Category Archives: Ecommerce

Email List Growth: Tips and Tactics You Need to Know

As an online business owner, growing your email list is essential for connecting with your audience and customers effectively. How can we attract more users to subscribe to our email? Today, let’s dive into several strategies you can use to grow your email list!

Email List Growth: Tips and Tactics You Need to Know

Growing your email list is an ongoing process. In order to encourage users to subscribe to your emails, consider implementing the following strategies:

Enhance Website Sign-Up Forms

Where do users sign up for your emails? Whether you are have a pop-up form or a full on landing page, make sure that your email subscription forms are prominently placed on your site. You can place these forms in your  site’s header, footer, sidebar, or even within your content itself. The overall goal is to ensure these forms are easy to find and quick to fill out!

Craft Compelling Content

Once you have a new subscriber, it’s important to send engaging, valuable content. Share content that is relevant and useful to your readers such as industry insights, tips and tricks, how-to guides, and so forth. You can also send special incentives that keep subscribers opening your emails, such as discounts, coupons, or freebies. In your email sign up forms, consider giving a sneak peek of what users will gain by subscribing. This will encourage hesitant users to join!

Utilize Social Media

Another way to grow your email list is to use your other marketing channels as a funnel to your email list! One channel you can user is your social media accounts. Promote your email list on your social media channels and encourage followers to subscribe! This can be as simple as including a link to your email form in your social media description. You could also have a reoccurring post that promotes your email list to your followers.

Optimize Your Email Signature

The easier it is for users to join your email list, the more likely they will sign up. One effective location you can use is your email signature. An email signature is usually a short section of text at the end your company emails that contain your information such as your name, company name, contact information, and so forth. Include a sign-up link to your email list in your email signature to encourage recipients to join your subscribe for more content.

Develop Engaging Shareable Content

To further grow your email list, you need to reach out to beyond your social circle. One way you can do that is by creating sharable content that your current users can send to other people they know. Develop shareable content such as infographics, videos, or quizzes that encourage people to sign up for your email list to access more similar content. By creating shareable content that is relevant, high-quality, emotionally engaging, and easy to share, you can increase the likelihood of your content being shared by users and reaching a wider audience organically.

Want to learn more?

Want more tips on how to grow your email list? Listen to our latest eCommerce Made Easy podcast where Carrie interviews business expert Tracy Beavers on the importance of email marketing and how to gain more subscribers!

Boost Your Site’s Impact: Top 3 Elements for Successful Above-the-Fold Content

Crafting good above-the-fold content is akin to laying the foundation of a sturdy building—it sets the tone for the entire user experience and determines whether visitors will stay or swiftly click away. So, what exactly constitutes good above-the-fold content? Let’s break it down.

Boost Your Site's Impact: Top 3 Elements for Successful Above-the-Fold Content

When it comes to above-the-fold content, prioritizing the most important elements can significantly impact your site’s user engagement and conversion rate. What should we focus on? In this case, the three most crucial aspects of your above-the-fold content are your headline, your call to action, and your visuals.

1. A Clear & Concise Headline

The headline is the first thing visitors see when they land on your website, and it plays a pivotal role in capturing their attention and communicating your value proposition succinctly. A compelling headline should be clear, concise, and engaging, giving visitors a reason to explore further. It should clearly communicate what your company has to offer. Whether it’s highlighting a unique selling point, offering a solution to a problem, or sparking curiosity, the headline sets the tone for the entire user experience.

2. A Strategic Call-to-Action (CTA)

Call-to-Actions are a must in your above-the-fold content. A strategically placed call-to-action button guides visitors towards their next step, whether it’s making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or exploring your products or services further. The CTA should be prominently displayed, visually appealing, and clearly communicate the desired action. Use persuasive, clear language that encourages action, such as “Shop Now,” “Sign Up Today,” or “Get Started.” By making it easy for your visitors to take the desired action, you can increase conversion rates and drive meaningful engagement.

