Optimize THESE things for more online sales

Optimize THESE things for more online sales

The internet is all well and good, social media’s fun, but how do I translate that into dollar bill, into sales and brand new customers?

I’m going to show you some easy things you can do to implement in your business right away that will increase your sales results.

Create a Call To Action

One of the simplest ways to get more sales is to actually ask for them.

Just like in person, online it’s really, really important to ask for people to take the next step in the sales process.

Not necessarily buy now, but at least “contact me” or “request a quote” or “download a free trial”.

Language along those lines makes it really clear what the next step is for a prospect to move along in the sales funnel and how to get ahold of you. I want you to implement a call to action like the ones above on your social media properties, on your website, on your email signature, and even on your voice mail; that is a really underutilized place where you can put your website address and invite people to go on your site.

Prequalify Your Leads

Another way to alleviate a huge amount of leads that are not quite right for your business, wasting your time and tire-kicking, is to pre-qualify your leads.

Prequalifying your leads is the process of letting people know what types of folks that you work with, what your price point and your timeline is.

A lot of people ask me “how do I make sure people that don’;t actually have the budget for my services aren’t contacting me.

It’s as simple as changing the contact form on your website, to add a drop-down asking people what they’re planning on spending on your services and display the minimum price, or something that is close to your minimum price.

Right away, folks that aren’t prepared to spend the minimum amount will leave your website and save you a whole bunch of time.

Optimize Your Sales Funnel

The third way you can get more sales is to optimize your closing process.

The close is the part of the sale where you get the person to agree to buy from you.

This is also known as “converting” people from interested, qualified prospects to folks that are ready spend happily.

Think back to all those times that you successfully closed a sale.

What questions did your potential customer need to have answered to their satisfaction before they were able to buy?

Whatever that process looks like, I want you to write it all down and see if you can automate that on your website.

Some folks like to look at your reviews.
Some people need to check their budget.
Some people want to look at similar case studies or find out information about return on investment.

Whatever those questions are, make sure that you’ve got the answers to them at the ready next time you are in the process of closing a sale, and it will go a lot smoother if you are using the tactics that worked last time.

For best results, systematize your entire sales process or sales funnel and look for areas to optimize it.

Repeat Business

Repeat Business - The New Media Group

Increase your sales by 20% with these 5 easy steps

Fact: It’s easier, faster and more cost effective for you to sell more to less people.

The least expensive sales for you to acquire are those from your existing customers.

According to Hubspot, it’s estimated you will lose 14% of your clients every year.

Imagine if you could not only increase your client retention rate, but get them to spend more with you?

You can generate up to 20% more in sales, just by increasing your repeat, add-on and follow up sales.

Follow this 5 step process in your business and watch your bottom line bloom!

Step One: Avoid Buyer’s Remorse

Did you know the moment after purchase is one of the most emotional for your customers?

When someone buys something from you, they’re going to either experience buyer’s remorse or they’re going to be super happy that they just purchased something.

The way to make sure that they’re super happy don’t have remorse is to give them something right away. This is especially important if what they purchase is a service or something that is going to take a while for you to deliver.

Something as simple as a client handbook or even a little gift can go a long way to making sure your customers feel happy through the entire process of interacting with you.

Step Two: Express Your Appreciation

The second thing I always recommend that you do is send out a thank you card.

Appreciation goes a long way.

You might even want to tuck a little coffee card in there or a gift certificate for dinner and a movie for two.

Giving a little bit of appreciation for their business will certainly make them feel good about doing business with you.

It’s simple, it’s easy, it doesn’t cost anything and it goes a really long way to keeping your current customers happy with you.

Step Three: Overdeliver!

Now during the process of them interacting with, you whether it is a product or a service that they are purchasing, I want you to make sure that you are doing something to over deliver.

  • Under promise and over deliver.
  • Give them something free.
  • Give them a free upgrade, anything that they are not expecting that is of value to them.  

(This is a technique employed by Zappo’s employees to delight, surprise and wow their customers. They almost always upgrade their customer’s to a faster shipping method, at no extra cost, and without being asked. )

And this will boost their satisfaction through the process of doing business with you.

Step Four: Follow up & Gather Feedback

Once the process is over and then they have purchased something and you have delivered, what I want you to do is follow up a couple of weeks later.

Once they have time to use what you have given them, send out a customer survey.

You want to make sure that you are asking questions that will help you improve and let them know that you value their opinion.

Step Five: Ask for the sale, again.

Now the fifth step is the most important.

Assuming you have done steps one through four properly and appropriately, step five will absolutely boost the lifetime value of your existing customer base because they are going to keep on buying from you.

