Working from home opportunities have flourished in the past few decades. Many small businesses are run from private homes. How do they do it?
There are a few secrets that lead to having a successful home based business. If you know them, your business will experience greater success in a smaller amount of time.
Photo Credits: Lea Latumahina‘s Flickr
Home Based Mental Preparations
Professional Workspace – It’s important to be able to create a professional work environment for yourself. Set aside a completely separate space in the home where you’ll work.
This way, when you sit down to work, your subconscious is automatically programmed to transition into work mode.
Mental Skills – Have a healthy grasp of the skills you need to work as productively as possible. The very foundation of every successful startup is hinged upon positive core beliefs.
You must truly believe in yourself, your products and your mission in order to be successful. A home based business is no different.
From your core beliefs you’ll be able to set and achieve clearly defined goals. Knowing what these are and what steps to take in order to attain them is paramount.
In addition, make sure you establish step by step procedures and routines that are focused on your goals.
Isolation – Running a home based business generally means that you’re isolated from groups of people for copious amounts of time. Even if you’re an introvert and thoroughly enjoy being alone, sometimes being isolated can have negative effects.
When this happens, it can cause you to become far less productive or focused and eventually lead to depression.As in everything, you need moderation. Make sure you spend enough time being social in some way.
Depending upon your personality this could mean simply spending time responding to family and friends on Facebook or some other social media outlet.
Keep this balanced so that you don’t suddenly find yourself lonely or depressed.
Home Based Success Preparations
Photo Credits: Maegan Tintari‘s Flickr
Juggling Responsibilities – As CEO of your home based business, you’re responsible for research and development, product sales/delivery, profit and loss, accounts receivable/payable, marketing, strategy, quality assurance, growth and expansion. This means you’ll be spread very thin.
The secret is to keep track of everything, especially in the beginning. If you follow the guidelines set forth in ‘mental preparations,’ you’ll have specific goals and step by step procedures already in place that will save you time and maintain your sanity.
Delegation – Face it, at some point, you’re going to have to outsource or build a team in-house. In order to delegate effectively you need to have a clear understanding of your weaknesses. As you grow, you should be aware of your financials, so you’ll know what you can afford.
Find experts who can bring more to the table than you do so that you can realign your focus on the aspects that you’re especially skilled at.
Team Building – Your team can consist of in-house members or those whom you subcontract work out to. Either way, you want to structure your team so that every single aspect of your business is adequately covered.
For example, if you outsource social media marketing, make sure you find someone who does it better than you.
Home Based Branding
Content creation and distribution is of vital importance to companies because they’re not as exposed as a traditional ‘brick and mortar’ business.
Social media has been and continues to be a vortex of constant changes. Because of that, it can be quite hard to come up with an effective marketing strategy that targets the right networks. Thus, eCommerce strategies often end up getting changed.
Still, the amount of leads that come from Social Networking platforms is too good to pass up. That’s why eCommerce websites have to stay in the loop and react to new trends accordingly.
One of the main ways to promote a company on social media is through ads. However, this is actually a pretty bad marketing strategy in the long run. If you want to know why, read our article on the subject.
Without further ado, let’s see why eCommerce Strategies need to put a lot of emphasis on social media networks.
Social media is a great place to get leads
I think it’s important to understand what a positive influence social media can have on your business. It’s the best place to connect with possible clients and raise brand awareness. You’re achieving success, one post at a time.
Besides the huge number of people who use it, it’s also important to mention that people tend to share links very often on social media. That means that if you promote yourself in a unique and approachable way, you can expect it to snowball by itself because of people sharing your content.
Another interesting and fairly new thing is the shift that consumers are currently going through. They know all too well that companies make great efforts to provide useful information on social media networks.
We can see in this infographic that more and more people started searching for products directly on social media instead of using search engines.
Social networking websites are constantly making changes and adding new features in order to help companies with their promotion strategy.
For example, Facebook has introduced a feature called “Instant Articles” that helps establish a connection between the companies that publish articles and their readers.
