now browsing by month
Thing is, that’s just not supported by the user data. In reality, Facebook has barely seen a slowdown in audience growth at any point in the last 12 years. It’s been super consistent:
With approximately 2.5 billion monthly active users, Facebook is comfortably bigger than Twitter, Snapchat, Reddit, and Instagram combined.
So what does this tell us?
Simply put, if you’re a brand, you can’t afford to ignore Facebook. It might not be your audience’s favorite social platform, but they’ll almost certainly be on there, which means you need to be, too. You should be using it to promote your products, advertise your brand, and generally represent your company.
The starting point for all of those things is your Facebook Business Page. Your current and prospective customers or subscribers will visit it to check you out, see what you’re talking about, and engage with your content.
What’s the first thing they’ll see? Your Facebook cover photo. Read on to learn how to make a Facebook cover photo that shows off your brand in the best possible light.
Steps to Create an Effective Facebook Cover Photo
Ever heard of Hitchcock’s rule? Named for the legendary movie director, it states that the size of an object on-screen should be proportional to its impact on the story at that specific moment.
Well, given that your Facebook cover photo takes up almost half the page on desktop …
… it’s reasonable to say Facebook considers it pretty important! You’ve got a whole lot of digital real estate to play with, so you definitely want to make it count.
Designing a Facebook cover photo for your business page is much more than just choosing an eye-catching picture, cropping it to the right dimensions, and publishing it. Here are five key considerations to creating a cover photo that draws your audience in.
1. Keep Your Facebook Cover Photo Simple
Facebook used to say only 20 percent of your cover photo could be made up of text, but it dropped that rule in 2013.
With all that space to play with, and no limit on the amount of text you can include, it’s tempting to cram in as much information as possible. Don’t do that.
When it comes to creating an impactful Facebook cover photo, simplicity is your friend. Focus on communicating a single message as clearly as possible, so your audience is in no doubt of what you’re trying to say.
Apple does this better than most. While the tech giant famously doesn’t really “do” social, its branding on Facebook is still spot on.
Apple’s Facebook cover photo is an exercise in simplicity: no words, just one clean and instantly recognizable product image showcasing its iconic MacBook. The use of color is super effective, naturally drawing your eyes to the center of the image.
2. Complement Your Brand Through a Facebook Cover Photo
Can you sum up your entire brand in a single image? It’s not as simple as it sounds! But that’s exactly what you need to do with your Facebook cover photo. If it doesn’t complement your brand, you risk confusing your audience.
Adidas is a huge brand that sells everything from skateboarding sneakers to golf attire. It’s pretty tricky to encapsulate such a huge brand in one picture, so Adidas has chosen to combine three separate images for its Facebook cover photo.
This works really well, allowing the brand to speak to three different markets at the same time. In one cover image, Adidas encapsulates men’s and women’s sportswear, plus streetwear.
3. Keep Your Audience Front of Mind
As humans, we find it easier to connect with people than abstract concepts or inanimate objects. That’s why so many of the best Facebook cover photos feature images of people.
Of course, if you’re going to represent and speak to your audience through your cover photo, you first need to understand who they are. Fortunately, Facebook gives you a couple ways to find this out:
Facebook’s Audience Insights tool allows you to deep dive into the demographics, page likes, location, and Facebook activity of people who follow your page, are based in your area, or are interested in brands like yours. For instance, here’s a bunch of demographic information for people who like Major League Baseball:
By visiting your Facebook Business page, you can find out who engages with it most in the Actions on Page section. It shows you who clicked your contact information, call-to-action (CTA) button, or website, and segments the information by age, gender, device, and location.
So what does all this information tell us? Well, say you discover 80 percent of the people who follow your page are men, 75 percent live in Mexico and speak Spanish as their first language, and 90 percent are between the ages of 18 and 25. Your Facebook cover photo should probably incorporate a young Mexican man and maybe some Spanish text.
Here are a couple of examples of how Google targets its various audiences through its cover photos. First off, the brand’s UK Facebook page incorporates a bunch of cartoony imagery featuring recognizably British landscapes and structures like the Angel of the North, Stonehenge, and a red London bus.
Meanwhile, the Google Students cover photo features pictures of young people from diverse backgrounds, often working in teams, and all using technology. In other words, they’re exactly the sort of people you’d expect to be interested in a Google page aimed at students.
4. Pair the Facebook Cover Photo With Your Profile Pic
Just as your Facebook cover photo should complement your brand, it should also go hand in hand with your profile picture.
That’s really important because they sit alongside one another at the top of your Facebook Business Page. If they don’t fit together naturally, the results can be pretty jarring.
Nike is America’s most famous clothing and footwear brand, with 99% audience recognition, so it’s no real surprise that the company gets its Facebook branding perfect.
With just three words, two colors, and the classic “swoosh” logo, Nike somehow manages to encapsulate its whole brand across its cover photo and profile picture.
5. Promote Your Products and Events Through a Facebook Cover Photo
When your cover photo takes up so much space, why wouldn’t you use it to talk about the things you want to promote? Whether that’s a new product, a special offer, a big piece of content, or an event, your cover photo is a fantastic place to show it off.
For example, PlayStation uses its cover image to showcase a high-profile new release for its PS5 console. Notice how the brand combines this with a CTA urging people to play the game, effectively transforming the top half of its business page into an interactive advert.
Taking things in a different direction, Gucci’s Facebook cover photo and profile picture are given over to promoting an online event, Guccifest.
Again, the fashion brand has added some interactivity by including a scannable QR code in its cover photo. The whole image is extremely text-heavy, which isn’t what you’d expect from a brand selling a physical product, but in Gucci’s case, this just makes the cover photo even more striking.
4 Steps to Designing an Impactful Facebook Cover Photo
Now that you understand the theory behind creating a striking Facebook cover photo for your business, it’s time to make it happen for your brand. Follow this simple four-step process to turn your Facebook cover photo vision into reality.
1. Pick a Facebook Cover Photo CTA Technique That Works for You
Take another look at all those Facebook cover photo examples I included above. None of them could appear in all five sections.
The PlayStation example is really effective at promoting a product, but it arguably doesn’t pair up well with the brand’s profile picture. Nike keeps things simple, complements its brand, and matches its profile image, but doesn’t directly feature its audience or showcase a product.
Does that mean they’re all bad cover photos? Far from it. Instead, this demonstrates that your Facebook cover photo shouldn’t be all things to all people. Pick out one or two of those techniques and use them to inform your image. For instance:
- About to launch a high-profile new product? Use your cover photo to promote it.
- Got a really specific audience? Speak directly to them in your cover photo.
- Have a recognizable logo or slogan? Keep your cover photo super simple; let your branding do the talking.
2. Choose a Facebook Cover Photo Editing Tool
You don’t need to be a skilled graphic designer to create an effective Facebook cover photo. There are tons of easy-to-use, free photo editing tools that do all the hard work for you.
Arguably the most popular is Canva. It’s free to sign up and features a bunch of Facebook cover photo templates cropped to the correct dimensions. To find them, create your own Canva profile, select social media imagery, and choose the dedicated Facebook Cover option:
Just one word of caution here: While Canva is free to use, you’ll need to pay for some of the design elements.
There are lots of other options, too. If Canva isn’t working for you, try PicMonkey, Visme, Snappa, Bannersnack, or countless others.
3. Start With a Photo
Again, unless you’re a qualified graphic designer (or have access to one), you’re likely looking for the simplest possible way to create an impactful Facebook cover photo.
In that case, you definitely want to start by finding a suitable image. Something that encapsulates your brand and speaks to your audience.
Just as there are lots of brilliant graphic design tools available online, there are also tons of fantastic free stock image libraries packed with hundreds of thousands of visuals you can use to design your cover photo.
Alternatively, feel free to incorporate your existing website imagery if you’re planning to use your cover photo to showcase a product or service.
4. Remember to Use the Right Facebook Cover Photo Size
Last but not least, you must use the right dimensions for your cover photo. Otherwise, Facebook will crop or stretch it and all your hard work designing a beautiful, eye-catching image will be wasted.
So what are the right dimensions? There’s no easy answer, as frustrating as that sounds. Because 70 percent of Facebook users access the site on their phones, your cover photo has to work across both desktop and mobile. Yet cover photos display differently based on the device you’re using:
- On desktop, the cover photo displays at 820 pixels wide by 312 pixels tall
- On mobile, it displays at 640 pixels wide by 360 pixels tall
If you want to use a single image that works across both formats, Buffer recommends cropping it to 820 pixels wide by 462 pixels tall.
As an absolute minimum, Facebook says your cover photo should be 400 pixels wide and 150 pixels tall. It also advises keeping your image to less than 100 kilobytes for the fastest-possible loading.
Remember that your Facebook cover photo isn’t just a striking image. Choosing the right one for you isn’t necessarily about utilizing the brightest colors or the boldest copy.
It has to tie into your brand, speak to your audience, and effectively communicate your message. Ideally, anyone who knows your brand already should find it instantly recognizable.
If you’re struggling, remember the value of keeping things simple. Don’t try to be too abstract or clever. A basic image that clearly represents who you are and what you do will be much more effective than something complex that leaves people scratching their heads.
How are you using your Facebook Business Page to generate leads or sales?
The post How to Create the Best Facebook Cover Photos for Your Business appeared first on Neil Patel.
Do You Need to Know Just How Banks Determine Your Recession Business Banking Rates?
