How to grow your online shop: 7 social media marketing strategies

Growth is something every online shop owner worries about. With so many social media marketing strategies out there, it can be difficult to know what tactics are most effective.

To help you along your ecommerce journey, we’re going over seven strategies you can easily implement to grow your online shop.

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Post compelling content frequently

If you want to grow your brand on social media, consistently posting great content is non-negotiable. Users react more favorably to businesses they regularly see in their feeds, leading to more engagement and trust.

However, you don’t need to go overboard and start spamming your followers. Simply create a schedule that works for you and commit to it.

Automate word-of-mouth with social reviews

Reviews are this century’s word-of-mouth.

Having product review apps on your shop’s site creates trust and leads to more sales. When your customers are happy, they’ll want to convince others to buy from you too, so let them share the love!

Make it easy to share your products

Add social share buttons to your site, particularly for Pinterest. If a customer likes your item but can’t buy it right away, they can pin it for later.

Even better, someone else might see that pin they’ve saved of your awesome product and click onto your website. Your potential customers are doing some of the marketing for you!

Be active on the right #hashtags

Hashtags can be a little complicated, because there’s different rules for different social channels. Luckily, there are tools available to find ones that align with your brand, aren’t oversaturated, and will yield the best results.

It’s also a great idea to create your own shop-specific hashtag. This encourages your customers to post photos with your products using that tag.

Align your posts with a trending topic

When you post about what people want to read about, both on your social media and on your shop’s blog, you’ll naturally attract potential clients. If you properly utilize SEO in your posts, it’s easier for people to find you.

If you need help in this area, SMR Digital is an organic search agency providing link outreach, SEO, PPC and social media marketing services.

Invest in an infographic

Infographics are a quick and visually-appealing way to help your customers make informed decisions, or educate them about your brand.

Here are some templates to give you a few ideas.

Make your Instagram shoppable

There used to be a big hurdle driving traffic from Instagram. Now, for business pages, it couldn’t be easier and a great way to grow your online shop!

The same way you’d tag any other account, you can now create product tags. These shoppable posts allow users to tap and see prices, then click through to purchase. They fit in seamlessly and don’t come across as spammy.

 

3 Reasons Why Your Small Business Will Fail (Unless You Take Action)

According to research, only 50% of businesses survive at the five-year mark of starting out. At the ten-year mark, only a third of those businesses remain open. Scary? Absolutely, especially if you are an entrepreneur looking to begin a small business any time soon. The figure is bleak, although hope isn’t lost. There is some comfort if you’re a glass-half-full type of person in knowing that your business still has an opportunity to survive (if you’re in the successful 50% after five years) and that success is still possible if you begin to understand why some businesses fail, and why others succeed.

In this article, we will consider some of the reasons why many businesses fail, but will also give you some tips on how to take action to prevent the same happening to your business. With good planning and effective management, there is hope for you, regardless of the shocking statistics that cause many a business owner worry.

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Business Failure #1: Poor financial management

Your business will fail if you don’t have control over your income and expenditure. Trying to grow your business too fast, paying over the odds on technology and other business equipment, and poor pricing strategies, are just some of the reasons why you may get into financial difficulty. Many businesses run at a loss in their first year of business, so steps need to be taken. Don’t run before you can walk is a useful motto, so it pays to be steady in the way you move your business forward. Growth will come later; in the first few years, you need to find ways to survive financially. Cost-cutting is key, as is only purchasing items that are essential for the everyday running of your business. Hiring an accountant is one expense that could be considered necessary, as is making use of accountancy tools that can be downloaded onto your computer or smartphone. Planning is key, so using the resources that are available to you, find better ways to budget and manage your finances to ensure you don’t run out too soon.

Business Failure #2: Failing to match the competition

Your business is one of many, and you not only have to match the little guys in your industry, but there are also the business giants online and off that are threatening your time in the business world. While it’s difficult to have a completely unique USP, you still need to find ways to be different to those other businesses around you, as well as maintaining a professional image to ensure clients, customers and investors take you seriously as a business owner. So, in terms of differences, remember to create your brand identity to help you stand out from other businesses at the outset. Then find ways to beat the competition, perhaps by offering a better level of customer service, offering better pricing policies, and delivering a superior product or service.

Look for ways to appear professional, even if you’re only a small business entrepreneur operating from your bedroom. Having a professionally produced website is a start, so outsource this to a web development company if your skills aren’t up to scratch. And then consider a virtual business address, which is far more professional than having your home address as your contact details. To answer the question, how do I get a virtual business address for my company, follow the link for one low-cost example. By matching (or beating) the competition, and by maintaining a professional image, you will stand a greater chance of success.

