Thursday, November 27, 2008
Here is a brief overview of what the white paper offers:
Today, it’s all about more. More consumer control, more channels, more media and more money spent online. Because the online channel gives consumers more options to choose from, organizations face a big challenge: when customers can visit any site at any time, what will make them loyal and keep them coming back? According to Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company:
• Businesses in many industries may lose up to 50% of their customers over a five year period.
• Studies have shown it’s 6 to 7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain a current customer.
• As little as a 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits by 25 to 95%.
Yet many businesses are still focused only on customer acquisition and see customers from the fragmented view of individual transactions.
StoresOnline Merchants can download this whitepaper by clicking here. We wish you the best of luck as we move into the busy holiday shopping season.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Todd A. Goergen, Chairman of iMergent, stated, "The board is committed to driving iMergent's long-term growth and shareholder value. We are excited to welcome Steve who will be leading our company and exploring additional revenue opportunities in small-to-medium enterprise (SME) initiatives."
"In addition, we thank Don for his valued contribution as iMergent grew from less than $50 million in 2003 annual sales to exceed $125 million in fiscal 2008 under his leadership. Don will continue to assist management as a consultant in the area of investor relations," concluded Goergen.
Mihaylo, 64, is a retired chairman and chief executive officer of Inter-Tel, Incorporated, which he founded in 1969. He led the Inter-Tel evolution from providing business telephone systems to offering complete managed services and software that help businesses facilitate communication and increase customer service and productivity. Before selling Inter-Tel to Mitel for $720 million in 2007, Mihaylo grew the business to nearly $500 million in annual sales.
Mihaylo earned an honorary PhD from California State University - Fullerton and received a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration in Accounting & Finance from the university in 1969. He has served on boards of numerous community organizations including the Arizona Heart Foundation, Junior Achievement of Arizona, Arizona Museum of Science and Technology and the Arizona State University College of Business Dean's Council of 100. Committed to education, Mihaylo is involved with the Karl Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona and has served on the advisory board of Junior Achievement of Central Arizona for over 25 years, as a member of the board of directors of the Big Bear High School Education Foundation and on the Dean's Advisory Board of CSU-Fullerton.
For more information and news about the latest changes at StoresOnline, please feel free to visit the StoresOnline Press Release Blog.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Here is an article that might help StoresOnline Merchants as strategically reorganize their internet marketing efforts in preparation for the holiday season:
StoresOnline Merchants Internet Marketing Tips
Injecting Internet Marketing Into Your Marketing Mix
A StoresOnline Website and online presence is one aspect of the marketing mix for a business. For the small to medium business, there is no reason for a StoresOnline Website to be the sole method of marketing – but by integrating a StoresOnline Website into your marketing plan you can drive new leads and generate new business that you wouldn't ordinarily reach using a single avenue of advertising. Web Address Inclusion Your StoresOnline Website can act as a point of reference for all of your leads and existing customers. Include your web address in all forms of your offline communication.
If you post physical products, ensure that the packing slips and invoices have the URL of your StoresOnline Website in a prominent position. Your StoresOnline Website itself can be used to answer many questions that customers might have, reducing the time and even resource needed to respond to problems and questions posed by buyers.
StoresOnline Internet Marketing Idea 1
Optimizing Landing Pages For On And Offline Leads
With any form of advertising it is vital to optimize your web landing pages. Optimizing a landing page means providing the content that your visitors expect. You should direct visitors to the most appropriate page on your StoresOnline Website to answer their questions or to make a sale. If you use direct mail advertising and are promoting a specific product then direct visitors to the purchase page for that product. If you are offering your StoresOnline Website as a place to get answers to questions or to resolve issues, direct them to the knowledge base or customer service page.
