Stay in the Know: How to Keep Up With Digital Marketing Trends

The only constant in digital marketing is that it’s constantly changing. Here’s how to keep up.

Digital marketing is helping even the smallest companies bring in new business, and its future looks bright. Still, digital marketing is part of an overarching technology landscape that’s growing and changing rapidly. Marketers may find it challenging to keep up with evolving trends. 

To avoid choosing a digital marketing strategy that’s outdated, you need to stay abreast of the arena’s growth and understand how shifting practices will affect your business. 

We’ll explore strategies for staying up to date on the latest digital marketing trends so you can gain a competitive edge, attract higher website traffic, generate more sales leads, and successfully convert leads to customers. 

We’ve identified 10 ways to stay on top of shifting digital marketing trends, including changes related to social media marketing, the metaverse, big data and the Internet of Things (IoT).

1. Consult online publications dedicated to digital marketing. 

Web-based publications dedicated to digital marketing, including Search Engine Journal, Marketing Week, eMarketer and Social Media Today, are reliable information resources that will share the latest developments in the digital marketing arena.

For example, learn how big data and the IoT can help your marketers gather consumer information and insights so you can change your products, services, and content to improve the customer experience. You could also learn how the metaverse – a virtual world powered by augmented reality and virtual reality – can power a new world of digital marketing possibilities that appeal to the youngest consumers, Generation Alpha. 

While guiding you on cutting-edge digital marketing trends, these online publications can also provide tips and advice on improving and strengthening your existing digital marketing strategies.

Did you know? Big data can improve your social media marketing by allowing you to predict consumer behavior and use those analytics to improve ad targeting.

2. Participate in certified marketing courses and training programs.

Certified marketing courses and training programs provide a wealth of information about the latest digital marketing trends. You’ll be able to add to your general and niche marketing knowledge, expand your skill set, stay on top of new digital marketing developments, and forecast what’s ahead. 

As a bonus, when you add one of the best marketing certifications to your resume, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of digital marketing tools, including social media platforms, Google Ads, Hootsuite, HubSpot and other customer analytics channels.

Three popular online training resources to consider include the Digital Marketing Institute, the American Marketing Association and Udemy. 

3. Subscribe to marketing print magazines.

Looking to increase your knowledge while on the move without internet or Wi-Fi? Check out your local newsstand or bookstore for print magazines like Adweek, Direct Marketing News, or Ad Age.

While print content isn’t as ubiquitous or updated like web content, these magazines provide highly researched content that can inform and inspire. 

4. Read blogs dedicated to digital marketing. 

Meaningful blog content is an excellent way to stay abreast of the latest digital marketing trends. Popular digital marketing blogs can help you learn cutting-edge techniques, offer industry advice, and learn from the experiences of industry experts. 

Some of the most well-respected industry blogs include ProBlogger, SEMrush and MarketingProfs. You never know – following these blogs may turn you into a digital marketing expert in your own right. 

5. Connect with digital marketing experts on LinkedIn.

Online professional networking platform LinkedIn is an excellent way to connect with digital marketing experts and interest groups. When you create a business profile on LinkedIn, you can follow marketing influencers and professionals, consult in-depth articles, and visit resources like the Marketing Success Hub. 

6. Use social media platforms to follow digital marketing trends.

Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and even TikTok can be user-friendly channels for staying updated about digital marketing trends.

Use Facebook and Instagram to follow digital marketing industry leaders and receive daily updates with their thoughts and opinions on digital marketing trends and best practices. Browse Twitter’s trending topics to search for specific hashtags or phrases and set alerts to ensure you receive news in real time.

FYI: Video marketing is an increasingly important element of web content strategy. It could become an essential part of your digital marketing efforts on TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

7. Set up Google Alerts to stay ahead of digital marketing trends.

Use Google Alerts to set up email updates regarding the trends most pertinent to you and your industry. These alerts will show up in your email inbox if you specify broad or narrow interest topics. For example, you can set up alerts for social media marketing, content writing or anything related to digital marketing.

Filter these results further by region, occurrence and relevance. Similarly, you can also use the Google News feature to stay on top of digital media trends as they emerge.

8. Participate in trade shows and exhibitions to network with marketers.

Trade shows and event exhibitions provide excellent opportunities to hobnob with other digital marketers, influencers and industry experts. These platforms often introduce the latest products and industry trends, so you’ll be one of the first to know and experience new marketing methods and products. 

9. Listen to industry podcasts.

There is a wealth of information on digital marketing in podcasts, and the nice thing is that you can listen to them while in the car or taking a walk. For information on optimizing your paid advertising, listen to PPC Rockstars Podcast (on Apple, Spotify and Podchaser), or check out Local SEO Tactics (on Apple and Podtail), Neil Patel’s Marketing School (on Apple), or Entrepreneur on Fire (on iTunes) for varied digital marketing topics.

10. Follow Influencer Marketing Hub.

The Influencer Marketing Hub website focuses on social media and influencer marketing, as the name implies. However, it also has plenty of information on other digital marketing topics, including affiliate marketing, e-commerce and video editing. It also offers deep dives into niche marketing areas.

Additional quick tips

In addition to bolstering your digital marketing knowledge, try these tips to stay ahead of the curve. 

  • Do a marketing review at least every six months. Assess what’s working and what isn’t in your marketing plan. Allocate a percentage of your marketing budget for the next six months to try something new.
  • Monitor your social media mentions. Social media monitoring tools will tell you what your customers are saying about your business or brand. If you see that you’re a hot topic on a particular platform, try building your presence and possibly advertising there.
  • Monitor your competitors’ social mentions. If a competitor is heavily mentioned on a platform, consider whether you want to shift there to counter them and grab the customers for yourself.
  • Survey new customers. When you get a new customer, ask them how they found you. Keep and track this business survey data to spot trends.
  • Hire young people. Millennials and Gen Z employees are digital generations and may be aware of digital trends before you are.
  • Engage an outside marketing agency. Hiring a digital marketing expert or agency is an excellent way to stay on top of trends. Let your rep know you’re flexible and want to be updated on new trends, strategies and platforms.

Remaining flexible amid digital marketing trend fluctuations

Digital marketing success often involves trying new tools, techniques and strategies. Don’t hesitate to experiment. However, if you’re borrowing another company’s strategy, bear in mind that what worked for them may not work for you. If something doesn’t work, find out where you went wrong and improvise accordingly.

As technology changes, it’s essential to update your knowledge to improve digital marketing strategies. One of the easiest ways to do this is to continue your education and training. Through continuous learning, you’ll uncover the latest digital marketing possibilities and employ those strategies to stay one step ahead of your competitors.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:https://bit.ly/3ks0m1M

3 Keys to CRM Success for Small Businesses

Small businesses need a CRM provider that offers simple software solutions that business owners and their staff will actually use.

There is a vast array of customer relationship management (CRM) software solutions small businesses can choose from, but more isn’t necessarily always better. Sometimes, too, small businesses get caught up in the search for a CRM that offers all the bells and whistles so they can “compete with the big guys” or automate areas of their business. However, overly complex software can hamper successful installation of a CRM solution because if CRM software is too complex or difficult to use, you (and your team) won’t use it. And if you don’t regularly use your CRM, you won’t reap the benefits of owning the software. 

Reasons why CRMs fail

The most common blockades to CRM success are:

  • Poor rates of employee use. Employees may feel that your CRM doesn’t integrate well with your other systems and thus neglect to use it.
  • Poor implementation. You can’t install a CRM and expect to start using it. Proper implementation is a long-term process. Full-on employee use should start after you’ve dotted every i and crossed every t.

Tip: To get the most out of your CRM software, develop a step-by-step implementation plan ahead of time. While you may be eager to get the software installed and have your team begin using it, taking shortcuts during the implementation process will only hurt you in the long run.

  • No training. CRMs are incredibly complex, and introducing them to your team without proper training is like asking someone who doesn’t know how to swim to jump into a lake. That person can always choose to stay ashore, and some of your team members might do the same.
  • Ill-fitting software. An abundance of CRMs exist, and a competitive market means there’s the potential that some solutions won’t meet your needs. To ensure successful implementation and long-term use of a CRM, carefully assess your needs, and thoroughly research CRMs. 
  • Poor employee feedback. A good CRM enables employers and team leaders to customize the platform to meet everyone’s needs. However, if you don’t incorporate these needs into your tweaks, your CRM is doomed to dissatisfy your team and thus fail.

How to set up your CRM for success

Follow these eight steps to achieve CRM success.

1. Consider the features you need in a CRM.

In addition to your company’s specific needs, a good CRM has these features:

  • Scalability. Scalability is a big factor when choosing a CRM. You want a CRM that you won’t outgrow in a short period but that will grow with your company.
  • Ease of use. User-friendliness should be a top priority in a CRM. While you (or the CRM provider) will provide the proper training to your staff, you want CRM software that is easy to use once training is complete.
  • Customer service. Customer service is another consideration in a CRM. Will the vendor provide support if your or your staff encounter issues? What support options are available during business hours?
  • Data entry and accuracy. Poor setup, ineffective training, overly complex tools and lack of managerial oversight can all lead to inadequate or incorrect data entry, which quickly results in fewer users engaging with the software. Without consistent (and correct) data entry and user engagement, you are left with outdated reports and unreliable account histories. Without accurate data, your CRM system is running on empty.
  • Simple solutions. Unfortunately, the goals of CRM companies often conflict with those of small businesses. Truth be told, CRM providers get more “bang for their buck” with large organizations as clients that will utilize their staggering slew of features. This doesn’t mean the right CRM for your small business isn’t out there; it just means that it is all the more important to work with a CRM provider that offers the simple software solutions you need and will ultimately use.

Bottom Line: When searching for CRM software for your small business, you want to ensure it can scale as you grow, that it is easy to use, it has excellent customer support, and that data entry is consistent and accurate.

2. Manage your leads.

As its name suggests, a CRM helps your team manage its relationships with your customers. This function extends to not only current customers, but potential new ones. Your CRM is your “hub” for storing information you obtain about your leads’ buying habits, needs and interests. With this information, your team can form stronger strategies for turning these leads into first-time buyers.