Banks are in the business of judging your company’s creditworthiness. This has a direct relationship to several important issues. Ignore these at your peril! It pays to take the time to try to understand how your recession business banking rates will work.
Recession Era Funding
The number of American financial institutions and also thrifts has been decreasing gradually for a quarter of a century. This is from consolidation in the market along with deregulation in the 1990s, decreasing obstacles to interstate banking. See: https://www.fundera.com/blog/happened-americas-small-businesses-financial-crisis-six-years-start-crisis-look-back-10-charts
Assets concentrated in ever‐larger banks is troublesome for local business proprietors. Big financial institutions are a lot less likely to make small loans. Economic recessions mean financial institutions become more careful with financing. For this reason, you need to understand your business bank ratings. It’s the only way you will be able to improve them.
Your Recession Business Banking Rates – It All Has to do With Your Bank Credit Score
But what’s that all about?
Did you know there are many ways you can ravage your bank credit score? It is, regrettably, quite easy to run a power saw through your bank rating. Your recession business banking rates can easily end up taking a hit.
But before going any further, do you know the difference between bank credit ratings and small business credit?
Business credit is the full and complete amount of cash that your small business can receive from all manner of lenders. That means credit unions, credit card companies, and also renting businesses. And it also means vendors, under what’s called trade credit or vendor credit or trade lines.
Bank Credit Scores Explained
A company can get more business credit fast . That is, as long as it has at least one financial institution reference. Plus it must have an average day to day account balance of at the very least $10,000 for the most recent three months. This setup will generate a bank credit rating of a Low-5. So this means it is an Adjusted Debt Balance of from $5,000 to $30,000.
A lower score, like a High-4, or balance of $7,000 to $9,999 will not result in an automatic turn down of the small business’s loan application. But it will slow down the approval process.
What is a Bank Rating?
A bank rating is a measure of the average minimum balance as kept in a business bank account over a 3 month long period. Hence a $10,000 balance| will rate as a Low-5, a $5,000 balance will rate as a Mid-4, and a $999 balance will rate as a High-3, etc.
A company’s chief goal ought to always be to maintain a minimum Low-5 bank rating (or, an average $10,000 balance) for a minimum of 3 months. This is because, without at the very least a Low-5 score, most financial institutions will assume a business cannot pay back a loan or a business line of credit.
Yet there is one point to keep in mind – you will never see this number. The financial institution will keep this number in its back pocket.
The Bank Rating Ranges
The numbers work out to the following ranges:
To get a High-5 rating, your business will need to have an account balance of $70,000 to $99,999. For a Mid-5 score, your business has to have an account balance of $40,000 to $69,999. And for a Low-5 score, your company should hold onto an account balance of $10,000 to $39,000. So your small business needs this level bank rating or better to get a bank loan.
For a High-4 score, your small business needs to have an account balance of $7,000 to $9,999. And for a Mid-4 rating, your company must have an account balance of $4,000 to $6,999. So for a Low-4 score, your company will need to have an account balance of $1,000 to $3,999.
Your Recession Business Banking Rates – It Can Be Scary Easy to Damage Your Bank Rating
And now, without further ado, here are 7 ways you can leave your bank score in tatters. These methods can all too easily hurt your recession business banking rates.
7th Way to Ruin Your Bank Credit
Don’t maintain a minimum balance for at least three months. Since every bank score cycle has a basis in the last 3 months, a seesawing balance will harm your bank score.
6th Way to Ruin Your Bank Credit Rating
Don’t bother to assure that your company bank accounts are on report the exact same way as all your small business records are. And do not assume they are on report with the exact same physical address (no post office box) and contact number. Sow confusion here by editing one and not another, or not dealing with an error if there is one.
Have a look at our expert research on bank ratings, the obscure reason why you will – or won’t – get a bank loan for your company.
Fifth Way to Destroy Your Bank Credit
To support # 6, don’t make sure that each and every credit agency and trade credit vendor likewise lists the business name and address the precise same way. This is every keeper of financial records, earnings and sales taxes. It includes web addresses and email addresses, directory assistance, etc.
No loan provider is going to think of the myriad ways that a company may be listed, when they check out the business’s creditworthiness. So if they cannot find what they need fast, they will refute an application. Or it won’t be on the report to a company credit reporting bureau such as Experian, Equifax or Dun & Bradstreet.
For that reason, if they are not able to locate what they need quickly, they will simply reject the application. So make certain your documents are a mess!
4th Way to Damage Your Bank Credit Rating
Never handle your bank account responsibly. This means that your small business must not avoid writing non-sufficient funds (NSF) checks at all costs. Such is due to the fact that those decimate bank ratings. Non-sufficient funds checks are something which no company can afford to let happen.
Balancing checkbooks and accounts is so boring anyway. You’ve got adequate cash without even making sure, right?
Third Way to Ruin Your Bank Credit Rating
To add to # 4, do not add overdraft protection to your bank account ASAP, to avoid NSFs. Why bother thinking in advance or preparing for the future? Everything is going to be terrific permanently, right?
Writing checks insufficient funds (NSFs) is a sure way to wreck your bank score.
2nd Way to Damage Your Bank Credit Rating
Do not let your business show a positive cash flow. The cash coming in and leaving your business’s bank account should reflect a positive free cash flow.
A positive free cash flow is the quantity of revenue left over after a firm has paid all its expenses. According to Investopedia, it “represents the cash a company can generate after required investment to maintain or expand its asset base. It is a measurement of a company’s financial performance and health.”
When an account shows a positive cash flow it indicates your small business is generating more revenue than you use to run the firm. That means the bank will feel your small business can cover its costs.
So if you really intend to wreck your bank score, get whatever’s expensive for your company so your costs overtake your profits. Doesn’t every factory merit luxurious carpets in the loading dock?
Have a look at our expert research on bank ratings, the obscure reason why you will – or won’t – get a bank loan for your company.
First Way to Damage Your Bank Credit Rating
Financial institutions have quite the motivation to lend to a small business with consistent deposits. And an entrepreneur must also make regular deposits to keep a positive bank rating. The business owner has to make a lot of regular deposits, greater than the withdrawals they are making, to have and maintain a great bank rating. If they can do that, then they will have a great bank credit score.
Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, right? So be a free spirit!
Your Recession Business Banking Rates – It is Way too Easy to Destroy Your Company’s Bank Score – Even Though You Will Never See It
You, the entrepreneur must never make consistent deposits. And these deposits ought to never be more than the withdrawals you are making, to ruin your bank credit.
If you can do these things, then your company will have a horrible bank credit score. And then a bad bank credit score means your firm is much less likely to get small business loans. This is how you can truly muck up your recession business banking rates.
Your Recession Business Banking Rates – Just Kidding: Of Course We Do Not Actually Want You to Destroy Your Company’s Bank Credit Rating!
But your recession business banking rates are a thing of value. You should want to protect and nurture it. So, where do you go from here?
The First Great Way to Rescue Your Bank Credit Rating
Probably the easiest way to achieve and maintain an excellent bank credit rating is to deposit at least $10,000 into your company bank account. And keep it there for as much as six months. While you will still have to make regular deposits, this one simple step will assist in 3 ways. One, you will have kept an excellent minimum balance for at the very least 3 months. Two, you will probably not overdraw with such a great balance. And three, you will be at the magic minimum for a Low-5 bank credit rating. Thus you will be dealing with our # 4 and # 7, above.
And you may even have the ability to get around our # 3. But we still highly recommend overdraft protection.
Have a look at our expert research on bank ratings, the obscure reason why you will – or won’t – get a bank loan for your company.
The 2nd Excellent Way to Rescue Your Bank Credit Rating
A 2nd thing you can do is make certain your small business account details are consistent across the board, everywhere. While it may take some work order to make certain every little thing is right, you will be dealing with our # 5 as well as # 6, above.
The Third Great Way to Rescue Your Bank Credit Score
A 3rd thing you can do is make consistent deposits, as well as make sure they are greater than the quantities you are withdrawing each month. This will take care of our # 1 and also # 2.
Your Recession Business Banking Rates –Takeaways
Your bank score is not to be trifled with. The financial institutions maintain a mystery about them. Still, failing to keep your bank credit rating high will make it a whole lot harder to do well in business. In this way, you can defend and improve your recession business banking rates.
The post Raise Your Recession Business Banking Rates and Get Funding Even in a Bad Economy appeared first on Credit Suite.
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Email: [email protected]
I am a 4th year undergraduate student of bachelor’s in Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad, India graduating in May 2021. I have previously worked at Gojek as a Product Engineering Intern, where I worked on building dev analytics dashboard to help 100+ developers across different teams within Gojek to identify and improve bottlenecks. I like building things and currently working on building https://featuremonkey.com – a user feedback management portal.
More info: https://ananyaagrawal.com
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Whether you care to admit it or not, the decisions you make today will be driven by your emotions. In emotional marketing, we talk a lot about using psychological triggers to get customers to click, convert, engage, etc.
“By leveraging common psychological triggers all people have,” you might hear, “you can drive more sales.”
While it may feel like we make decisions with our minds, using logic and reasoning, the “mental triggers” we hear about are tied more to emotion than anything else.
Case in point, Antonio Damasio spent time studying individuals with damage to the area of the brain where emotions were generated and processed.
While these subjects functioned just like anyone else, they couldn’t feel emotion.