Basically, social media is becoming more and more welcoming for companies that want to do their marketing there. Both the users and the networks themselves are changing in order to create better brand promotion strategies.
The competition is fierce, but the possibilities are worth the hassle
Since social media networks are constantly changing and new features that help sales keep popping up, there are a lot of opportunities for companies that want to make it big.
That also means that your competition will be bringing their A-game.
After all, with such a high chance of a new “big thing” appearing out of nowhere, you can bet that a lot of people, both companies and consumers, will be ready to jump on the bandwagon. If you’re not there in time, you stand to lose a lot of possible buyers, and I really doubt you’d like that.
I’ll give you an example.
A lot of companies are investing in new virtual reality technologies. When that tech becomes available to the general public, we’ll most likely see a whole new way of doing marketing. Maybe you could make your eCommerce website 3D to give people a real-life shopping experience. That sounds really awesome.
I expect big corporations to already be working on promoting themselves in this new medium, but you can be sure that a lot of smaller companies will also get a great deal of success by riding this wave.
It can turn into such an important thing that companies that don’t adopt new ways of promoting themselves will be left in the dust.
Well-researched eCommerce strategies help you understand what to sell and who to sell to
Social media is also the best place to keep your ear to the ground.
A strong presence on social media can be the key to attracting leads. Furthermore, if you have the time, you can actively search for them yourself.
News about what’s popular right now usually first spreads on social media, so it’s also a great place to help you choose new products or services that you could provide.
If, for example, a lot of people are talking about some new line of clothing, eCommerce websites that sell clothes will make a lot more money by including those trends in their eCommerce strategies, especially if they place a huge emphasis on the content creation process.
Being active on social media and interacting with your audience is a sure-fire way of knowing what you’re doing right and what you can improve. If you listen to people when they give you feedback, you can be sure that they’ll also listen to you when you give them news and information about your business.
Don’t think it will be a walk in the park though. I’m talking about real interactions, as in your customers say something on your page or about you, and you respond. Don’t think that your clientele will feel particularly connected to you if you take more than a week to answer someone.
As a closing statement, I’d like to say that you should try to stay up-to-date when it comes to any kind of marketing trends, not just the ones related to social media.
If some relatively unknown or completely new tactic becomes popular overnight, you can be sure that it happened because it works well.
I’m not saying that you should chase every trend out there, but I’m sure that from time to time, something will come that you’ll really like and want to try. It would be a shame to overlook it or find out about it too late. Knowledge is power, right?
We’ve previously discussed the subject of ads while talking about content marketing strategies for your eCommerce business. Today, I’m going to get into why ads are just a short-term solution for eCommerce websites. What’s more, that isn’t even the only downside.
Ads have been around for a long time, but they have lost some of their popularity in recent years. I personally think that things are going as they should. I doubt that ads are going to disappear anytime soon, but now we have better ways to handle marketing.
Here are some solid arguments why ads aren’t a long-term strategy:
They don’t encourage customers to be loyal
I admit that there are a lot of things to think about when making a social media ad campaign, but, in the end, the target audience experiences the same thing: They’re told square in the face that they should buy something. And that’s it.
Most people will just shrug and ignore the message. For those who were thinking about making a purchase, it might be the push that actually makes them buy, but that’s about it.
Even though some will buy, don’t expect them to care about the company after they make the purchase.
The only way they will ever think about that website again is if the product was extremely good, which doesn’t have anything to do with the ads.
Afterward, they’ll still be invested and there’s a good chance they will want to buy again in the future, or, at the very least, tell others about your brand. Ads don’t work that way. They just ask people to buy.
In case you’re wondering how content can make your brand more memorable. They’ll give you all the answers you need.
That means that when your eCommerce website stops paying for the ads, the people they were bringing in will stop coming. That leads to our next point.
Ads are fairly expensive
If you ever checked Google to see how much social media ads cost, you probably thought “Wow, that’s pretty cheap”. Yeah, it would be if the competition for certain demographics wasn’t so high.
In reality, you end up spending quite a lot. Plus, the results might not even be that spectacular.
If that’s the case, you’re just wasting your time because you’re not making much money, and your brand isn’t growing in any meaningful way either.