3. Prioritize data.

Your CRM can store data about how your current customers feel about your products and what your prospects might need to become customers. With this data, you can tailor your offerings to meet customers’ needs and drive sales. Without this data, though, you don’t have a foundation for proactive sales planning, and any good salesperson knows that reactive practices are not a way to close deals.

4. Set up your CRM dashboard.

CRM dashboards offer a quick snapshot of your sales pipeline and immediate tasks that need to be completed to move leads through it. A good CRM proactively identifies sales opportunities and makes acting on those opportunities easy and straightforward.

Did you know? Some CRM solutions give each user the ability to customize their own dashboards. This ensures that each user has quick access to the parts of the CRM they use most.

5. Get buy-in.

Due to the complexity of CRMs, it is paramount that you get executive buy-in. Of course, this is a non-issue if you own your business, but if you’re the head of sales and you’re looking to persuade your CEO to invest in CRM software, you might be surprised how much resistance you encounter. Getting a trial run approved isn’t the hard part – for CRM success, you truly need your CEO’s full backing. And speaking of trial runs …

6. Always test it.

Most CRMs offer a free trial. During the demo and free trial, pay close attention to the features and tools that will matter most after you’ve settled into the driver’s seat. How’s the workflow on everyday tasks? Do you like the look and feel of the system?

Remember, you’re making a big investment that will require quite a bit of front-end effort. Can you imagine working with this system every day for five years or more? Take your time, and be thorough. Many CRM companies will extend your trial if you ask.

7. Try out the customer service. 

Once you’ve narrowed your choice of CRMs to two or three, contact each provider and request a demo of the solution. A demo allows you to work with a customer service rep, which is a window into your potential future with that company.

This interaction may show you how well the rep understands your company and its CRM needs. Ask the rep what they will do to effectively translate your current sales and marketing efforts into the software. Probe into what kind of help you and your team will get during implementation.

The relationship with the CRM’s customer service team will be much more important than the one with your sales rep, so determine whether the customer support is a good fit before you sign the contract.

8. Involve your team. 

User adoption is ultimately about the user experience. If your team members don’t like using the CRM, they won’t. Don’t wait until you’ve purchased the CRM system to find out that everyone on your team hates it.

Choose a representative or two from every department who will use the software, and include each representative in the trial and demo sessions. Give them an opportunity to explore what daily tasks would be like in the system. Do they find it easy to use? Does it meet the specific needs of their respective departments? If not, keep looking.

Although many CRMs come with bells and whistles that are far beyond the basic needs of small businesses, there are many CRM options that can help you maintain and expand your customer relationships.

With greater awareness of your needs (and how these systems can help you best meet them), you can create a smooth path to a successful CRM implementation.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:https://bit.ly/3ks0m1M

10 Reasons Why Small Businesses Should Use Affiliate Marketing

Launching an affiliate marketing program isn’t as daunting or costly as you might think. Here’s why you should use affiliate marketing.

Marketing your small business involves creating campaigns, testing, tweaking, optimizing your website and getting your customers to act, all while maintaining a strong return on investment. One simple way to scale your marketing efforts is with affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is an excellent strategy for increasing sales and online revenue. In fact, U.S. affiliate marketing spending is expected to top $8 billion by 2022. That’s up from $5.9 billion in 2018.

Affiliate marketing has a strong return on investment (ROI) for small businesses. While using affiliate marketing for your website can increase your revenue, this selling technique comes with other benefits as well.

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is the process of choosing and working with other people or businesses that will market your products and send traffic to your site. You pay those people or businesses, called affiliates, a commission on each conversion. 

Affiliate marketing is a great tactic for small businesses because you only pay commissions on sales after they occur. The benefit for affiliates is in promoting products and services that they enjoy while earning a percentage of the profit from each sale they make.

Did you know? Common affiliate marketing sources include influencers, bloggers, paid search-focused microsites, email lists and large media websites.

How does affiliate marketing work?

After signing deals with affiliates, you will track how many sales and how much online traffic they are responsible for through affiliate links that connect one website to another. The main objective of affiliate marketing is to split the responsibility of product marketing and creation between the seller/product creator and the affiliate/advertiser.

10 reasons to use affiliate marketing

Here are 10 reasons your small business should use affiliate marketing.

1. Progress tracking

Affiliate marketing programs offer real-time online tracking, which lets you know precisely when a visitor clicks a link and goes to your site. Affiliate platforms also provide metrics on impressions, clicks, sales, and custom conversions like form submissions or email sign-ups. Everything is trackable, and with this information, you can see how your affiliate marketing strategy translates into online revenue and benefits your business.

2. Enhanced promotions

Affiliate marketing lets you supplement your promotions with affiliate links. For example, if you have a product launch just before Christmas, you can send that product information to your affiliates so they can create buzz around your product and include your promotions on their websites.

Your online promotional campaign may include a product launch countdown where you offer a discount on a different product each day until launch. Perhaps you’re giving a behind-the-scenes look at the product or in a Facebook Live video, or hosting a live Q&A. 

Bottom line: Whatever your promotion plan is, affiliate marketing can enhance your efforts by providing another avenue for your ideal audience to discover the promotions you offer.

3. Social proof

Affiliate marketing is one of the strongest ways to incorporate social proof into your online business. 

Social proof is the idea that customers will conform to the actions of others if they believe it is the right choice. Social proof exists all around us, but it’s especially powerful in the form of customers’ reliance on product reviews, suggestions and testimonials.

According to a BrightLocal survey, nearly 79% of customers say they trust reviews they read online as much as personal recommendations. An affiliate relationship shows online customers that another business believes in your product or company so much that they are willing to endorse it themselves.

4. Performance-based payment structures

Affiliate marketing differs from traditional marketing in that you only pay your affiliate when a sale is made. If the affiliate’s work is not producing sales, you don’t have to pay them – and you also have the opportunity to shift your focus to other affiliates, which may have audiences who are more interested in your product or business. Most e-commerce affiliate commission rates are around 5% to 15%, so you can enjoy a return on ad spend (ROAS) of 10-to-1 or higher. This is a cost-effective marketing tactic that guarantees a return, because you set your own commission rates.

5. Online business scalability

When you incorporate affiliate marketing into your online business, your affiliates act as an indirect sales team, able to promote your products on their own websites and generate more revenue for your small business because they engage with their audiences daily. Here’s a couple of tips to scale your affiliate’s reach and create more revenue:

  • Diversify your affiliates. No one affiliate should bring in more than 25% of your affiliate revenue. Use coupon sites, customer loyalty sites and other content sites to ensure you don’t become too reliant on one affiliate.
  • Know your competition. Do your due diligence to know which affiliate programs or influencers your competitors are using and what their commission rates are. When you make your brand easy to work with and offer a solid commission, affiliate bloggers and businesses are more inclined to work with you.

6. Website sustainability

One of the top reasons websites fail is lack of traffic, which calls for greater SEO efforts. Use affiliates to create brand awareness and supplement with strong social media engagement to help build your traffic.

7. Strong ROI

The ROI when using affiliate marketing is usually extremely high. This strategy can increase average order value, per-customer order average, and average customer revenue. 

8. Increased sales

Building relationships with strong affiliates takes time and guidance, but if you’re committed to putting in the work, your time will pay off. The more exposure your products and services get, the higher your sales will be, and affiliate marketing is a great avenue to achieve this. 

9. Leveraging different skill sets

Given the large pool of affiliates available, you’ll have access to an extensive collection of varying skill sets. This raises the chances of further sales of your products, as each seller uses their particular skills to attract different audiences.

10. A different marketing stream

It’s important to never use only one form of marketing. Affiliate marketing provides an extra level of protection against using only one form, as affiliates employ a variety of advertising techniques to ensure that every possible avenue is covered.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:https://bit.ly/3ks0m1M

Organic Marketing Ideas for Entrepreneurs on a Shoestring Budget

Interested in learning ways to increase your traffic and market a product without breaking the bank? Today we’re going to discuss some simple digital marketing strategies that any entrepreneur can use to gain traffic to their store for free. The only thing you’ll need to invest is good old sweat equity. 

While paid marketing campaigns can be a great way to quickly generate a lot of traffic, this traffic is short term, it’s cost prohibitive, and you need to continually reinvest. Luckily, there are tons of other tactics if you want to learn how to increase website traffic.

Enter organic marketing, which basically refers to everything outside of paid ads and strategies. Instead, organic marketing (also known as inbound marketing) focuses on simple, actionable strategies for gaining more free traffic by creating value for your audience.

One tip to keep in mind: double down on the most relevant traffic you can find and choose a strategy you can do consistently. Focus on getting results with one approach before you add on others. If you spread yourself too thin with too many tactics at once, you may find yourself overwhelmed and frustrated.

4 prerequisites to getting more organic traffic

If you’re going to put in all the effort to drive organic traffic, you want to make sure you’re set up for success. You don’t just want traffic for traffic’s sake. What you want is a steady stream of potential customers and to turn traffic into revenue and profit. Before you get started, you’ll want to be sure that you have:

  1. A great product that is profitable. Consider going through a product validation process before launching your organic marketing tactics. This step was critical for life and business partners Natalie Holloway and Maximilian Kislevitz, when they launched their brand, Bala.
  2. A substantial target audience. You’ll need a solid amount of people interested in buying this type of product. 
  3. An addressable target market. This means a group of people in a market with shared values, behaviors, or other qualities you can focus on. 
  4. A great product story. Your website’s copy and product descriptions need to be compelling enough to turn visitors into customers. 

Once you’re good to go with the above, it’s time to get started.

Why content is at the core of an organic marketing strategy

Content is one of the main reasons people use the web, and creating the right types of content can help you generate some serious traffic.

Content marketing is about creating high-quality, informative, and engaging organic content to attract customers to your online store. It’s a powerful method of building traffic because it helps you build your brand and position your business in the industry as a thought leader.

Remember: We’re talking about a long-term strategy, which demands consistency and patience. But the rewards are well worth the effort. Annual growth in unique site traffic is 7.8 times higher for brands that use content marketing. 

