Brand, Product Sales, and You

Building a successful business does not happen overnight. Great products and marketing strategies are not the most important aspect of building a business, even if there is a serious need for what your company provides. Without proper branding, you run the risk of getting lost in the competition without the ability to make your business stand out from the crowd. Your brand needs to work for you as much as your advertising and marketing does in order to effectively reach your intended audience while motivating customers to make a purchase. Understanding the importance of good branding is key to truly making a mark in any industry, especially when building your business online.

What is Branding?

Branding is a way to represent your business through the use of a logo, color scheme, and overall visual aesthetic. Think of some top brands, such as Nike, Facebook, McDonald’s, and Starbucks. According to Seabrook, brand is the single most important element to a business or organisation. It is easy to immediately recall the logo and colors of companies that have proper branding. With the right branding, you can gain trust and loyalty from those who are interested in learning more about your business.

Risks of Not Branding Your Business Properly

According to Entrepreneur, one of the biggest mistakes your company can commit is not understanding the power of branding. Without proper branding, you run the risk of losing the interest of potential customers, leading to fewer sales and less generated revenue. When your business is not properly branded, it becomes increasingly difficult to garner followers, attention, and motivated shoppers. Before revamping your company’s branding, consider the following:

  • Do you have a set logo that represents your business and the products or services you provide? Does your logo convey the message you want to send to prospective customers?
  • Do you have colors that are utilized consistently on your official website, within your logo, and on your social media pages? Is your logo too busy or too dull? Spend time comparing competitive businesses for inspiration and ideas during a brand revamp.
  • Who do you want to reach? What interests do your users have? What styles of graphics and photography translate best with your followers and shoppers? What successful companies and brands does your audience follow and invest in?
  • Is your company name easy to spell and remember? Does your logo require text, or is it possible to share your message using iconography and simplistic imagery?
  • Are you using high-quality graphics and photography in your branding? Are your images outdated or not relevant to your user base?

How to Develop Better Branding

Developing proper branding for a business requires a bit of research and testing. Gather inspiration by comparing competitive logos to determine which type of visuals work best for your audience and the demographics you are targeting. According to Oberlo, you should strive to be positive in your branding messages. Your business needs to use great photos, if you decide to go with that kind of visual. Use websites such as Pinterest and other online communities focused on marketing and design to learn new methods and techniques of creating visually appealing graphics and imagery to catch the eye of your followers and customers.

Ensure all of your social media pages use the same page name along with your website’s official URL. Use the same logo and color scheme on each of your social platforms along with your website’s layout and design. Avoid choosing usernames and page names that are difficult to remember or not relevant to your company’s name as this appears unprofessional and often leads to an inability to generate sales or gain the trust of users online.

Get Some Thoughts From Others

Ask for input from your followers and those who currently subscribe to your email newsletter, especially when you are just starting out with a new business. Gathering consumer input is extremely valuable and creates a sense of community with those who have a vested interest in seeing your business and brand grow. You can also ask any mentors you might have in the industry, as well, according to Under30CEO. They might have insights that you or your consumers might have never thought about.

Use AB testing with third-party ad hosts, such as Facebook ads, to see what works best for your business. Share different types of imagery, such as traditional photographs, illustrations, and graphics with varying aesthetics. Focus on reviewing and monitoring analytic reports that are available with each individual AB testing campaign you launch to discover what your users respond to most. Once you have an idea of the visual style your prospective customers prefer, it is much easier to solidify the brand tactics that guarantee success for your business.

Takeaways

Without proper branding, it is challenging to set your business apart from others, especially your greatest competition. Knowing how to effectively brand your business is key to generating sales while gaining followers who are genuinely interested in your products and services. Using the right methods and techniques (like polling your customers), you can create a brand for your business that your customers will find appealing, interesting, and unforgettable.

7 Software Packages Every Online Retailer Needs to Know

Millennials are now making 54% of their purchases online while non-millennials are doing it at 49%. If you are part of this growing industry or in case you have just seen its potential profits and you want to join, there are various software packages which can assist you to run your online business successfully.