The other thing they had in common was they all had trouble with making decisions.
Even simple decisions about what to eat proved difficult.
While they could describe what they should be doing using logic and reason, most decisions couldn’t be settled with simple rationale.
Without emotion, they weren’t able to make a choice.
This is supported by data from Gerard Zaltman, author of “How Customers Think: Essential Insights into the Mind of the Market.”
Zaltman found that 95% of cognition happens beyond our conscious brain, instead coming from our subconscious, emotional brain.
Emotions are an X factor you can’t control, but you can’t afford to ignore them in your content marketing.
Why is Emotion Marketing so Effective?
When you make an emotional connection with your audience, it’s incredibly easy to steer them to the desired outcome.
You’ve formed an emotional bond, however brief and fleeting, that makes them open to ideas and suggestions. It creates a certain level of trust that’s virtually impossible to artificially manifest.
Rob Walker and Joshua Glen found firsthand what an emotional connection can do.
In one experiment, they bought hundreds of items from thrift stores and similar locations — all cheaply priced.
The duo wanted to see if they could sell the products using an emotional connection through the power of stories alone.
With 200 writers on board, they generated fictional stories for the products and used those stories to sell the thrift store items at auction on eBay.
They raised just under $8,000, which was a profit of approximately 2,700%.
And they did it all using that emotional connection through storytelling.
That’s not to say there isn’t a place for the logical or the rational in decision making.
This is where marketers often leverage the theory of dual processing in psychological marketing.
The theory holds that the brain processes thoughts and decisions on two levels.
The first level is that of emotion, which processes automatically, unconsciously, and provides a rapid response when we need it with virtually no effort.
The second level is the more deliberate and conscious thought process, where we handle decisions with reason and logic. It happens far slower than the emotional response.
In most cases, we fire back with a ready response from our emotions and then try to consciously rationalize it.
Think about some big-brand rivalries and preferences will surface in your mind.
How do you feel when you look at this major brand comparison?
Here’s another common one that has people divided, sometimes within the same family:
And then there’s this brand rivalry we know all too well.
In each of these, you likely have an opinion almost instantly about which you prefer, but it’s not because you have a logical reason.
It’s typically tied to emotion and/or experience; how you feel using their products, or how the brands left you feeling after an experience or reading a news article.
The brain then tries to rationalize that emotional response.
For example, your emotional response goes straight to Coke and then your brain works to rationalize the decision by deciding that it tastes better in a can, it’s fizzier, has a stronger bite than Pepsi, etc.
So, while you might feel like you’re making a rational choice about your beverage, it’s really just an emotional one.
The most successful marketers know how to lean on the emotional over logic in order to make their content draw in the audience.
That’s why nearly a third of marketers report significant profit gains when running emotional campaigns, but the number of successful campaigns dips if you introduce logic into the marketing.
And those results get sliced in half when marketers switch to logic over emotion.
Emotion Marketing Doesn’t Guarantee Successful Engagement
We experience a laundry list of emotions every day.
Is it really as simple as leveraging some emotion to make content more effective?
Yes and no.
Emotion is certainly important, but there are also other factors like timing, exposure, the format of the content, how it’s presented, who produced or shared it, etc.
Despite understanding the role emotion plays in content, we still haven’t quite perfected a formula for what makes content go viral.
Though we’ve gotten pretty close.
Brands have long tried to inflate the consumer’s emotional response through manufactured content; some met with great success.
The videos profile a person around the world who uses Intel’s technology to create new experiences and build new technology that makes a difference in the world.
Like 13-year-old Shubham Banerrjee, who used Intel’s technology to build an affordable Braille printer.
And of course, some companies try to leverage emotion and create viral campaigns that just don’t take off.
CIO reported a number of failed viral marketing campaigns, such as “Walmarting Across America.”
In this blog, two average Americans travel across the country visiting Walmart locations, reporting their interactions on a blog along the way.
After countless upbeat entries about how people loved working for the company, it was discovered that the trip was paid for by Walmart and the entire thing was a campaign created and managed by the company’s PR firm.
That didn’t receive a warm reception from the blogosphere, which deemed the content to be a “flog” or fake blog.
Which Emotions Attract the Most Marketing Engagement in Content?
Many emotions fuel our behaviors and our decisions, especially our purchase decisions.
Some more than others — especially when they’re authentic.
A study was done by Buzzsumo analyzing the top 10,000 most-shared articles on the web. Those articles were then mapped to emotions to see which emotions had the greatest influence on content.
The most popular:
- Awe (25%)
- Laughter (17%)
- Amusement (15%)
Conversely, the least popular were sadness and anger, totaling just 7% of the content that was most shared.
Two researchers at Wharton also wanted to dig deeper into virally shared content to find commonalities and better understand what makes that content spread.
What they found was the emotional element, and some very specific results tied to emotions.
- Content is far more likely to be shared when it makes people feel good or it creates positive feelings such as leaving them entertained.
- Facts or data that shock people or leave them in awe were more likely to be shared.
- Instilling fear or anxiety pushes engagement higher, from comments being posted to content being shared.
- People most commonly shared content that incited anger, leaving comments as well.
While some emotions are more likely to engage than others, every audience is different. What drives one to action may do very little for another.
This modern adaptation of Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotion, illustrated by CopyPress, shows the range under eight primary emotions: joy, trust, fear, surprise, sadness, disgust, anger, and anticipation.
For content to be widely shared and have an impact on your audience, it needs to leverage one or more of these emotions.
The proof is on the web, not only in the statistics I shared above, but also in the popularity of user communities that regularly share content.
Just look at Reddit and some of the most popular subreddits by subscriber count. Each can be tied back to emotions (some more obviously than others) like anticipation, awe, joy, and more.
Here’s how some of those emotions can play into the engagement with your audience:
Anxiety May Cause Uncertainty For Customers
You don’t want your audience to make bad decisions. Bad decisions can lead to buyer’s remorse, which can paint your brand and the overall experience in a negative light.
But it can be helpful if you leave the audience a bit more open to influence.
A Berkeley study revealed that anxiety can be linked to difficulty in using information around us to make decisions. When we experience uncertainty, it becomes harder to make decisions and our judgment is clouded.
Still, anxiety can also spur people to act as a result of that uncertainty.
Take a two-year study by Wharton Ph.D. student Alison Wood Brooks and a Harvard Business School professor.
They found that upon increasing the anxiety of certain subjects with video footage, 90% of the “anxious” participants opted to seek advice and were more likely to take it.
Only 72% of the participants in a neutral state, who viewed a different video, sought advice.
Capture the Focus of Your Emotional Marketing Audience With Awe
Awe is comparable to wonder, but it doesn’t always fall under the umbrella of joy or humor.
It’s intended to captivate the audience and keep them riveted.
You often see this kind of hook in headlines that seem so earth-shatteringly significant that no one in their right mind would want to miss it.
Here’s a good example of that kind of awe used in content when Dropbox first launched.
Co-founder Drew Houston submitted his product to the website Digg, hoping to get some visibility from the social bookmarking site. That headline helped significantly.
Another great example of using Awe to capture attention is a video produced by Texas Armoring Corporation.
To emphasize the quality of the company’s bullet-resistant glass, the CEO crouched behind one of TAC’s glass panels while several rounds were fired at it from an AK-47.
Awe can impact decision making as much as anxiety.
A study from Stanford University found that people experiencing awe are more focused on the present and less distracted by other things in life. They also tend to be more giving of their time.
When you have their attention and their focus, they’re more likely to have time to rationalize a decision.
Drive People to Action With Laughter and Joy Through Emotional Marketing
While joy and laughter can have their lines blurred, they’re really two different emotions when it comes to your content.
Because while laughter often leads to joy, not everything that is joyful is laugh-out-loud funny.
Still, next to awe, joy, laughter, and amusement were the highest contributors to social sharing and engagement in the above studies.
That influence goes all the way back to early childhood.
As babies, out first emotional action not long after being born is to respond to the smile of our parents with our own smile.
Per psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott, joy and amusement are hardwired into us from birth.
His studies tell us that our innate desire for joy increases when it’s shared. That’s the nature of the “social smile.”
That explains why these feelings or emotions are such huge drivers behind the virality of content. Happiness, overall, is a huge driver for content sharing.
In fact, Jonah Berger’s study of the most-shared articles in the New York Times (around 7,000 articles) revealed the same kind of results around emotion.
The more positive the article, the more likely it was to go viral.
Brands have worked “joy marketing” into their strategies for decades, aiming to make their audience feel warm, comfortable, and happy.
That’s the intent of campaigns like P&G’s highly successful and viral “Thank You, Mom” campaigns that are injected with a lot of emotion (especially joy) when celebrating the strength of mothers.
Joy can take a lot of forms, though, and it doesn’t have to be commercially intended to elicit a direct sale.
Look at what Beringer Vineyards did with influencer marketing.
Russian Instagram sensations Murad and Nataly Osmann built a following of more than 4.5 million people with photos featuring them holding hands at locations around the globe during their world travels.
They attached the hashtag #FollowMeTo on those posts.
The couple teamed up with Beringer Vineyards to create some images meant to inspire joy, love, and of course the sense of adventure the couple already shared with their hashtag.
Immediate Gains in Emotional Marketing From Anger
Anger may be perceived as a negative emotion by some, but it can have positive influences as well as positive outcomes when leveraged in the right way.
