marketing 

video marketing tips

Online videos are proven to aid customer purchasing decisions1 and are becoming the cornerstones of many brand’s digital strategy. Typically, 80% of viewers remember the video they’ve watched2 and 45% take some kind of action, such as visiting the brand’s website or searching for more information1. So we’ve put together a number of tips to help you use video marketing to boost your sales and increase you leads.

1. It’s not about going viral

Viral videos fail to address your specific target market’s unique needs and problems.

While viral videos may well raise awareness in some cases, if you’re looking to increase leads and sales, chances are you have a specific target market with specific needs and problems. By aiming to go viral, you’ll wind up creating light and generic video that fails to convert users or inspire behavior. In doing so, you’ll forfeit the opportunity to speak directly to your target market about how you can meet their needs or solve their problems.

2. Make every second count

You’ve got to make the first 10 seconds of your video as engaging as a hypnotist's pocket watch.

As with anything else online: when a users load a webpage, opens an email or sees an ad, their first impression is made in a split second. Therefore, online, you don’t have long to encourage the user to hang around. Video marketing is no different, with the first 10 seconds proving critical in keeping viewers tuned in. Plus, with an average of 60% of viewers deserting before the two-minute mark1, you’ve got to make the rest of the video just as captivating. 

3. Make it interactive

For complex subjects or in depth product tutorials, use tools that allow users to interact with video content.

Software such as Touchcast3 lets you embed images, web pages, maps, social media newsfeeds and hyperlinks4 into the your video. Viewers can then interact with content without having to leave the video. Software such as this is great for explaining complicated subjects and demonstrating specific features of products and services and is being used by teachers to better explain things to students4. So, why not use it to better explain your offer to potential customers?

4. Include visuals to enhance mobile usability

Many mobile users watch videos without sound, so make sure you include enough visuals so that your video can be understood on mute.

Mobile and tablet users are three times more likely to watch online videos than their laptop and desktop counterparts5, so optimizing your videos for mobile consumption is imperative. On mobile, a lot of people have their device on silent or watch videos in public spaces without sound enabled. Therefore, your video has to be fully understood on mute.

5. Pick the right host

YouTube vs Vimeo

Where to host your video is entirely dependent on the objectives behind its creation. However, the most important factor in choosing a host is that it’s reliable6.

YouTube is the second biggest search engine in the world7 and has billions of visits per month8. It’s therefore the best place to host videos that you intend to reach a wide audience with. However, it’s not the only online video host to choose from.

A strong rival to YouTube is Vimeo. Vimeo only allows videos that are 100% created by the user, so you tend to find more creative videos there. Therefore, if you’re using animation or putting together something quite creative, Vimeo is for you.

6. Use natural social platforms

Uploading your videos onto social platforms directly ensure it plays seamlessly from the newsfeed.

Rather than share your YouTube or Vimeo link across your social networks, upload your video to your chosen social platform directly. Although this means that you’ll have duplicated content, and have to rack up the viewership across each platform, you will vastly enhance the user experience through ensuring that videos play seamlessly on each network.

Through following the above guidance, you’ll soon be making captivating videos for your specific target market that are geared for conversions.

References

1 http://www.videobrewery.com/blog/18-video-marketing-statistics

2 http://www.digitalsherpa.com/blog/25-amazing-video-marketing-statistics/

3 http://www.touchcast.com

4 http://techcrunch.com/2013/12/04/touchcast-pcs/

5 http://www.virtuets.com/45-video-marketing-statistics/

6 http://www.socialnomics.net/2013/12/03/video-marketing-the-basics/

7 http://www.socialmediafrontiers.com/2013/10/video-sharing-sites-vimeo-vs-youtube-vs.html#.VA0820voYy4

8 http://blog.qstion.com/youtube/vimeo-vs-youtube-vs-dailymotion-pros-and-cons-of-each-one

Monday, September 15, 2014 3:47:00 PM Categories: content development inbound marketing social media marketing

How to Generate Leads Online WITHOUT a Website 

tips to generate leads without a website

It’s the question that teeters on the tip of every business owner’s tongue when they consider leaping into the digital space for the first time: how can the internet help me generate more leads?

Typically, the thing to do is to build a website. Having an online base where customers can make purchases or receive services is logical for any business wishing to grow digitally.

But what if you don’t have a website yet? What if you don’t have the budget? What if you’re still skeptical about online? What if you don’t trust the internet?

There are plenty of small business owners that think along these lines and us simply telling you that you need a website might not necessarily be the way to break you into the digital landscape if you’re hesitant or uncomfortable with it. There’s a plethora of opportunities out there that’ll let you dip your big toe into the ocean of the internet without having to go through the expenditure of creating a website straight away. You can warm yourself up by trying some of the following:

Register to Google My Business1

When you register with Google My Business, you’ll give your business a great chance of being found online through:

  • Being featured on Google Maps, so potential customers will see your business location when browsing the map
  • Showing up in Local searches - If you have a restaurant in Seattle and a user searches for ‘restaurants in Seattle’, you’ll give yourself a good chance of being in the right place at the right time on the Google search results pages
  • Having a presence on Google Plus, Google’s social network with over 300 million users2, will help your business tap into new markets through engaging with users there

Create a Facebook Page

Facebook now has over 1 billion monthly active users3 so, chances are, there’s an untapped market for your small business there somewhere. To generate leads on Facebook, there are a few tools at your disposal, including:

Brand Pages. Through creating a brand page, you’ll have your very own space on Facebook. From here, you can post pictures and videos, write articles or updates, share product deals and special offers, service enhancements or changes and engage with potential leads

Advertising. You can use Facebook advertising to reach a wider audience for your page. In theory, the more people that discover your page, the more potential you have to turn those followers into leads

Get a Twitter Handle

Twitter is a great place to generate leads through:

  • Engaging with users in real time. People respond quickly on Twitter. Five minutes is a lifetime. That’s great because you can have a natural conversion with people and build relationships in real time.
  • Handling customer complaints and queries. Repair relationships and show potential leads you care
  • Share photos and articles that you enjoy and show potential leads some of your brand personality
  • Share company news and updates to keep current and potential customers in the loop, bringing them closer to your brand

Plus, you can also use Twitter to conduct competition research. Find out what your competitors are up to: What are they doing? How are people engaging? Can you learn something from them? Can you do better? This will help you stay on top of your game and develop your Twitter marketing approach.

Yelp for Business

Yelp is predominantly used by hospitality businesses such as pubs, bars and restaurants and is a place where user’s can leave reviews of your business and upload photos. Yelp is a great way to encourage word of mouth and generate leads through:

  • Responding to customer reviews and strengthening relationships with current or past customers. This is a great way to show potential customers that you value your customers and don’t take them for granted4
  • Uploading photos of your business to show potential customers what to expect and show off your facilities, food, venue etc.4

Plus, similar to Twitter, Yelp is a great place to conduct some competitor research based on actual user feedback.

Join Trip Advisor

Similar to Yelp, but broader, Trip Advisor caters for the hotel, hospitality and tourism industry5 and again allows customers to leave reviews, upload photos and rate your business. Potential customers can search for or stumble across your business and these peer reviews can help you generate enquiries.

Again, as with Yelp, be sure to respond to customer reviews and ratings, as it shows potential customers that you’re attentive and that you care. It also gives you a chance to repair negative reviews and relationships.

Locate Foursquare

Foursquare is location-based app that allows your customers to ‘check in’ to your business and share their location with their friends across Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. On Foursquare, you have the potential to connect with 20 million people6, each of who may have hundreds of friends, fans and followers who could help amplify your reach further still.

More or less any business with a physical location can join Foursquare, providing you fit into one of the following categories6:

  • Arts & Entertainment
  • College & University
  • Food
  • Nightlife Spot
  • Outdoors & Recreation
  • Professional & Other Places
  • Residence
  • Shop & Service
  • Travel & Transport

Once you’re on Foursquare, you can offer discounts, promotions and special offers to customers who check in, which will also help encourage potential customers to check you out.

Scratching the Surface

These services are only a drop in the ocean compared to everything that’s available online to help your small business succeed without having a website. Of course, a website would pull all of the above together, integrate your entire digital strategy and provide the hub for all of the above activity to center around, but you don’t have to have one straight away in order to benefit from the services that are out there at the moment.

However, if you want to jump straight in with the creation of a website or if you’re familiar or use all of the above and want to pull everything together in one place, then give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.