Featured image credit: MLM Business Software Central

OpenCart

This basic package can be extended to meet your requirements. OpenCart requires little effort to install as long as you have a Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP (LAMP) stacked on a server. The setup is basic for the majority of web servers, and it is highly likely you are ready for the software package. In case you are unsure, confirm with your service provider. Clients can go to OpenCart’s marketplace to look for add-ons that add to its functionality. This includes free primary integrations like Facebook plugins or Square payments. You can find Microsoft Dynamics integration for up to $2,000 in the marketplace. Other tools offered by the marketplace include Excel tie-ins or SEO insights for product management.

PrestaShop

This software package applies the standard eCommerce solutions formula referred to as core-with-extensions. It comfortably fits into the majority of websites because it has been built on PHP which is a popular web development language. PrestaShop provides more than 1,500 templates. 500 of these are add-ons which allow integration with Amazon Marketplace, Google Merchant Center, and Stripe. The software package offers support to global stores and numerous stores within a single back-end. If you have separate storefronts in Canada and US, you can take care of all of them in one place. Prestashop has forecast ability, and Intelligent Merchant KPI features as reporting capabilities.

osCommerce

Being one of the earliest eCommerce software, osCommerce has numerous add-ons made for it. More than 7,000 integrations have been made for the program for free, and there is a big community offering support and working on it. Through its Apps Marketplace, osCommerce integrates with all kinds of third parties. It is possible to integrate Facebook and Sage Pay and present your website in numerous languages. It is not a sophisticated software, and in case you have some problems using it, you can consult the osCommerce Community. Hosted versions starting price is $8 per month.

Pollcart

This is an ecommerce plugin that seeks consensus from the inner circle of the buyer after checking out, before billing and shipping. It gives purchasers the confidence to shop, an incentive to maintain a product, and a reason for sharing. Pollcart assists to increase referrals and sales since the customers do the marketing for you.

Magento Open Source

In addition to being open source, Magento is one of the most popular eCommerce software. It offers basic tools to users for free, but the more powerful tools are for sale. The program can assist in making content and landing pages for your products, managing your shipping, and generating essential reports like stock and sales tax. The extensions marketplace for Magento has various extensions such as live customer chat, custom stock systems, and sales tax integrations. A single extension can cost up to $5,000. Users can also purchase themes which are pre-made to dress their websites up. You can go for free themes or buy one that can cost up to $500.

WooCommerce

This is a WordPress shopping cart plugin which is open source and is not a full eCommerce solution. WordPress is the most famous content management solution and is not to be confused with WordPress.com. Businesses using WordPress can use the plugin to convert their websites into a store. If you are accustomed to WordPress, adding WooCommerce is easy. It has all the functions and needs little customization. One of its most famous features is the one-page process of checkout, which lets users pay for the items on sale easily.

Volusion

Volusion’s monthly plans can help you in launching an online store. Volusion has customer support around the clock with video tutorials and thorough support pages. It has themes covering fashion, beverages, food, beauty, electronics, and more. The themes are customized to be usable on mobile devices. Hence, your customers will have a smooth shopping experience on any device they use. Volusion’s App Marketplace has over 60 apps that you can use to boost your store. Additionally, the software assists in integrating with eBay and Amazon, getting automatic tax rates, offering subscription billing, and adding products.

If you are an online retailer, one or a combination of some of these eCommerce software packages will assist you to run your online business smoothly.

Why Your Dental Practice Should Start Selling Home Care Products Online

Image courtesy of South Temple Dentists

If you’re looking to expand your practice, consider selling dental home care products. There are many types of dental home care products available for your patients — there are probably several that you already encourage them to use. It makes sense to sell them through your practice rather than referring patients elsewhere when they might forget. With that in mind, here are four important benefits of selling dental home care products online.

Increase the Profitability of Your Dental Practice

It’s understandable to want to increase the profits that come from your dental practice. Considering that, you’ll definitely want to sell dental home care products online. Referring patients to another home care provider gives this company all of the profits. Instead of doing this, selling your own dental home care products helps to ensure your office obtain increased revenues.