A leading researcher in the study of anger, Dr. Carol Tavris, draws a parallel between anger and how it impacted society over the years.
Women’s suffrage, for example, developed from anger and frustration.
Anger can be empowering for the individual, bringing a sense of clarity and positive-forward momentum. It gives people a feeling of direction and control according to a study from Carnegie Mellon.
In the previously mentioned study on content shares in the New York Times, negatively perceived emotions like anger are equally associated with the virality of content.
In fact, Berger’s study of the New York Times content found that content which incites feelings of frustration or anger is 34% more likely to be featured on the Time’s most emailed list than the average article.
Now, I’m not suggesting that you deliberately create controversy by taking shots at readers or picking fights.
The key with using anger in content is to frame an issue that incites anger or frustration in a way that’s constructive.
You have to be thought-provoking and engaging.
This interactive graph from the New York Times is an example of how content can lead to frustration and anger over economic or societal issues.
This piece of content is simple, yet it provokes engagement as well as thought when results are revealed in comparison to what an individual perceives to be the truth.
Using the Right Emotional Marketing Words in Content
The difference between logic and emotion in content comes down to the words we use and how we position statements and information.
When creating copy and content, you have to be acutely aware of whether you’re taking a rational or emotional approach to the information you’re sharing.
You need to think about the response you want to elicit to help guide your content development to make the right kind of psychological and emotional connection with your audience.
The context of your copy can remain the same.
By changing the words you use, however, you can make content appeal more to the emotions of the audience and prospective customer.
The simplest approach to finding the right high-emotion words takes only three steps:
- Think about the action you want your audience to take when they read your content.
- Decide what kind of emotional state will drive that action. What would make them do what you want them to do?
- Choose emotionally persuasive words appropriate to the action and the emotion.
What you’ll find in researching the right words is that emotionally persuasive and impactful words tend to be abrupt. It’s the short, concise, basic words that appeal most to our emotions over our intellect.
Just look at this list from the Persuasion Revolution.
The majority of this emotionally weighted list (and there are over 350 items) is made up of shorter words.
The rational mind, on the other hand, tends to associate with longer and more complex words.
You Can’t Assume When it Comes to Emotional Marketing
It’s not easy to make that emotional connection with your audience. You have to know them.
Like anything else in marketing, your decisions and the content you create needs to be based on data. In this case, that data is your audience research.
That same research that tells you what topics to create, where your audience spends their time, and the content they prefer to view, can clue you into how to make that emotional connection.
You just need to expand your buyer personas.
In this case, you want to build up the psychological profile of your audience. You can achieve this by asking the right questions to help steer your content research and production.
- What do they find humorous?
- What are the pain points that frustrate them?
- What topics make them angry?
- What are common problems they speak about?
- What kind of content is being shared that clearly pleases them or brings joy?
Your research could turn up a common topic or theme that appears frequently in the content they read and share.
For example, you might discover that a certain segment or demographic in your audience has a strong affinity to family values, or health and wellness.
Turn that into a content campaign that shares the feel-good side of your company.
Delve into the family life of your employees, how your company supports the work/life balance, or better health initiatives.
Google is well known for its company structure, promoting flexible schedules, support of family time, personal projects, and a focus on work/life balance.
The company often shares behind-the-scenes images (visual content) showing off employees enjoying what they do. Here’s an example from Google Sydney’s offices:
That can influence a positive emotional response toward the brand when targeted segments see that content.
Emotional Marketing Works in the B2B Process
Don’t get caught up with the dated idea that emotion is only applicable to consumer-focused businesses.
Emotional marketing has its place in the B2B world as well.
You may be dealing with a longer buying process between one or more organizations, but the decisions are still made (and fueled by) people who are absolutely driven by emotion.
That includes emotions like:
- Awe: over what a solution is capable of and feeling empowered to bring that solution to the workplace.
- Anticipation: in finding a piece of the puzzle in a product or service that will help the company achieve its next goal or milestone.
- Fear: in purchase decisions that could reflect on the individual, resulting in a personal risk associated with a B2B purchase.
- Joy: in knowing that a B2B purchase is likely to lead to a positive outcome that will reflect positively on the individual.
Emotion absolutely influences B2B purchases, and in some cases, emotion matters even more than logic and reason.
You hold a great deal of influence with your audience when you’re able to tap into their emotions.
Once you understand your audience, you can better determine their emotional state.
From there, make the decision about whether you need to influence and exploit emotions that are already present, or if you want to create or give rise to emotions the audience wasn’t initially expecting or experiencing.
Even the most (seemingly) rational decisions are influenced by emotion — and that applies to everyone.
When you learn how to leverage that emotion in your content, you will see increases in engagement, social action, and conversions within your funnel.
How do you use emotion in your content and copy?
The post How Using Emotional Marketing in Content Can Help Drive Way More Sales appeared first on Neil Patel.
Got a crawling, indexing, or site-wide ranking problem?
SEO traffic isn’t just about having the right content.
One wrong technical SEO setting can bring your entire site down.
And many technical errors are so obscure that they go unnoticed for years.
Even small problems can add up, slowing you down and resulting in less traffic.
Technical SEO audits require specialized skills and in-depth expertise. Google is constantly changing it’s algorithms. If you want the audit done right, you’ll need someone that really knows that they’re doing.
Well, I have good news.
Step-by-step, I’ll walk you through how to choose a technical SEO agency that’s right for your business.
Whether you’re a small business that just needs an audit done right, or a major corporation that needs a complete SEO program, there’s an option for you.
Know Your Goals and Desired Outcomes
Most people only give technical SEO a second thought when things have gone south. It shouldn’t be this way.
Technical SEO is the backbone of every successful, long-term SEO strategy.
Here’s a few examples of when it’s worth making technical SEO a priority.
Example #1: Traffic Drops After Publishing More Content
Let’s say you started your content push to get higher Google rankings.
You created, published, and promoted in-depth blog posts.
After a while, Google rewards your efforts with higher rankings for some keywords. Your site traffic starts to increase.
Things are going well.
So you keep publishing more content. And that’s when things go bad.
Your traffic tanks.
More content doesn’t always yield more traffic. Sometimes, it shrinks your organic traffic from.
I know it sounds crazy but this happens all the time.
Bloated sites with duplicate content make it really hard for Google to figure out which pages of yours to rank.
What does Google do when they’re not sure what to rank? They usually rank nothing.
Duplicate content on your blog, a ton of similar pages that were created automatically, or telling Google to index internal URLs can all lead to problems.
If you see anything like this, get a technical SEO to help you.
Example #2: An Abrupt Traffic Drop
If you play the SEO game long enough, one of your sites will fall off a cliff overnight.
Years ago, our blog at KISSmetrics saw traffic drop by 40% in less than a month.
That dropped our monthly traffic by hundreds of thousands of visitors. The team scrambled to fix that.
Everyone goes through one of these.
And the first thing you want to do is reach out to a technical SEO.
Hopefully, it’s a simple fix like a bad robots.txt file. Even if it’s a bigger problem, you want a serious expert to pinpoint the issue and chart a course to get that traffic back.
4 Characteristics That Make a Great Technical SEO Company
Not all agencies can develop, let alone implement, advanced technical SEO strategies. A reason for this is that it requires specialized skills and vast experience.
So, how do you recognize those who can not only develop a technical SEO plan unique to your business but can also implement it for maximum results?
Such agencies work with a team of experts and the other characteristics I’ll discuss below.
1. Experience With Massive Sites
Smaller websites rarely have issues with technical SEO that are difficult to fix. In most cases, any problems can be solved by checking the robots.txt file, making sure the site is on a good platform (like WordPress or Shopify), and upgrading to a good web host.
If a small site struggles to rank, it’s usually because they need a lot more content and authority. Rarely is there a quick fix.
Large sites, however, are completely different.
When a site has millions of URLs, all sorts of insane problems come up. There can easily be thousands of junk URLs that never should have been indexed to begin with. Or terrible canonical errors that cause rampant duplication problems. Not to mention keeping everything clean between dozens of languages.
For sites like this, make sure you’re working with someone that has tons of experience working on larger sites.
Otherwise, they won’t have the experience need to spot your technical problems quickly.
2. A Holistic Process that Includes Technical SEO
As I’ve mentioned earlier, technical SEO is the backbone that gives your site structure. Occasionally, you will see some quick technical SEO fixes bring you traffic.
But what then?
After you fix your technical SEO, what’s your plan for growing SEO traffic over the long term?
We’ve seen lots of folks work on quick fixes and then never take the next step to growing their site by 2X, 5X, or 10X what they have now.
If it was me, I’d want to work with someone that could keep growing my site year in and year out. That’s where the real impact comes from.
If you have a gnarly technical SEO problem, work with a specialist. But an agency with deep SEO expertise across content, technical SEO, and promotion will take your business to an entirely different level.
3. Thought leadership
It takes patient experimentation to develop, plan, and implement technical SEO strategies.
And to show their processes and how they achieve results, exceptional technical SEO agencies publish their findings from experiments.
That’s one of the easiest ways to look for a top tier technical SEO agency. Find the folks that product the best content in the space.
After all, if they’re already doing great SEO, they can likely help your business too.
4. Been in the SEO Game Long Enough to Spot Patterns
Technical SEO can move really fast.
Google is always releasing new features, shutting down others, and changing their priorities.
It’s a shifting landscape.
