Seeing a path to better revenues, and being a better business
By now every growing e-commerce entity has figured out the critical role social media plays in their business. It’s become a household pastime; a venue for people from all demographics who are connecting with the world through computers and devices.
The opportunities for marketing and branding are rich. And increasingly, the picture has become much rosier. Research conducted in 2018 showed that social media users made their most recent purchase directly through Facebook and their eBay Daily Deals. Facebook ran away with the biggest share of the pie, with Instagram coming in a close second.
Yet there is a demographic often left in the dust; one thought to be unable – disabled, as it were – to use social media.
That has changed. With technological developments in connectivity have come celebrated advances in bringing the Internet to people with varying degrees and types of disabilities. There are nearly 60 million of them in the U.S., and that number will grow as they age. They are players. They are shoppers. And they can be your best customers if given the chance.
Beginning next week, we’re rolling out a multi-part series focusing on accessibility in social media and ecommerce.
Before we dive into some platform-specific issues and ideas, let’s talk a little bit about what is legally required. On social media? There really isn’t a requirement that your content be accessible. (Though we think it ought to be.)
But there are some requirements and guidelines for your website. According to the ADA and subsequent court findings, your website is required to be accessible to those with disabilities. And it makes good business sense – the easier your site is to use, the more likely you are to make a sale.
While there are no comprehensive federal regulations in terms of website accessibility, there is a great guideline – Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 – and we think it's where you should start. Chances are high that if the federal government does come out with legislation or regulation, it's going to look like this.
Increasing your productivity is hard in today’s world of constant distractions. It’s easy to make excuses about lack of productivity, too – it’s too nice outside, a big game is on TV, the President just tweeted something provocative again, etc.
Of course, you’ve likely heard that good sleep, eating well, keeping hydrated, staying active, meditating and keeping positive are common methods for ramping up productivity.
Still, to truly be effective, you should have a set of actionable ways that you can implement starting today – though it might take diligence to turn them into habits that get results.
Put Down the Smartphone
The smartphone does wonders for communication, growing your network, and increasing business, but it can be a huge distraction. You can text, see social media notices, track emails, and access zillions of apps, most designed to distract, even those for business (here’s looking at you, Slack).
Here’s how to limit the temptations:
Erase Email Inefficiency
Emails are crucial to business and personal communication, no doubt. But inefficient use of email is a productivity killer. Learning to pay attention to the important ones (personally or professionally) and ignore the time-wasters is key to being more productive.
Emails can instill you with a reactive inclination if you’re constantly replying or answering, especially if it isn’t important. But being reactionary is an albatross. Consistently being proactive is the best way to raise your productivity.
So, here are several ways to reduce email anxiety:
Optimizing for voice searches is a great new strategy
Let’s face it: Gen-Xers are masters at pounding out text, rapidly, on the tiniest of device keyboards. The rest of us stumble through frustrating errors, many of which launch hilarious misfires thanks to autocorrect. But there’s nothing silly about understanding that voice control will continue to permeate the computer use experience for all groups.
The mercurial rise of digital voice assistants on smartphones and—most recently, lovely Alexa from Amazon—is a good indicator that we’re moving into an era that is at least partly keystroke free. And why not? It’s quick, convenient, and increasingly accurate. What merchants are discovering is that it can also be profitable.
Think it’s a longshot? Fasten your seatbelt. OC&C Strategy Consultants recorded a month of sales rates for 2,000 Amazon-posted products, and found that voice-powered devices and products totaled $1.8 billion in domestic retail revenues in the year 2017. They predict that number will increase to $40 billion by 2022.
Big players such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Apple have jumped ahead of the game to integrate voice searching on their platforms. The most searched brands are ranked at the top for voice searches. Maintaining a presence on these seller sites, in conjunction with optimized voice search strategies, will put you far ahead of the game.
It’s easy to get stuck following the same tactics in social media marketing, particularly if one strategy has been lucrative or has grown your business exponentially. Amazingly, though, many social media “gurus” continue with campaigns that aren’t bringing in revenue.
While it’s important to keep up-to-date with new strategies and evolving techniques, it’s also important to ditch so-called “best practices” that aren’t delivering. Sometimes, it’s what you don’t do that contributes as much to your success as what you do do.