Grow Trust Between Patients and Dentists

Many dentists know the importance of creating a trustworthy relationship with their patients. With that in mind, it can be hard to obtain this trust while referring patients to other companies. On the other hand, choosing to sell dental home care products increases this trust. Patients will be much more likely to order from a trusted dentist than an unfamiliar company.

Enhanced Patient Understanding

While it might seem wise to refer patients to another home care provider, this could end up damaging patient relationships. For instance, patients might falsely assume you’re trying to get rid of them. In addition, this could alienate patients who are wanting full explanations of dental home care products. However, selling these items online give patients an easy avenue for ordering the products they need.

Drive More Traffic to Your Dental Office’s Website

In the modern age of doing business, you’ll certainly want to have a website. That being said, having a website doesn’t mean much without receiving traffic. With that in mind, you’ll find that selling home care products online can increase the number of website visitors you receive. Having more visitors often helps to increase local search engine rankings.

 

To summarize, there are several benefits of selling home care dental products online. Selling these products works incredibly well for increasing the profitability of your practice. Providing products directly can also help increase the trust factor between a dentist and their patients. While these products might be purchased online, your workers can still ensure that patients easily know how to use these items. Lastly, selling your own dental care products works wonders for increasing your office’s online presence.

How To Address Negative Product Reviews

As a business, your reputation weighs heavily upon the reviews that you get. The way that customers share their experiences with your products and services can shape your future sales and memberships. Your goal should be to gain positive reviews always and turn the negative ones around as soon as you realize you have them. You don’t want to have a bare review history because that’s as bad as a negative one. Here’s some information about the fact that having no reviews is as bad as having negative reviews and how to solicit legitimate reviews without paying for them.

Why Reviews Are So Important

The reason that reviews are so direly important is the word of mouth factor. You see, people usually read consumer reviews before they make a buying decision, and they usually share that decision with their loved ones, family, and friends. That means that a prospect has the potential to share a positive or negative word that can hugely affect your productivity. For that reason, you have to stay on top of your reputation and take steps to correct it if something tarnishes it.

Tips for Handling Bad Reviews

There are three steps to handling a bad review, and there are two rules. Rule number one is never to ignore a bad review. Rule number two is never to react negatively to a negative review. Prospects don’t just pay attention to the negative review itself. They pay attention to how you handle the negative review, too. There is a way that you can bounce back from even the worst of reviews and come out of the challenging situation looking like a complete and total hero. Here’s how:

Apologize Immediately

The first thing you need to do is to apologize for the customer’s poor experience no matter what the complaint is. This is something that you must do. It doesn’t matter whether the patron is right or wrong. Just apologize for it. That shows that you are empathetic, compassionate and understanding.

Tell the Customer You Appreciate Him or Her

Let the client know that you appreciate his or her business. Consumers like to see a business that acknowledges their customers. Therefore, you must thank the customer for choosing to deal with your company.

Ask How You Can Resolve the Matter

Finally, ask how you can resolve the problem that the customer had or has. Nine times out of 10, you will be able to turn things around. Even if you can’t, prospects will still see that you tried to resolve the matter. That means a lot.

How to Get Free Positive Reviews

You can get your clients to leave you positive reviews by just asking them when you know they’ve had a great experience. You could also use incentives such as discounts on products and services. Some customers enjoy leaving reviews and don’t need an incentive to do it.

Don’t Buy Reviews!

Buying any reviews at all, whether it’s on Google or Yahoo or anywhere else, is a bad idea. It’s a strategy that will break the trust of customers and get you painfully punished by search engines. According to Podium, “While there are ways to get disingenuous and non-organic reviews, based off of google guidelines to remove inappropriate reviews, the practice is not appreciated by Google (or really any review site). Using fake reviews can result in getting your business blacklisted or worse, as some review sites are cracking down and taking legal action against egregious offenders.”

Make a habit out of asking each one of your customers to leave a review for you. Pretty soon, you’ll get enough of them accumulated to make a difference. If you consistently check your reviews and address the negative ones positively, you’ll build a wonderful company image that customers will value and trust.