Getting a great technical SEO that knows the rules today isn’t enough. Ideally, you’ll want to work with someone that knows where SEO is going in the coming months and years. Or at least can take a good guess at it.
The last thing anyone wants is to restructure their site and then have Google go in an entirely different direction.
How to Work With a Technical SEO Agency
Once you’ve picked an agency, then what?
How do you work with one? What should you expect when you hire technical SEO specialists?
Typically, the process looks like this.
1. In-house Team Alignment
Most technical SEO agencies work as an extension of your in-house marketing team.
To ensure the partnership between both parties starts smoothly, you should:
- Hold an in-house stakeholder meeting to align your teams.
- Communicate why you need to work with a technical SEO agency and how their work would impact your site and business.
- Make sure everyone is truly onboard with getting help. The agency may help find problems but internal teams need to be motivated to fix them.
- Appoint front-facing employees that’ll work directly with the agency.
When you do this, it ensures there’s team alignment between your company and the agency. It also keeps the agency in sync with your goals.
2. Discovery Session
The first task to expect when you contact a technical SEO agency is an invitation to share your business problems and needs relevant to technical SEO.
A reason for this is to understand your business situation better and get ideas from their vast pool of experience on the best approach to take.
This process starts with a discovery session.
The best technical SEO agencies are first there to help organizations develop customized strategies that drive business growth. But for them to help you, expect to share your needs via a discovery session.
3. A Paid Audit
For a lot of marketing agencies, they’ll do a bunch of research for free and pitch you a proposal on how they’ll accomplish your goals.
This usually makes a lot of sense. The marketing agency gives you a taste of what they can do, they charge for the execution of the plan itself.
Technical SEO agencies rarely work like that.
In their case, the value is the research. You’re hiring them to do a ton of digging on your site and surface every problem they can find.
So don’t expect free audits.
The agency usually has a standard rate based on the size of your site.
4. Audit Results
Once the audit is finished, expect a document that goes into every issue that the team found. You can also expect a call to go over all the results.
Have your team ask followup questions, get clarification, and get as much advice on implementation as possible.
Because after this call, you’ll have a choice.
Some technical SEO agencies will help with implementation too. They’ll go over what that looks like. Many will have a proposal ready to go just in case you want to move forward right away.
If you want to implement everything in-house, make sure that this work doesn’t get neglected. It’s easy for it to get lost in the hand-off. Break up the work as necessary and get all deliverables assigned to individuals that can carry them to completion.
5. Ongoing Work
If you’ve decided to work with that agency on an ongoing basis, you’ll get into a regular cadence of status updates, invoicing, and execution.
Since you’ve already completed an audit with the agency by this point, there shouldn’t be any surprises in how they work.
As long as they keep delivering great work, keep working with them.
How to Find The Right Technical SEO Agency For You
To choose a technical SEO agency that’s right for you, I recommend you start with these steps:
- Know your desired outcomes for technical SEO.
- Make sure the agencies on your shortlist specialize in these goals.
- Pick the one with the best track record in that area.
To make the selection process much easier for you, below you’ll find the best technical SEO companies below.
The 5 Top Technical SEO Agencies
1. Neil Patel Digital – Best For Technical Content Structuring
No doubt, content is king. But content without a strong technical SEO foundation doesn’t yield long-term SEO success.
Ideally, you’d have both. Great content and smooth technical SEO.
At Neil Patel Digital, we excel at developing and implementing SEO-optimized content structuring that meets the necessary technical SEO requirements.
I truly believe we have one of the most comprehensive SEO programs in the world. We’d be a great fit if you really want to go for it.
Quite a few Fortune 500 companies have picked us to do just that.
2. Webris – Best for Technical SEO Audits
Let’s say you feel really good about your SEO strategy. But something on your site is a little off. Or you just want to double check and make sure nothing’s missing.
In that case, a technical SEO audit would be a great fit for you.
The company I recommend for this kind of work is Webris.
Their entire process is published here, take a look before you decide to contact them.
Led by Ryan Stewart, Webris boasts a talented team of advanced technical SEO experts trusted by government agencies and enterprise companies.
3. Salt.agency – Best for Technical Organic Optimization
Salt.agency’s core differentiator is how they blend industry-leading technical expertise with organic growth strategies to drive organic optimization.
They’re a good option for business that need more than just a technical SEO audit. If you know that you have SEO problems but aren’t sure where they are, they’ll be happy to dig in and give you guidance on your strategy.
They have offices in Leeds, Boston, and London and customers that include Travel Supermarket, Cloudflare, Hartley Botanic, and many others.
4. Ayima – Best for Enterprise Technical SEO
Ayima positions itself as the technical SEO agency for enterprise companies. And this agency’s minimum project size is $25,000.
This may seem on the high side from afar, but it only reflects Ayima’s vast experience and expertise, working with huge companies like eBay and British Airways.
Ayima didn’t become the technical SEO agency for enterprise brands overnight. The company earned its stripes after transitioning from a search engine technology startup into a technical marketing agency.
In any space, the best agencies have people that have built products in that exact space. They really understand how it all comes together.
If you’re looking for hardcore technical SEO expertise, reach out to them.
5. Orainti – Best for eCommerce Brands
Orainti, a Spanish-based SEO agency, works mostly with ecommerce brands selling globally.
This agency is excellent for developing SEO-optimized multilingual domains and a robust site structure for category pages and products.
Ecommerce sites have a lot of technical SEO problems that are completely unique for them. If you have a large ecommerce site, I’d definitely recommend working with an agency with deep ecommerce experience.
Most importantly, most of Orainti’s services is around technical SEO.
Founded by Aleyda Solis, a veteran SEO practitioner, author, and speaker, Orainti has an impressive portfolio of premium brands likeUnder Armour, Zillow, Sage, Eventbrite, and others.
Have a Plan for Technical SEO from Day One
Most businesses make the mistake of relegating technical SEO to the backseat.
Because from the onset, it doesn’t have much impact on rankings and traffic.
A little time invested today could gain you thousands of extra visitors without any extra work later.
Don’t wait for things to go south. Make it easy for Google to find, index, understand, and rank your content.
No sense in jumping on the SEO treadmill while trying to carry a bunch of extra weight that will only slow you down.
Get a solid plan for technical SEO from day one.
And if you need help, reach out to an agency that specializes in technical SEO.
E-commerce retailers face many obstacles in the realm of online business.
A common yet persistent issue is deadstock products.
The accumulation of deadstock inventory can drive up operational and warehouse costs. As more products enter the warehouse, the cost of storing unsold items can drain the valuable financial resources of your business.
What’s more, seasonal trends and products make it difficult to eliminate deadstock products completely.
How to solve this problem? This article explains how to avoid deadstock and how to get rid of it when it piles up in your warehouse.
Let’s start with the definition for deadstock first.
What Does Deadstock Mean?
Deadstock is synonymous with dead inventory.
These are items that haven’t been sold and are very unlikely to sell. If you don’t use an inventory management system, these goods likely pile up and remain forgotten in your warehouse.
An alternative definition of “deadstock” refers to goods that are no longer sold in stores. In this case, these deadstock goods, like unused or unworn shoes or vintage apparel, are sold at much higher rates.
For the purposes of this article, we won’t explore the latter definition in this post.
Is Deadstock Bad for Business?
Deadstock comes with a price.
Retailers won’t be able to recoup the cost of manufacturing products if they never sell.
As a result, unwanted items take up space in your warehouse. A longer stay means more storage costs for your business.
How to calculate deadstock? To understand its consequences for your business, calculate the costs involved in holding onto these useless products.
List rental costs, utilities, equipment, insurance, and security used to guard your items.
Ideally, businesses make up for these costs through sales, but deadstock products remain stagnant in your warehouse. Instead of making a profit, retailers pay to keep these useless goods.
Deadstock also has an attached opportunity cost.
The space occupied by these items could have been used for “headstock” or highly profitable and bestselling items, which instantly make a profit for your business.
How to Avoid Deadstock
In my experience, you need to avoid deadstock as much as possible.
Business of Fashion reports that dead inventory costs around $50 billion per year for the US retail industry.
If a retail brand’s standard margin is around 60%, then a deadstock worth $40,000 represents around $100,000 worth of retail sales and $60,000 of gross margin dollars.
I’ve advised a lot of e-commerce stores, and I can tell you it’s best to avoid deadstock than to wait for it to snowball at a later time.
So today, I’ll share tips for avoiding deadstock.
1. Improve Inventory Management For Less Deadstock
Inventory management is a major cause of deadstock.
Fortunately, an inventory management system can guarantee your inventory is monitored and managed appropriately.
Here are some popular inventory management systems:
- inFlow Inventory: an inventory management system that can manage up to 100 products.
- Sortly Pro: a cloud-based inventory management system that can handle up to 100 transaction entries per month.
- Odoo: a free open source enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution.
- ZhenHub: a cloud-based inventory management system for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).
There is no right or wrong inventory management system. Instead, find a solution that meets your needs.
Once you have a system in place, keep track of the products on your shelves, as well as those that end up as dead inventory. In addition, you must identify the products with no sales or low sales for the past year.
An intelligent inventory management system can identify bestselling items, allowable return dates, expiration dates, as well as flopped goods you’re better off without.
2. Discount Potential Deadstock Items
Pay attention to what’s selling and what’s not.
Take into account the latest market trends. What are the popular products people love? How long will this trend last?