Beyond that, organic content:

  • Builds trust with customers
  • Improves conversions
  • Generates cost-effective leads 
  • Significantly improves your search engine optimization (SEO)

You’ll want to produce high-quality content in a variety of formats (e.g. blog posts, ebooks, videos) that focuses on something other than your products and company to avoid being too self-promotional. The key with content marketing is to provide real value through content your customers might find relevant or interesting.

1. Start a blog

Starting a blog doesn’t mean simply sharing your thoughts and feelings hoping it leads to a sale. Instead, you want to create educational content that solves a problem for your audience and is easy to find through search engines. 

We created a separate video (below) that tells you everything you need to know about doing this, from strategy to execution.

Blog traffic tactic 1: Long tail keywords 

Prioritizing SEO when creating your content calendar and writing your articles will help drive organic traffic. Start by conducting keyword research to identify ranking opportunities for educational keywords related to your niche. There are likely many “how-to” and “best X” opportunities, for example, you can produce as blog content.

While short, high-volume terms may be tempting, you might be missing out on page views if you’re not looking at long-tail keywords as well. Long-tail keywords are lengthier and more specific keyword phrases. They’re easier to rank for and often get click throughs from search engines at a much higher rate than shorter, more generic terms. For a site without much traffic and very few backlinks, long-tail keywords are a great place to start. 

Focusing on evergreen educational content is much more beneficial long term for a business than news-style articles. They provide value to a reader regardless of when they’re discovered. You can even include links to your products if they genuinely solve the reader’s problem. 

Beyond keyword targeting, remember to optimize your content for SEO: 

  • Make sure your page title matches search intent. 
  • Write meta descriptions that are click-worthy.
  • Use a hierarchy of header tags to organize the content simply. 
  • Keep the URL short and keyword-focused. 

You can also use this SEO checklist to evaluate every piece of content you create and make sure it’s ready for search engines. 

Blog traffic tactic 2: Interview and collaborate with experts

Even if you don’t have much traffic, don’t be afraid to reach out to interview and collaborate with subject matter experts. Most people are highly receptive to being interviewed if the content you’re creating aligns with and will help them further their mission. Plus, many are willing to promote the content on their social media accounts or even author guest posts themselves, which can further expand your reach and earn more traffic. 

Consider an expert roundup with the top 10, 50, or even 100 leaders in your industry—a powerful tactic to encourage influential people to share the article with their audiences. This tactic is even more effective if you create a badge or other complementary visual they can feature on their website, ideally linking back to your original article. 

2. Produce video content

You don’t need expensive camera equipment to drive traffic through video. Content quality is much more important than production quality. 

According to Cisco, by 2022, online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer web traffic. YouTube is already the second most popular search engine on the planet. 

Not all video is equal when it comes to driving traffic and delivering a return on investment. Rather than trying to be the next viral sensation, one of the best things to focus your attention is making sure you follow the three Es: 

  • Engaging 
  • Educational 
  • Evergreen

The reason for this is simple: creating content that’s useful to an audience, whether they watch it today, tomorrow, or two years from now, can help you generate leads for years to come. 

To make this strategy work, you’ll need to ensure your videos are optimized for search. 

For example, Beasrdbrand creates mens grooming tutorials. In one of its popular YouTube videos, it targeted the search query “how to trim a short beard” which is reported to have 600 searches a month in ahrefs Keyword Explorer. The brand has a good YouTube SEO strategy of focusing video content on covering a keyword, using a clear title, detailed video description, and listed in one of its playlists.

Video tactic 1: Content upgrades 

A content upgrade is an add-on or extra piece of content that complements another content asset. When creating a video, consider attaching related content upgrades, like cheat sheets, case studies, infographics, checklists, webinars, and templates on the same topic. Or if you have a complex or high-tech product, maybe a downloadable white paper would work.

This tactic is a powerful way to get customers’ email addresses and build your email list so you can continually provide value and deepen the relationship through email marketing.

Video tactic 2: Live videos 

Live video feels more personal and exclusive than other types of video content because it opens the door for real-time two-way interaction. Now you can livestream on multiple social media platforms at once from the same video source, making live video a powerful tool for your organic marketing campaigns.

Live video gives viewers an opportunity to interact with brands directly, enabling them to form a real emotional connection. So while there might be less traffic generated from live video than other methods, the quality of the traffic can be extremely high. 

3. Organic social media marketing

Social media is about a lot more than getting the most likes and encouraging people to buy things. At its core, social media is really about encouraging conversation, building a community, and driving excitement.

Building a social media following is incredibly important for promoting and building brand awareness. But your goal here is to get traffic back to your website, so the below tactics focus on helping you do just that. 

Social media tactic 1: Giveaways and contests 

Contests and giveaways are a great way to drive traffic to your website and can also have a big impact on your followers and engagement. 

Prizes and rewards are powerful incentives to get people to promote your business. Rather than simply rewarding people to sign up, create a viral loop with a points-based system where people earn points for promotion. This gamifies the process where people increase their chances of winning based on the number of other people they sign up, while extending your social media profile’s organic reach. You can also use referral links to track this.

Social media tactic 2: Offer time-sensitive discounts

Putting an expiration on your discount leverages scarcity, which is a powerful psychological sales trigger. That’s why offering time-sensitive discounts can help generate a lot of traffic and sales. 

Because this tactic is a short-term traffic driver, make sure to capture the customer’s email and allow them to opt in to a newsletter so you can continually send them valuable content and draw them back to your site. 

Social media tactic 3: Leverage social commerce

Social commerce is the meeting point of social media and commerce. Social media platforms like Pinterest and Instagram have streamlined the buying process for customers. Customers who see products they like can add them to their cart directly on each social media platform. Depending on the platform, consumers can also finalize their purchase right from the platform or move to the retailers’ official sites.

With smartphones and social media only increasing in popularity, social commerce is getting more mainstream by the day. And while the social commerce fever hasn’t reached its tipping point in the US, in China, social commerce accounts for 11.6% of retail ecommerce sales. Social commerce sales topped $186 billion in China in 2019—approximately 10 times the number of social commerce sales in the US. Simply put, social commerce in North America has a ton of room to grow, and this is a traffic and sales opportunity you don’t want to ignore. 

4. Affiliate programs

You may have heard of influencer marketing, where social celebrities earn flat fees for making a post endorsing a product. Besides the upfront cost, not knowing how many sales will come from it is a huge risk to a budding or budget-conscious entrepreneur.

Affiliate programs are sort of like influencer marketing tactics, but you don’t have to spend anything upfront to enlist your promoters. Instead, affiliates earn a commission for every sale that comes from them marketing your products. Think of affiliate marketing as digital word-of-mouth marketing. The affiliate simply promotes your product organically, then earns a piece of the profit from each sale they make. The sales are tracked via affiliate links from one website or app to another.

Launching an affiliate program with blogs and influencers can be a powerful way to grow traffic and sales. It creates a win-win situation that incentivizes influencers to try and make sales because they have the potential of making a lot of money. Affiliate commission percentages can range depending on the influencer, blog, industry, and company. 

And while you’ll end up making less profit on affiliate sales, you can make up for this in volume by connecting with new customers you may not have had access to before. 

5. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

While pay-per-click (PPC) search ads can help you jump to the top of your audience’s search results pages, it’s important to note that 75% of clicks go to the top three organic results on a search engine results page. With that in mind, it’s far more impactful for your store to be one of the top organic results that appears when customers search for your product. While the best SEO marketing tactic is creating valuable evergreen content that your audience will always need, there are some other simple things you want to get right as well:

  • Optimize your site structure for SEO.
  • Find and submit your sitemap to Google Search Console.
  • Add breadcrumbs to your product categories to instantly create internal links.
  • Identify the pages on your website that currently have the most authority and page rank. You can do this with a free tool like MozBar from Moz for Chrome.
  • Add a link from your authority page(s) to product pages and other URLs you want to drive traffic to on your site.
  • Incorporate the link naturally on the authority page using anchor text related to the keyword you’d like the target page to rank for to drive more traffic from organic search.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:https://bit.ly/3ks0m1M

E-commerce Fraud Detection and Prevention: The In-depth Guide [2022]

It is hard to underestimate the role of Marketplaces in a world where most communications happen on the web and our virtual environment is full of advertisements with attractive products and services to buy. Meanwhile, it is obvious that many criminals are trying to take advantage of it, using scams and malware to compromise users’ data.

Fraud Detection in E-commerce and Statistics

The level of E-commerce fraud is high, according to the statistics. With E-commerce sales estimated to reach $630 billion (or more) in 2020, an estimated $16 billion will be lost because of fraud. Amazon accounts for almost a third of all E-commerce deals in the United States; Amazon’s sales numbers increase by about 15% to 20% each year. From 2018 to 2019, E-commerce spending increased by 57% — the third time in U.S. history that the money spent shopping online exceeded the amount of money spent in brick-and-mortar stores.

The Crowe UK and Centre for Counter Fraud Studies (CCFS) created Europe’s most complete database of information on fraud, with data from more than 1,300 enterprises from almost every economic field. The studies show that 21% of consumers are afraid their credit card data will be stolen and 19% believe their confidential data may be misused. 54% of consumers said they faced fraudulent or suspicious actions on the Internet — more so than through mobile spam calls (18%), door-to-door sales (13%), postal mail (12%), or stores (5%).

Reports and user surveys show that E-commerce businesses should be aware of the potential risks of fraud as well of the tools and solutions to fight them, so that users feel much more relaxed and trusting while making payments online.

E-commerce Fraud Trends

Fraud has never been a new thing, although the trend for E-commerce fraud rises as the number of cash-free transactions increase. It is especially obvious now, when the world is moving away from in-store purchases. Due to the COVID-19 quarantine, people have to make more purchases online to stay safe or because the products they need are unavailable in closed local shops.
E-commerce Fraud Protection

As the trend for E-commerce fraud rises and E-commerce fraud scenarios and malware become more subtle and harder to detect, E-commerce fraud protection has never been so important. To make sure that their business is protected, every merchant and bank should pay attention to the latest trends in fraud detection such as modern E-commerce fraud software on Artificial Intelligence (AI), learn the best fraud prevention practices, and be aware of common types of online fraud.

Introduction to E-commerce Fraud Prevention

A famous Amazon founder Jeff Bezos once said:

“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”

What’s true about this quote is that it is very important to make each customer’s experience as satisfying as possible, especially when it comes to the security of their accounts and money spent online.

When thinking about how to decrease fraud, the first thing a banker, merchant, or other E-commerce participants should take care of is developing a risk management framework. It includes being aware of channel risk (e.g., mobile, online, staff/terminal, and network) and building a segmentation strategy based on operational risk evaluation methodology such as quantitative or qualitative methodology.

Vulnerabilities might be present in all channels, so it is vital to create a controlled environment with clearly defined layers that follow the transaction cycle and proves its resistance against relentless attempts from criminals to find weak places and hit them.

Business e-mail compromise: this type of scam aims at businesses working with overseas suppliers and partners who continually make wire transfer payments. The fraud starts by seeking out legitimate business e-mail accounts and compromising them through social engineering or special software that allows intrusion, with the goal to make illegal money transfers.

Data breach: this happens at personal or enterprise levels and implies the leaking of sensitive, confidential, or protected information. The information is usually stolen or copied from a database.

Denial of service: disruption of any user’s session of entering into a system or network caused by fraudulent activity.

E-mail account compromise: this is the alternative version of business e-mail compromise that is aimed at the general public as well as professional people working in financial and lending enterprises, real estate companies, and judicial firms. Criminals use the compromised e-mail account to transfer costs to a fraudulent location.

Malware/scareware: a kind of ill-natured software that is developed to intrude into computers and computer systems in order to damage or disable them.

Phishing/spoofing: both terms refer to a similar notion and imply forging e-mails in a way that makes them appear very close to those being sent by legitimate businesses.

Ransomware: this is a type of malware that targets technical and human weak points in enterprises with the goal to disable valuable data or systems. Once the victim finds out they cannot gain access to the valuable data again, they receive a demand from the criminal to pay a ransom to re-gain access.

What Happens if Fraud Scenarios are Successful

  1. Account takeover. Criminals try to obtain valuable information about users such as personal data, shopping history, and financial details through phishing. Most often fraudsters send malicious e-mails with forms for users to fill out. If a user fills out the falsified form, he will send his account access data right to the criminal’s computer. The criminal then will be authorized to make purchases and change access details such as the password.
  2. Identity theft. The second most common way for criminals to get illegal access is identity theft. Even though businesses follow many precautions to prevent criminals from breaking into their databases if the criminals succeed they will steal customers’ data in the form of usernames, credit card details, and personal information.

Prevention Measures

The best thing you can do in this situation is to not let fraudsters use the data they stole. You can do this by implementing a fraud prevention service that would automatically identify fraudulent behavior patterns, linked to the time, place, and device name related to the login or transaction. By recognizing malicious behavior on an account, you will stop criminals even before they enter the transaction process.

The layers of a fraud prevention system at an enterprise have to include safe authentication, device analysis, navigation steps, and the possibility to integrate these data sources with a real-time fraud prevention solution.

A fraud prevention solution must:

  • include risk-weighted control at different levels of user interaction with the channel gateway;
  • be planned in a way that allows the additional integration of third-party solutions in order to enforce the monitoring of every step a user takes in a session; and
  • be real-time scalable in order to handle the introduction of quicker payments corresponding to any integrated third-party software.

E-Commerce Fraud: The 8 most common types

The number of methods that criminals may use to get to your accounts are countless and limited only by their imagination, although there are some tricks that are most commonly followed by the perpetrators of financial crimes.

Here, we highlight five types of fraud in E-commerce:

  • True (classic fraud)
  • Triangulation fraud
  • Interception fraud
  • Card validity testing fraud
  • Chargeback fraud
  • Digital Payment fraud
  • Merchant App fraud
  • Sign-up fraud or the abuse of promotions

True (classic) fraud: this is the simplest type of fraud and implies the stealing or purchasing of a victim’s credit card details on the Dark Web. When a criminal makes an unauthorized purchase, a customer can dispute the purchase. The bank then closes the current account and issues a new credit card number and sends a new credit card to the fraudster. This is usually a method for newbie fraudsters.

Triangulation fraud: this type of fraud is called triangulation because it involves a fraudster, a legitimate shopper, and an E-commerce business. A criminal sets up an online shop at Amazon or eBay that sells high-demand products at unusually low prices. After he receives the card details from the customers who ordered, he purchases goods from a legitimate shop to send them to the customers.

Interception fraud: in this type of fraud, criminals create an order where the billing and shipping address match the address associated with the card. Then they will try to intercept the package by using one of these methods:

  • asking the customer service agent to change the address on the order before shipping it;
  • asking the shipper to re-address the order to a place where they can intercept the stolen item;
  • waiting for the delivery to arrive at the actual card holder’s address and asking to sign for the package in the name of the homeowner.

Card validity testing fraud: in this case, a criminal tests different card details to reveal if the credentials are valid and then uses them at another website to make unauthorized charges. If a website declines the card because of an invalid expiration date, they will know this is the number they have to permutate using bots.

Chargeback fraud: a customer will make order online, but then ask for a chargeback because their card was stolen. This usually happens after the product was delivered. This fraud is more typical for customers rather than for experienced fraudsters and is difficult to detect.

Digital Payment Fraud: the breakthrough in technology and the introduction of EMV standard (originally Europay, Mastercard, and Visa) increased the security level for brick-and-mortar retailers drastically. On the downside, the EMV chip in cards doesn’t offer protection for online transactions, which makes it easy for criminals to use stolen cards. Even legitimate customers can become fraudsters when they dispute their transactions with a bank and can obtain both the money and the goods. Only a cutting-edge fraud protection tool or a custom ecommerce fraud detection solution can effectively deal with it. The Machine Learning approach is very important here, because it allows the adaptation to new patterns of criminal activity and alerts you about any suspicious actions from your customers. We will talk about ML solutions to this problem later in the article!

Merchant App Fraud: while many organizations, especially retailers, are using some kind of application to improve their customer service, this could also be the root of major issues. When criminals hack into your app or use stolen credit card information to pay for goods, it can cost you twice as much — just like with Digital Payment Fraud. You will not only use your goods but also will have to refund the purchase price of it if the card information was indeed stolen. You can check every transaction manually, and this will definitely help reduce the risks. However, if your business runs on a big scale with a massive number of transactions, you can’t physically check every transaction manually. The parameters you have to monitor here to prevent a fraud scenario are the velocity of transactions (the number of times the transaction happened from a particular mobile app), the card number connected to this app, and even the device and IP address the customer is using. An automated solution can easily help prevent this type of fraud from happening.

Sign-up Fraud or the Abuse of Promotions: promotions are an awesome way to build the loyalty of your customers. Sign-up bonuses are an effective way to engage a new audience with incentives. It could be a giveaway, a free item for each new client, a discount, or a special subscription plan. However, with a database of stolen personal data or credit card information, criminals can use your special promotion multiple times by creating new fake client accounts. If you choose to battle this threat manually, you can spot this by different accounts using the same IP address, physical address, or phone number.

How To Identify Fraudulent E-Commerce Orders?

If you have a large-scale business, you probably need special software to detect fraudulent E-Commerce orders because it would be hard to handle the number of overall orders manually. In other cases, simply paying attention to the following key indicators might save your money and market reputation:

  • The information in the order is inconsistent; for example, the zip code and actual IP address don’t match.
  • The location of your regular customer is unusual when compared to previous places.
  • Compared to the account history, the order from your regular customer is way too big.
  • The buyer makes multiple purchases at the same time from one account but ships the items to different locations.
  • A large number of purchases is seen in a short span of time.
  • Multiple orders are placed using different credit cards in a short period of time.
  • More than two or three transactions are declined in a row. In this scenario, the client is unable to insert the correct credit card number, CVV, and expiry date despite trying multiple times, which can be a red flag for criminal activity.
  • An unusual set of orders is placed from a new country. Yes, your marketplace can hit a new audience and become a thing in the new region, but the chances are that a suspicious string of orders from the region you never marketed your online shop in could indicate fraudulent activity.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:https://bit.ly/3ks0m1M

How to Choose the Right Digital Marketing Strategy for Your Business

Looking for digital marketing tools for your small business? Here’s how to choose the ones that are best for you.

Building a digital marketing strategy isn’t easy work. Content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, email marketing, pay-per-click (PPC) – all are important factors in a digital marketing strategy. While there is a lot of time, effort, and money that goes into this process, the impact of a good strategy on your business’s bottom line can make the hard work and sacrifice worth it.

Why a digital marketing strategy is important

Digital marketing is extremely relevant today, as many consumers have a mobile device and internet connection with them wherever they go.

“In today’s modern times, newspaper ads and billboards have been replaced by huge LED screens and digital ads,” said Carolyn Carns, marketing manager for Creation Business Consultants. “Everyone is on their phone most of the day … Now is such a good time to forget newspapers and switch to digital advertising.”

Creating a strategy to guide your digital marketing efforts is crucial. There are various aspects of digital marketing, as well as countless tools and platforms to leverage, and it can be intimidating – and perplexing – at first unless you have a plan in place to refer to.

“Having a digital marketing strategy in place before you embark on activity is paramount to the success of any campaigns that you may put in place,” said Trevor Nicholls, CEO of Klood Digital. “The old army adage of ‘proper planning prevents poor performance’ is as relevant to your marketing as it is in the military.”

Nicholls added that a written digital marketing plan is a working document that you and your team will use regularly. It’s not a one-and-done project you’ll never revisit – it is a plan that will guide and inform your marketing efforts.

Types of digital marketing channels

Before delving into your company goals, let’s first explore what online marketing channels are available. Below are the most common marketing strategies you can use online.

Search engine optimization

This is the process of increasing the visibility of your website in search engine rankings so you have a prominent spot on search engine results pages (SERP) for keywords relevant to your business. SEO is easier to understand than most people think, but it can be complicated to put into practice. It involves keyword research, on-page optimization, link building, content marketing and more.

