Did you know that there are two words that are so effective and so powerful they can help build and grow your ecommerce business?
It’s true. Two little words, if you use them, can do wonders to help you build a thriving, successful online business, as well as garner many loyal, repeat customers who will come back to your website over and over again to buy your products.
Those two little words are: Thank You.
It’s just that simple.
We seem to live in such a fast paced world that sometimes the common courtesies fall by the wayside. This may be particularly true on the World Wide Web, as sometimes we tend to forget the little civilities that come naturally in a face to face encounter.
However, saying “Thank you” is not something a savvy entrepreneur should ever overlook or forget!
A simple, sincere word of thanks goes a long way toward cementing a relationship between you and a customer. It’s a fundamental fact of life that human beings of all ages and both genders like to feel appreciated.
With the fierce competition that exists for a buyer’s business, you definitely should appreciate it when they choose to do business with you instead of one of your competitors, and you should certainly let them know that their business is appreciated!
When a customer makes a purchase from you, a word of thanks should be included in the order confirmation email.
Along with saying thanks, it is also a good idea to periodically show your repeat customers that you appreciate them by offering them a good promo such as half price shipping or a special sale.
You have absolutely nothing to lose by expressing your thanks and appreciation, and a great deal to gain.
Always remember one of the basic axioms of sales: People buy from those they like.
If you show your appreciation and express gratitude for a customer’s patronage, and then award some type of benefit as recognition of their repeat, continued business, you are taking a giant step toward having that customer like you.
So, don’t forget those two little words and let your online dropshipping business buyers know that you appreciate them to keep them coming back!
Do you want to be number one and dominate the competition within your niche?
Frankly, unless you are in a pretty obscure niche, this is very hard to do, especially for a one man/woman show with a home business.
That being said, here are some tips to help you hold your own, if not actually lead the pack, within your niche:
- Create and build a community. This is one of the smartest things you can do to get an edge on the competition, and you can do it without spending a dime in most cases. People love the sense of belonging that goes along with being part of an online community. Give them that, and you have taken a giant stride toward niche domination. In a community, members can discuss your products or anything that correlates with your industry, besides share personal topics, etc. A community is also an excellent way to keep your ear to the ground for problems that may occur, and addressing them before they have time to grow.
- Drill down to a sub-niche. If your main niche is basically sewn up by giant competitors, then try to drill down to find and develop a niche within a niche. For example, if you sell camping equipment, maybe you could focus on one area of this niche such as camp chairs or air mattresses. It’s easier to be a big fish in a little pond!
- Give your customers a reason to be loyal instead of giving their business to one of your competitors. Being proactive and having a good customer loyalty program in place is critical to the ongoing success of your online business, for many reasons. This is something that you absolutely must do in order to get and keep repeat customers. Offer loyalty rewards and incentives to repeat customers to keep them true blue and coming back to you.
- Keep an eye on your competition. There are several good reasons for this, but one is that you can’t prevent your customers from being lured away unless you know what lures there are.
These tips will help you to maintain a competitive edge within your niche!
Start your own online dropship business today!
Start your own online dropship business today!
Do you find yourself chasing after so many things that before you know it, it’s the end of the day and you’ve gotten very little accomplished? Welcome to business in the 21st century.
With all of the avenues available for communicating, networking, and learning it can be more challenging than ever to manage your time effectively and productively. Even all of the so-called ‘productivity enhancing products’ can become time stealers.
So what do you do when you find your productivity has vanished? Implement this 3 step process to get yourself back on track.
Before you can fix the problem you should have a clear view of how you are actually spending your time, what you aren’t getting done, and what you need/want to accomplish. Sounds simple. The point is you can’t go to the resolution step if you don’t know what needs to be resolved or where it is you want to go. In addition, you should give some real thought to how you operate effectively. Some people use technology to keep themselves organized and effective. Other people need to use paper – as in making lists. And still others use a combination of paper and technology to create a system.
Whoever you are, use the system that works best for you. Trying to use web based productivity tools may not be the best method for you. Don’t use them if you aren’t wired that way (so to speak).