What I want you to do is take a look at a lifetime of your customer and take a look at three or four instances per year when it’s going to be appropriate for you to contact them back and ask for new business.

So for example, it’s a jewelry business and you just sold them a custom engagement ring.

After how long is it appropriate to ask them to come back and get that ring cleaned or repaired?

It’s the same thing with providing a website or with landscaping, or even gardening.

There is going to be intervals through the year where it’s going to be appropriate for you to touch base and ask them if you can help out depending on what is going on, on your business and in their lives.

Determining the appropriate times to contact them, and the best services to offer, comes back to knowing your customer, knowing the cycles of your business and making sure that you have add-ons that you can offer throughout the year.

Make a note in your calendar to follow up with this people whether it be over email or phone and ask them if you can continue to help them.

That is how you generate more business from your existing customers!

How to Protect Your Privacy Online – Glenn Greenwald’s Best Privacy Tools

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Last month, I had the opportunity to sit down with Glenn Greenwald for a private dinner in Calgary. The conversation focused on the upcoming election, Ed Snowden, and Canada’s involvement in the spying of it’s own citizens through CSEC and the Five Eyes alliance. Despite many Canadians being unaware that the government of Canada not only spies on it’s citizens but also shares all communications data with four other countries (USA, Australia, New Zealand and the UK), I am optimistic that with enough attention on the issue we can decide our own privacy fate in this country.

After the dinner, I asked friends and family whether they care that they are being spied on or are at risk of being hacked and I often heard a similar sounding response. “I have nothing to hide, I’m not a criminal or celebrity, so I don’t care”. This notion frightens me a little. If I asked you to install camera’s in your bathroom and bedroom, in order to not only watch but also record and document 24/7, would you allow anyone to do that? There is essentially no difference between that and what spying and hackers are able to achieve with your phone calls, texts, emails, browsing history and general online presence.

So it raises the question of how do you protect your privacy online? It’s not by using Google and Facebook everyday, so in order to achieve maximum privacy, you may have to forgo some of your favourite services for new ones that have protecting your personal information in mind. Before Mr. Greenwald headed back to his home in Brazil, he gave me his favourite tools to protect my privacy online:

1. Pidgin Messenger

Pidgin is free to download and offers an off-the-record (OTR) plugin, for end-to-end encryption. You can log into multiple messaging accounts and access them all from Pidgin. Chelsea Manning used Pidgin to leak documents that would later be hosted by Wikileaks.

2. Tor Browser

“The Tor software protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location, and it lets you access sites which are blocked.”

3. Silent Circle

“Calls and texts made from one Silent Phone user to another are fully encrypted, whether they’re on iOS, Android, or Silent OS. Encryption keys are stored only on the users’ devices (not on any central server) and are destroyed at the end of each call, ensuring complete privacy, every time.

Silent Phone includes features such as video chat and conference calling capability as well as unlimited encrypted texts with burn self-destruct functionality on any Silent OS, iOS or Android device, enabling you to keep your business moving, securely.”

4. Signal Private Messenger

“Using Signal, you can communicate instantly while avoiding SMS fees, create groups so that you can chat in real time with all your friends at once, and share media or attachments all with complete privacy. The server never has access to any of your communication and never stores any of your data. Say Anything. Signal uses an advanced end to end encryption protocol that provides privacy for every message every time.”

5. Tails Operating System

“Tails is a live system that aims to preserve your privacy and anonymity. It helps you to use the Internet anonymously and circumvent censorship almost anywhere you go and on any computer but leaving no trace unless you ask it to explicitly.”

6. PGP

“PGP is a program that gives your electronic mail something that it otherwise doesn’t have: Privacy. It does this by encrypting your mail so that nobody but the intended person can read it. When encrypted, the message looks like a meaningless jumble of random characters. PGP has proven itself quite capable of resisting even the most sophisticated forms of analysis aimed at reading the encrypted text.”

5 Tips To Save Time On Your Web Marketing

If you are a business owner and you’re strapped for time but you know you still need to be web marketing, keep reading.

Web MarketingWe are going to cover 5 ways that you can increase your effectiveness and decrease the time you spend web marketing yourself.

Tip #1 Be Strategic

You don’t necessarily need to be engaging in all the web marketing activities out there.
What you do need to be doing is engaging the ones that are most effective. Historically, the most effective web marketing tactics are

  1. Email Marketing
  2. Video Marketing
  3. Blogging

So just focus on what works and what will attract your target audience to your website or to your web property. Work smart, not hard and save yourself some time.

