How To Take Product Photos Like A Pro

There are five senses that we use in our daily lives, and one of the most important is sight. This is why photos are such an important aspect of your ecommerce website. A good or bad product photo could be the reason that a customer purchases a product or goes to another website. Luckily you don’t need to invest a lot of capital or hire a professional to take quality photos that will help drive sales. In this article we are going to go into the important aspects to consider when taking photos for your ecommerce website. It might seem quite daunting to start the process if you’ve never done it before. But not to worry, if you take into consideration the different aspects we are going to cover below, you will be a pro at taking photos in no time!

Camera

A high quality camera will help your photos come out looking sharp and detailed. Many companies will use a DSLR camera. DSLR is also known as a digital single-lense reflex camera. These are high quality cameras, and a big appeal is that you can switch your lenses depending on what you’re trying to capture a photo of. When considering what DSLR to get you should also look into the video capabilities of the camera. 

Even though having a DSLR is nice to have for taking photos, it is not necessary. In this day and age almost everyone has a capable camera in the palm of their hands. Smartphones have changed the game and provide the average user with the capability to take beautiful photos. Before spending money on a DSLR, play around with the settings on your phone under the conditions explained below and see how the photos come out.

Background

There are two types of backgrounds that are used for eCommerce photos, white backgrounds and lifestyle photos. White backgrounds are used to show off multiple angles of the product and are probably what you think of when it comes to product photos. You can buy a portable studio box that has a white background and lighting. All you need to do is place the products in a box. They can be quite affordable as well, here is one that we found for under $15 dollars on Amazon. The photo below is from an outdoor retailer named Sierra Designs. In this first photo they use the white background to distinctly show the product and its design.

Unlike standard product photos, lifestyle photos are used to show off a specific function of the product. For example, if you have a phone mount for a bike, you might show off the phone being held in place on the bike. This shows the product but also gives the consumer an idea of how it would function in their daily life. The photo below is for the same product listed above. But this time Sierra Designs took the product out and had a photo shoot in a setting where the product would be used by the consumer. It provides the consumer with ideas of how they can use the product.

Lights

Lighting is another important factor to consider when taking photos and something that should be given thought especially when taking white background product photos. You can obviously use natural light, but sometimes this can be tricky to come by depending on where you’re located. To combat this you can use artificial light and be able to take photos at any time during the day. As mentioned earlier in the article, you can use a product box that has lighting included. If you find yourself shooting larger products you will have to set up your own lights. We would recommend using at least two lights, and having an adjustable stand to raise or lower the lights. We would also recommend using strong 5000k bulbs, make sure that they are the same exact color!

Avoid any sort of setup that will cast a shadow on the surface of the object. It is important that you avoid shadows so the entire product will show up in the photo. To avoid this it helps to keep the lighting on the same side of the product as the camera or slightly off to the side. 

Accessories 

There are many accessories that can help to enhance the photo taking experience. A tripod, extra lights, and travel equipment are just a few that will certainly come in handy from time to time. Many of these accessories are not essential, but they will make the entire process easier.

Wrapping Up 

Taking quality photos for your eCommerce site is not as challenging as it may seem. After following the tips and tricks listed above, you will have clean, engaging photos to upload to your website. It might take a little time to get used to the equipment, but make sure to be patient and give it some time. If you run into any bumps in the road or have any questions, please reach out to us. 

P.S. Make sure to subscribe, I’ve heard we will be talking about editing photos soon

How To Automate Your Sales

In today’s fast paced world, most things have automation in them. We have automated switches for our lights, production of products, and even automated cars. Automation is an important, time saving aspect of modern life.

Automation isn’t specific to consumers and large manufacturing though, in fact it may have a place in your sales process. You and your team could be spending excess time each week on sales and converting leads that could be resolved with just a few lines of code. We have gathered together some tips and tricks to help with sales automation to help you put that wasted time towards better use. 