StoresOnline Internet Marketing Idea 2
Using Online Advertising To Advertise Offline
Business While some businesses are run predominantly online, many StoresOnline Websites are used to promote a bricks-and-mortar business. Whatever the purpose of your business, a StoresOnline Website usually offers some form of advantage. The Internet is a global marketplace and provides a genuinely affordable method to promote even the smallest business. Very few other methods level the playing field so clearly between small businesses and large corporations.
StoresOnline Internet Marketing Idea 3
Using Other Forms Of Offline Advertising In Your Advertising Mix
Newspaper and radio advertising provide a very direct form of marketing. Few StoresOnline Websites can realistically afford television advertising but flyers, direct mail, and less expensive advertising methods are a genuinely viable alternative. Again, the key to success in using these forms of advertising is integrating them within your online marketing mix. Only through good integration, directing visitors to the most appropriate page, and optimizing that landing page.
StoresOnline Internet Marketing Summary
Every business requires a good marketing mix. As well as considering the various forms of online marketing, such as SEO and PPC, the StoresOnline Website owner should consider integrating offline advertising into their mix. Direct prospective leads to pre-sell and sales pages to improve conversion rates or, alternatively, direct existing customers to support and technical pages to improve your customer relations and therefore enhance customer retention levels. By getting the balance of offline and online advertising right, your marketing mix will help provide everything you need to gain leads, increase sales, improve customer retention, and rocket your profits.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
7 Rules of Operating A Successful StoresOnline Business One of the most important lessons you’ll ever learn is to ask all the questions you don’t know the answers to. StoresOnline Businesses are very different from their brick and mortar cousins. The oldest, most archaic online store dates back to the 1980s! StoresOnline has been providing StoresOnline websites for at least a decade now. With so much new technology you must stay informed. Read the StoresOnline Merchant newsletter. Go to the Boot Camp training. Spend time exploring the software.
StoresOnline Website ManagementWhen surveyed, 100% of e-commerce website owners agreed that the ability to manage their business at any place and any time is an extremely important and usable feature. Storesonline recognizes this need of complete accessibility and has addressed it with their intuitive online management system.
StoresOnline Secure Online Ordering StoresOnline Pro makes it simple and ease to create custom, secure forms to collect sensitive information from customers. Plus, order processing is handled through one, simplified StoresOnline Pro interface, where you can convey the progress of orders, payment status, shipping waybill numbers, and more.
StoresOnline Built-in Search Technology Search results are displayed on an extremely simple-to-use screen - taking all the guess work out of the equation, and therefore putting your products directly in front of your customers.
StoresOnline Dynamic Image Generation Many website owners do not have the ability or skills to work with their pictures or apply them to their website. This is a complaint that Storesonline has addressed by building an extremely sophisticated Image Server that allows a user to upload, modify, and place pictures throughout a Storesonline website.
StoresOnline Dynamic Design Selection Have you ever thought of building your eCommerce website by dragging and dropping content? With StoresOnline Pro you can. StoresOnline Pro makes it possible to use your mouse to build and design the look, feel, navigation, and more of your eCommerce-enabled website! It doesn’t get easier or less complicated than that. StoresOnline Pro is simple.
StoresOnline Pro Dynamic Page CreationThe StoresOnline Pro interface permits you to customize the look and feel of a unique design. After customizing a design, construct your web pages in StoresOnline Pro’s point-and-click environment or a traditional setting. Then, when you are completely satisfied with the results, instantly publish your website to the Internet.
StoresOnline Pro Dynamic Product Creation Within StoresOnline Pro’s product management interface, you can specify which products are available, featured, or on sale by selecting the boxes of the checkmark, star, and currency symbol columns, by the click of your mouse. In addition, you may easily specify the regular and sale price each product.
StoresOnline Pro Dynamic Form GenerationThe Storesonline Dynamic Form Generator can be used to collect any type of data, take product orders, product inquiries, customer concerns or complaints.
StoresOnline Pro Business Rules The Storesonline Business Rules Module is an extremely robust engine that allows simple implementation of complex ordering and sales rules. For example, taxes, shipping, handling, discounts, and more.