3. Engaging Visuals

Visual elements such as images, videos, or graphics are powerful tools for capturing attention and conveying information quickly. Compelling visuals not only enhance the aesthetic appeal of your website but also help to communicate your brand identity, showcase products or services, and evoke emotion. Choose high-quality images that are relevant to your content and resonate with your target audience. Visuals should complement the headline and CTA, reinforcing your message and encouraging visitors to explore further.

Want to learn more?

Crafting effective above-the-fold content is crucial to the success of your online shop. Afterall, it’s your digital storefront—the first impression that can make or break the user experience. What other aspects of our above-the-fold content can we optimize? Listen to our latest eCommerce Made Easy podcast where Carrie shares how you can craft captivating above-the-fold content that grabs your user attention and boosts conversions.

Behind the Lag: What a Slow Website Looks Like and Why It Matters

Do you feel like your website has been running slow? A slow website can be detrimental to your online shop’s success. Today, let’s go over what a slow website can look like and the negative consequences it could bring to your business.

Behind the Lag: What a Slow Website Looks Like and Why It Matters

What does a slow site look like?

A slow website can be easily spotted by its poor performance. Some common signs that users may notice when visiting a slow site are:

  • Long load times – Pages may take a noticeable amount of time to load in, leaving users with an empty screen for a period of time.
  • Delayed or stuttering renders – Some elements of your page may take more time to load than others, resulting in page stutters.
  • Incomplete or partially loaded content – Users may see incomplete or partially loaded content on your page, such as half an image or text appearing gradually as it loads in.
  • Slow response time to user interactions– When a user presses a button, opens a menu, or interacts with a form, the site may appear to be unresponsive as it processes the user input.
  • Browser freezes or crashes – In severe cases, visiting a slow website may cause the user’s web browser to freeze or crash entirely, forcing them to restart the browser or navigate away from the site.

How can a slow site impact my business?

Frustrated customers

A slow site can lead to a negative overall experience. Pages taking too long to load, unresponsive buttons, and sudden shifts in the page when loading in new content can leave users feeling frustrated. Users are more likely to abandon your site if they have to wait too long for content to load, leading to higher bounce rates.

Lower Search Engine Rankings

Search engines like Google consider site speed as a ranking factor. If your site is slow, it can affect a search engine’s ability to crawl and index your site, affecting your overall performance ranking. Slow-loading pages may be penalized in search results, leading to reduced visibility and less organic traffic. This means that people searching for your products and services will be less likely to be served your site.

Reduced User Engagement

If your site’s slow performance makes it difficult to browse, you may end up with less customers interacting with your site. Slow sites tend to have lower user engagement metrics, such as time spent on page and number of pages viewed per session. This can negatively affect your site’s monetization, such as ads, and continue to bring down your site’s SEO ranking.

Negative Brand Reputation

A slow website reflects poorly on your brand. Users may perceive your site’s slow performance as unprofessional, outdated, or unreliable, which can damage your brand’s reputation and credibility. A tarnished brand can dissuade both old and new users from visiting your site.

Decreased Conversions

Slow websites often experience lower conversion rates. Whether the goal is to make a purchase, sign up for a service, or fill out a form, users are less likely to complete these actions if they encounter obstacles during the process. The harder it is for a user to buy your products, the less likely they will complete their purchase!

Want to learn more?

Want to learn how to measure and fix your site’s speed? Listen to our latest eCommerce Made Easy podcast where Carrie dives into the importance of site speed, how to check it, and what you can do to improve it!

Finding the Best Platform for Your Business

Choosing the right platform for your business needs is crucial to optimize operations, expand your reach, and achieve success. However, it can be a very overwhelming process. Where do we start? In this blog let’s explore how to choose the most suitable platform for your business.