If the calendar hasn’t tipped you off to the upcoming holiday season, then a growing spate of TV commercials will. The retailers’ most prolific season seems to start earlier every year, and it’s never too soon to jump on board.
Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, and even Festivus—all these marquee events bring out the generosity and giving spirit in consumers worldwide. And as the ratio of onsite purchasing versus online sales continues to shift, it’s even more important to rev up for a hot holiday commerce opportunity.
You may have some sentimental ways to make your end-of-year sales period special, and that’s critical for your brand. But if you’re open to some tips from experts, pay attention to these specialized strategies.
By now you’ve at least explored the concept of creating a website that shows your brand at its best, and forms the foundation of conducting commerce through cyberspace. And since the ultimate goal is to make your site viewed and read by as many people as possible, you’ll need to learn how to crack the code of becoming search engine optimized. The balancing act of utilizing search-optimized syntax and offering readable, relatable, and compelling verbiage can be a challenge. Ultimately, though, it can make or break your success as an ecommerce merchant.
Do you feel as if you can’t keep up with current best practices and trends influencing site engagement? You’re not alone. It’s not a simple task, but it needn’t be prohibitive. Thanks to generous experts, the web is rife with outstanding resources on every aspect of SEO for operations of all sizes.
Put yourself in the shoes of a prospective customer and spend some time evaluating what it is about online merchants you’ve shopped in the past. What was great about their presence? Their interface? What made you shy away from navigating around a particular entity’s page? These basic first-hand experiences can help you set up a presence that works for you.
If you’ve been a copywriter for any length of time, you know the ongoing debate of what the ideal length of a sales letter should be. As long-time A-list copywriter Mark Ford notes, everyone purports to despise long copy, yet it has always consistently out-pulled and outsold short copy.
But what about social media posts? Is shorter copy is the ticket to higher sales?
Some say that copywriting has evolved—and social media is to thank (or blame) for it. But saying it has evolved is too broad a brush to paint this picture.
It’s more accurate to say that copywriting has expanded. Different media platforms may take center stage now, yet the same principles upon which advertising and marketing were built in the mid-20th century still apply.
So, in today’s social media-dominated world, how much is too much? Is it possible to optimize the length of a post to engage and convert readers? What’s the ideal length of a post to drive viral engagement that reaches as many people as possible?
As always, it’s up to you to find out what your unique audience wants and cares about. To know their pains and concerns so you can offer the best solution, service, or product for them.
Generally speaking, though, it depends on your forum. But to know for sure, you’re going to have to test and find out what works for you. Neither guessing nor being creative for the sake of it is going to cut it.
It’s 2018: we get a lot of e-mails. Most of them are just sent to spam or deleted without opening. How can you make sure that your e-mails stand out against all the noise?
E-mail copywriting takes time, effort, and creativity— and can often be a daunting task. Let’s simplify the process of designing an awesome e-mail.
It’s vital to keep in mind is what your customers will be seeing.
If you’re like most small business owners, you understand the importance of SEO. But when it comes to implementing this important strategy, it can be hard to know where to turn.
After all, you’re an entrepreneur— not a technology wizard. The rules seem to change more often than you change your socks. And if you’re not quite ready to hire an expert to figure it out for you, you may be struggling to figure out on your own.
So, what are some easy strategies you can implement today to improve your search engine ranking and gain more business?
Optimize Keywords for RankBrain
When it comes to SEO, most are well aware that using the right keywords is essential. Every piece of content on your website should begin with keyword research to determine the common phrases your potential customers are searching for.
RankBrain has changed the game a bit. Google uses this artificial intelligence algorithm to deliver search results based on search intent and user feedback. And because RankBrain can understand what words mean, it’s more in tune with what users are looking for when completing an online search.
This algorithm strongly ranks content based on Latent Semantic Indexing, or LSI, keywords. These include any words or phrases that are strongly associated with your chosen topic. This might sound complicated, but never fear. Finding such keywords to include in your content is as easy as a simple Google search.
For example, if your topic is home décor, simply type “home decor” into Google and scroll to the bottom of the page to the related searches. This section reveals common search phrases associated with home decor, giving you examples of LSI keywords: