Tag Archives: ebizplan

How to be Successful with Pay-Per-Click Advertising

Do you pay for the clicks of your AdWords campaign without getting the sales? Here are some points to consider when planning your next pay-per-click advertising campaign.

 Pay-per-click adverts are not for free

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising for retailers is similar than the advertising campaigns they do in the print media – they must pay for it.   The retailer needs to plan her PPC carefully otherwise the people clicking on the ad may not find what they were looking for.

Depending how expensive your keywords are, a lot of money could be wasted when the wrong audience is responding to your ads.

Here are some points to consider before starting your pay-per-click campaign:

  1. Keywords – should describe the kind of website pages where the retailer wants her ad to be displayed;
  2. Ads – the ad needs to deliver the following messages in the shortest time to read it:
    1. The retailer’s website is the best source of information that will visitor is looking for;
    2. The benefits to click on the retailer’s website is clear; and
    3. The visitors know what is expected from them once they arrive at the retailer’s website.
  3. Bid prices – the retailer will quickly find what the cost of a keyword is once her campaign has started. She should adjust bids until the ad shows the required profit;
  4. Landing page – is the page that visitors go to when clicking on a retailer’s PPC ad. The best results with a PPC ad is possible when the landing page match the theme of the keywords and ad message;
  5. Conversion path – having decided to buy, a visitor must be able to give information about the type of product, where it must be delivered and how it should be paid for. If the conversion path is not clear, the visitor may leave your website.

A PPC ad campaign is much more than selecting a couple of keywords and bet on them. A successful campaign is one that is well planned, well measured and flexible.

Visit eBizplan to help you with your digital marketing strategy.

Note

Szetela, D. and Kerschbaum, J. 2010. Pay-per-click search engine marketing: An hour a day. John Wiley & Sons.

Finding Customers in the Vastness of the Internet

No business can exists without customers. However, finding customers on the internet can be a challenge for most Bricks and Clicks retailers. Once you know who your audience is, where they hang out online and what they respond best to, you can begin to market…

The vastness of the internet

Online advertising and the retailer’s website can be exposed to thousands of people around the world for little cost due to the vastness of the internet.

The challenge is to find to the customers online.

Steps to find customers online

Dean Brookstone proposes the following steps to find customers online:

  1. Register and set up your website/blog and ensure it’s optimized for mobile devices;
  2. Help customers to find you on Google by making use of a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy;
  3. Keyword research – find out what keywords or keyword phrases will attract customers to your website;
  4. Start a blog page for your retail business – writing blogs with great content will draw customers to your website;
  5. Use hyperlinks to grow your business – internal- and inbound links show Google which pages of your website are the most important. The links may also help to improve your page ranking;
  6. Introduce your retail business on the social network sites. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram are excellent platforms to find customers online;
  7. Use email campaigns to build relationships with people and to turn them into customers;
  8. Measure your progress with analytics to improve your business.

If you put all these steps together, you will find the customers that are seemingly lost in the vastness of the internet.

If you need help with your Digital Marketing campaign or Business Planning, please visit eBizplan.

Videos Useful Convincing Shoppers to Buy

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what are online videos worth for retailers?

Bill Briggs recently reported in the Internet Retailer that shoppers who watch a video are 1.7 times more likely to buy something than those who don’t…

Seeing it in action is believing

Window shopping, about fifty years ago, was one of the most exciting things for me to do. So, on the rare occasions when visiting the city center with my mother, I would rush to the toy shop to see what’s on display.

I would press my face against the toy shop’s display window to be fascinated by the miniature trains going around on their circuits. By just watching the small trains in motion the sale could have been closed – however, it was fifty years ago…

Nowadays little kids can watch videos of dozens of makes and types of miniature train sets via the toy shop website, make a choice and click to buy at leisure to have it delivered on their doorsteps.

Videos are working for online retailers

According to Bill, video views on online retailer websites grow a massive 42% in 2015. The best videos are those that are relevant and demonstrating how the products work. Also, the videos that the customers rate the highest resulted in the most sales.

YouTube is after Google the most popular search engine used by online customers, with 3 billion searches a month.  Experts recommend that retailers use YouTube over social networks such as Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for demonstrating the products, because it is searchable.

Please visit my website www.ebizplan.co.za for assistance in creating business and marketing strategies for your online retail business.

Content Marketing Tips for Retailers

The quality and relevance of the content of a retailers’ webpages can mean the difference between a sale and a bounce. One of the main reasons that people use the internet is to get information about something.

Content, which is the information part of a website, is one of the ‘trade-offs’ that is used by retailers to attract customers to their sites. If it is good, the customers may make a purchases and visit the site again.

The value of good content

According to Drew Hubbard, writing in iMedia, content will only deliver value to a brand if it delivers value to the consumer and consumers are not ignorant of bias when it comes to content.

Drew suggests that consumers want information that is presented in an objective manner and based on documented facts – not a brand’s contorted version of those facts. The best content marketers do their research and cite their sources.

Answering the customers questions

The content of a retailer’s website should anticipate the questions that his/her potential customers will ask. The content should guide the reader to the answer the questions that he or she is seeking as concisely and clearly as possible.

To anticipate the answers that the customers require, retailers should think about the people they are communicating with. If retailers understand their audiences they will know what to write, how much to write, and what vocabulary to use.

Less is better than more

A great tip from Janice Redish is that you should remember that you are having a conversation with real people. Those people bring all of their previous experience and knowledge – and also their lack of experience and knowledge – to understanding what you are writing.

People surfing the web want to get to the answers they seek as quickly as possible therefore retailers need to avoid content that contain unnecessary information that may cause the readers to lose interest and bounce the page.

Visit eBizplan for eCommerce and Digital Marketing solutions.

Note

Redish, J.G., 2007. Letting go of the words: Writing web content that works. Morgan Kaufmann.

Bricks and Clicks Retailers – the Best of Both Worlds

The way forward for retail is Bricks and Clicks. In an article earlier this year Justin Taylor head of EMEA retail trying to console Bricks and Mortar retailers said: “despite the impact of e-commerce, physical stores remain a cornerstone of consumer engagement”.

The question that remains to be answered is:  Why is online retail growing worldwide and, at the same time, Bricks and Mortar retailers that are not engaging their customers online are closing down?

Why do Bricks and Mortar retail customers shop online?

If Bricks and Mortar retailers are the cornerstone of customer engagement, then where have their customers gone to? The customers of Bricks and Mortar retailers probably left because they find online shopping to be more convenient:

  • They can shop 24/7 from anywhere;
  • They can get more information about products and services online;
  • They can go online to search for specific products and where to find them;
  • They can compare the prices of products online; and
  • They can share their experience online with friends, family and social communities.

In spite of the fast growth of online shopping, many retailers that are doing their business only online (Pure Clicks) are now starting to look for physical retail space.

Why are Pure Clicks retailers looking for Bricks and Mortar retail space?

It is not a simple matter of Bricks versus Clicks says Justin Taylor. Physical stores remain a hugely important part of the retailing mix as they offer the ability to interact with merchandise, instant gratification for consumers, personal service and professional guidance.

We have seen the migration from bricks to clicks, and the pattern in some instances is now heading the other way as brands born online are now seeking physical space. The answer is Bricks and Clicks retail shops that have both physical and online space. Bricks and Clicks retailers have the best of both worlds.

Integrating the physical with the online may pose a challenge for most retailers. eBizplan, a management consulting business can help retailers to run the physical and online business as one.

Retailers Biggest Challenge – Integrating Online with Offline

Retailers who are for years in business are using technology that is developed for running a physical shop (Bricks and Mortar) better and making shopping for their customers easier.  A study by Forrester Consulting found that although 90% of the UK retailers are now doing business online. However, most of them find it difficult to join their online and offline technology.

Only 26% of the retailers interviewed mentioned that their sales are influenced by the online channel.

Technology use by the customers of Bricks and Mortar retailers

Most of the customers of Bricks and Mortar retailers visit their website to get information about the inventory in the shop.  A recent study by Forrester Consulting,  found that 39% of customers are unlikely or very unlikely to visit a  store if its website does not provide physical store inventory information.

Only 32% of the shop owners that was interviewed offered a function on their websites for customers to view their in-store inventory details.

Customers want shopping convenience

The study indicated that half of all customers cited store pickup options as important or very important to them when shopping online. However, only a third of retailers today already support store-pickup programs.

Read also:  Will “Click and Collect” Solve the Delivery Headaches for Grocers?

The customers interviewed demanded the following:

  • Absolute guarantees that the product is actually available;
  • Rapid picking and notification alerts;
  • Customers want to pay at the point of pickup;
  • Customers want the option to pick their goods up at alternative locations.

In-store experience in the digital age

The customers are in power when they use their smartphones in the shop. They use their smartphones to check inventory availability before entering the store.  The customers also use their smartphones to get more information about the products  they are interested to buy.

Bricks and Clicks retailers need to be both masters of the store and of the digital domain.

eBizplan, an online consulting business, can help retailers to draft a strategic plan to integrate their offline and online business.

Reasons Why Start-Up Businesses Fail

Robin Allen from Smart Insights reported results from research recently done by Quartz why 87 bootstrapped (companies that start without venture capital) failed. Allen highlighted the fact that the results show ‘poor marketing’ positioned above pricing issues, legal challenges or burn out as a reason why start-up businesses fail.

The main reason that bootstrapped companies failed was because their business models were not viable. The matter of having a viable business model and business strategy will be discussed briefly in this post.

The result of the study by Quartz is shown in the table below.

Reasons for failing Number
Business model not viable 10
Customer development issues 8
Lacked financing/investors 8
No market need 8
Disharmony on team/investors 6
Inexperience/skill gap 6
Not enough traction 6
Technical/product issues 6
Lack of focus 5
Ran out of cash 4
Bad location 3
Ignore customers 3
Failure to pivot 2
Hiring mistakes 2
Poor marketing 2
Burnout 1
Lack of passion 1
Legal challenges 1
Pricing/cost issues 1

What is a business model?

A business model is according to Magretta (2002) similar to a story – a story that explains how your enterprises works. A good business model answers questions such as:

  • Who is the customer?
  • What does the customer value?
  • How do we make money in this business? and
  • What is the underlying economic logic that explains how we can deliver value to customers at an appropriate cost?

By having the answers to these questions a start-up business will come a long way to establish if their business idea is viable. A business model on its own will however not provide sustainable outcomes for most businesses. A business also needs a strategy…

What is a business strategy?

Whereas a business model is more concerned with the operational activities, the use of resources and the capabilities of a business, a business strategy had more to do with what the business should do in the future. A business strategy answers questions such as:

  • Where are we now?
  • Where do we want to be?
  • How will we get there?
  • How will we stay there and make some money?

A business model and business strategy usually come together in a business plan.

The integration of the business model and the business strategy

A well written business plan may serve as a vehicle to combine a business strategy with a business model. The opportunities and threats identified with the strategic SWOT analysis of the business can purposefully matched with the strengths and weaknesses that was identified with the business model.

Furthermore, if a prospect business owner draft a business plan before starting his/her business, most of the reasons way the business may fail (listed in the above table) may already have been identified and taken care of.

Also have a look why online businesses fail in South Africa

Please visit eBizplan if you want help to develop a business model, a business strategy and business plan for your start-up business.

Note

Magretta, Joan. 2002. Why business models matter. Harvard Business Review, 86-92.

Include a market analysis in your business plan

Drafting a business plan it is important to do a market analysis. You should determine against who your business is going to compete, what the size of the market is, whether the market is profitable and who your customers will be.

A market analysis of your business may seems like a daunting task,  but it is one of the most critical elements of your business plan. The following aspects as listed by Hanna Burmeister recently in the Grand Rapids Business Journal need to be analysed about the market in which you want to start your business:

Industry outlook

A prospect business owner needs to find answers to the following questions:

  • What’s happening in your industry?
    • Describe the size of your industry, expected growth, any sales, operational or management trends.
    • Is the industry seasonal? Are there expected economic fluctuations?
    • Are there government regulations?