Pay per click

PPC is an internet advertising strategy. You bid on certain keywords that users enter into search engines. Your ad appears at the top (or near the top, depending on how competitive the keyword may be) of the SERP, and to do this effectively requires optimizing the ads and bids to generate a favorable ROI.

Display advertising

Much like with PPC, you are paying for advertisements to appear on third-party websites to create brand awareness or generate traffic. You can use display advertising for retargeting or marketing to specific demographics.

Social media marketing

Social media marketing involves leveraging social media platforms to create traffic and awareness for your website or brand. This strategy includes advertising tactics within the social media platforms.

Email marketing

This is the process of collecting email addresses from potential leads. You can then market to them via a series of emails.

Conversion rate optimization

The goal of CRO is to increase the percentage of conversions from visitors to your website. You can implement CRO for specific goals such as signups, leads or sales.

How to create a digital marketing strategy for your business

“Creating a digital marketing strategy is no longer just about understanding the latest and greatest places to reach potential new customers,” said Jess Reilly, senior vice president of marketing services at Rebel Interactive Group. “The most successful marketers understand truly scalable digital marketing has transformed into people-based advertising, or knowing the exact message to give at the right time, on the right platform, to the right person. Without having data-backed insights that forecast the effectiveness of your messaging, your timing, and your media mix, your strategy will not work.”

According to Nicholls, your strategy should outline your goals, how you plan to achieve them, how you’ll measure your progress and success, the skills and resources needed to deliver, and budget details and expected ROI.

Here are some tips for creating an effective digital marketing strategy for your business.

Build buyer personas.

Buyer personas are fictional characters that represent archetypal consumers who might be attracted to your brand. These personas help you better market your products and services to this consumer demographic.

“Creating buyer personas will help you determine your marketing strategy by illuminating who your buyers are, the situations they are faced with, and, most important, what goals the audience are attempting to accomplish to inform your messaging strategy,” said Reilly.

To create buyer personas, consider what your target consumer might do for a living, their age, gender and other demographics, which social platforms they use the most, and their beliefs and values. Then, customize your strategy based on these details.

“In that process of understanding that buyer persona, it is important we also [know] what is working for [our clients’] competitors,” added Brett Prentiss, co-founder of Instinct Marketing. “We look at their title tags in their ads, their landing pages, how their homepage is structured, things of that nature. Once we understand that, we reverse engineer their strategy, along with the business owners’ vision and our expertise, something truly magical is created. That magic simply works because it delivers results.

Identify your goals.

What are your goals for your marketing strategy? To build brand awareness? To increase product sales? Or to attract a larger social following? Get specific so you can gear your efforts toward these goals.

For example, if you aim to cultivate brand awareness, you’ll want to focus more on how you wish to portray your brand. You’ll define your business’s values and “personality,” and find ways to establish – and communicate this to consumers – through your marketing efforts. Or, if you’re looking to increase sales, you might purchase Instagram ads or work with influencers on social media to promote your products.

Marketing strategies to use if your goal is to heighten consumer awareness of your brand

Does your target customer only buy from reputable brands? Are they aware of your brand? Do they trust or have enough familiarity with it to make a purchase?

If brand awareness is a top priority for your business, then display marketing may be the strongest marketing channel for you. Display marketing allows you to display your brand to as many people as possible within a targeted demographic, allowing them to engage with your content to create familiarity and trust.

The ROI is difficult to measure, as the primary goal of the campaign is to raise awareness. However, it’s this awareness that can build the foundation for a larger customer base.

The other options are social media marketing and content marketing, as these can also get you in front of your potential customers, even if they’re not searching specifically for your brand.

Marketing strategies to use if your goal is to raise consumer awareness of the solution your product/service offers

Sometimes, consumers won’t seek your company out, not because you can’t be found, but because they are not aware of their problem and the solution you provide. They might have never realized how your product or service can improve their lives. This may be reflected in low search volumes for your target keywords.

If the primary issue for lack of sales or traffic is the lack of awareness for what your business has to offer, then a fundamental goal for your digital marketing strategy is to educate potential customers about a particular problem they contend with, and then offer your solution.

Many brands have successfully used content marketing and social media marketing as vehicles to educate potential customers. An example of this is Samsung’s and Apple’s approach to content marketing and social media marketing. As large as the Samsung brand is, the company has launched several campaigns to sway consumers away from Apple to Samsung.

Sometimes faith in the brand isn’t enough. Customers need to be educated about what you do, the benefits your products or services offer, and why it’s better than what they currently use.

Marketing strategies to use if your goal is to increase traffic

Traffic has always been one of the most sought-after key performance indicators. With higher-quality traffic, the result is usually more leads and sales, so it makes sense that most business owners see this as a priority.

As much as viral content can do wonders for your traffic, it’s not entirely within your control, and even the most successful and prolific of viral content creators can’t predict which of their content offerings will go viral. If your primary goal is traffic, then PPC and SEO may be the best online marketing channels for you to focus on.

PPC allows you to control the amount of traffic flowing to your website depending on your budget, and the perfect scenario would be a PPC campaign with a good ROI.

The alternative to PPC is SEO. Unlike PPC, SEO is a long-term investment. You have to wait at least six to nine months to see a positive return on your investment. Companies can do SEO in-house or hire an agency. The advantage of SEO is the perceived lower cost, recurring “free” organic traffic and all the other benefits that come with being at the top of a Google SERP. SEO has one of the highest ROIs, along with email marketing, according to MarketingTech.

Marketing strategies to use if your goal is to increase sales

Sales of their product or service is the end result most businesses want. If your business has a clear demand online for sales, then you probably need a combination of traffic, email marketing and CRO.

Again, email marketing has one of the highest potential ROIs. You can either run a cold email campaign or set up an email marketing campaign for the warm leads and signups you have collected.

You can also generate more sales with a combination of more traffic and increased CRO. PPC or SEO can generate the traffic to your website, and a focused campaign on CRO will allow you to convert more of that traffic into sales.

Choose digital marketing tools based on your primary goals.

There are various marketing tools out there, each boasting their own advantages and specific purposes. There are content marketing calendar templates, social networks, email marketing software, etc. However, which tools you choose to use depends on your goals.

“Every business has a different need or something they are lacking in,” said Prentiss. “That could be a lack of reviews, they’re ranking poorly on Google, or their website just really needs a redesign. Whatever the business needs are, they always require a different tool.”

Prioritize your goals and comb through your budget to determine which tools you should invest in. You can always revisit and experiment with other tools on the market.

Audit your current strategy.

Reilly recommended that business owners ask themselves how much “lift” each marketing channel provided in previous seasons. “Using a combination of customer purchase data, digital tracking data, and any traditional media buys you have, you can dive into the data to discover what your true ROI was in the past and opportunities to grow in the future,” she said.

Before going live with your new strategy, test it to see what might work and what won’t.

“Look for things you can fix or improve in your digital marketing strategy,” added Cairns. “Make sure that you have everything covered and that everything is at the top of its game once you go live.”

Additionally, Prentiss recommended monitoring your progress to determine what might need shifting.

“We set daily, weekly and sometimes even monthly reminders to check on the progress we made,” he said. “The daily and weekly check-ins on what we created are very important in the beginning so we can adjust what we are doing. This truly ensures the success of the campaign.”

Digital marketing budget and resources

Aside from your business goals, your available budget, resources and time will also dictate what strategy you should use. PPC, display advertising, and social media advertising allow you to generate traffic and awareness of your brand almost immediately. These options, however, can be quite costly, and if the cost outweighs the ROI, they may not be the best choice.

If you’re a small business with limited resources, your strategy also depends on the talent and resources you have available. Make the best use of the talent you have available when choosing your marketing strategy. For example, if you employ creatives and copywriters, perhaps email marketing and content marketing campaigns would be the most effective.

None of these are stand-alone tactics; you often have to adopt a holistic approach. The best SEO campaigns may require good PR, social media marketing and content marketing. Spending money on PPC while having a poor conversion rate may be a waste of money. Most tactics provide a superior ROI when used in conjunction with complementary approaches.

Coming back full circle, it’s important to explore all avenues of marketing. The above information is by no means a comprehensive guide; far more variables come into play when you’re deciding which marketing strategy to use.

As the phrase goes, “Energy flows where attention goes.” Clarify your business goals before deciding which marketing channels will be the most effective for achieving your objectives.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:https://bit.ly/3ks0m1M

8 Keys to Upscaling Your Business

Risky decisions come with the territory of running and growing your business, but you can minimize the risks with a sustainable business growth strategy.

Humans are known to be insatiable – never content with what we have, always trying to get more. It is this very desire that also drives us to bring out the best in ourselves and achieve the seemingly impossible.

However, small businesses often have to bear with naysayers telling them to be content with what they have. Friends and family will warn against investing in new opportunities because of the risks. Although this principle of contentment works for most of us in our personal lives, it can be crippling to emerging businesses and the entrepreneurial mindset.

As leaders and decision-makers, in order for our businesses to survive and grow, we need to be prepared to explore unconventional and innovative options and willing to pivot from the security of structured forecasts and plans. Here are some tips to minimize risks while scaling your operations.

1. Have a plan in place.

Despite the importance of leaving your safety net, planning isn’t the enemy. In fact, even pivoting from plans successfully requires new or alternate plans. That holds true for the strategic scaling of businesses. Having a plan of action in hand will make it easier to maintain your quality performance and implement new operations as you scale up, while minimizing your vulnerability to risks and losses. A good starting point would be to identify all barriers that could hinder your growth so that you can plan how to avoid or overcome them.

2. Know your customers.

Your customers are the determinants of your success. Ensure that your customer service quality is undisturbed while you scale your business. It helps to put yourself in your customers’ shoes and consider how actions in your business scaling plan would affect you if it were a business you patronize. You don’t need to restructure your whole business model to keep your customers happy; as long as you anticipate their needs at each stage of the process, they can become your biggest brand ambassadors and maximize your returns.