Finding the Best Platform for Your Business

Regardless of the type of platform you’re shopping for, there are a few key steps to follow to find a platform that fulfills your business needs:

Define your Goals

Before you start shopping for a new platform, sit down and write out what you want to achieve with this platform. What are your goals? What features will help you achieve those goals? If you are replacing an existing platform, what aspects of that platform do you like and dislike? Whether it’s selling products or services, building brand awareness, generating leads, or providing customers support, setting your goals will influence your platform choice and help you filter out inadequate ones.

Research Available Platforms

With your goals in mind, it is time to look at your platform choices. Research platforms online to get a glance at the top platforms available. You can also review industry publications and forums to see what fellow entrepreneurs and professionals are saying about these platforms. One important thing to keep in mind is to not research too many platforms at once. Collect a handful of platforms that, on the surface, seem promising. Research them in batches to make it easier to approach.

Evaluate Features & Functionality

When dividing into individual platforms, take a close look at their features and functionality and compare it to your business needs. Do their features suit your needs? Are there other features that you could benefit from? If there is a demo of the platform available, consider trying it out to see how it flows. Especially when you are transferring from one platform to another, exploring how it feels to use the new platform can help determine if it is a good fit for your business.

Consider Pricing

When looking at new platforms, consider the price. If you are migrating from another platform, how does the new platform’s price compare? Are you getting more for your buck? Is it cheaper? These platforms may offer different types of plans with varying prices. Some platforms may be as simple as a one-time license fee while other platforms may offer subscription based or feature based pricing. Determine a pricing plan that works best for your budget.

Think about Scalability

While you shop for platforms, consider the scalability of the platform and its ability to accommodate your business’s growth in the future. As your business grows, how do these platforms change in pricing? Do these platforms offer features and support to help you expand your business? Depending on the answers, you may find that, while some of these platforms work in the short term, they may become problematic in the long term. Choose a platform that can scale alongside your business without significant disruptions or limitations.

Want to learn more?

Want more tips on what to look out for when shopping for new platforms? Listen to our latest eCommerce Made Easy podcast where Carrie shares her strategies for effectively gathering the information necessary to make informed decisions when selecting your next platform.

Building Trust and Credibility: Exploring the Benefits of Social Proof

In a crowded marketplace where every business is vying for attention, how can you stand out and earn the trust of your potential customers? Social proof can help! By harnessing the power of social proof, your business can not only build credibility and trust but also attract and retain loyal customers. Let’s explore how integrating social proof strategies can elevate your brand and drive success in today’s competitive landscape.

Building Trust and Credibility: Exploring the Benefits of Social Proof

Social proof is about using the influence of others to build trust and credibility. Testimonials, reviews and endorsements are just a few examples of social proof. By incorporating social proof into your marketing strategies and online shop, you can…:

Encourage Validation & Assurance

Social proof provides validation and assurance to potential customers by showing that others have found value in your products and services. When it comes to buying products online, many customers first check reviews before deciding to buy. By reading a positive review, they can see that other fellow customers have enjoyed your product or service. This validation can alleviate doubts and uncertainties, making it easier for potential customers to buy from you.

Reduce Risk Perception

When individuals observe others engaging with a product or service, it reduces the perceived risk associated with trying it themselves. For many customers, you may not be the first solution they have encountered. They may have bought from other merchants in the past with disappointing results. Through social proof, you can potential customers that others have found success with your products and services. If others have had positive experiences with your company, new customers are more likely to feel that they will also be happy with your company, reducing the fear of making a wrong decision.

Expedite Decision Making Process

Social proof can expedite decision-making processes by offering shortcuts for individuals to assess the quality or desirability of something. Without social proof, shoppers would have to find other ways to research if your products and services are what they are looking for. Such research can be time-consuming and lead customers off your site. Instead of conducting extensive research or analysis, potential customers can rely on the experiences and opinions of others to inform their choices quickly.

