Archive for March, 2014

E-Commerce Trends for 2014

Fast and Free

If you are involved in any form of e-commerce, you’re feeling the heat to provide your customers with prompt and free or inexpensive delivery services. Heavily influenced by the pressure of the popular Amazon Prime program, online businesses find customer expectations center on getting their orders in as fast and cheaply as possible.

These pressures are forcing many e-commerce players to turn to 3PL firms to control costs and take advantage of automated warehouses and order processing capabilities. In fact, there is a national boom in the construction of modern distribution centers and shipping centers.

Marriage of Inbound and Outbound

Speed is only one trend for e-commerce in 2014. While the early rush to digital marketing found many companies ignoring their traditional and successful marketing techniques, maturing marketing strategies are now including a carefully planned mix of the old and the new. For example, e-commerce companies are now including sales sheets and brochures with each shipment, returning to this tried and true way to pick up incremental revenue.

It only makes sense that a customer buying an electronic device or other items might want to know about cases, chargers, or other accessories that make the product more useful. In fact, offering a time-sensitive offer will result in a solid return and additional sales for many products shipped out the door.

A Global Market

Increasingly, being in e-commerce means participating in the global marketplace. According to research by eMarketer, it is estimated that Asia will become the biggest contributor to B2C e-commerce in 2014, generating $502 billion, or nearly a third, of total e-commerce spending.

This fact means a need to focus on multilingual printed materials, as additional research show customers respond much more favorably to marketing materials professionally prepared in their own language.

A rapidly growing e-commerce marketplace means new challenges and exciting opportunities for 2014.

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Why You Need a Multi-Channel Strategy

Marketing in today’s day and age needs to focus on more than just the Internet. While the Internet is a major forum for advertising a business, it’s imperative to look beyond the search engines for marketing opportunities – and this is where many business owners fail. There is still a need for offline marketing, which includes such things as postcards, banners, flyers and direct mail campaigns.

This multi-channel strategy ensures that you tap into all of your target demographics. You may want to target the 18-30 demographic, which spends a significant amount of time on the Internet. However, if you are also targeting the 60+ demographic, you will need to use other channels beyond what is found online.

Additionally, people need to see a business at least three or four times before they have any kind of brand recognition. This means that multiple channels will ensure that you get noticed more often. Someone may see a banner for your business in town, then receive a postcard in the mail, and then locate you online.

By the time a person comes across your ad online, they are then ready to follow the link and be taken to your website. Without using all of the channels, however, people may have been hesitant to do business with you because they hadn’t heard about the business.

Many of the multi-channel strategies that exist are available locally. You need to tap into your own community before you take things to a national or international level. There may be many ways for you to market in your backyard, which is affordable and will get you noticed to the level that is important.

The Internet is one way to market, but it is important to remember that there are still many other ways to market as well.

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The Ultimate Cheat Sheet to Online Marketing

If your business has an online presence, and it should, there are ten simple tips you need to follow to make the most out of your online marketing tactics. Let’s dive right in and take a quick look at them.

Tip #1: Go social

If you don’t have a social media profile, you need to create one. More importantly, you need to post often. Keep in mind that the more social media profiles you have, the better. The most well-known platforms include Google+, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Tip #2: Distribute press releases

Press releases aren’t limited to print publication only. In fact, you can distribute them via social media profiles, your company website and emails.

Tip #3: Write an eBook

An online eBook can help you to appear as a leader in the industry your business is operating in, and once you achieve leadership status, you’ll notice your profit levels soar beyond anything you ever thought imaginable.

Tip #4: Stay engaged

You have to show your customers that you care, and the best way to do this is by staying engaged with them via online platforms.

Tip #5: Outsource content creation

If you’re not a good writer, you’ll definitely want to outsource your content creation. You can even outsource ideas, allowing you to come up with today’s most trending topics in relation to creating content that is relevant to the consumers in your target audience.