The positive aspect is that it takes very little time, especially when compared to content marketing. Even so, I think that it’s not worth it.
If you really want to use social media ads, don’t completely rely on them. They should be part of a strategy, not the strategy itself.
Content marketing, on the other hand, has a better return on investment as it requires less money and the effect of a successful campaign, besides lasting much longer, can bring even more sales.
Always calculate how much money you put into ads and how much the customers coming from those ads actually spend on your online store.
It goes against the idea of social media
No one is saying that companies should stay away from social media. Quite the opposite.
The thing is that people come on social media to unwind, start discussions and connect with others, not to buy something.
Ads just take people by surprise and urge them to spend money when all they want to do is talk to friends or tell others about their day.
The public generally dislikes ads because they are disruptive. Maybe they’re helpful for some, but, in most cases, they’re just a distraction. If someone will remember the name of the company that posted the ads, they will most likely not have a good opinion about them.
Content, on the other hand, is a welcome sight for users, since it gives them the option to choose when to look over the information. It’s supposed to be interesting and provide useful knowledge to the people who read it.
But that doesn’t mean that content doesn’t encourage them to buy. It generally has calls to action. The difference is that ads are just calls to action.
Ads only promote the products, not the eCommerce website
This probably doesn’t come as a surprise to you, but I want to make sure that you fully understand the implications of this fact. Just promoting your products does lead to sales, but that’s about it. Ideally, you want people to remember your website as well.
You may attract one-time clients this way, but next time they want to buy something, there is no guarantee they’ll come back to your website. They might see an ad for a different website and go there instead.
It’s important to promote your brand and make it as recognizable and as memorable as possible.
Think of any huge company. Their brand is immediately recognizable. People know about their business even if they have no interest in the company itself.
Ads don’t help with this at all. Your website and brand don’t evolve in any real way with ads. They just keep being average.
The bottom line is this: Ads aren’t a long-term solution because all they do is boost sales only on the short-term while the lifetime value of a customer will remain very low. That’s simply not enough. A business should always try to grow.
For that, you’ll need a way to keep your clients invested and make your brand well-known. Ads only boost profits, but those profits should be invested in a marketing strategy that also focuses on long-term results.
The company that is paying for ads can use other strategies to get better results, and that goes double for eCommerce websites because of the huge competition on the market.
Social media networks are turning people away with ads. People don’t want to read ads, since they have better things to do, and they also don’t like being treated like walking wallets.
If you agree with me, and are interested in coming up with a content marketing strategy for your own eCommerce business, I suggest you take a look at this article.
I know it can be tough, especially in the beginning, but the end results will be worth it. Having just a little bit of information can go a long way, so imagine what 7 well-explained steps can do for you.
If you work in eCommerce, this article is right up your alley. There’s no denying that content marketing has become the norm when it comes to how businesses promote their brands.
Businesses like yours have the most to gain from using this digital marketing strategy, as generating interest and attracting more visitors to websites are two of its major strong points.
Ecommerce strategies need careful planning, since owning a site is very different than owning a real life store. Therefore, using the same marketing tactics is not a good option. No one will see your website walking on their way home.
The chances of someone stumbling upon your site are very small. If you’d try to see the internet as a road, you’d come to the conclusion that it’s a pretty long one.
That means that if you want a constant influx of clients, you’ll have to invest in advertising. Word-of-mouth marketing isn’t as effective now, not when there are so many cat videos that distract everybody. That’s a serious problem, because lack of promotion is the number one reason why these types of sites usually fail. Take a look at a few reasons why you might want to give this type of marketing a try.
The Content is Long-Lasting and Can Be Reused
Content marketing is about creating interest through, you’ve guessed it, content. The beauty of it is that it doesn’t expire like, let’s say, ads.
Now imagine providing great content several times a week. Not only will you attract a constant stream of new people, but they will also want to spend more time on your site.
Having a blog combined with social media posts can help you further explain to people why they should buy your products.
Also, articles about topics related to your products are a great way to keep people invested. After all, visitors won’t be in a buying mood all the time, but they could still be interested in the subject.