Business Failure #3: Failing to market effectively

When starting out in business, there is no place for the wallflower. You need to shout your arrival from the rooftops, ensuring consumers are alerted to your existence in the business world. By considering every marketing tool at your disposal, you need to promote your worth, telling future customers why they need to consider your business over those that operate a similar service to you. Of course, as a fledgling small business, money is a key. You may spend your money on a marketing campaign at the beginning, and have very little to spend later on. Thankfully, there are low-cost ways to market your businesses, without you having to run the risk of financial ruin within the first few months of opening your doors. You should then make an effort to commit to marketing throughout the course of your business, never resting on your laurels after one campaign, as your business rivals are always set on snatching your customers away from you.

Finally

Is your business doomed to fail? Will your business face bankruptcy? We hope not. You should be applauded for opening up in business anyway, despite the risks. To ensure your survivability, heed our advice, and commit to research in all facets of the industry you are involved in, ensuring you stay relevant for many years to come. We wish you every success.

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How to start a dropshipping business in 3 steps

How to start a dropshipping business from scratch

Dropshipping is an excellent way to start business without having to worry about inventory or delivery. It allows businesspeople to get good profit without investing much time and money. Running a dropshipping business doesn’t need much efforts, while starting it is as easy as ABC.

How does dropshipping business work?

Dropshipping business model is really simple.

Let’s see how it works:

  • You find a supplier, contact him and take pictures and descriptions of the products you want to dropship;
  • You post the chosen products on your own dropshipping website;
  • A customer goes on your website, gets interested in the products, orders some and pays for them;
  • You contact a supplier, place the same order as your customer and ask the supplier to deliver the order to your customer’s address;
  • The customer receives the package and the deal is completed.

In fact, you provide intermediary services between the clients and the suppliers and get money by marking up the supplier’s prices. A piece of cake, right?

What are the strengths of this type of business?

Before moving to how to start a dropshipping business, it’s necessary to study the main benefits of running your own dropshipping business.

  • Dropshipping is ideal for newcomers

Starting and running a dropshipping business is really simple even if you have no experience in ecommerce and Internet marketing. Most of the job is done by the supplier – inventory issues, stocking and shipping are not your concern.

  • You are free and independent

You can easily work from home or from any place you like – you don’t depend on a specific location. Thanks to the dropshipping you can achieve a lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of.

  • You save a huge sum of money

You don’t need to buy goods, rent warehouses or hire employees, so by starting dropshipping business your costs will be minimal.

How to start a dropshipping business?

If the process and the advantages of this type of ecommerce business are clear, it’s time to go through the main steps needed to start a dropshipping business.

Step 1: Choose a niche

If somebody told you that any niche you have chosen can bring you profit it’s a whopping lie. Without any knowledge and interest in the products you’re selling you will not make good in dropshipping business. Identify your own needs and wishes and starting out from them try to find products that could be interesting and helpful for other people.

If you still have some difficulties when choosing a niche, use the following tips:

  • Ask your family, friends and workmates what they are short of and pick up some ideas;
  • Check the lists of bestsellers on the most popular platforms like AliExpress, Amazon, eBay, etc.
  • Download and read some guides on how to find the most profitable niches.

Please note: do not choose a broad niche, because it will be a tough thing to understand your audience’s needs and make the right business decisions. The narrower the niche is, the more clients and orders you will get.

Step 2: Find suppliers

This is one of the most important decisions you’ll make, so do it wisely. Here is how.

First, if you know exactly what you want to sell, google for the suppliers, contact them and ask whether it’s possible to do dropshipping business with them. If they’re not interested in your collaboration offer, do not feel bad, because these things happen all the time. Just contact other suppliers and one day you will be in luck.

Secondly, you can turn attention to the big online stores like AliExpress, Amazon or eBay. On AliExpress, for example, all suppliers are verified, so that’s a real long shot to meet non-responsible manufactures.

Step 3: Choose a platform for dropshipping

To start a dropshipping business, you need a platform where your products will be placed.

You can use:

  • Established marketplaces

Platforms like Amazon or eBay allow users to create their own webstores within the website. These offers don’t guarantee you independence: you will have to pay lots of fees and build your store so that it suits specific requirements.

  • Blogs or social networks accounts

In general, blogs and social media are designed to connect like-minded people, but these days they are also used by entrepreneurs to run their e-commerce business. Unfortunately, they are not developed well enough to make payments or place orders, so they are inconvenient for buyers.

  • Personal dropshipping webstores

Having your own dropshipping website is probably the most convenient way of running an e-commerce business, because it has a range of significant benefits:

  • Higher level of client confidence;
  • Independence in business decision making;
  • Technical convenience.

Besides that, you can create a dropshipping website on your own or buy a turnkey solution from the dropshipping business professionals. It costs some money but saves your time.

Actually, these actions are enough to start a dropshipping business and make money. However, don’t relax, because the work is not finished. The next steps will be related to promoting a dropshipping website, attracting more people and maintaining relationships with your clients. Good luck!