Tip #6: Create how-to videos

The best way to sell your products and/or services is to show customers how they can benefit from them. To do this, you need to create how-to videos and distribute them via online sites.

Tip #7: Create and maintain a blog

You need to blog, even if you pay someone else to do it for you. Statistics show that “61 percent of US consumers have made a purchase based on a blog post.”

Tip #8: Provide incentives

One of the best ways to attract consumers to buy your products and services is by providing them incentives. For example, for every $25 that they spend, you could offer them a $5 gift card for a future purchase.

Tip #9: Keep track of your online reputation

Your online reputation will go a long way in making sure that you make a profit. To keep track of your online reputation, you may want to consider employing a reputation manager.

Tip #10: Be personable

Your customers don’t want you to act as if you are above their level. You need to be personable in all content that you display. And most importantly, always remember to provide contact info. Otherwise, your online efforts will prove to be useless.

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Myths About Direct Mail

A variety of myths are associated with marketing strategies, including the use of direct mail in your marketing. The problem with myths is that they tend to grow over time and it can be hard to separate the truth from the myths. By understanding some of the myths associated with direct mail, it is easier to create a realistic marketing strategy.

Copying Others Will Work

It is a myth that using the same strategies, color combinations and marketing solutions as a successful business with provide the same reasons. Your company is unique, and that means you must focus on a marketing strategy that is created for your business.

Do not copy the strategies of another company. Use that as an example, but change it up and focus on your goals as a company.

Focusing on Results Will Improve Sales

Although you do want to mention the product or service that you are trying to sell, do not focus solely on the details. For example, if you are selling a hammer, then don’t go into detail about how the hammer works. Instead, give a picture of the hammer and a few words. It is a myth that several details will make it easier to sell your products or services. It can actually cause more problems if the target audience is not an enthusiast for the products you sell.

Direct Mail Cannot be Recycled

It is a myth that brochures, flyers or other forms of direct mail cannot be recycled. Most of the materials used in direct mail are recyclable.

The myths associated with direct mail can focus on sales, the results or even the materials that are used. In most cases, the myths associated with sales or the growth of the company are misunderstandings or assumptions, but they can cause confusion when you are trying to create a realistic marketing strategy.

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Should Your Company Be Using Direct Mail?

The marketing strategies that work best for any company depend on the dynamics of the business, but direct mail is a useful way to capture the attention of potential customers. Most companies can benefit from using direct mail, regardless of the products or services that are provided by the business.

Focusing on the Target Audience

A key reason that direct mail works for any business is that it focuses on a particular group or target audience. That means that you are only sending out mail to appropriate individuals on your mailing list or in a particular area.

Targeted marketing is an effective way to obtain new customers because the flyer, brochure or coupons that you are sending out are reaching people who need the products or services that you provide.

Adding Personal Elements

The problem that many companies can face is providing a personal element to the business. If your company is struggling with personalization, then direct mail can be a realistic solution. When you send out a postcard, you can put the name of the individual at that address. It automatically makes the advertisement more personal and reaches out to individuals who may feel that businesses are lacking a personal touch.

Easy Measurements

The personal element and the targeted mailing is only the beginning. Direct mail is also easy to measure based on the number of homes that receive the mail. You can determine the effectiveness of your marketing strategy based on the inquiries and sales that you receive.

Every business can benefit from direct mail, but the decision to implement the strategy depends on your goals and your understanding of how the process works. Direct mail is an effective way to reach your target audience with an element of personalization, and it can help improve your sales.

[Source: USPS]

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Google Analytics – How it Can Help Your Company

Knowing who is visiting your business website, where they are coming from and what demographic they fit in can all prove extremely valuable for your company. With this sort of information, you can alter your online marketing campaign, push certain products and adjust how you reach your customers. These sorts of features are all possible through the assistance of Google Analytics.

