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Planning Your Holiday Email Campaigns: Part 2

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Planning Your Holiday Email Campaigns: Part 2

Yesterday, we’ve seen a few tips that will help you get your email campaign ready for the upcoming holiday shopping season. As it’s one of the busiest times of the year for e-commerce sites, all online sellers need to have a good strategy during the holidays. Here is some more advice on how you can plan and execute your campaign well during this shopping season:


Acquire As Many Emails as Possible


The more interested people sign up for your list, the more effective your overall email marketing will be. This applies any time of the year, but is especially important during the holidays. Remember that shoppers will be looking to get the best deals possible during the holidays. Because of this, you should not only advertise your offers prominently on your website, but also include the email capture box in a place where it will be better seen. If it’s usually located somewhere in the margins of the page, move it closer to the top and center, then make it bigger. Use a call to action that will encourage the visitor to give you their email so they can save on their purchases.


Also, try to acquire the visitors email at the very beginning of the checkout process. This will allow you to send special emails to those who abandon their shopping cart and leave without completing their purchase.


Segment Your Email Lists


Again, this is something that is important at any time of the year, but more so during the holidays. If you plan to send out a lot of emails, maybe several in a day, it may be a good idea to have a separate email list for your holiday promotions, as opposed to your regular mailing list. The subscribers who specifically sign up to get regular emails during the holidays are more likely to be actively shopping for something to buy, rather than just looking around. They’re also less likely to drop out of your email list by unsubscribing.


Be Original


Stand out from the crowd. You’re not the only one that will be mailing your subscribers during the holidays, so your emails need to catch their attention. Do some research and testing to determine what the best subject lines would be. Work on perfecting the content of your messages as well, as this will have a definite impact on your click through rates.


Finally, the promotions that you offer will also be very important at driving conversions. You offer free shipping? That’s nice, but it has become such a common practice by online retailers during the holidays that consumers actually EXPECT to get free shipping, so it’s not much of a special for them. Try to craft a promotion that will truly make your offerings stand out from the rest. This will grab some attention and result in more sales for you.

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Other Ways to Save Money on Your Online Marketing

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Other Ways to Save Money on Your Online Marketing

Previously, we’ve seen how online advertising is one of the most cost effective ways of getting the word out about your small business to the world. There are dozens of ways that you can advertise online and some are indeed quite cheap as far as expenditures are concerned. But before you look at different advertising methods and compare their costs, you would need to learn how to make the most out of your advertising dollars and how to prevent wasting time and money. Here are some ways for you to do all of that:

  • Ensure that Your Website is Up to Par

Your marketing materials are what’s going to bring you interested site visitors. But it’s your website that’s going to convert visitors into paying customers. If your website looks like a complete train wreck, then you’re going to be wasting time and money bringing traffic to it, as it simply won’t be the efficient tool that it is meant to be.

Your site can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. The main factors that will determine it’s usefulness is how it looks and how it works. Your site should be appealing visually to your visitors and any of its features that deal with bringing you business should work 100% of the time. No online shopper wants to reload a page half a dozen time because the shopping cart returns an error, or the “contact us” form doesn’t load properly. They will simply go somewhere else and forget all about you and your business. Obviously this isn’t something that you would want to happen. So before you do anything else, be sure that your website works correctly.

  • Learn to Keep Proper Expense Records

Bad quality accounting could end up costing you a lot in the long run. If you’re going to pay anything to advertise your business on the internet, then you will need to keep accurate records of how much money you’ve spent, when, where and for what. This will allow you to do many things. First, you can more easily manage your budget and control your spending. You would then be easily able to determine whether a certain marketing method that you’re using is profitable for you or not.

Next, would be the issue of taxes. If you operate any kind of business and spend money on advertising, then that becomes a business expense. This is the reason why you need to keep tabs on how much you’re spending and where. Furthermore, keep all invoices and receipts for payments that you’ve made. This will let you deduct your marketing expenses on your tax return. Depending on the type of business you operate and the jurisdiction you’re in, you may be able to get some additional tax credits or benefits based on how much you spend on ads and marketing. You can find free -or very low cost- small business accounting software that you can use for this purpose.

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Choosing an E-Commerce Platform

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Choosing an E-Commerce Platform

If you want to build an e-commerce site, then you have probably noticed that your web host offers you a choice of “shopping cart” or e-commerce platforms. The most common ones are Tomato Cart, Magento, OSCommerce and Zen Cart. For those who are new to e-commerce, selecting the right platform for their needs may sometimes seem to be difficult. But there are ways to simplify the process. Here are some things to do if you are new to building e-commerce sites:


  • First, get informed


There are plenty of websites, blog posts, forum posts, articles and guides which are available freely online and deal with all aspects of e-commerce websites. By reading those, you will have more of an understanding of how e-commerce sites work and how the system which powers them works too.


  • Read some reviews


To get some information, you can read some reviews of various e-commerce platforms that were left by other online entrepreneurs and webmasters. This will give you a general idea as to which platforms are preferred by webmaster communities and which ones are not so good. However, it is important not to base your decision exclusively on comments left by others, as a platform that may be appropriate for one webmaster may not be for another one.


  • Do a test installation


The easiest way to accomplish this would be to create several subdomains on your main site and then install a different e-commerce platform on each one. That way, you will be able to try various platforms for yourself. You will be able to see the admin panel of the e-commerce suite right away and can see whether you are more comfortable working with one platform over another one.


  • Check for the availability of themes and add-ons


Most platforms come with a default theme, but many webmasters would like to customize their site even more. See which themes are available for the platform of your choice and consider whether they would go well with the website ideas that you have. Most e-commerce platforms also have additional plugins and add-ons which you can add that allow you to expand on the functionality of your e-commerce site, such as by adding multiple language support, etc.


  • Look at the support available


When it comes to support, you should be aware of one important thing: if you are using free, or open source software, the support that you will get will be quite limited. After all, it would be quite illogical to demand 24 hour a day phone support for a product that you are getting for free. Most of the support on open source products is done through community forums. If you are having a problem, chances are that someone else also experienced the same or a similar issue and posts were made on the forum regarding a resolution. But you should consider whether the support forum is really active and the users are interested in sharing information and helping each other. Obviously, if the entire forum is full of “Look at me! My site is the best!” threads, it will not be very useful incase of a problem.

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