 

References

1 http://www.fasttrackteam.com/a-simple-tip-thatll-help-your-sme-generate-more-leads.aspx

2 http://marketingland.com/google-hits-300-million-active-monthly-in-stream-users-540-million-across-google-63354

3 http://thenextweb.com/facebook/2014/01/29/facebook-passes-1-23-billion-monthly-active-users-945-million-mobile-users-757-million-daily-users/

4 http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/yelp/

5 http://www.reviewtrackers.com/8-terrific-tripadvisor-tips-businesses/

6 http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/foursquare-marketing-tips/

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Posted by Thursday, September 4, 2014 1:52:00 PM Categories: inbound marketing online marketing web trends website

The Latest Google Addition That’ll Boost Your Website Traffic 

Google Instant, the feature that pre-empts your search terms and shows the results of your predicted search as you type1, has started including branded business suggestions in the Autocomplete drop down menu. These stand out above all of the other suggested search terms and could be a huge pull for traffic to your website if you’re lucky enough to make it onto that fabled drop down.

What Is Google Instant?

You’ll have seen it before; when you search for something on the Google website and, when you start searching, it predicts what you’re searching for by using Autocomplete2 and shows you the results as you type, like this:

google instant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Google claims that by showing you search results as you type, you’ll wind up making better searches because you can adjust your terms accordingly during your search3. How many people actually do this is debatable and there are retorts of this actually slowing searchers down4. The Autocomplete feature that it uses to predict your search also has a built in spell checker so sloppy or quick searches aren’t penalized. 

Google says that it doesn’t necessarily prioritize the most popular searches with Google Instant5, as it tries to keep things personalized. A personalized search is more valuable than a popular one, according to Google5. So depending on what country, state or town you live in1; whether you’re logged into a Google account or if your previous searches are stored in a cookie6, you’ll be seeing personalized searches unique to your location and browsing history. This means that what I see when I search won’t be the same as what you see when you do.

Google Instant’s Relevance for Businesses

Google Instant and Autocomplete work hand in hand and are valuable for businesses on a national and local level. If you’re included in the suggested searches, users can find you quicker. Plus, if you’re SEO strategy is strong, then you’re targeted keywords may feature in there, too. This all helps tempt traffic and potential customers to your website.

However, typically, Google won’t do you any favors and include your business in Google Instant unless it’s sure that you’re the best match for the user’s search. And, even then, you’ll be one of four other suggestions in Autocomplete and many more on the search engine results page. Each one looking identical in terms of the way they're presented with only the physical hierarchy of the list to infer priority or relevance. However, things might be about to change.

New Google Instant for Business

Imagine my surprise to find that, when I searched “Fast Track” this morning, I noticed that Google have done us a bit of a favor. Our logo, address and Google Plus URL are featured in the drop down suggested search terms in Autocomplete. It’s in the style of a mini search result and looks more attractive than a 6 foot cupcake:


 

 

 

 

 

Is Google now prioritizing relevant businesses who are registered with My Business7 or Google Plus in favor of those that aren’t?

There’s no question that our suggested search term certainly looks more attractive and tempting than the others on the list. It makes us stand out. It looks clean and professional and almost like a Google endorsement, as opposed to a simple suggested term. Although the other results aren’t related or our direct competition, will this feature stay when those suggested terms are filled with our competition?

Where Will They Go With This?

The potential for business growth as a result of this is huge. What if, instead of our address and zip code, Autocomplete showed quick synopsis of what we do and a phone number? Or a link to a contact form or our Twitter handle or even our most popular services or customer ratings and testimonials? What if the white space beside our address had a banner, a gif or even a video of a product tutorial? What if these enhanced branded suggestions were presented in a similar fashion to search results pages, so that when users search for “web design Seattle”, the Autocomplete and Google Instant suggest Fast Track in this fashion? 

The possibilities and opportunities that Google could unfurl here are endless. They could even replace the entire search engine results page with an even smarter Autocomplete and Instant fusion where all search results are shown in this fashion in the drop down. And, they could charge businesses for more interactive features, too. 

Whether all that is planned or not, I’m sure we’ll eventually find out. But, if you’re not currently registered to Google My Business7, you should do it now, get in early.

References

1 http://searchengineland.com/google-instant-complete-users-guide-50136

2 https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/106230?hl=en

3 http://www.google.co.uk/instant/

4 https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/106230

5 http://searchengineland.com/how-google-instant-autocomplete-suggestions-work-62592

6 http://boingboing.net/2010/09/09/the-google-instant-a.html

7 http://www.google.com/business/

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Posted by Sunday, August 17, 2014 5:22:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C inbound marketing online marketing social media marketing web development web trends website
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