For the longest time I felt frustrated because I wasn’t getting my writing done. When I finally went through the discovery process I realized the following:
a. I write best in the morning
b. I was scheduling meetings and clients in the morning
c. I was getting in my own way and had created a situation that was an obstacle to my writing
Voila! I now knew why I was unproductive.
Once you complete Step 1, it’s time to figure out how to change your processes so you can improve your productivity. It may be as simple as changing when you do certain things. Of course, it depends on what was getting in your way.
I determined after some investigation that the best way for me to improve my productivity was to schedule clients and meetings in the afternoon. This way I could block out most mornings for writing. I was realistic regarding the meetings that were out of my control. The key was to deal with the mornings that were in my control. I also decided to wait to open my email until I had accomplished some tasks. I created a list the night before of all the things I needed/wanted to get done the next day. When I get up in the morning, I write and then I hit the list. I do not open my email until I have completed the most critical items. I can tell you that it is amazing how much you can get done if you are not checking your email all the time.
The point is this – I discovered that email was a distraction. It kept interrupting my train of thought. By postponing it I was able to be more productive. I still use this method.
Knowing who you are is critical in the decision phase. I’ve tried to use web based productivity tools. They didn’t work so well for me. I now use Outlook tasks, calendar, and to-do lists. That helps me stay productive. I also use pads of paper. The combination is a winner. That’s me. Your job is to decide based on your honest assessment of what works for you.
When you’ve identified how you work best, investigate the options available to you based on that information.
One comment about Social Media here – this can be a HUGE time stealer. My advice is to schedule the time you will devote to Social Media and what you will do with it. Any Social Media strategy should be built around what you hope to achieve through the use of S.M.
Now it’s time to put your plan into action. I’m not a big fan of major overhauls because they are hard to implement while trying to run a business or maintain a sales process. So, try one change at a time. Create a plan that will take place over a week or so. Gradually implement that plan and keep an eye on how you’re doing.
The best policy in my estimation is to take it one day at a time. Don’t worry about how you’re going to proceed two days from now; just get through today. Before you know it, you’ll have a system in place that has helped you increase your productivity. Then continue to monitor your behavior so you don’t find yourself in a situation where your performance falls down again.
If you find your plan isn’t working well, tweak it. This is a work in process. As times change and your business changes, you may find you need to change your process. That’s okay. When you are monitoring it, you’ll know fairly quickly what you need to do.
The easiest way to deal with productivity is to never let it get so out of hand that you need a major overhaul to repair your world. Paying attention, on a daily or weekly basis, to how you are meeting your goals and obligations will help you adjust before things get out of hand.
We all encounter times in our lives where we are challenged with maintaining a reasonable level of productivity. In this quick changing world it is easy to get caught up in minutia and lose a day. I don’t think many of us can afford to lose too many days. The quicker you discover what’s in your way and how you operate most effectively you will be able to decide on a plan of action to correct your process.
Once that decision is made, deploy – get cracking! Revisit this 3-step process whenever you find yourself losing momentum and productivity.
* * * * *
About the Author: Diane Helbig is a Professional Coach and the president of Seize This Day Coaching. Diane is a Contributing Editor on COSE Mindspring, a resource website for small business owners, as well as a member of the Sales Experts Panel at Top Sales Experts.
From Small Business Trends
It’s What Time?!
Home-based businesses employ more people in the United States than venture-capital backed companies.
This surprising fact — along with a number of other myth-busting facts — comes from a new report titled “Homepreneurs: A Vital Economic Force.” The report is culled from the recent Network Solutions Small Business Success Index (SBSI) survey, commissioned by Network Solutions, LLC and the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, along with some other federally-available data.
Successful homepreneurs are viable home-based businesses that provide at least 50% of their overall household income. Roughly 6.6 million home-based businesses fit the homepreneur description, yet according to the report, these businesses are:
“… the Rodney Dangerfields of the small business world, rarely regarded as significant players in the U.S. economy. Instead, the common perception is that home-based businesses are merely hobbies or side businesses contributing little to the business owner’s income or the overall economy.”