Tip #2 Multi-task

Your smart phone has the power of a large computer so why not use it?
When you’re on the road, stuck in traffic, you can actually get your phone to type your blog posts for you. Use the voice mode tool and get those audio files transcribed or you can write an email to yourself and with the microphone icon, when you speak it will actually transcribe and write those blog posts for you. Talk about a handy tip.

See above- the microphone icon on the bottom left will type as you speak - (iphone 6s)

See above- the microphone icon on the bottom left will type as you speak – (iphone 6s)

Tip #3 Automate Where Possible

Take advantage of automating tools especially when it comes to social media.
One of my favorite tools is Buffer for a couple of reasons. It helps me by suggesting content that I can then post to my network. As well it lets me schedule my post in advance. So it helps me both curate content and plan my posts in advance.

Tip #4 Delegate

And don’t be afraid to delegate. You don’t necessarily need to be doing all of your web marketing activities yourself. If you take a little bit of time and create a to-do-list with detailed instructions, you can then delegate that to an assistant, a part-time worker, an admin assistant or a an agency that specializes in offering done-for-you marketing management . Investing the time up front will allow your future self to have a little more time to do what you’re best at.

Tip #5 Repurpose Your Content

Make your content work hard! If you’re creating videos or blog posts, you can literally repurpose one piece of content into up to 10 pieces. That translates to more content for less effort, more clicks to your website and more sharing on social media.

How do I repurpose my content?
Summarize a blog post into a video or transcribe a video into a blog post.
Save your video as an audio file and upload as a podcast. Create an image with a quote or an infographic highlighting key points of your blogpost . And you can repurpose that content and get a lot more bang from your bucket than just using at once.

That’s your One Minute Tip. If you found this valuable, please consider sharing with your network and don’t ever miss a tip if you subscribe to my YouTube channel. Thanks so much for watching.

Improve your website with these 3 things every customer wants

Hey folks! Welcome to your one-minute tip! Today I wanted to be inspired by the Port of San Francisco, which is where I am. You can see the beautiful Bay Bridge behind me to talk to you about really easy updates that you can make to your website to get better customer satisfaction.

1. Make it easy to contact you:

So the very first thing is to add your phone number or a large Contact Us button to the very top of your website on every single page so customers don’t have to hunt and search to contact you.

For an intermediate step, you can also add a live chat on your website which you can sync to your smartphone to connect with your website visitors in real time.

website marketing

2. Post your hours of operation:

Especially important for brick and mortar businesses,  add your hours of operation either to the very top of your website or at least to your contact page. A lot of people are searching for your hours of operation and you don’t want to leave them frustrated.

3. Help people find you with a map

For those of you with a local business or store front, be sure to add a Google map so people can get directions and find out exactly where your business is located.

That’s your One Minute Tip. Thanks for watching. And if you found this valuable, please consider sharing with your network and don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel and never miss a tip. Thank you.

The New Instagram Desktop Experience – Three Strategies For Your Business

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Recently, Instagram added search to its desktop experience. This update is not just great for finding the best cat and puppy photos, it’s AMAZING for helping you market your business on Instagram. The following three strategies take advantage of the new update and will generate new and engaged followers of your business which could lead to new leads and sales.

1. Like and Comment on Keyword Hashtags

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Hashtags are widely used on Instagram so users can easily find similar or themed content. Consider keywords that relate to your business or that represent the target demographic of your product or service. Once you start searching, Instagram will show you how many posts have been tagged with a specific keyword and this can help you narrow down which keywords are more popular than others. Now it’s time for favouriting and commenting. I recommend a minimum of 100 outgoing favourites and 25 comments per day in order to achieve maximum effectiveness with engagement. Don’t over think your comments, keep it simple, for example “Great photo!” or “Love this!” and consider adding some emoji! Remember that this activity needs to be daily as Instagram users are always posting new photos (over 70M per day).

2. Like and Comment on Posts in a Specific Geographic Location

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This feature is undoubtedly the most beneficial for businesses. Now you can easily see photos in a specific geographic location. Simply type in the City name and the search box will suggest that location. Interacting with customers in your area will be the most effective way to generate leads and sales. Try to engage with local posts in a fun and friendly way and don’t hesitate to add a local flare to your comments. You should start to build relationships with local Instagram’ers and this in turn will help you gain a loyal following.