Build Trust & Credibility

Businesses can leverage social proof to build trust and credibility with their audience. While you as a business owner know your offerings are valuable, customers may not inherently trust your opinions on the matter. However, outside opinions can help. Positive reviews, testimonials, and endorsements from satisfied customers or influential figures can enhance reputation and foster trust among potential customers or followers.

Want to learn more?

Want to utilize social proof, but don’t know where to find it? Listen to our latest eCommerce Made Easy podcast where Carrie explores what social proof can look like and how to use it.

From Criticism to Opportunity: Strategies for Responding to Negative Reviews

What do you do when a customer leaves a negative review on your online shop? Negative reviews are a normal part of running a business, but that doesn’t make them any less frustrating to see. Afterall, how you handle negative reviews can have a significant impact on your business’s reputation and customer perception. In this blog, let’s go over how to respond to turn a negative customer experience into a positive opportunity for customer engagement and loyalty.

From Criticism to Opportunity: Strategies for Responding to Negative Reviews

Responding to negative reviews is a crucial aspect of managing an online presence for any business. By responding to negative reviews, you not only acknowledge customer concerns, but also show to other potential customers browsing through reviews that you value customer satisfaction. To turn a negative review into a positive opportunity, do the following:

Stay Calm and Professional

It’s natural to feel defensive or upset when receiving negative feedback, but it’s essential to respond calmly and professionally. Arguing with a customer or being defensive in your response to a negative review can cause more trouble than good. After reading a negative review, take some time to let your emotions run their course. Once you feel calmer, review the message again and reply with a clear mind.

Respond in a Timely Manner

Prompt responses to negative reviews are important to show your customers that you value their satisfaction. When negative reviews appear, you don’t want to leave it unanswered, nor wait a long period of time to respond. Ideally, respond to the negative review within a few days. If the issue raised in the review is urgent or sensitive, such as a safety concern or serious problem with your product or service, you should respond as quickly as you can. Overall, the key is to strike a balance between responding promptly and ensuring that your response is thoughtful and appropriate for the situation.

Empathize with the Customer

When it comes to replying to a negative review, make sure to address the customers’ complaints with empathy. Acknowledging the customers’ concern and thanking them for bringing an issue to your attention helps let them know that you consider their feedback to be important. Apologizing for a poor customer experience, even if you believe the complaint is unfounded, can help illustrate empathy and your commitment to customer satisfaction.

Provide an Explanation or a Solution

One of the most important parts of responding to negative reviews is to give your customers an explanation and next steps. If possible, provide an explanation for the issue raised in the review. If there was a mistake on your end, own up to it and explain what steps you’re taking to address it. Offer a solution a solution when possible or compensation if appropriate.

Learn and Improve

While negative feedback stings, you can learn a lot about how to improve your business from them. Negative reviews can offer you helpful insights into what your customers want to see. When reviewing negative feedback, analyze them for common themes and use them as an opportunity to identify areas of opportunity. What changes can you make to prevent this issue from happening to more customers? Are there any new additions you can add to your products and services to enhance your customers’ experience? Use negative reviews as an opportunity to improve when possible.

Want to learn more?

Want to see what a good response to a negative review can look like? Listen to our latest eCommerce Made Easy Podcast where Carrie shares a real example of a good response to an unhappy customer and why it works!

Unlocking the Benefits of Facebook Groups

Ever found yourself using or participating in a Facebook group? Facebook groups serve as valuable hubs for connection, collaboration, and community building. For businesses, Facebook Groups can be a treasure trove of opportunities!

Unlocking the Benefits of Facebook Groups

Facebook groups can be a great asset to your business. Whether you are participating in Facebook groups or running your own, Facebook groups offer a variety of benefits for individuals and businesses alike:

Connect with your Target Audience

For businesses and organizations, Facebook groups can provide a platform to reach and engage with your specific target audience. You can create a group tailored to your audience, inviting current and potential customers to join. Inside the group, you can nurture your audience with valuable content and open engagement. Depending on how much engagement your Facebook group attracts, Facebook will be more included to suggest your group to users outside of your social circle, growing your audience.