Steve King — one of the Small Business Trends Experts and principal at Emergent Research — authored the report. And what he points out about these “homepreneurs” is sure to challenge long-held biases.
“Homepreneurs are operating significant businesses that are as successful as non-home based businesses,” states Emergent’s report. “Even more noteworthy, their home-based businesses are important contributors to employment and the overall U.S. economy.”
Steve commented to me:
“I was very surprised to see that the home-based business sector employs more people than venture-capital backed companies. I was also surprised to see that home-based businesses scored as well on the Network Solutions Small Business Success Index as firms located outside the home. It turns out size and physical location aren’t predictors of competitiveness or success.”
The Small Business Success Index measures small business competitiveness on a scale from 1-100 along six key functional dimensions: capital access, marketing and innovation, work force, customer service, computer technology and compliance. Home-based businesses in the study scored within one point of non-home-based businesses in all six categories.
Here are some other myths this report puts to rest:
Myth: Home-based entrepreneurs are part-timers.
- Reality: The vast majority—75% — work full-time in their businesses.
Myth: Home-based businesses are short-lived.
- Reality: Nearly half of the homepreneurs in the survey had been in business for more than 15 years. Just 20% had been in business for less than five years.
Myth: Home-based entrepreneurs are solo entrepreneurs.
- Reality: Half of all homepreneurs have employees. The average number is two (including the owner), but 39% have between two and five , and 10% have more than five. Based on these numbers, Emergent Research estimates home-based businesses employ some 13.2 million Americans when you include their owners.
Myth: Home-based business owners don’t make much money.
- Reality: There are some 6.6 million home-based businesses that generate at least 50% of the owner’s total household income. Home-based businesses also account for about 34% of all small businesses that provide more than half of the owner’s household income. As for dollar figures, 35% of home-based businesses generate more than $125,000 in revenue; 8% make more than $500,000 annually.
“Due to everything from advances in technology to demographic and economic shifts, the number of homepreneurs is likely to surge over the next few years,” the study concludes. That makes now a better time than ever to fully understand the impact of these businesses on our economy.
To read the full study and find out more about home-based entrepreneurs, visit the Network Solutions Small Business Success Index site. Or, download the PDF report on homepreneurs here.
From Small Business Trends
Home-Based Businesses Employ More People Than Venture Backed Companies
On October 22nd, I announced the first in a series of videos that I did for UPS and provided a bit of the backstory behind the filming of the videos.
Today, I’m pleased to announce the second video. It’s about taking risks in business.
Even the most wildly successful entrepreneurs do not have 100% wins. They sometimes win — but they also fail. It’s just that the world remembers the wins which soon overshadow the failures.
If you’re like most rest of us, you too have had some business experience that did not go as well as you planned. But I am a glass-half-full person and look for the silver lining. I find that the experience gained from failures leads to success. In other words, it’s the lessons we learn from failure that help propel us eventually toward success.
“Next time it will be different,” I say to myself after something that does not go well.
The thing to remember is to have courage. Resist the temptation to curl up in a little ball. Instead — go out and try something new. To overcome failure you have to take risks.
That’s the focus of this second video, “Taking Risks in Business”:
Again, I would like to thank United Parcel Service (UPS) whose sponsorship made it possible for me to do the videos. I’d like to point out that several other people created videos in this series. You can find them all in a YouTube channel put together by PopURLS. The videos include:
- “The Economics of Abundance” featuring Mike Masnick of TechDirt;
- “Over-Communication” and “Think Local” featuring Matt Marshall of VentureBeat;
- “Monitoring Your Industry” and “Social Networking” featuring Adam Ostrow of Mashable;
- and last but not least, yours truly, Anita Campbell, in 2 videos releases so far, including “Partnering With Suppliers” and this latest video, “Taking Risks in Business.”
Please watch all the videos on PopurlsBrown’s Channel on YouTube and leave a comment to let us know what you think!
From Small Business Trends
Taking Risks in Business
Getting Bloggers to Write About You
This content from: Duct Tape Marketing
I get daily pitches from PR folks and business owners asking me to write about their news, launch, product, or survey. On one hand, I still think it’s awfully cool that people think enough of blogs and this blogger to pitch me. (Can’t imaging what some really big blogs endure.)