3. Spend time wisely.

When it comes to expanding your firm (and keeping that expansion in check), the cliche is true: Time is money. Make sure all activities for scaling and growth are timebound.

More often than not, unanticipated urgent tasks tend to pick the worst times, like during expansion and scaling, to present themselves. To make sure that your team remains efficient throughout the process – and can accommodate last-minute changes or deviations in schedules and tasks – make use of time management tools and strategies to get the best out of the time you have.

Train your team to develop time management skills. You have many applications and software programs to choose from to make sure your company’s time is well spent, including Microsoft Project, ClickUp and TaskQue.

4. Consider big data.

Big data refers to the process of analyzing large and varied amounts of data in great detail to expose specific information, like market trends, customer preferences, hidden patterns and unknown correlations. It allows you to make informed decisions on the dimensions of your expansion.

A comprehensive understanding of big data and its usage can help you avoid losses and make better decisions for your business scaling and growth. It can also be useful for identifying and eliminating underlying bottlenecks to your operations, thereby increasing internal efficiency.

5. Anticipate the adjustment pace.

No matter how prepared you feel, any change in an organization will require a period of adjustment for the rest of your team. Give them time to recognize the need for change and accept the challenges that this opportunity provides. More importantly, they need time to understand their roles in the bigger picture of your organization’s plans to scale and figure out how they can make the most of their skill sets and add value to the company. Make sure to consider adjustment protocols, and allocate a reasonable time period for such adjustments in your scaling plans and process.

Large corporations usually have change leaders in place to determine practical plans and execute systematic implementation. Predicting the pace of your company’s adaption to change will require an in-depth understanding of your team. Sometimes the best way is to consult and negotiate 342rwith your team on your plans to scale. Welcome feedback and concerns from them, encouraging open channels of communication to better understand their points of view. This will help you anticipate their adjustment pace and garner their support in your expansion.

6. Know your team.

One opportunity that comes with scaling operations is the ability to identify weak links in your organization. While it’s important to consider your team’s feedback and opinions about when and how you should scale, it’s equally important to monitor their performance while the scaling takes place. Scaling up with a team that’s highly resistant to change isn’t likely to result in much progress; it could actually be counterproductive.

This process will often provide insights into your people’s capacities, skills and character that can be useful for making decisions about the company’s future and maximizing your growing organization’s potential. By having a clear understanding of your people, organizational values and customers’ expectations, you’ll be in a better position to decide when to scale and how to go about it.

7. Hire dependable managers.

It’s no secret that a team’s performance is a reflection of its leadership. Any increase in operations and production will necessitate an expansion of your team at one point or another. When this happens, you’ll want dependable leaders who believe in your long-term vision and have your back.

Hire people you can trust with your brand and who can live up to their responsibilities. It helps to reward people at all rungs of the ladder for their ability to take ownership of ideas and tasks. During company crises and times of change, you count on people who not only get the job done but also understand the importance of your vision and go the extra mile to bring it to life.

8. Decentralize and automate.

It isn’t easy to hand over something you’ve built from scratch to another person, no matter how skilled they might be. Unfortunately, the successful scaling of a business often requires a bit of decentralization and automation. Despite the difficulty it entails for new entrepreneurs, it facilitates business growth and enables decision-makers to focus on strategic objectives. By showing your team that you trust their insights and decisions, you reinforce the idea that your business is the right place for them to grow and pursue a long-term career plan. 

Likewise, by taking advantage of automation tools, you’ll be able to spend more time and money on more productive activities, rather than stressing over carrying out minor repetitive tasks. The idea is to automate daily processes, such as social media management, email marketing, customer relationship management and lead generation. Hootsuite, HubSpot, Zigihub and Marketo are examples of popular automation tools for small businesses.

Scaling operations at some point is inevitable for a successful business, and risky decisions need to be made for survival and growth. That said, you should still take measures to minimize that risk and make sure your growth efforts are substantiated. From having an actionable plan to taking advantage of emerging technologies that can help in decision-making, these basic steps can help you make sure your business continues to thrive as you grow. By implementing these strategies, you can reduce inefficiencies and increase your chances of scaling up your business successfully.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:https://bit.ly/3ks0m1M

Open for Business: 5 Options for Setting Up an Online Store

Whether you have a new business or want to add online sales as a revenue stream, setting up an e-commerce store is easy. Here are some options to get started.

Today’s consumers are making more purchases than ever online via PCs and mobile devices. They’re also using online sites and mobile apps to compare prices and search for the products and services they want, making it even more critical for businesses to have an online sales presence.

Whether you want to build an online business or expand your sales to an online platform, you’ve come to the right place. We will highlight five top options for setting up an online store and give you a ballpark cost for each option.

1. Build an online store from scratch.

If you have programming skills or have a web developer in mind, consider creating an e-commerce site to your exact specifications. If you do want to hire professional help, ask the web developer some essential questions before choosing one. You and your developer will need to decide precisely how your online store should look and how you want it to work.

Once you’ve created your e-commerce site, you’ll need to choose a payment gateway or payment processor; your developer will integrate your website’s shopping cart and payment page with the payment processor. 

These are some advantages of building your own e-commerce site: 

  • You can set it up exactly as you like with few limitations.
  • There’s no monthly fee, other than the hosting fee if you use a third-party hosting company. 

These are some drawbacks of this approach:

  • You’ll need a web programmer to make any changes in your e-commerce store, such as adding new products or changing prices.
  • You’ll have the ongoing expense of the programmer. 
  • You’ll need to generate your own website traffic.

These are some of the costs of building an online store from scratch: 

  • Design and programming: Design and programming can cost $3,500 to $10,000, depending on the size of your catalog and the customization you need.
  • Monthly maintenance: Monthly maintenance costs for an offsite programmer and hosting range from $100 to $2,000.
  • Payment processing: You have the freedom to choose any payment processor. You could potentially save money on processing fees by choosing a low-fee credit card processor such as Helcim or National Processing, which both have wholesale interchange-plus pricing. (Read our Helcim review and National Processing review for more information.)

Tip: PayPal and Square are payment processors that make e-commerce integration effortless. Learn how to accept credit cards with PayPal, and read our in-depth Square review to learn more.

2. Build your online store with WordPress.

If you are tech-savvy but not a programmer, you can build a highly customized online store with WordPress. WordPress has a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) interface, so you can design and add content without any programming expertise. 

If you’re willing to go through some initial extra work, you can create a unique and compelling online store with WordPress that is easy to update and inexpensive to maintain. 

These are some advantages of WordPress: 

  • E-commerce themes are built in.
  • WordPress has a built-in CMS (content management system), which makes it easy to change or update your products, pricing, and content. 
  • With WordPress plug-ins, you can add almost any function to your site, including a shopping cart and other e-commerce features.
  • WordPress offers excellent SEO capabilities.
  • You can concurrently run an affiliate program with WordPress, unlike with e-commerce platforms.

These are some drawbacks of WordPress: 

  • WordPress has quite a learning curve and is not for the technologically challenged. 
  • You have to set up hosting and a custom domain for yourself. While not too difficult, it’s more of a process than with a self-hosted website builder. 
  • E-commerce functionality comes via plug-ins; it is not built in to WordPress. Although most e-commerce plug-ins are very well integrated, it’s still another step to figure out. 

3. Use a website builder to create an online store.

If you want to build an online store, a website builder may be your most straightforward option. Although building a website used to be only for experts, today’s drag-and-drop tools allow anyone to create a professional-looking website in less than an hour with little technological know-how. 

Website builders give you a choice of templates that include website design elements and programming. Add your custom content and make any necessary changes. The website builder platform includes hosting, but if you want a custom domain, you’ll need to pay for that separately. Examples of website builders include Wix, Weebly and GoDaddy.

Some website builders offer a free plan that allows you to sell one to five products. However, nearly every website builder also has an online store or e-commerce plan, allowing you to sell more products and access dedicated e-commerce tools. 

It costs around $15 to $30 per month for a website builder plan with online store or e-commerce features. 

FYI: Website builders give business owners full autonomy over their online stores. Read our in-depth reviews of the best website builders and design services to find one with the features you need.

4. Set up shop in an online marketplace.

An online marketplace is like a virtual mall. Shoppers come to the marketplace to browse or perhaps buy something specific from a particular store. Each marketplace has ways for e-commerce stores to promote themselves via site-specific search features or advertising. 

Amazon, Etsy and Facebook Marketplace are a few examples of online marketplaces to consider.

Amazon

Amazon is the biggest online marketplace in the world, with more than 197 million visitors each month. In fact, Amazon’s total sales accounted for 56.7% of the U.S. e-commerce market in 2021, according to PYMNTS.

Sellers can take advantage of Amazon’s massive traffic and customer base, including Prime members, while accessing payment processing features. With its FBA (fulfillment by Amazon) program, sellers don’t have to worry about packing or shipping the products. No programming skills are needed. 

Costs for selling on Amazon include the following: 

  • You’ll pay $39.99 per month to be an Amazon seller, plus referral fees of between 8% and 15%, depending on the item category. 
  • If you use FBA, you’ll also pay fulfillment fees starting at $2.35, depending on the size and weight of the package and the type of item. 
  • FBA sellers will pay a monthly storage fee for their inventory stored at Amazon’s warehouses of between 75 cents and $1.20 per cubic foot. 
  • If you decide to advertise your store on Amazon, there will be an additional charge.

Etsy

Etsy is another popular e-commerce marketplace, but it’s a more product-oriented site, specifically for handmade and vintage items and craft supplies. With Etsy, you basically enter some information about yourself or your business, add some items, and then start selling. 

Costs for selling on Etsy include the following: 

  • You’ll pay a 20-cent listing fee for every item you put on Etsy. 
  • Etsy adds a 6.5% transaction fee to every sale.
  • You’ll pay a payment processing fee of 25 cents plus 3% of the final price.
  • If you opt for Etsy Plus, you’ll pay a $10 monthly subscription fee and gain more customization options, a custom domain, 15 listing credits and the ability to contact buyers when sold-out items are back in stock.
  • You can opt in to Etsy onsite or offsite ads to help drive customers to your Etsy store. For offsite ads, you’ll pay a fee if a sale is made. For onsite ads, you’ll pay about 20 to 50 cents per click. 