Seasonal products might be selling like hot cakes for the first few weeks, but the excitement fades eventually.
A good tip is to discount potential deadstock items by hosting end-of-season sales.
For example, Patagonia, The North Face, and H&M frequently have end-of-season sales to sell their jackets and coats once the winter season ends. This way, they can get rid of deadstock items and make way for next season’s collections.
Perishable goods won’t be sellable after their expiration date has passed. That’s precisely why you must monitor items that will almost reach their expiration date and then offer them at discounted prices.
Tools like Wasteless utilize AI to prevent food waste through a dynamic pricing model. By using machine learning, they can use variables like brand popularity, seasonal popularity, and expiration dates to determine the real-time price of perishable goods.
Of course, your profit margins will be lower than expected for discounted products. However, a discount helps you get rid of unpopular products, and it’s a lot better than stocking these goods in a warehouse and paying more for storage.
At the very least, you have an opportunity to make up for the manufacturing costs and break even.
3. Know Your Target Audience
This happens all the time: You promote the product, but it just won’t sell.
If an item remains unsold despite numerous promotions, your target audience probably doesn’t want them.
Every time you source potential products to sell, you must understand the conditions you are dealing with.
This is why market research and surveys are crucial to your success. The socioeconomic profile, gender, location, and interests of your audience can predict the outcome of the sales of your store.
So, before you pay for manufacturing costs, ensure your consumers want the product.
To get started, create a marketing persona for your online store. This doesn’t have to be complicated.
Here’s an example of a marketing persona that considers the demographics and characteristics of your consumers:
Another idea is to perform market research by sending regular surveys to pinpoint your customers’ needs. I highly recommend getting current customers as respondents because they’ve experienced your product and likely fit with the profile of your target market.
Survey Monkey recommends asking these questions to evaluate the product/market fit.
- How did you find this product?
- How would you feel if this product was no longer available?
- What are the benefits of using this product?
- What alternatives would you use if this product was no longer available?
- Have you recommended using this product to anyone?
It’s best to conduct surveys regularly to identify opportunities within your target market.
Also, understand the items and trends that customers love and take them into consideration for future product releases. You can use inventory management software to identify products that sold out quickly to make sure you’re selling the products that shoppers need.
Having more bestselling items is key to the elimination of deadstock, and while you won’t always be able to sell 100% of items in your inventory, knowing your customers and assessing product/market fit will help reduce the accumulation of deadstock.
4. Diversify Your Products to Avoid Deadstock
You may opt to sell bestselling items only to avoid deadstock completely.
However, you must guarantee that most of the bestselling items in your store don’t have the same features or characteristics. Otherwise, you can get more deadstock too.
Having too many similar items may mean cannibalization. Some customers may prefer one brand or item over another, which leads to low sales numbers for other goods.
This is common for retailers offering similar items from multiple brands.
Diversify your product inventory to avoid this consequence.
A good tip is to add complementary products of existing items in your e-commerce store. For starters, complementary goods are products that are used together. They may be completely different from an item you’re selling, but their combination of complementary goods will sweeten the deal.
For example, if you’re an iPhone retailer, then add iPhone cases and accessories to your arsenal. As the value of the latest iPhone decreases, it may become more mainstream. Thus, more people will be buying your cases and accessories in the future.
Alternatively, you can offer an assortment of related products, instead of selling them separately.
For instance, Harry’s – a men’s grooming brand – offers a “Truman Set,” which includes a foam shave gel, blades, and razors packed in one convenient package.
How Do I Get Rid Of Deadstock?
Now, if you already have deadstock, it’s time to get rid of it.
Here’s what you need to do.
1. Return Deadstock Items To Suppliers
If you’re in the window to return, this may be the best option.
In the short-run, you’ll pay a small fee, but at least you can avoid a major loss and more deadstock.
As long as the items are in good condition, you may be able to return them to the supplier. However, review the return policy of suppliers first to guarantee they allow this method.
Most suppliers have a restocking fee worth 10% of the merchandise. You’ll likely get an option to pay in credit rather than cash.
2. Put Deadstock in Clearance Sections and Bundles
What if you sold some items at a discount, but it just won’t sell? You can take it even further.
Find out the lowest price that you can sell these products. Then bundle related and complementary products together and sell them as a set.
For example, Glossier bundles related items together and offers them at a discounted price. Many beauty enthusiasts prefer a complete set sold at a discounted rate, rather than purchasing a single item with no discount.
If you have a lot of stocks with the same item, get rid of them through freebies and giveaways. Consumers love to get free stuff, so it may compel them to return to your online store and make a purchase.
During the holidays, you can bundle items to create holiday gift sets with an assortment of products.
For example, Soko Glam bundles miniature-sized skincare products and sells them as a gift set for the season of giving. Plus, customers who make orders above $135 will receive a Dreamy Satin Pillowcase while supplies last.
3. Sell to Deadstock Buyers
You’ll likely lose some cash, but getting some money back is better than a total loss.
Here are some deadstock buyers to consider:
- Wholesale: If you have a lot of deadstock in good condition, you can sell them to wholesalers. For clothing retailers, popular boutique wholesale clothing suppliers include Sugarlips Wholesale, Bloom Wholesale, Wholesale Fashion Square, Tasha Apparel, Magnolia Fashion Wholesale, and LAShowRoom.
- Amazon Seller Central: Amazon has a Seller Central where you can adjust the pricing or match your competitor’s lowest price.
- eBay: Deadstock consisting of repaired or returned products could be sold to eBay at drastically reduced costs.
- Consignment shops and warehouses: These buyers usually purchase clothing, home goods, and old items that could be sold at low prices.
- Closeout liquidators: These businesses can buy a bulk of your deadstock and resell it in their own stores at cheaper prices.
4. Donate Deadstock to Charities
Finally, if a product just won’t sell, consider donating it to charity.
Donating to charity is a popular option for clothing retailers. You can sell deadstock items to discount stores like T.J.Maxx or the Outnet as a last-ditch attempt to make sales.
We bet there are many charities in your local communities and cities. You can donate to any organization, just make sure it’s legal. Find a reputable charity where you can sell your items.
While you may not be able to sell these goods, you can claim a tax write off for donating them. If handled well, this initiative will make your business look good.
If you want to eliminate deadstock products, make an active effort to find products that will sell.
Use an inventory management system to track unwanted items in your inventory. Bundle deadstock products and sell them as gift bundles or give them away as freebies. As a last resort, you can even sell deadstock products to wholesalers, consignment shops, Amazon, or eBay.
There are many options to avoid the accumulation of deadstock and get rid of unsold items stuck in your inventory,
How will you avoid deadstock products?
The post The Good and Bad of Deadstock Products for E-commerce appeared first on Neil Patel.
With a net worth of $1.7 trillion, Amazon has dominated the e-commerce sector for years, leaving many of its competitors in the shade. But are there alternatives to Amazon?
With an audience as vast as Amazon, small business start-ups and solo entrepreneurs flock to the site to sell the products, get established, and build their enterprises. Despite the audience Amazon offers, you may want to look for other online venues to list your items.
There are many good reasons to broaden your e-commerce horizons.
First, it makes little sense to put all your eggs in one basket. Second, selling on a wider range of marketplaces gets your products in front of a larger audience. And finally, looking at the other choices available could save you money on fees, or get you closer to your target buyers.
Below are some viable alternatives to Amazon. We’ll look at their advantages, their fee structures, and what makes them different.
Why You Should Use an Alternative to Amazon for Your E-commerce Business
We already touched on one of the main reasons to seek other venues: the perils of depending on one sales platform.
It’s not unheard of for sellers to have their accounts blocked. If you haven’t already established yourself on one of the alternatives to Amazon, your business could tank.
However, by setting up multiple accounts with different marketplaces, you’ve got greater flexibility if things go wrong. Plus, you can use other online platforms to test out which ones are the best for your products.
And there are other benefits in finding additional marketplaces, like:
All e-commerce sales platforms have some measure of control over your business. They determine:
- What products you can list
- The terms and conditions of doing business
- Your payment options
- Shipping fees
These terms might not be suitable for your business. So, If you’re looking for greater flexibility, then seeking alternatives to Amazon is a good idea.
Better Customer and Vendor Support
Perhaps you feel the vendor or customer support is lacking. Amazon provides useful resources for sellers, like its university. But some sellers feel seller support is sometimes thin, especially when things go wrong.
More Shipping Options and Lower Fees With Some Amazon Alternatives
Amazon has changed its fee structure over the years, bringing frustration to some.
Amazon sets its professional selling plan at $39.99, with individual plans available free. And referral fees differ, depending on which category you’re selling in.
Shipping is a further reason to consider seeking alternatives as individual sellers on Amazon lack flexibility over their shipping costs.
If you’re looking to cut fees or branch out, then signing with some alternatives to Amazon may allow you to further scale your business while reducing costs.
Amazon Alternative Payment Choices
If you’re a seller on Amazon, you’ll know it makes payment via ACH or electronic funds transfer. Amazon distributes these payments to your bank account every two weeks, and they can take up to five days to clear.
But that doesn’t always work for everyone. If you’re a small business and cash is tight, signing up to e-commerce platforms with a broader range of payment options can improve your cash flow.
What to Look for in an Amazon Alternative
Before you search for alternatives to Amazon, you need to decide what you want from your business. You’ll need to consider the products you’re selling and your target customer, too.