3. Research Competitors and Industry Influencers

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With the new update it’s now even easier to research competitors and industry influencers. In order to stay on top of your industry, you need to know whats working and not working for your competitors. Some things to consider would be which of their photos are receiving the most engagement and why? Are videos performing better than photos? Considering how many people are following them, are they receiving a high, medium or low level of engagement? Are there any promotions going on that you could match or beat? These questions will help you focus your strategy on Instagram and start leading the pack. Another way to get inspiration and for ideas on how great businesses use the platform, try researching some relevant industry influencers. These brands have larger marketing budgets for Instagram and can show you the most effective way to engage with your unique audience.

Anywhere with WIFI

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Imagine if you could work anywhere with wifi. Your office could be your local coffee shop, a favourite park or even a new city each week. This general concept is exactly how The New Media Group operates. Every single team member is ENCOURAGED to work anywhere with wifi. Now you’re probably wondering, how is it possible for a team of people to accomplish this while also fulfilling clients needs and actively collaborating on projects? The answer is very simple and in this blog post, I’m going to explain the three main ways.

1. Project Management and Collaboration Tool

Holding team members accountable and meeting deadlines is so important for every single business. Without a robust cloud software for project management and collaboration we would never be able to achieve our mobile work goals. Our team’s software of choice is Basecamp! We love the ease of use when it comes to creating and assigning projects and tasks as well as the ability for team members to communicate within the software, lessoning our daily email intake and allowing us to focus more time on our amazing clients.

2. Google Hangouts

Technically, you don’t have to wear pants to our team meetings. Not only because pants are over rated but because every meeting is conducted online through Google Hangouts. This allows team members to create their own space for meeting, in the comfort of their own office. We begin by sharing how our week has been and then briefly share updates about our current projects or any information that clients have passed along. Once everyone has shared their updates, we generally talk briefly about the unique cool things we will be doing that weekend in the city where we live. This may be one of the coolest parts of working for The New Media Group, always hearing about the exciting things going on in and around Western Canada.

3. A Progressive Leader

The only way ANY of this mobile work environment would be possible, is with a progressive leader. President Laurel Lindsay always encourages a work life balance that is rare to find anywhere but at the most progressive tech companies in a place such as Silicon Valley. Having worked at Hootsuite in Vancouver (equipped with nap rooms, quiet working spaces, and a full gym) it did not seem possible to find another work environment that whole heartedly supported team members work-life balance, that was until my New Media Group position. Another thing to consider is that Laurel can hire anyone, from any city, allowing her to optimize her talent level and ensure she’s working with the experts she most admires. We feel that more businesses should embrace this progressive mobile work concept and consider some of the benefits for their business. For tips on how your business can become more mobile work friendly, don’t hesitate to ping Laurel today.

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The 7 Step Guide to Managing Negative Customer Feedback: A case study in consumer fraud, social media & the power of reviews.

If you’ve ever been the recipient of a bad online review of your business, you may find yourself frustrated by the apparent lack of control we as entrepreneurs have over things being said about our business – especially if they’re not true.

What proactive steps can you take to protect your business, and how do you best handle a peer review gone wrong?

1. Adapt your mindset.

The worst thing you can do is tell yourself this article isn’t relevant to your business and click away.

Seriously.

We need to adapt in order to survive and thrive, and today’s consumers have more power than they’ve ever had to affect our success.
70%  of Canadians online trust consumer reviews. (BDC, 2013)
Negative sentiment can go viral, quickly – as exemplified by the Applebee’s social media nightmare – and can be very difficult to manage.
Understanding the change in buyer behaviour and accepting that it’s not going away, frees you up to take in the following information to help protect your business.

2. Get informed:

Increasingly Canadian consumers such as you and I, rely on the web to make our purchasing decisions.

social media

1. Canadians spend on average 2.5 hours a day online; on social media, watching videos, & researching products and services. ComScore, 2014
2. Nine out of 10 consumers claim to use their smartphone for pre-shopping activities BDC 2013
3. 70% of Canadians online trust consumer reviews. (BDC, 2013)
None of this is particularly surprising.
The widespread adoption of web connected smartphones is not a new phenomenon.
In fact many older and wiser of us lament the pervasive nature of these devices and their impact on social connection –  and more practically – our ability to walk down the street without literally running into people distracted by their smartphones.

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Beyond being a mildly irritating obstacle to efficient walking, this change in how we as a culture interact has widespread implications for today’s business owner.

The constantly connected state of today’s consumer – specifically – your customers – means your customers shape your brand’s reputation.

Customers and the public at large (reasonable and otherwise) can seriously impact your ability to acquire new customers and maintain your reputation.

3. Know that negative sentiment goes far beyond review sites:

You may have heard of “reputation management” in the context of managing reviews of your business, or even been approached by a less than integrity based business offering you positive reviews of your business, for a price.