Promote and Market your Business

While it’s important not to be overly promotional in groups, you can still share relevant content, offers, and announcements about your products or services in Facebook groups. You can promote your business in your own group to your tailored audience as well as promote your business in groups you are a member of if they allow it. Join relevant groups and promote your business authentically by sharing valuable insights and stories with other members.

Build Communities

Facebook groups are a great way to connect with like-minded individuals. Through the groups you are in and through your own personal group, you can share experiences and build relationships with potential customers. Ideally, your group members would not only interact with you, but also interact with each other, creating a community through your Facebook group. You can also network with fellow entrepreneurs in share groups and exchange valuable insights and advice with one another.

Find Opportunities through Engagement

With an engaged community, Facebook groups can offer opportunities to improve and grow your business. Through engaging with your audience via posts and replies, you can learn more about your target audience and what they want from your business. If you are in business groups, you can learn from other business owners and spot areas of opportunity. Sharing your own story and advice with others in a group can also lead to other members recommending your products and services to people in their personal social circles, expanding your audience.

Want to Learn More?

Interested in creating a Facebook Group, but feel like you don’t have the time? Listen to our recent eCommerce Made Easy podcast where Carrie shares not only the benefits of Facebook groups for businesses, but how to grow them and keep them manageable.

Navigating Sick Days: Strategies for Business Continuity

Ever fall behind on tasks due to sudden illness or personal emergencies? You and your employees can’t plan out all of your time off when it comes to the unexpected. However, there are strategies you can implement to keep your business running smoothly even when you or your employees are sick or need to take time off.

Navigating Sick Days: Strategies for Business Continuity

Keeping your business running smoothly when you or your employees are sick or need time off is crucial for maintaining productivity and meeting deadlines. Some strategies you can take to help manage unexpected absences are:

Document Processes & Procedures

To keep your business running when an employee is absent, essential tasks need to be documented and readily available to your team. Create detailed documentation for all important processes and procedures within your business. Think of them like step-by-step guides. This makes it easier for someone else in your team to follow the steps necessary to complete important tasks that are usually done by someone else.

Stay Connected with Technology

When it comes to tasks in progress and open tickets, having a way to keep track of everyone’s work will make it easier to keep tasks from falling through the cracks due to absent employees. If an employee is sick, can you access what work they were trying to complete? Using shared project management tools, communication apps, and cloud-based systems make it easier for your team to step in for an absent teammate and cover any time sensitive responsibilities.

Be Transparent with your Customers

When an employee needs sudden time off, there may be tasks and tickets that still need addressed. For open tasks that have a client waiting, reach out to the associated client to inform them of the situation. Keeping your clients informed about your employee’s absence will help clients understand the delay. It can also help identify projects that will need to be escalated to a different teammate in the meantime.

Want to learn more?

Here at BCSE, we have had to navigate unexpected absences many times. Listen to our latest eCommerce Made Easy podcast where Carrie shares her experiences with the unexpected and what systems you need to have in place to keep your business afloat.

Furry Coworkers: The Surprising Benefits of Pets in the Office

Do you have a furry co-worker at your office? Whether you work from home or in-person, office pets can be a great addition to your company. Introducing pets into the workplace can offer numerous benefits, both for employees and the company as a whole. Today, let’s talk about the benefits that furry co-workers can bring to your office!

Furry Coworkers: The Surprising Benefits of Pets in the Office

Some of us work from home alongside our pets or have a special office pet that resides in the company building. While pets come with a set of responsibilities, such as food, vet trips, and attention, office pets can positively impact the daily grind at work:

Stress Reduction

Having an office pet can make your office a more comfortable place to be in. When you find yourself stressing over a task and getting frustrated, interacting with your office pet can reduce stress levels and promote relaxation. These pets can act as a shoulder to lean on and a positive presence for you and your team, creating a calm atmosphere in the workplace.