Did you know? The highest-earning sellers on Etsy make $10,000 or more per year, with the top Etsy seller in the U.S. making more than $1.2 million.

Facebook Marketplace

You can also set up an online store through Facebook Marketplace. If you have a Facebook page for your business, you can directly integrate your shop onto that page. 

Some website builders and dedicated e-commerce sites (see below) include a Facebook store at no cost when you pay for their traditional online store service.

Like Etsy and Amazon, Facebook has a built-in customer base, and creating a store is effortless. You just enter your products and wait for sales.

Facebook costs are variable, depending on which store service you use. You’ll pay about $15 to $30 per month plus per-transaction credit card fees. 

5. Build an online store with a dedicated e-commerce platform.

If online sales are the primary focus of your business, a dedicated e-commerce platform may be the best choice for effective e-commerce web development. These online store providers are all about sales, and their features and services reflect that focus. Although basic plans are similar to website builders’ e-commerce plans, higher-end e-commerce platform plans will include various sophisticated tools.

For example, e-commerce platforms may offer abandoned cart recovery. If a customer leaves items in their shopping cart, the platform will automatically send the customer a coupon to encourage the purchase. 

Additionally, higher-end plans have real-time shipping calculators for all the primary shipping methods, integration with other online sales platforms (e.g., Etsy, eBay and Facebook), highly advanced reporting capabilities, and white-glove customer support.

If you want to become an online sales force to be reckoned with, dedicated e-commerce platforms have all the features to get you there. Here’s a look at three top e-commerce platforms. 

BigCommerce

BigCommerce has templates to help you design your store, but only a few are free. It takes some time and effort to set up your shop. Still, once you’re up and running, BigCommerce provides a range of valuable features, including blazing fast-loading speeds, the ability to add more than 70 discounts and promotions, merchandising options, SEO tools, and cross-channel support. 

BigCommerce is easily scalable and can support a massive product catalog. Unlike some other e-commerce platforms, BigCommerce does not charge additional transaction fees.

BigCommerce has four pricing plans. 

  • Standard: $29.95 per month
  • Plus: $79.95 per month
  • Pro: $299.95 per month
  • Enterprise: Custom pricing

Shopify

Shopify’s setup process is more straightforward than BigCommerce’s, so merchants can quickly get started with its interface. Shopify offers 10 free themes; paid themes typically cost between $100 and $180. 

Shopify sites have fast load times and plenty of integrations, including Shopify Payments, so you don’t need to work with an outside payment processing company. In fact, you can use the Shopify point-of-sale (POS) and payment processing system in your brick-and-mortar store whether or not you are selling online. Shopify sites also integrate with more than 6,000 apps. 

While Shopify provides marketing tools to boost your e-commerce sales, its SEO isn’t as good as some of the other e-commerce platforms’, so sellers may need to rely more heavily on other marketing strategies. Additionally, Shopify doesn’t work with Amazon, so if you’re also selling on Amazon, you’ll have to manage that channel separately.

Shopify has three plans.

  • Basic: $29 per month
  • Shopify: $79 per month
  • Advanced: $299 per month 

If you use Shopify Payments, there is no transaction fee. Otherwise, the transaction fee is an additional 2%, 1% or 0.5% for each plan, respectively.

Shopwired

Shopwired is a relatively new player in the e-commerce platform space; it offers many of the same features as BigCommerce and Shopify. Shopwired’s monthly prices are less than those of the other two. Some features that require a higher plan on BigCommerce and Shopify – such as abandoned cart recovery, ratings and reviews – are available for free. 

Shopwired has faster load times than either BigCommerce or Shopify, and shops are easy to set up. Shopwired also has several B2B features, such as setting up trade accounts, credit accounts, a quote-request system and bulk discounts. Like Shopify, Shopwired does not work with Amazon.

Shopwired has three plans, none of which charge transaction fees. 

  • Pro: $29.95 per month
  • Advanced: $59.95 per month
  • Premium: $119.95 per month

FYI: Shopwired is an excellent choice if you’re primarily focused on selling to other businesses online.

Why does your business need an online store?

If you sell goods or services and don’t already sell online, you’re missing out on potential customers. Here are some facts to consider:

  • E-commerce accounts for a fifth of all retail sales. According to a Digital Commerce 360 analysis of U.S. Department of Commerce data, e-commerce now accounts for a fifth of all retail sales, or $870.78 billion in 2021 – an increase of 14% from the previous year.
  • E-commerce sales are expected to increase. In 2023, e-commerce sales are expected to increase by 22%.
  • Most people are buying online. An NPR/Marist poll found that nearly 7 in 10 Americans have purchased an item online. 

Aside from opening your business to a broad array of online shoppers, these are some additional benefits of having an online store:

  • Online stores are open 24/7. You can continue to make sales even when your physical store is closed and you’re home sleeping.
  • Online stores create an additional revenue stream. If you have a brick-and-mortar store, having your products available online makes it easier and more convenient for customers to buy from you, increasing your sales.
  • Online stores expand your customer base. When you sell online, you can reach people beyond your geographic location who may never have even known about you.
  • Online stores create cross-promotion opportunities. Use your online store to promote in-store events and offer customers conveniences like buying online and picking up their products in the store.
  • Online stores are an inexpensive marketing tool. Use your online presence to market your business efficiently and inexpensively.
  • Online stores help you target customers. When you support your online store with an expanded online presence, such as social media accounts, you place your business in front of people likely to buy based on interests, demographics and history.
  • Online stores can turn browsers into buyers. Online shopping platforms often include tools that enable you to retarget customers who browsed certain items or placed products in their shopping cart and abandoned them, prompting them to complete their purchase.
  • Online shopping is contactless. The COVID-19 pandemic created the need for social distancing. Online shopping allows contactless purchasing for customers who don’t feel comfortable shopping in person.
  • Online shopping is convenient for buyers. The NPR/Marist poll also found that 88% of online shoppers like to shop online because they can shop night or day and find products easily. More than three-quarters like online shopping because there are no lines.

How to market your online store

Setting up an e-commerce store is just the first step. To generate sales, you’ll need to create an e-commerce marketing strategy. Here are some ways to drive traffic to your online store: 

  • Optimize your store for SEO. Whether you have a stand-alone e-commerce website or use a website builder, marketplace or e-commerce platform, include keywords throughout your content and coding. Keywords help search engines – both external like Google and internal if you are using a platform or marketplace – rank your page and show it to people searching for those terms.
  • Use your email list. You’ve likely worked on building an email list of customers and prospects. Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective marketing vehicles. Create email marketing campaigns that send promotions and new product announcements, or provide discounts with links to your e-commerce store. 
  • Make it social. Social media is an excellent platform for promoting your online store. Use your social media presence to make announcements and highlight events, promotions and specific products. Be sure to include links to your store in all your social profiles.
  • Enhance product pages with helpful content. If your products are unusual, innovative, custom, handmade or otherwise particularly interesting, explain why on your product pages to spur conversations and interest.
  • Advertise. If you’re in a marketplace, drive shoppers to your store by advertising within the marketplace. If not, use external advertising such as Google Ads and Instagram advertising. You can also advertise with Facebook’s business tools.
  • Leverage your physical store (if you have one). Tell your in-store customers about your e-commerce store. Provide them with links or QR codes leading to your store that they can share with friends, family and social media followers.

Choosing the right online store-building platform

For most small businesses, website-building e-commerce plans are a balanced option when starting an online store. However, many services and platforms can accommodate businesses of all sizes. Many website builders and online store platforms offer free trials so that you can test a service before committing long term.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:https://bit.ly/3ks0m1M

11 Steps to Engaging Your Audience on Social Media

These marketing tips can help you make the most of social media.

Today’s marketers know that social media is an excellent and arguably necessary way to connect, communicate and engage with an audience.

However, while marketers have learned that social media is useful, they haven’t necessarily learned how to use it effectively.

Over the years, many social media tools have been developed to help businesses break through the noise on social media and reach their customers. These tips and tool recommendations can help improve engagement with your audience through social channels.

How to engage your audience on social media

Here are 11 steps to planning a great social media campaign – and specific programs that can help you execute it.

1. Identify your ideal outlets.

A great way to plan and begin your social campaigns is to figure out where to run them. WebiMax, an online reputation management company, can evaluate your website and, using the data it pulls, suggests the social media outlets that would be most beneficial for your company to focus on. WebiMax can then create tailored social campaigns for you to use on many social networks, including Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, LinkedIn and Instagram.

2. Define your audience.

After you’ve identified the social platforms your business should focus on, identify your target audience. Social listening tools like LeadSift can help with this. LeadSift mines social conversations to find relevant leads based on metrics you set, such as keywords and geographic location. Using LeadSift to find these qualified leads can help you engage with high-profile people who are more likely to become customers.

3. Create your content.

Now that you know your platform and your audience, you need to create content. If this is something you don’t have the time or resources to do, you can use tools like SnapRetail. This platform offers thousands of prewritten social posts that you can customize to match the needs of your business. These updates have been tried and tested, and are likely to increase engagement among your audience. These posts are designed for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

4. Use strategic hashtags.

One of the most difficult parts of social media is reaching and building your audience. Tools like HashAtIt can elevate your visibility by finding popular hashtags that fit your industry and audience. These hashtags make it easier for people to find you and help you hop onto trends in your market.

Did you know? Using at least one meaningful hashtag can increase audience engagement by 12%.

5. Encourage sharing.

An important piece of social media marketing is encouraging your customers to share their experience, which builds your audience. Livecube makes social media sharing a game during live events and rewards your customers for discussing your event or product. It also makes it easier for your customers to navigate your live event. If your business has live, in-person events, Livecube is certainly a useful tool.

6. Write strong leads.

It is critical to create a headline that is going to grab a reader’s attention. You want to encourage your reader to click on the link. You should use keywords and action verbs to make that happen. You always want your writing to be accessible to everyone. Simple writing is always best. You want to make sure you stay away from industry speak, or trying to make yourself sound intelligent. There are tools that you can use to score your headlines to verify how strong they are.