The truth is that you can’t expect everyone who shows interest to buy something from you. However, you shouldn’t think of those people as being less important. They have friends, and if they like you enough, they might tell those friends about you, and maybe they will make a purchase. It’s called free publicity.
The best part is that once the content is created and published, it’s not necessarily the end of its journey. If, for example, the topic of an older article becomes relevant or important again, the article can be republished after making a few changes or additions. If you’re lucky, the changes won’t even be necessary.
The Search Engine Optimization Software
SEO, for short, is an invaluable aspect that helps content marketing agencies get as many people as possible to see their content. The Squirrly SEO plugin offers guidelines and ideas on how to create content that will be relevant and easy to find for people who are searching for something related to the topic.
Let’s say that your job is to sell clothes on the internet.
An agency could create content about clothes or fashion to match your eCommerce strategies. When people will search for those keywords, they’ll find the content which will have a link to your site. If people like it, then they will probably click on the link and go to your site, thus greatly increasing your website traffic.
SEO and content marketing go hand in hand, and together they deliver the best results for business growth. High search results rankings will help you stay one move ahead of your major competitors, so being successful when it comes to organic search is essential.
Becoming a Trusted Source of Information
As you might imagine, people generally do a bit of research on a product before buying. Moreover, many decide to buy products based on what they see on the internet.
If a business would have the means to guide and inform people about what they should own, selling products would be a breeze.
For example, fashionistas who want to be up-to-date with the latest trends and look their best are always interested in reading magazines and blogs about fashion and clothing.
This can easily be applied to eCommerce strategies. It goes without saying that sites in the fashion industry would greatly benefit from using blogs and magazines created by marketing agencies to engage with their audiences. If they are consistent with their content marketing efforts, these sites wouldn’t just be riding the wave, they’d be the ones making the waves in the first place.
Ecommerce Strategies using Content Marketing: An Example of Success
To get a better idea on how much success an eCommerce company can achieve using content marketing, look no further than the retail clothing company Betabrand.
Their key to success is quite simple: They’re just being themselves. Betabrand didn’t try to act like something they’re not.
The company bills itself as 99% fiction, 1% fashion.
The fun and quirky content posted on their site and their unique way of promoting themselves have attracted the attention of many. You’re not generally looking for a laugh when browsing for new pants, but they provide it nevertheless, and it turned out to be a great idea.
Betabrand can’t produce large quantities of clothes, so they chose a different route: sell just a few items, but make them wildly different from just about anything else. When buying something from them, you’re not just getting something to wear, you’re also getting a boost of personality. Personality is something they seem to have in spades, considering they release a new product every week in limited quantity.
The company is very active and always interacts with the community they built online. They even crowd-source ideas for new clothes. This way, they managed to build a great image for themselves. Consumer and prospects see the company as a fun and creative friend rather than some boring vendor.
The image turned out to be very beneficial for the company, as people are rushing to buy their products despite the prices.
Betabrand is just one of the many companies that made it big by harnessing the power of content marketing. If you now understand the huge influence content can have on your business, I suggest you start looking for the right agency to represent you.
If need more convincing on why eCommerce and content marketing are a match made in heaven, no problem, you can read more about it on our blog. You’ll be happy you did.
Magento has become the biggest platform for open commerce innovation. They achieved this by involving not only other businesses in their content marketing campaign, but clients as well.
If you want to find out how your eCommerce website can also attain success like them, read on.
Magento didn’t just give content marketing a try, they really committed to it.
Their blog has new content at least once a week, but usually much more often, and the email-based lead nurturing strategy they use is extremely effective.
I’m going to give you a rundown of their way of doing business and give my opinion on the matter. I think it would be useful for you to compare your own eCommerce website with theirs, and see how it can be improved.
The Open Source Platform You Can Use for Your eCommerce Website
Magento didn’t just create a platform, keep the code for themselves and ask for money from those who want to use it like many other companies do.
Instead, they choose to make it open source and free. This is the type of philosophy you should also follow when you create content, give business-related insight, and offer useful information to your audience.