StoresOnline Inventory Control System helps you avoid costly customer complaints by telling the store owner that their inventory level is low backordered or sold out. Storesonline understands that when doing any sort of shipping / delivery product fulfillment, it is important to know your inventory prior to sales.
StoresOnline Financial Software Storesonline is also configured to export data in several different formats, which can be converted into an acceptable import format for many other accounting and database applications.
StoresOnline UPS Online Tools® The UPS Online Tools® are an extremely useful piece of the Storesonline program. With the combination of the Storesonline Store Building Software and the UPS Online Tools®, you can offer your customers a variety of shipping and delivery services. You will also have the ability to more accurately provide shipping rates to your customers.
StoresOnline Pro Customer Relation Module The StoresOnline Pro customer database lists specific information concerning each customer who has submitted a form. Within the StoresOnline Pro point-and-click environment, you can add or edit the information, provide passwords to exclusive areas of your site, and view the customer’s order history and notes.
StoresOnline Marketing Resources The Storesonline Merchant Services area contains tutorials explaining the latest techniques, analytical data, tutorials, and third-party relationships in which you can receive discounts on several popular and useful online services.
StoresOnline World-Class Customer SupportStoresonline Customer Support agents are trained through an intensive learning course, which gives them logical and technical knowledge of the Storesonline software and our Customer Support methods.
If you want to watch a demonstration video that shows the features of StoresOnline Pro, click this link: StoresOnline: View the New StoresOnline Pro Demo Video.
StoresOnline: View the New StoresOnline Pro Demo Video
Monday, November 17, 2008
Introduction and Myth 1
Sure, you've heard it all before -- but is everything we hear right? We asked digital media experts to go against the grain and debunk some commonly held wisdom about the business. Some of these truisms used to be true but are no longer; others are legacies of the traditional advertising world. And one of them might depend on whether you're on the client or agency side of the table.
How many of these theories do you think are ready for the trash heap?
1. You should measure everything you can.
Solid measurement has always been touted as digital media's key to resolving John Wanamaker's doubts about which 50 percent of his advertising worked. There's no end to the geeking out we can do with data, and it seems like every month there's a new metric and a new analytics vendor. The more, the better, right?
Well, no. Sometimes, the more data you have, the less it makes sense.
"I'm from research -- and I think that's a myth," says Todd Kirby, research director for Spark Communications. "If you have enough evidence to show something is working, why do you need to have more research to back it up?"
But marketers keep asking media agencies for more and more proof that their advertising is working. And that's probably the interactive industry's own fault -- for perpetually hammering on the measurement nail. Nevertheless, despite clients' demands for measurement, Peter Platt, VP of online media for Butler/Till Media, finds that clients ultimately avoid his reports. "It amazes me how often we start a campaign, have the metrics established and document how we'll report," Platt says. "But when it's time to go over the reports, the clients keep putting off the meeting."
That's probably because those reports seem so very daunting. And, the more metrics they address, the more daunting they become. The result, Platt says, is that the information doesn't get acted on as frequently as it needs to. "It's good to measure all those things, but not necessarily good to dwell on the minutia," he says.
Brian Hadley's solution to metrics overload is this: Start with the end in mind. Hadley, media director of Cole & Weber United, a WPP agency in Seattle, advises clients to decide on one ultimate goal and then identify meaningful milestones along the way to that goal. "It's defining success and also developing a measuring stick," he says.
StoresOnline wants StoresOnline Merchants to read the rest of the 8 Myths, so click here for more helpful information.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
While browsing through the information about StoresOnline, I found this testimonial and thought it would be a great way to share another StoresOnline Merchant's point of view about StoresOnline. This testimonial was given by
"That speaker changed my life," James says. "I have friends who have dreamed of being in business for 20 years. And they even laughed at me for trying what I'm doing. But there they are all still drawing a paycheck and I have three businesses online."