7. Use visuals.

Research has shown that relevant images get 94% more views than content that does not have images at all. A 2014 study by researchers at Georgia Tech University found that photos on Instagram that have faces have 38% more likes than those without faces. As a result, pictures and visuals get a lot of activity, so they should be colorful and catch your attention with each post.

8. Implement videos.

Regardless of the social platform, you are likely to get the most engagement when you use video. Whenever possible, you should add video content to your post. Adding video to your content can increase the engagement of your reader. A video tip is to make sure you upload it directly to the platform instead of posting it somewhere outside of it. This allows the video to play automatically.

Tip: Make sure your videos are the perfect length to increase audience engagement. For example, Instagram videos around 26 seconds long tend to get the most likes.

9. Listen and be responsive.

There was a time when people would give you 24 hours to respond to a request. That time is long gone. We live in a world where the expectation is an immediate response. You must plan to respond to the needs and requests of your users. You will lose them if you do not. Making sure they enjoy their experience is only half the battle. You must also make sure that you listen and respond to them, as well as thank those who repost or like your posts. If you recognize them publicly, you are more likely to turn them into your biggest cheerleaders.

10. Update your images.

Don’t forget about your profile and cover photos, as those are often the most viewed and liked parts of any social media profile. You should utilize them as much as you can by using them to show how your business impacts others and how people can benefit from your business. They suggest changing your Facebook photo at least once a month with an eye-catching caption. You should highlight your work with your Twitter profile and banner photo.

11. Be inviting.

Give people a reason to follow you across all social platforms. Make sure you specifically customize your information to match your users in that channel. Sending out the same automated messages to everyone is not usually the most effective.

What is the importance of audience engagement on social media?

Having a stellar social media presence is great, but it’s the audience engagement that is the true test of your online success. Likes, comments, follows and re-posts of your content can all be indicators your messages are resonating. Word-of-mouth has always been one of the best forms of advertising, and in a viral age, that word can spread far and beyond quickly when crafted correctly.

In addition to getting your campaigns in front of a larger amount of people via individual interactions, audience engagement on social media is also crucial for your company to broaden your reach on the platforms themselves. Essentially, this means social media algorithms favor content that creates meaningful engagement when prioritizing what their users see. If your Instagram posts or TikTok videos receive more buzz, chances are they’ll end up in front of even more people next time around.

Interacting directly with your audience on social media can also bode well for your overall reputation. This is especially true for companies that make customer service available via platforms like Facebook messenger and Instagram direct messages. According to a 2017 analysis, 66% of people between the ages of 18 and 54 viewed a company more favorably if customer care requests were able to be handled on social media. Plus, these interactions typically count toward engagement, increasing visibility over time.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:https://bit.ly/3ks0m1M

7 Highly Effective Ways to Build an Online Community for Your Business

For your business to fully succeed, you need to build a vibrant community that you can tap into for engagement.

Businesses need to build a community in order to promote meaningful engagement with their target audience. From these engagements, you can unearth ideas to help your brand grow, among the many other benefits that online communities provide.

What is an online community?

An online community is a group of internet users who form a community around a shared interest. It takes conversations that would happen in person onto social media, among people from all over the world. While these days an online community may be likeliest to start on a social media platform (e.g., a Facebook group), they can also form and thrive in the comments section of a website or blog post, or in forums and email threads.

When an online community forms around your product or company, you may be able to turn the community members into advocates for your brand. You can also leverage their social media presence to drive customer engagement with your products.

How do online communities work?

The power of online communities is that anybody with an internet connection can easily figure out how to build one that fulfills their interests. A person or business that starts an online community sets it up so that members can easily join – whether or not an approval process is in place – and connect with other users to discuss shared interests whenever they want, wherever they want, entirely online.

Where can you find online communities?

Online communities are common on social media. These days, it’s not difficult to find a Facebook group or Twitter hashtag dedicated to just about any cause, cultural figure or brand. While social media platforms may be the most common source, online communities can also connect their members via forums, emails, and comments sections on websites and blog posts.

Benefits of building an online community for business

A branded online community can benefit your business in several ways:

  • Easier, quicker connections with customers and, therefore, better customer service
  • Bolstered social media presence on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other major social media sites
  • Identification of top-level customers as brand advocates who can use their social media presence to promote your business
  • Access to ideas from loyal customers on how to improve your business, products and services
  • Faster routes to potential new customers and higher likelihood of retaining current customers
  • Increased cross-sell, upsell and add-on revenue

Types of online communities

There are four main types of online communities your business should know:

  • Social communities: As the name implies, these communities are built on social media platforms. Businesses can leverage them for marketing, brand awareness and audience expansion purposes.
  • Support communities: In support communities, your customers offer support and help to other customers, lowering your customer support costs.
  • Advocate communities: In advocate communities, brands incentivize their most loyal customers to promote the brand on the internet.
  • Insight communities: In insight communities, businesses get feedback from longtime customers on how their products or services could improve.

Examples of successful online business communities

Brands that have built an online community successfully include Duolingo, Starbucks, WordPress, Lego, Deily and Figment. Below are some insights into why their communities are so successful – and how you can build a similarly valuable online community.

How to build an online community

If you want to maximize the performance of your business and encourage success, then you need to follow the tips below – with real-life examples – for how to build an online community.

1. Embrace different levels of commitment from members.

Realize that some community members will be more active than others, while a portion of them won’t be active at all. The important part of building an online community is embracing what all your members have to offer. Some prefer to share ideas and be part of the conversation; others take those ideas and run with them. You can’t demand active users to dial down their engagement and inactive users to participate if they do not want to. What you can do is fuel the conversation and get everybody involved in their way. 

Take a cue from how Duolingo built a community to help its target audience learn different languages. The site encouraged users to contribute course content and moderated submissions to ensure quality.

Contributors were incentivized for their efforts with recognition and recommendations from Duolingo for what they wanted to achieve (such as a job or college). At the same time, users who took the course were impressed enough that they recommended the app to other people, thus increasing Duolingo’s brand awareness among its target audience and gaining it more users in the process.

2. Offer a platform for users with different perspectives.

If your business covers a sensitive and divisive subject, you need to approach the topic in a peaceful light by bridging the gap between people and misunderstanding, encouraging them to open their minds to new experiences and perspectives.

This is what Deily strives to accomplish as a faith-based community platform. People have conflicting views about religions – including conflicting views among members of the same faith – which could lead to heated arguments and greater misunderstanding. But the site offers a chance for people to open up their faith and beliefs in a constructive manner so that all users can understand other religions from a more grounded perspective.

Deily also offers you a chance to connect with people who share your faith and answer questions from other users about your religion.

3. Encourage users to create content.

Showcasing user-generated content gives your community a platform to share their unique content and connect with other users who have similar interests. You can feature their ideas on your site and social media pages to increase exposure and give credit to the users who came up with them. 

The community platform My Starbucks Idea proved how powerful crowdsourced content is and how active a community can be. The platform gave birth to ingenious ideas such as the splash sticks, which keep coffee from spilling from the hole in the cover. The concept for Starbucks to crowdsource ideas came at a time when the company was closing 600 stores in the U.S.

Thankfully, the risk of giving its customers a voice on how to improve the product paid off.

According to Social Media for Business Performance at the University of Waterloo, “My Starbucks Idea sparked social for a company that is synonymous with not only great coffee, but its own deeply rooted culture with a style all their own.”

4. Let users educate one another about your products.

Let your community members teach each other about your products and how to properly use them. By breeding a community that is willing to help each other out, you can drive new customers to whatever you are selling.

WordPress is one of the most used platforms for building a site or blog. Since it is an open-source project, volunteers have helped develop not only the core software but also its themes and plugins. And because so much can be done with WordPress, users find themselves searching for ways to get the most out of the platform.

These are just a few reasons why WordPress Forums is one of the most vibrant and active communities online. The forum is a great place to get acquainted with WordPress, as well as for tips and tricks to optimize your site, providing its users with a productive and collaborative experience. Most importantly, the forum is moderated by a community manager and other experts who are more than willing to answer queries about the platform, themes and plugins.

5. Cede power to the people.

Don’t let your desire for brand awareness interfere with the discussions among your users. This destroys the authenticity of their interactions and could turn people off to your business.

Take a cue from Figment, which welcomes teenagers with a passion for fanfiction to create their own stories, share others and recommend products, all without worry about the brand hijacking the content of users.

The cool thing about the site is how it promotes its writers on the homepage. By giving featured writers the recognition, Figment encourages more writers to keep writing to the best of their abilities so they can get featured as well and draw more readers to their work. The featured section on the website allows Figment to reassure users that it is all about them and their works.

6. Allow the community to influence your business.

Take heed of valuable insights from your community members, and listen to their needs so you can improve your products and services based on their suggestions.

Despite being an unofficial community of Lego, Lugnet has become a source of information even for Lego itself. Lego markets to children, but this didn’t stop A.F.O.L. (Adult Fans of Lego) who share their creations with other fans and collaborate on different projects on the site. In fact, their contributions on Lugnet were so good that it helped Lego expand to different markets.

Because of its rabid fans, Lego established a working relationship with the users of Lugnet, who continue to provide the company with valuable insights and uses for its products.

7. Set boundaries.

Your brand represents something in the industry, and you need to maintain that image in your community. Therefore, you need capable people who will moderate your community – a community manager and firm community guidelines are vital – and uphold your brand image.

Moderators will be responsible for approving posts and submissions, banning members if need be, and maintaining a healthy relationship between your brand and members, all within community guidelines. By following the SEE method, they will add value to your business:

  • Support knowledge exchange. Allow users to disseminate information that will provide value to new and old members alike that are in line with your missions and goals.
  • Encourage others to be visible online. Come up with ways to engage different types of users to help build a vibrant community.
  • Enable access to tools and resources. Provide members a place to not only learn from other people and share their experiences but also point each other to valuable resources to expedite their growth and success.

These key roles of moderators and the other best practices above will all help you to build an online community that not only connects users to each other, but makes them feel more connected to your brand.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:https://bit.ly/3ks0m1M