For example, if you’re selling printable products, Etsy could be an excellent choice. Or, if you’re looking for consumers who understand tech, you may find Newegg works well for you.
Other areas you’ll want to think about include:
Ease of Use
Marketplaces that allow you to add items efficiently mean you can list more products in less time. But you’ll want to view any alternatives to Amazon from your customer’s perspective too.
How important is the ease of use? Well, if you note some recent research from Digital Commerce 360 and Bitrate, you’ll see this is a significant factor in the buying decision.
When researching new platforms, perhaps test them out for yourself and consider areas like:
- Ease of checkout
- Payment options
- Shipping choices
Think about your ideal consumer and the type of users the platform attracts. For example, eBay is huge, with 182 million active buyers. It’s great for snapping up limited-time deals, brand name products, and pre-loved items.
However, it’s not always the first place shoppers think of when looking for handmade goods or unique items. They’re more likely to head somewhere like Etsy.
Fees can take a considerable chunk of your profits if you’re not careful. Depending on the fee structure, some sites may not be suitable if you’re selling smaller, lower value items.
If you need some help in this area, fee calculators are helpful. Here’s a list of the well-known ones.
Best Alternatives to Amazon for E-commerce
What are some of the best Amazon alternatives when you’re looking to sell your products online? Let’s look at some of the top options, in no particular order.
Established in 2007, Bonanza has built itself a loyal following, with a vast range of categories. Sign up is free, and fees are straight forward. Final offer value fees are 3.5 percent for sales under $500. Sales over $500 attract an additional 1.5 percent fee.
Although it’s much smaller than Amazon, Bonanza has some advantages over its larger rival. They include a greater emphasis on building customer relationships and developing a sustainable business through repeat customers.
Equally appealing to sellers is the marketing tools Bonanza provides. These give you access to valuable data about product performance, allowing you to spot trends, optimize listings, and better market your items.
Other features include:
- Automatic syncing with eBay, Amazon, and Shopify
- Customized marketing tools
- Image editing tools
- Google integration
- High level of customer support.
But what makes Bonanza stand out is its focus on unique items. It’s not trying to be another Amazon. As Bonanza puts it, it’s a site where you’ll find “everything but the ordinary”.
One of the most prominent alternatives to Amazon is eBay. Like Amazon, eBay has made considerable changes since its launch back in 1995. Over the years, eBay’s focus has moved away from the collectibles market it used to cater to, and it’s now more product-based.
Many famous brands like Rolex, Hasbro, and Microsoft make their goods available via ebay.com brand outlet site, enabling consumers to bag a bargain. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t still a place for more unusual or collectible items.
On eBay, listing fees and final value fees vary, but it sets many of its final value fees at 10 percent or less. If you need to calculate fees before listing, use an eBay fee calculator.
Some advantages of selling on eBay are:
- A more comprehensive range of categories
- More payment options for shoppers, like a credit/debit card, PayPal, and local collection. Sellers can also accept Apple Pay, Google Pay, and gift cards through managed payments.
- Improved branding through eBay stores and marketing materials
What makes eBay stand out, though, is its auctions. Auctions may not be ideal for every business. However, sellers who specialize in collectible or rare items may find the bidding pushes their final sales price up higher than they could’ve imagined.
If your business primarily sells printable products or art and craft items, then Etsy might be for you. Of the many alternatives to Amazon, Etsy has perhaps one of the most affordable and straightforward pricing approaches.
Each listing costs just 20 cents, and the listing is good for four months. Then there’s a five percent transaction fee for goods that sell. Payment processing fees are variable and depend on location. If you want to grow your business further, Etsy Plus is available at $10 a month.
Re-listing is simple, too. Just select the auto-renew option, and there shouldn’t be anything else to do on your part.
Advantages of selling on Etsy are:
- Greater customization over how your store looks
- Ideal for beginners
- Lower fees
- Sellers can list collectibles and vintage items on Etsy
That’s the advantages, but there are a couple of possible disadvantages worth mentioning. First, Etsy is much smaller than Amazon, which means there’s intense competition, so your products need to stand out.
Second, although fees are cheaper, you may make more sales on Amazon Handmade because of its larger audience share.
Amazon dominates e-commerce, but Walmart is gaining ground. Recent sales figures show Walmart’s e-commerce sales have soared by 74 percent. This stat means if you’re looking for alternatives to Amazon, Walmart could be promising.
Like Amazon, Walmart now offers a fulfillment service. Although storage and fulfillment fees apply, Walmart’s fee structure is less complicated than Fulfillment by Amazon, and referral fees are competitive.
In addition, with Walmart’s marketplace, there’s no start-up or ongoing monthly fees. However, you’ll want to factor in other costs, like unique product codes (UPCs).
Advantages of selling on the Walmart marketplace include:
- Lower costs
- Less competition due to buyer/seller ratio
- Price control over inventory
What makes the platform different? Unlike Amazon, Walmart’s marketplace is only open to invited brands. You can’t just register and start selling. But you can sign up.
To register your interest in selling, Walmart asks businesses to fill out the interest form.
Newegg has gained a reputation as the top global tech marketplace online. But it also sells apparel, home and lifestyle products, sports/health-related items, TVs, and plenty more.
As for fees, non-elite membership is free. Elite membership has two tiers ranging from $29.95-$99.95 a month. Commissions vary, with the highest being 12 percent.
Advantages of selling on Newegg include:
- Can be cheaper for tech products
- Attracts tech buyers who are knowledgeable about products
- The Newegg search engine makes finding electronics and components quicker
- Customized marketing for businesses
- Various payment choices for sellers including weekly ACH payments, PayPal, Wire Transfer, PingPong, Payoneer, and World First
- A wide range of payments for buyers, including PayPal and BitPay
But it’s the multi-channel fulfillment option that may interest sellers the most. If you’re selling from various platforms, Newegg provides a central point to manage all your orders.
When you sell on a third-party platform, you have limited control. Many online sellers favor setting up their stores the Shopify platform.
The site offers new sellers a 14-day free trial to get them started. After that, a basic Shopify store will cost you $29 a month. Online credit card rates are 2.9 percent + 30 cents. And you should find it easy enough to start selling.
Once you’ve signed up for the free trial, the next steps are to:
- Add products
- Selecting images
- Set shipping details
- Customize pages for search engines using keywords
- Create main pages
- Customize store
The benefits of Shopify include:
- Highly-rated customer support and selling features
- Greater customization
- Large range of e-commerce tools and apps
- Access to the e-commerce university
- You can accept a large range of currencies
There are a variety of reasons you might be looking for alternatives to Amazon. Maybe you want a platform that provides a wider range of payment options, a site that’s more niche, or you just want a more extensive selection of online marketplaces to sell your wares.
As you can see, there are many venues available, and they all have their advantages. Sites like Bonanza have established a loyal audience, and Walmart’s e-commerce presence is growing strong.
Niche sites such as Etsy and Newegg are ideal for specialist items, and eBay offers greater customization and various selling methods, including auctions.
If you want to go it alone, there’s always Shopify, where you can set up and market your own e-commerce business.
Are you an online seller? Tell us about your favorite platform and your experiences below.
Are you feeling inspired to change the name of your business? It’s understandable. Sometimes something just strikes you as perfect and you feel you need to take action right away. However, you might want to hold off on that for a minute. Don’t change your business name until you understand how risky it is.
STOP! Don’t Change Your Business Name Until You Read This
Even if the name of your business is super boring right now and you have an idea for the catchiest name ever, it is a big risk to change your business name. The name of your business is incredibly far reaching. It is on all insurances, licenses, bank accounts, credit accounts, and it is tied to your EIN if you have one.
Imagine, every legal document and identification number that relates to your business has your business name on it. Furthermore, if you have a web presence, your social media accounts and website connect to that name. If your URL has your business name in it, that complicates things even further.
Learn more here and get started with building business credit with your company’s EIN and not your SSN.
Of course, you’re thinking you’ll just change it in all the places and you’ll be good. That’s great, but what if you forget something random from a long time ago? What if your business name is on a document you forgot even exists? You may not think it matters much, but it does. Your business name can affect almost every aspect of fundability. Do you know why it’s risky to change your business name? Understanding exactly what fundability is and what affects it can go a long way toward helping you understand.
What is Fundability
Fundability is the ability of your business to get funding. When lenders look at funding your business, they consider if it is a good idea to make the loan. What do they look at to make that determination? It’s a lot more than you may think, and I guarantee that it reaches further than you realize.
The first aspects of fundability have to do with how your business is set up.
Consistent, Separate Contact Information
This is your business phone number and address that is separate from your personal phone number and address. That may not mean you have a separate phone line, or even a separate location however.
Honestly, you can get a business phone number and fax number pretty easily that will work over the internet instead of phone lines. Then, the phone number will forward to any phone you want it too so you can simply use your personal cell phone or landline. Whenever someone calls your business number it will ring straight to you.
You can use a virtual office for a separate business address. This isn’t what you may think. A virtual office is a business that offers a physical address for a fee, and sometimes they even offer mail service and live receptionist services. In addition, there are some that offer meeting spaces for those times you may need to meet a client or customer in person.
But imagine if your phone number and address are listed under one name, and then you change the business name. It is complex and time consuming to change your information everywhere. Something is almost certain to get missed, and customers are going to be confused.