This means that any aspiring programmer can try to outfit the platform with new features and improvements, and that’s exactly what happened.
Furthermore, this has contributed a great deal to their success because they stood out from the crowd as a thought leader, a company that wanted to work together with others to make sure everyone wins.
They actively involve their clients, and their openness and willingness to share information has made them very respected among eCommerce businesses.
The Magento Enterprise edition is an improved version of the core platform. This version isn’t free, but it also has more features and offers better flexibility. With a free version and a paid version, Magento has its cake and eats it too.
A lesson you should learn from Magento’s example is that keeping the secrets of your trade to yourself is not always the best option.
They went the other way, and look how big they are now. Providing valuable information through content to companies and people alike is always a great way to build recognition and showcase your expertise.
Magento became the giant it is today by sharing with others, so make sure your content marketing strategy is built on the same principle.
Confidence in Content Marketing
As I said in the beginning of the article, Magento has a very active blog. I want to make it clear that just posting often doesn’t mean anything. It can even be detrimental.
Sure, you should have new content at least once a week so you keep your audience interested, but if you don’t think you can uphold the quality standards, you should work with an agency.
Quality over Quantity
Magento doesn’t only post often, but they also post high-quality content. From relevant news to useful tips, they make sure that people have a reliable source of material they want to read.
Don’t just think that it’s easy to do it. Sure, the people there might like to write, but you can bet that they invest a lot of time and money in order to keep it up. There are many ways of doing content marketing right, and all of them require dedication.
Content Is King when Distribution Is Queen
Magento is also very active on social media.
That’s not exactly a groundbreaking tactic, but they don’t stop there: Besides providing a lot of content, they also interact with their audience and clients, helping them in every way they can.
Moreover, don’t assume they use social media for tech support, as they have their own forums. It’s just that they don’t turn away clients.
Not enough companies do that. It proves that you care. Since you provide personal content for your audience, what better way to provide it than actually interacting with them?
Try to be just as dedicated to your audience as they are to you, and you’ll see how much your clients will appreciate it.
Make sure that you also spend time with the audience on social media. The company account shouldn’t be just an outlet for content. It should be your best platform on which you communicate with leads and clients.
Nurture Your Community
Further proof that Magento goes the extra mile is the annual conference they organize. At this conference, they share eCommerce ideas and provide networking opportunity sessions.
I realize that most companies can’t just organize an event this big, but I still think you should keep in mind how beneficial it is both for your image and for the attendants because of the insight they gain regarding the industry.
Sending Useful Information via Email
Lastly, I’d like to also talk a bit about their efforts to send personal and useful emails. We’re not talking about your generic “Come see our stuff” emails. They only send messages that they know will be relevant for the people who get them.
Never send soulless spam emails to the people who subscribed to your newsletter. They subscribed so they can get new content and news from you as fast as possible, so don’t bombard them with ads.
What You Should Learn from All This
I know that not everyone has access to all the resources Magento has, but they serve as a great example of how to grow your business and your audience with content marketing. You don’t have to perfectly emulate them, but keep their strategies in mind, since there’s no denying that they work.
Clients like to feel like they matter to you individually and that you think of them as more than just walking wallets.
Show that you value them with your content, and interact with them as much as possible. They’re not faceless leads, and you shouldn’t be a faceless company.
Also, don’t try to copy someone’s style or image. Your eCommerce website is your own and that has to be seen. Use your own unique ideas and messages. Be different from everybody else.
Do some research to find your niche audience, and cater to their specific needs and interests. Then, create content that you would like to see, not what you think will sell best.
I know that this can be a lot to take in all at once and that not everybody has content marketing in their blood. That shouldn’t discourage you though.
After all, you don’t have to do everything on you own. If you want other people to handle content marketing for you, there are two options: Getting your own in-house team of marketers or outsourcing the job to an agency.
This can be a hard decision as each choice has its own advantages and disadvantages. First of all, you need to know the particular needs of your company. Then, you can consider your options and pick the best one. I’ve written an article that will surely help you with this decision, so be sure to check it out.