Google Analytics provides you with an in depth analysis of your website’s performance. Throughout the day, you have visitors coming from all corners of the globe. You need to how these visitors came about your website. They might have arrived through the use of a search engine, social media links, typing your site’s URL directly into the Internet browser or through some other location. Knowing where individuals originate from allows you to change how you market. If you see the majority of your visitors come from a Facebook link, you can pump more of your marketing budget into Facebook and increase your exposure. You can also see what keywords visitors type in to find your website through search engines and make the necessary adjustments as well.

With the assistance of Google Analytics, you can directly monitor just about every little element associated with your website. Knowing how your website is performing, how your advertisements are performing and if you need to place your marketing budget in a different area of the net are all going to help increase the number of visitors you receive. You just need to make sure and take advantage of the analysis you receive from Google. Far too many businesses fail to look over this information and adjust their website accordingly, but this knowledge, from what keywords work to visitor origins, can improve your website’s production.

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Benefits of Personalization in Marketing

An estimated 74 percent of customers get frustrated when ads that are featured for them do not seem to have anything to do with their personal interests. That alone should be enough reason for companies to realize the importance of personalization, but the benefits do not stop there. When companies take the time and energy to personalize the advertisements they are sending out to their customers, companies get more for their investment and customers receive information about products and services that are helpful for them. It’s a win for everyone involved.

Improving Conversions

Ads that are personalized have a much better chance of netting customers. Customers enjoy feeling appreciated and singled out by companies, just like they appreciated individualized service in a store. Personalized emails, for example, were found to improve conversion rates by 10 percent alone. Customers are being bombarded by marketing and advertisements on nearly every platform. Creating ads that are personalized to the individual user means that these marketing tools will stand out to customers by being actually useful.

Improving Customer Retention

Personalization of advertisements is a fantastic first step towards building a relationship with the customer. Loyalty programs and other offers that contain personalized offers are much more likely to be responded to and customers will feel more positively about a company that has gone the extra step.

Personalizing marketing offers is a fantastic way to reach customers. Rather than hitting everyone with a generalized message, personalized messages are directly applicable to the customer receiving them. Although this might take a bit more of an effort on the part of the company, the potential benefits of higher conversion rates and higher customer retention greatly outweigh any cost. Companies should definitely investigate how personalized benefits can help them be more successful in their marketing campaigns.

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Should You Invest in a Corporate Brochure?

Planning an effective marketing strategy is like designing a home. The foundation and frame that compose the majority of its structure are the internet marketing channels — a website, blog and social media platforms. While the less substantial but essential windows, doors and cabinetry are the business card and the brochure of marketing. A brochure fills a supportive role and achieves a goal inherent to its form that no other piece can accomplish within today’s business process.

What is different about a brochure?

A brochure can be a digital file, but is usually available and most effective as a printed tri-fold advertisement that succinctly describes a business, program or offer. It also outlines the customer’s problem that it solves, and the related benefits. The content on a website serves a similar purpose, but a brochure reaches a smaller audience in a personal or niche context.

A brochure is most effective in personal meetings and events. If a prospective client walks away from an interaction with you holding a brochure, it may help maintain the connection you began with them as they evaluate how to solve the problem they need to solve. If it is designed attractively and the copy reads well and convincingly even better. While less efficient, a good impression in a face-to-face meeting is more memorable and engaging than a website, which is the reason social media has become a major marketing force. Forming an emotional connection is key to forging business-customer relationship, and a brochure is a conduit that achieves it.

A niche market can be reached in a lobby or public space with a brochure. Most people are familiar with the tourist leaflet racks in hotel and travel destination lobbies that promote local attractions. According to experts, the marketing strategy is still as effective as online advertising for a tourist business. A niche market that a business needs to reach may require targeting a location that they visit frequently, both in person and online. A brochure placed strategically at a brick-and-mortar business.

Inexpensive and Long-lasting

Printing a brochure is inexpensive compared to purchasing a print ad and many other forms of marketing. A novice can create one in a word processing program with ease and use the logo and brand colors that will maintain the business’ brand integrity.

A general marketing brochure will remain relevant for a lengthy time period, allowing the business owner to achieve a desirable return on investment.

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