This is an identifying number for your business that works in a way similar to how your SSN works for you personally. You can get one for free from the IRS. However, if you change your business name, you’ll have to make sure you have an EIN that is attached to the new name. Furthermore, you’ll have to ensure all the accounts that you have using that EIN are changed to reflect your new name.
Incorporating your business as an LLC, S-corp, or corporation is necessary to fundability. It lends credence to your business as one that is legitimate. It also offers some protection from liability.
Which option you choose does not matter as much for fundability as it does for your budget and needs for liability protection. It’s best to talk to your attorney or a tax professional about that issue. However, when you incorporate you are going to lose the time in business that you already have. You essentially become a new entity. Basically, you have to start over. You’ll even lose any positive payment history you may have accumulated.
This is why it is important to incorporate as soon as possible. Is necessary for fundability and for building business credit, but so is time in business. The longer you have been in business the more fundable you appear to be in the eyes of lenders. That starts on the date of incorporation, regardless of when you actually started doing business.
If you want to change your business name and you are not yet incorporated, then when you do incorporate is the best time to make it happen. Do it sooner rather than later.
Business Bank Account
You should already have a separate bank account for your business transactions. If you don’t, you need to make that happen now. There are a few reasons for this. First, it will help you keep track of business finances. It will also help you keep them separate from personal finances for tax purposes.
There’s more to it however. There are several types of funding you cannot get without a business bank account. Many lenders and credit cards want to see one with a minimum average balance. In addition, you cannot get a merchant account without a business account at a bank. That means, you cannot take credit card payments. Studies show consumers tend to spend more when they can pay by credit card.
Now, here is how your business name, and the risk when you change your business name, comes into play. This account has to be in your business name. If you change that name, you’ll have to go through the hassle of changing the name on that account. Not only that, but if you have any drafts coming out, you will have to make sure information is updated with those accounts. Otherwise, you could end up with unpaid bills.
For a business to be legitimate it has to have all of the necessary licenses it needs to run. If it doesn’t, warning signals are going blare. Do you know what else will set off some major red flags? If your business name and the name on your license do not match.
I am sure you are wondering how a business website can affect your ability to get funding. Think about it. These days, if you don’t have a website you may as well not even exist. Yet, having a poorly put together website can be even worse. It is the first impression you make on many, and if it appears to be unprofessional or confusing it will not bode well for you with consumers or potential lenders.
Spending the time and money necessary to ensure your website is professionally designed and works well is vital. Paying for hosting is important too. Don’t use a free hosting service. Also, your business needs a dedicated business email address. It should have the same URL as your Website.
Now, imagine your URL and email are tied to your business name. If you change that, you have to redesign your whole site to reflect the new name. Changing those things takes time and money. That’s not even to mention how confused people will be when they do an internet search for your business using a different name, or when they get to your website and see a name they aren’t expecting.
Learn more here and get started with building business credit with your company’s EIN and not your SSN.
Business Credit Reports
These are reports, like your personal credit reports, that detail the credit history of your business. It is a tool to help lenders determine how credit worthy your business is.
Where do business credit reports come from? There are a lot of different places, but the main ones are Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, Equifax, and FICO SBSS.
Lenders see this report. They rely on it heavily when it comes to making lending decisions. Even if your business credit is stellar, seeing your business listed under a bunch of different names can cause a problem. They start worrying about things like fraud, and that can cause an automatic denial.
Even worse, if things aren’t taken care of properly, you could end up with accounts reporting to two different credit reports, wrong accounts on wrong reports, or some other confusing credit report fiasco simply from choosing to change your business name.
Other Business Data Agencies
In addition to the business credit reporting agencies that directly calculate and issue credit reports, there are other business data agencies that affect those reports indirectly. Two examples of this are LexisNexis and The Small Business Finance Exchange. These two agencies gather data from a variety of sources, including public records. This means they could even have access to information relating to automobile accidents and liens. While you may not be able to access or change the data the agencies have on your business, you can ensure that any new information they receive is positive. Enough positive information can help counteract any negative information from the past.
The same issues apply. If your business name doesn’t match across the board, lenders could get uncomfortable.
In addition to the EIN, there are identifying numbers that go along with your business credit reports. Some of them are simply assigned by the agency, like the Experian BIN. Some, like a D-U-N-S number, you have to apply for, of course using your business name.
Here’s another place where you have to follow through if you change your business name. You have to make sure your new name isconnected to your old D&B number, or get a new number. It can become very complicated.
Then other numbers, like your BIN from Experian, will need to be updated as well.
Business Credit History
Your credit history has everything to do with everything related to your credit score, which is a huge factor in the fundability of your business.
Your credit history consists of a number of things including:
- How many accounts are reporting payments?
- How long have you had each account?
- What type of accounts are they?
- How much credit are you using on each account versus how much is available?
- Are you making your payments on these accounts consistently on-time?
Learn more here and get started with building business credit with your company’s EIN and not your SSN.
The more accounts you have reporting on-time payments, the stronger your credit score will be. I’ve already touched on this above. When you change your business name, this information can become very confusing unless you handle things very carefully. The less confusing things are for lenders, the better.
Is it Really that Risky to Change Your Business Name? Yes!
When you change your business name, you start a sort of domino effect. The problem is, the dominos weave in and out of a spider web formation that reaches further than you can probably imagine. If just one is out of place the whole thing can fall. Lenders hone in on discrepancies, and sometimes the result is simply denial. No questions asked, they just deny the loan based on too many inconsistencies.
The only really good time to change your business name is when you incorporate. Still, even then it is best not to. Consistency is key, and trying to backtrack and make changes everywhere they need to be made costs time and money. Trying to explain gaps and changes on a report and how everything ties together is even riskier. The more complicated things are, and the harder a lender has to work to see that you are fundable, the less likely approval becomes.
To make a long story short, you need to carefully weigh any benefit you think you may gain from changing your business name against all the costs. While there could be a few very specific situations where this isn’t the case, as a general rule the benefit doesn’t outweigh the cost.
Specifics sell. Vague generalities do not.
This is an accepted and well-established marketing principle. And for good reason.
Specificity, used correctly, makes your marketing message more believable.
Yet, when applied incorrectly, specificity can actually damage the credibility of your marketing message. And suppress sales conversions.
Specificity in marketing is all about giving specific details within your marketing stories, claims, promises, benefit statements, and case studies.
Specifics can increase the credibility and believability of your message. And allow prospects to conjure a more vivid image in their mind’s eye of the picture you’re painting.
While vague, general statements and promises in your marketing roll off your prospects back like water off a duck. And are viewed as typical “salesman’s hype”.
This is why specificity in your marketing is essential.
But, there are two different types of specificity you need to be aware of. And, different instances where you should be using each.
2 Types Of Specificity To Use
The first type of specificity is: Past Specificity
The second type of specificity is: Future Specificity.
The main difference between the two is in the detail of specifics given.
Let me explain…
Past specificity applies when you’re talking about something that’s taken place in the past (e.g. the result you or a customer has experienced from using your product or service, method, etc.).
In the case of Past Specificity, the more accurate and specific you are, the more believable your marketing message becomes. The less specific, the less believable.
For example, saying you earned $100,000 in 90 days is not as believable as saying you earned $97,856.72 in 83 days.
The reason for this is simple…
When talking about something that has already happened, you should have all the details to provide. So, if you don’t provide them, prospects can feel you’re not telling the complete truth or you’re simply using hype.
So Past Specificity is all about being as specific as possible.
But what about Future Specificity?
What about when talking about something the prospect can experience in the future? Like, when you’re presenting your Primary Marketing Promise (i.e. a promise of outcome, transformation, change, etc.)?
This is where lots of marketers go wrong.
Here, lots of marketers misapply the idea of specificity. They use the same level of specifics for their marketing promise as they would for describing a past experience.
“How to make an extra $16,345.89 every month…”
“How to lose 2.89 pounds of fat every week…”
“How to attract 12,396 new visitors to your website every 30 days…”
These headlines are an example of applying Past Specificity to a future promise.
It’s using Past Specificity when Future Specificity should be used.
In laymen’s terms: these headlines are too specific to be believed.
- How could you promise what a prospect will earn, every month, down to the penny?
- How could you promise how much fat a prospect will lose, each week, down to the decimal?
- How could you promise the exact number of website visitors a prospect will get?
You can’t. And prospects know that.
You see, when describing something you’ve experienced in the past you can be ultra-specific. Because it’s already happened. So you have all the details.
Like, “How I’ve made an extra $16,345.89 every month using…” (Past Specificity)
But, you can’t be ultra-specific like that when presenting your marketing promise.
Because you don’t have a crystal ball. You’re not Nostradamus. You can’t predict the future with that level of detail.
And, again, prospects know this.
So, you need to have something like, “How to make a minimum of $16,000 every month using…”. (Future Specificity)
Be specific when making your promises.
Be ultra-specific when describing the past.
For more examples, review the sample headlines below. These are expanded versions of the headlines from above:
“How I’m banking an average of $16,345.89 every month with one Facebook ad… and how you can easily do the same to bank a quick 5K in the next 30 days!”
“How I eliminated one food from my diet and have since lost an average of 2.89 pounds every week for the last 26 weeks straight!”
“Finally, you can use the same media buying method that’s generated an average of 12,396 new website visitors for me every 30 days for the last 8 months straight!”
*Notice the application of Past Specificity when referencing what’s already happened for me. But, Future Specificity when talking about what the prospect can expect.
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