Addressing these industry characteristics helps provide a detailed picture of the environment in which your business is operating.

  • Who is your target market?
    • Identify your slice of the industry. Who is your business targeting, and what are their characteristics?
    • What needs does your target market have?
    • How big is the potential market for your business?

This analysis should include both demographics and psycho-graphics.

Competitive analysis

It’s important to spend some time analyzing your competitors. By understanding what’s already out there, you can better determine your business’ competitive advantage. A competitive analysis should address the size of the market, competitor strengths and weaknesses, barriers to entry and market opportunities.

Projections

Do you know what market size and market share are? Knowing how much your potential customers spend will allow you to estimate how much of the market you can attract. Furthermore, you need to project your pricing structure and gross margins. These figures may help determine how profitable your business will be.

Additionally, all of the prior research you’ve conducted with your market analysis will help you with your pricing, gross margin and sales estimates.

Please visit my website eBizplan to read more about business plans and marketing plans.

The value of a business plan when you start a business

How many people that want to start their own business have a business plan in mind as one of the first things they must do before opening their doors? Not many… Recent research reported by the “Start Up Donut” showed that more than 1.5 million UK SMEs (about one third) don’t have business plans.

Every business should have a business plan, since not having it may cause a messy and costly take-off of your business. Here are reminders why having a business plan before starting your business is important:

What is a business plan?

It is a written document that describes your business objectives and strategies, your financial forecasts and the market you are targeting. It will help you set realistic and timely goals, secure external funding, measure your success. The plan also clarify operational requirements and establish reasonable financial forecasts.

Why do you need a business plan?

Your need a plan that will help you to focus on how to operate your new business and so give it the best chance for success. A well written plan with realistic financial proforma statements will improve your changes to secure funding for your start-up business.

A marketing plan may help you to market your product or services at the right place, at the right price and to the right people. The plan will identify what the needs and wants of your customers are also who your competitors are and how you should position your products or services accordingly.

Lastly, will a business plan answer questions such as where are you now? Where do you want to be? And how will you get there? The business plan should be revised regularly since the business environment of today is extremely dynamic.

Please visit my website eBizplan to read more about business- and marketing plans.

Are Your Customers Receiving Your Marketing Messages?

Retailers spend big money to convey messages about their products and their prices to their customers. However, if the customers understand the marketing messages differently as what the retailer has intended, then big money may be wasted…

Know what you want to achieve with your marketing messages

The main reasons why retailers want to communicate with consumers are to inform potential consumers about the attributes of their products. At the same time they want to persuade them to buy the product, and to remind them to continue buying it.

The marketing massage must reach consumers amidst messages of competing retailers. The message must be heard in online communities that usually champion Joe public concerns with their critics and praises about the products. Retailers should therefore have a promotion plan to enjoy an competitive advantage…

Plan your marketing messages

Without planning their marketing message, the best-conceived products, at the most attractive prices, will often gather dust on retailers’ shelves. The following steps need to be followed when doing your promotion planning:

  1. Situation analyses – also known as the SWOT analyses. Retailers need to identify their internal strengths and weaknesses to address the external threats and opportunities in the markets.
  2. Formulation the promotion objectives. Retailers should describe their target market as well as their promotional objectives.
  3. Preparing the promotional budget. How much money will the retailers need to achieve their promotional objectives?
  4. Manage promotional elements. What will the content of the message be, what medium will be used (e.g. press, TV or online), who will receive the message, and how effective will the feedback be?
  5. Coordination and integration of promotional decisions. Who is going to do what, when and where?
  6. Measurement of promotional effectiveness. Have the promotional decisions achieved their objectives?
  7. Evaluation and follow-up. Continuous feedback about the effectiveness of the promotion decisions is needed to take corrective measures.

The development and implementation of a marketing plan give structure to a retailer’s management tasks. It also brings a retailer closer to its customers and in contact with a dynamic retail market.

Visit eBizplan for more on marketing plans and business plans.