Improve Morale

Having a loyal furry companion at your workplace can foster a sense of camaraderie amongst your team. By relying on your office pet for companionship and emotional support, team members can build closer connections through their shared experiences with their furry co-workers. These shared experiences boost morale amongst the team.

Increase Productivity

Less stress means happier employees. Office pets support us emotionally and act as our constant companions, making us happier at work. Employees who are less stressed and happier tend to be more focused and motivated in their work, increasing company productivity.

Encourage Physical Activity

As mentioned before, pets are a responsibility. They need regular walks and playtime, but these responsibilities can help us take breaks and engage in physical activity. For many of us, sitting at a desk all day can decrease our energy levels and cause pain in our bodies. Having an office pet that encourages you to get up and move can improve your health and general well-being.

Positive Public Image

Having an office pet or allowing pets in the office can make your company an appealing place to work at and visit. They offer great icebreakers and conversation starters for both your employees and potential clients. They can also improve your company’s reputation, portraying the organization as progressive, inclusive, and employee centric, which can be appealing to customers, clients, and business partners.

Want to learn more?

At BCSE, we have our own furry co-workers: Mac & Brie. Listen to our latest eCommerce Made Easy podcast where Carrie shares the story of how BCSE took our two office cats and how they have reshaped the daily grind!

Future-Proof Your Business: Building for Scalability

Is your online business built to grow? Building an online business for scalability involves careful planning, strategic decision-making, and the implementation of systems and processes that can handle growth efficiently. Let’s talk about some of the steps you can take to prepare you and your business for the future.

Future-Proof Your Business: Building for Scalability

Business growth can happen at any time, so it’s important that your online business and business methods are scalable. Some steps that you can take to build a scalable business are:

Choose the Right Business Mode

Not all business models are created equal. Depending on what you’re selling and how you are creating and selling those products to customers, some business models are more scalable than others. Labor intensive products may be hard to ramp up production for. A service-based business with only a handful of employees may have to turn away customers due to the lack of manpower to fulfill requests. When possible, opt for business models that inherently allow for scalability. E-commerce, SaaS (Software as a Service), digital products, and subscription-based services are examples of business models that can scale well.

Invest in a Robust Infrastructure

Your online shop’s technical infrastructure plays a large role in your business’ ability to grow. When choosing your website, hosting provider, and other technical aspects of your business, you want to think about the well it can adapt to growth. Can your infrastructure handle an increase in traffic? Are you limited on the number of transactions your website can process? Ask your hosting provider about the scalability of their solutions to prepare for the possibility of future growth.

Automate Processes

Over time, you will also become more experienced with your business processes. To prevent overwhelm as your tasks change and grow, take the time to automate routine tasks. Identify repetitive tasks and processes within your business operations and automate them using software tools or outsourcing solutions. This could be tasks like sending emails to your clients or even processing orders from customers. This frees up time and resources to focus on more strategic aspects of your business.

Implement Scalable Marketing Strategies

Social media and email marketing can be a massive task and can take an incredible amount of time to do. Depending on your current marketing strategies, you may not be able to scale them up as your audience grows. Take time to invest in marketing channels and tactics that can scale efficiently. Content marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), social media advertising, and email marketing are all tried and true marketing strategies that can grow with your business. Utilize these tools to build a strong brand presence and generate sustainable, organic growth.

Monitor Key Metrics

Catching growth before it is important. By tracking metrics such as traffic, website performance, customer acquisition, revenue growth, and so forth, you can identify opportunities for optimization and expansion. This allows you to catch growth before it happens, giving you time to prepare you online shop and establish strategies. Metrics also allow you to foster opportunities, letting you guide your business growth in the right direction.

Want to learn more?

Continuous iteration on your business helps you build an online business that is primed for scalability and poised for long-term success. For more tips on how to improve your online shops, listen to our eCommerce Made Easy podcast and explore our blogs!