On the other hand, I sure see my share of really bad pitches. I mean the kind that would certainly qualify as spam. These pitches come from some of the biggest names in the PR industry (who should know better) as well as fledgling business start-ups (whom I’m more likely to forgive )
Blog, tweet and fan page coverage is great, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to get it. I offer my 5 Tips for Getting More Exposure from Bloggers, Tweeters and Fans (a systematic approach) in this week’s article for AMEX OpenForum
How Zen Does a Small Biz Need to Be?
This content from: Duct Tape Marketing
Leo is not my typical marketing/business expert type guest but Leo’s personal story and the subject he writes about are important lessons for small business owners.
As business owners we are totally free – free to work 80 hours a week, free to carry the stress of making payroll, free to eat junk food at our desk, and free to blow off any semblance of exercise, because, really, who’s got the time. Essentially, we’re all a bunch of heart attacks waiting to happen, but at least we’re free to have the heart attack on our terms, right?
I’ve been doing this for a long time and I can tell you that an entrepreneur’s diet, exercise routine, and stress release activities are just as important as any marketing plan every devised. Owning a business is not for sissies. Leo’s message of doing more with less is a breathe of fresh air and I count it as a daily.
So, take a long, deep, totally centered breath and have a listen. Namaste
So how does drop shipping work? Watch this quick video to see how dropshipping works and how Drop Ship Access can help you!!
Start your own online dropship business today!
One of the neat things about being a small business owner is how creative you can be in your marketing efforts. Earlier this week, local search expert Chris Silver Smith shared yet another long tail search opportunity for SMB owners using Google Custom Maps to try and attract new eyeballs. And it’s actually kind of fun!
A few years ago, Google introduced My Maps, which allowed users to create personalized maps with their own placemarks and area information. It was part of the UGC crazy and allowed people to make maps for virtually anything they found interesting. Once created, map owners could build them out and optimize them by adding descriptive text, photos and video and then share them with others on the Web.
They’re fun. But how can a small business owner taken advantage?
According to Chris, these maps are more than just fun. They’re a great long tail search tactic.
Because of the nature by which most people search, if optimized correctly these custom Maps can receive a LOT of traffic. I moved to Troy, NY a year ago. And when I got here I would often search directly within Google Maps to find local establishments. Google Maps and Yelp was how I found coffee shops with wifi, a salon to get my hair cut, places to eat, etc. I’m not the only one taking advantage of Google’s Search Nearby functionality. Lots of people do it. And if you can hit on something with a large search volume, Google will display your UGC map right along with the regular map results.
Take a look at a search for Catalina Island, CA.
Google is also showing UGC maps on the newly-launched Google Place Pages. And if you’ve filled out a Google Profile, you can drive traffic back to your main site by including a link in your profile.
So how can SMB owners take advantage?
Think of a value-add map that you could create to highlight local areas. Maybe you can create a map of the best date spots in your town, highlighting your restaurant. Or if you’re an independent theater, how about the best places to see a movie? Or the best pumpkin picking spots in your areas? Or all the vendors in town you’d need to plan a wedding?
Often being helpful and creating something that betters the community is an excellent way to brand yourself as an expert in a certain area and expose you to more customers. Because you get to completely fill out (and optimize) the content located within all the Google Maps info bubbles, you’ll also benefit from having more content in Google. Use the keywords that people would be searching for in Google Maps in order to find you, but also think outside the box a bit.
Once you have your idea, create your map following the super easy instructions below:
- Go to Google Maps
- Click My Maps
- Click Create new map.
- Add a title and description for your map.
- Decide whether the map should be public or unlisted. Public maps are automatically included in Google Maps search.
- Use the icons in the top left corner of the map. These include:
- Selection tool. Use this to drag the map and select placemarks, lines and shapes.
- Placemark tool. Use this to add placemarks.
- Line tool. Use this to draw lines.
- Shape tool. Use this to draw shapes.
Being a small business owner gives you a license to be creative and creating custom Maps is super easy. Use it to your advantage!