James had his own reasons for getting started with his online business with StoresOnline. It seemed that James spent his time focusing on what he could do and really used StoresOnline as his support. James educated himself and tried different marketing techniques. He not only worked hard on his business, but kept his vision of success in tact and stayed committed to what he wanted.
Visit James' Online Stores by visiting http://www.allamericanwatches.com/. If you are interested in beginning your own StoresOnline business, you can get started with a StoresOnline Express site by clicking here. Best of luck to all of you online business Entrepreneurs.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Many companies do market research to find out what consumers think about their business. StoresOnline would like to give Merchants a chance to talk about their experience from beginning to present. If you are a StoresOnline Merchant who would like to provide this valuable feedback, feel free to comment on one or all of the questions as listed below. Also, if there is an improvement or request that you have for StoresOnline, feel free to leave that information as well.
Your honest feedback will help StoresOnline in it’s goal of supporting the entrepreneurial dreams of online Entrepreneurs who partner with StoresOnline.
How did you hear about StoresOnline?
How long have you been working with StoresOnline?
How do you feel about the Customer Service you experienced with:
- At your initial Preview about StoresOnline?
- At the StoresOnline Workshop You Attended?
- Customer Support?
- StoresOnline Programming Department?
- If You’ve Attended the StoresOnline Merchant Retreat, What Would Your Comments Be?
- What Do You Like Best About StoresOnline?
- What More Can StoresOnline Offer to Educate You as a StoresOnline Merchant?
StoresOnline appreciates any comments that you choose to make about the questions as shown above. Remember, that if you are a StoresOnline Merchant who is in need of Customer Support, you always have access to assistance by visiting MyQuickResponse.com.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
One-way links are links that point to your StoresOnline website without your having to put a link on another website. Formerly, people would trade links: “I will link to your StoresOnline website if you link to mine.” Although this works to some extent, they balance each other out and aren’t very effective. In addition, when your site is about health food and you trade links with a site that is about ball bearings, it can do you harm.
Google and other search engines are on the prowl for good content. When they find it, they will send more traffic to a StoresOnline website or blog that produces consistent, quality informative articles.
One point about consistency: Consistency is very important: For example, if you write two to three articles per week, be consistent. Don’t write four articles, and then skip a couple of weeks. If you work hard and put together a large number of articles, don’t post them all at once. . . space them out.
One-way link building is more effective if you write about a topic using a keyword phrase that you are targeting. For example, if you don’t have access to software such as Word Tracker, or Ad Word Analyzer or a number of other analysis tools. Make sure that you put quotes around your keyword search phrase. For example, look for “one way link building” with quotes rather than one way link building. This will tell the search tool that you are looking for the exact phrase.
Once you have found the particular phrase you want to write about, you need to use the keyword phrase: - In the title of the article, - Three times per one-hundred words, - In the last sentence of your article, - In the link to your article or StoresOnline webpage.
One-way link building can have a tremendous effect on the traffic your StoresOnline website receives.
Monday, November 10, 2008
"A plan is a dream put into action.
What do you want? Make a Goal
How are you going to get it? Create An Action Plan
What are the steps? What Do You Have to Do?
If you haven't written out an action plan for how you are going to succeed with your StoresOnline business, not is the time to do so. Create an action plan that provides benchmarks and action items.
A StoresOnline Merchant Success Story usually have planned well, been well prepared, and are self directed people to stay on course towards their dreams.
A goal without a plan is merely a wish without a hope. There is no way you can accomplish something if you don't know how to proceed. Written plans are the essential instructions for how to reach a goal. A plan is simply a detailed map outlining the steps to accomplish your goal as quickly and easily as possible. At a minimum, it includes a complete list of objectives and resource requirements -- all organized in correct chronological order.
"Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success." ~ Stephen A. Brennan
Saturday, November 8, 2008
The video is in bits and pieces, so here are the other parts as well. While the video seems to be in a raw and unedited format, the most important part is that you get to hear what the Sharpe's have to say about the obstacles, how they overcame them, and their advice and opinion of StoresOnline. Enjoy the videos!
Part One: Don and Joni Sharpe
Part Two: Don and Joni Sharpe
Part Three: Don and Joni Sharpe
Part Four: Don and Joni Sharpe
Part Five: Don and Joni Sharpe
Thursday, November 6, 2008
"Following is a list of five reasons you must start email marketing now!
1. Email marketing is inexpensive.
Email marketing is an affordable way to stretch a tight marketing budget. Unlike direct mail, there is virtually no production, materials or postage expense. Email marketing can cost as little as fractions of a penny per email.
The expenses involved in email marketing involve having a hosted website with email capacity. You may also want to consider subscribing to a list management service, such as Constant Contact or aWeber, to help manage your email campaigns. The fees for this service range from about $15 to $20 per month, which includes unlimited emails.
2. Email marketing is highly targeted.
You can easily segment your email database into different groups, so that your promotions go to individuals most likely to respond to your offer. For example, you may send one offer to existing clients, and send a different one to prospects who’ve expressed interest in your products or services.
3. Email marketing is proactive.
Email marketing enables you to proactively communicate with your existing customers and prospects, instead of passively waiting for them to return to your website or storefront.
It is a highly effective way to communicate promotional offers, news, seminars, which may result in an increase in sales, drive traffic to your website or store, and develop customer trust and loyalty through relationship building.
Sending out a monthly email campaign will keep your business in front of your customers’ and prospects eyes.
4. Email marketing generates an immediate response.
Promotional emails include a call to action that can result in immediate responses. Initial campaign responses generally occur within 48 hours of the time the email campaign is sent; testing and refining your campaigns is immediate. If you use a list management service, you can gauge the open rates of your email campaigns, which provides useful and immediate information you can use to tweak your campaign messages.
5. Email marketing is easy.
The Web-based email marketing products available to small businesses are easy to use. The services available through Constant Contact and aWeber, as well as others, include professional HTML templates, list segmentation and targeting capabilities, as well as automatic tracking and reporting of your email campaign effectiveness, such as for open rates, bounces, and spam reports."
StoresOnline hopes this article is helpful to those of you online business owners that are looking for additional ways to boost sales during this pre-holiday season. If you have participated in email marketing campaigns, let us know what worked for you and what didn't. Best of luck to you StoresOnline Entrepreneurs!
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Mr. Javitch: Can you tell me about the trend that has employers hiring employees to take on social networking duties?
Mr. Schawbel: ...Due to the current economy, there are clear restraints on marketing budgets, so free social marketing is the best alternative. As companies grow and social networking continues to expand, the entrepreneurial boss simply cannot devote all of the time needed for a successful effort. He or she needs to hire someone else dedicated to assume this responsibility. This person will be the internal community manager who will create, monitor and transfer information about the company between and among employees who have a voice and can influence or build the corporate brand.
Mr. Javitch: What's the benefit of hiring an employee who manages the business's Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and other social networking accounts?
Mr. Schawbel: Small businesses should at least be involved in the largest social networks, belong to forums and have at least one blog. Each of these websites is a way of positioning yourself and your company to the world. You can create a video, respond to questions or problems or start a discussion. For instance, when someone joins your Facebook group, the word spreads virally through that person's newsfeed. Remember, people want to join groups; they want to meet people and buy products or services based on their friends' recommendations.
Setting a Google Alert for your name and company's name is highly encouraged. When someone blogs about you, your company, or your products and services, you'll be notified immediately through either e-mail or RSS [feed]. Then you can use their name to get back to them for further interactive communication.
Mr. Javitch: Can you break down which blogs, FaceBook, Twitter, MySpace, etc., are most popular to the separate generations? Business owners who target a certain age market need to know which social network to invest time in.