But beyond the formal review channels, people can leave negative sentiments on your Facebook page, in response to a post on social media…and almost anywhere else on the web.

4. Start listening:

Google your business name to see what comes up. You may be surprised at the places it’s listed and what people are saying about your company.

If you are surprised, it’s a sign to implement some practices internally to start monitoring your company’s reputation.

You can either manually conduct a search regularly or implement an automated solution to alert you immediately of any new conversations about your business.

Here’s a handy list of 5 tools to help you monitor your online reputation from Social Media Examiner.

5. Address any and all reviews.

You may be tempted to ignore bad reviews or complaints, but believe it or not it makes you look worse if you don’t reply publicly.

Here are 5 tips to responding to reviews from Google My Business.

Tips for responding to reviews

Business owner responses allow you to build relationships with customers, but they’re also public. When replying to your customers, keep the following guidelines in mind:

  • Be nice and don’t get personal. This isn’t just a guideline–it’s also a good idea as a business owner. It’s difficult to win an argument with a frustrated customer, and you want to avoid burning bridges. Keep your responses useful, readable, and courteous. In addition, responses should comply with our local content policy.
  • Keep it short and sweet. Users are looking for useful and genuine responses, but they can easily be overwhelmed by a long response.
  • Thank your reviewers. Respond to happy reviewers when you have new or relevant information to share. You don’t need to thank every reviewer publicly, since each response reaches lots of customers, not just one.
  • Be a friend, not a salesperson. Your reviewers are already customers, so there’s no need to offer incentives or advertisements. Tell reviewers something new about your business, or share something they might not know from their first visit.

6. Go above & beyond:

The tone and speed of your response to a bad review is where you can really make or break your reputation.
In this CTV news clip, I was asked to comment on what appears to be a fraudulent sale of goods by a household brand.


This would never have become a news story if the response to the customer’s complaint on their facebook page hadn’t been a canned response to call their 1 800 number – where the customer didn’t get a response.
In the case studies above, with Winners & Applebees, both responses to the negative sentiment were woefully inadequate and appeared completely disingenuous.

Because customer sentiment can so powerfully and permanently affect your reputation, if you are in the wrong (like I believe Winners was ) you need to go above and beyond-
1.Get the customer’s information
2. Make an effort to get in touch with them right away.
3. Work to resolve the issue to their satisfaction
4. Once you get agreement on a solution, ask if the customer will then update their post with details on how you came through for them.
5. Going forward – work with your social media manager to create a policy for addressing unhappy customers in a way that shows you actually care.

7. Be proactive

By actively soliciting positive reviews- and incentivising your customers to do so, you can combat any negative and unfair reviews with a steady stream of positive reviews.

Copy and paste this templated email and send out to all your happy customers;  ( just replace the links with your Facebook & Google Plus page links before you send )

Dear customer,

Thank you so much for your business.

Please- tell us how we did!

Would you be so kind as to post a review for me on my Facebook page or my Google page?

I really appreciate you taking the time to give me your feedback!

Your questions answered: Can social media actually drive sales?

social media marketingToday’s question comes from Kevin who writes, “Can social media actually drive sales?”

That’s a great question, Kevin. If you’re looking for the answer for this, too, then keep on reading.

1. Social SEO

First of all, social media absolutely does drive sales because a lot of social media sites—Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest & Linkedin— show up on Google search results.

In fact if you have social media profiles, you can search your company name on Google right now and see that not just your website, but almost all your social media properties display on that first page of Google.

In the same way, customers searching for what you sell can see your social media profiles on the first page of Google. The trick is search optimizing those social profiles properly; using keywords, hashtags and mentioning your local service area.
In this way, you get exposure to folks who are actual, qualified prospects to buy your products or services.

2. Social Proof or Implicit Endorsements

The second thing is a presence on social media, as well as building an active engaged community, acts as social proof.
Simply put, most people make their buying decisions based on what other people are doing.

By having people on your social platforms engaging with your business, you are receiving implicit endorsement from them. This behavior, along with a consistent look and feel and recently updated information shows that you’re a credible business that people can trust.

This helps buyers through the part of the sales funnel, or buyer’s journey where they’re evaluating companies to make their purchasing decision. They can then omit businesses that don’t display social proof.

3. Buy Buttons on Social

And lastly, a lot of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are now offering a “Buy Now!” button directly in the newsfeed.

You can sell products without having to make your customer leave the actual social media site. So in that way, social media definitely can drive sales. The buy now button is available through the advertising options from each platform.

Has social media helped you drive sales? Share with me in the comments below.

Sharing is caring!  If you found this valuable, please consider sharing it with your network.