How to Raise Money For Your Start-Up Today

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One of the greatest challenges any entrepreneur faces in terms of starting their own business is ensuring that they have enough capital behind them to launch.  The word ‘capital’ relates to the amount of money a business has in its bank that is required to launch the business; taking it from the idea stage into something more tangible.

Funding your business is both an art and science.

There are many things to consider, and it can get very tiring to keep all the plates spinning; where one second you’re having HR meetings and the next you’re having finance meetings with your bank manager whilst also resolving a customer service issue.  It can be exhausting.

Raising capital is rarely an easy task, and for many entrepreneurs it can be a scary process – going before a panel of investors and being grilled about their business or securing a sizeable business loan on their house, can all be very stressful.

Entrepreneur’s can face immense emotional pressure and work very long hours; all the time knowing the odds are heavily stacked against them, but the one thing that allows them to turn their vision into reality is to have plenty of capital behind them, and this doesn’t have to be in the form of loans.  If you are looking for an invoice finance company you’ll be surprised by how helpful and flexible they can be; this is where a finance company offers you a loan based on invoices that are due in the future.

This article offers three suggestions for raising capital:

GET A BUSINESS LOAN

The most traditional route for setting up a small business is to get a business loan from a bank.  This is one of the most easy, reliable, and independent ways of financing your business as you retain complete control of your company, because you aren’t having to offer equity to external investors; and sometimes convincing one person can be a lot easier than multiple investors.  

The downside, however, is that this finance is usually secured on an asset such as your home.

FRIENDS AND FAMILY

In some ways, the best place to look for financing your start-up are to your own savings account, yet there’s a good chance your savings have already been invested to get you this far, meaning you might need to turn to friends and family for some support.

If you have people who are open to backing your business for a small incentive (such as interest on the loan or equity in the business) this is one of the cheapest ways to raise finance, that said, it can result in a stressful experience that can ruin friendships.

CROWDFUNDING

A recent trend in raising start-up capital is crowdfunding; this is where you pitch your idea on an online platform such as www.crowdfunding.com and strangers pledge cash to back your idea.

Crowdfunding is particularly effective if your project has an element of social value about it or a sense of “giving back” as people are keen to back projects with a compelling social story.  

Reasons To Start Trading Today

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If you have a business or you are looking for a new avenue to travel down in your career, one of the things you may have thought about is trading. Trading is a simple way to do business and can be incredibly lucrative for anyone involved. If you want to become more successful this year and grow your business or personal brand, you should start trading.

A wider market

The issue many businesses have, especially during hard times in the economy, is relying on one particular market for all of your business. If you are working with a product or service which is very niche, it can be difficult to make enough of an impact to grow and develop as a company. By adding trading to your roster you will be able to spread your wings and open yourself up to a wider market. By doing this you have more financial stability and you have the chance to stand out in your industry and get ahead of your competition. You can use an automated trading software for trading if you don’t think you’ll have the time during the week to work on it.

Better chance of success

Trading is always a great way to increase your sales because you are opening yourself up to an international market. You will be in front of many more people than you were before and therefore you have a much bigger chance of successful sales. People will come to you for their needs and you will be able to gain some amazing success outside your regular sales channels.

More efficient

The beauty of trading internationally is that you will be able to sell to a wider range of people and suit a wider range of needs throughout your year. One of the biggest benefits you will see if that you will no longer have to worry about seasonal dips in sales. For example if you are a garden furniture company, you may be used to suffering from low sales during the September- February period. However, in the Southern Hemisphere this is summer, so where your sales will drop in the northern part of the world, it will peak in the southern part. Trading internationally can make a massive difference to your business and allow it to run more efficiently.

Productivity

Another great benefit of trading internationally is that your business productivity will go up dramatically without you even having to do anything. The mere presence of trading in your business will make you more productive and allow you to carry out business passively throughout the working week. More work will be done throughout you working week without having to hire an extra and or carry out lots of new jobs!

Financial stability

When you decide to bring trading in as part of your wider business, one of the advantages you will notice right away is the fact that you don’t suffer as much with any financial issues the country is facing. When you trade alongside your regular business, you are making sure that you have a stable form of income streaming through to your business throughout the year. It means that you won’t suffer from those dips in sales because you have money coming in from elsewhere. For a small business in particular this can be incredibly helpful and save you from falling through and into debt,

The ability to grow

When you put your business up in the trading market you are bringing your brand to the forefront of many different people’s minds. The beauty of being in front of a wider audience is that you will be able to gain more feedback on the workings of your products. By having more opinions on your products, you will be able to work to change your products and evolve them so that they are more successful and in keeping with what the customer wants. You will be able to grow and expand your business by pleasing your customers and giving them what they want.

When you think about getting into the world of trading, remember that it will be a risk to take however it can be a brilliant decision for yourself and your company. Trading is such a diverse way of doing business which can fit every industry. No matter what size your business is or the type of products you sell, taking part in trade can bring you in front of a bigger audience, allow you to improve your products and make more money overall. It’s a win win situation.