Mr. Schawbel: MySpace has over 185 million users, split evenly between men and women14 to 34 years old. Twenty-five percent of them are in the U.S. FaceBook has over 110 million readers, more women than men. The majority of these users--80 percent--are under 30 years old and half of all FaceBookers are located in the U.S., Great Britain and Canada.
LinkedIn has over 26 million readers, with the average age being 41. Men make up 64 percent of the audience. Their average household income is $109,000. Twitter has 3 million readers, two-thirds of whom are men 18 to 34 years old. Armed with this information, marketers can more effectively target specific age, income and geographic groups.
You also need a profile page on Facebook. It will tell readers about your company, people, service or product. Remember, people are searching for information; give them what they're asking for. And above all, the process is free; the only cost is your time.
This article gives StoresOnline Merchants ideas on where and what they need to do to start taking small steps into the world of Social Networking.
Do you have other suggestions or preferred Social Network sites and/or strategies that you can share with other StoresOnline Success Blog readers? If so, leave a comment or question here.
If you are looking for a reliable place for good information as well as case study information, it's a great idea to visit the MarketingSherpa.com Podcast page. The Open Access portion has some great podcasts, such as:
Database Marketing & Measurement Group, RSA Security
Michael Veit is presenting at this year's B-to-B Demand Generation Summit the Case Study "Optimizing a Paid Search Marketing Program through Testing and Measurement." In this interview he talks about managing pay per click marketing campaigns and about developing an approach for testing that can deliver significant improvements for your search marketing campaigns.
Economy Taking Toll on Marketing Budgets
The downturn in the economy is making it tough on the marketing community — especially marketing budgets. What has changed since we released our Marketing During a Downturn report in February?
Stefan Tornquist, Research Director, MarketingSherpa, talks about some of the profound shifts in spending that show up in a September 2009 survey of B-to-B and consumer marketers. Overall, 25 budgets are being cut for every spending plan getting a boost at larger companies – with the average decrease around 20%.
MarketingSherpa’s 2008–09 Business Technology Marketing Benchmark Guide
The 5th annual Business Technology Marketing Benchmark Guide is now available. Listen to MarketingSherpa’s Research Director Stefan Tornquist talk about what’s new in business technology marketing, who can benefit the most from the findings, and the special reports. This year’s guide is our largest ever, designed to be one–half yardstick with benchmarks and standards for success and one–half inspiration with explorations of what’s working, what’s not and what’s on the horizon.
These are just a few of the podcasts that are available to StoresOnline Merchants. Stay on top of your online marketing game and take the time to make online education part of your business routine today.
Monday, November 3, 2008
How Are Small Businesses Marketing For the Holidays?
"To me, it seems that marketing has never been more important for the survival of a business. For one, if you are not marketing, people might forget about you, or even assume that your business in trouble because they have not heard from you lately," I said. "Marketing shows potential customers that you are still there for them even in these rocky times. Secondly, you have to drive people to your business. How else do you intend to attract customers?"
Well, a new study from Constant Contact would suggest that most U.S. small businesses would agree with this mentality, particularly as we approach the holiday season. 76% of their respondents are planning holiday promotions and last minute shopping offers. This number has actually grown from the same survey last year, which saw 62% doing so. 63% of this year's respondents have even begun their holiday campaigns already.
"There's no question the economy is a cause for concern, especially for U.S. small businesses that rely heavily on holiday sales," says Constant Contact CEO Gail Goodman. "However, in true entrepreneurial fashion, small businesses are fighting back. Small businesses recognize the value of focusing their marketing efforts to enhance communication with their loyal customers, as well as to attract new business."
So what ways are businesses marketing themselves these days?"
What types of marketing work for you as a StoresOnline Small Business Owner? If you have other studies or research that would be helpful for StoresOnline Merchants, please feel free to leave a comment.