Email Sign Ups

This is a great way to get contact information from prospective customers. The most effective way to gather this is either a footer listed on each webpage or a popup. 

A popup is used when consumers first enter on the website, usually on the homepage. Popups should be large and attractive to grab a customer’s attention. Many companies add an incentive to persuade customers to add their name / email into the popup, such as a discount on a first order or free shipping. The companies know that customers are much more likely to add their info when they are getting something out of the transaction. 

Most pop ups require physically clicking out of them which is a good tactic to make the customers spend a few extra seconds on your popup. When the consumer has to spend this extra time on your popup, they are more likely to add their information. 

Footers are much easier compared to popups. For most sites it is now standard to have a newsletter sign up on the bottom of each webpage. You can still add a small message to try and entice your visitors. Below is an example of a footer from one of our favorite websites, UnTapped.cc. 

Welcome Series

Want to show your new customers some of the most popular items on your website? The items that really make your brand stick out? The perfect time to highlight things like this would be with a welcome series. 

A welcome series is an email(s) that you can send automatically once you gain access to a customer’s email address. In this email it is best to start with a brief description of your brand while also thanking the customer for subscribing to the newsletter. Then add products that will become your welcome series. You should have the name of the product, an attractive photo, and then also a short description. This welcome series will help show the customer some of your most popular products and can lead to a purchase. 

Abandoned Cart Conversion

Abandoned cart conversion is when you send an email to convince a consumer to complete a purchase of an item they left in their cart. When setting this up you need to specify a timeframe for the email to be sent, what you would like it to say, and if you want multiple versions. Once you have all of this set up, the process will be automated. The emails will be automatically sent when applicable, and will be another tool added to your sales automation toolkit.

The one downside of an abandoned cart email is that you need to have the individuals contact information for it to work. It works best once that customer has already created an account on your website or provided their email for a newsletter.

Live Chat

This is a popular feature that many e-commerce websites have started to use. Live chat can help to automate by converting visitors on your website into leads while helping to shorten the entire sales process. Live chat provides customers a quick way to get their questions answered and a faster way to communicate when compared to email.

Another useful feature about live chat is that you can use bots when no one is available to respond. Using artificial intelligence (AI) and bots allow you to collect more information from your customers, and can help customers schedule a time to speak to a human representative. The only downside is that bots can’t recommend specific products or close a deal, but they still help to keep customers engaged and to provide you with a time to hopefully convert the customer

Wrapping Up

Automation is a key component that you can add to your sales process to help your company save time, and hopefully make more conversions. The four sales automation tips we talked about take a little time to set up. But once they are set up, there is very little you have to do after that. If you want help setting up your own sales automation or have any additional questions, please reach out to us.

New Year’s Resolutions to Boost your Work Productivity

It’s a new year and you know what that means, it’s time to drop bad habits and pick up good ones. No matter the size of your company, there are always things that you and your employees can do to increase their effectiveness. Many of you might have already made new year’s resolutions, or have been given advice from mentors. We love these and they’re important for the big picture, but if you are looking for a few things to help you right now, check out these five tips that we think will make a big change for increasing your work productivity in 2020.

Stop Multitasking

Contrary to popular belief, multitasking won’t help you get more done in the office. In a study conducted by Gloria Mark, who studies digital distraction at UC Irvine, it was found that once interrupted when performing a task it can take up to 25 minutes to resume that task. This means that if you are trying to complete multiple tasks at once, it won’t be as effective as you might think. 

To make sure that you and other employees are getting the most work done, you should focus on one task at a time to increase your work productivity and quality of work.

Attend an Event – Or Host One

It can be quite easy in this digital day to use social media as your main outlet for networking. This can be good, but it’s important to continue to network in person. These events are great ways to build relationships with others in your field. If you can’t find a relevant event in your area, it’s time for you to set up your own! You can easily set up your own networking event or an open house. Find a space, get the word out, make some horderves and voila! You’re an event hoster. 

Master The Tools You’re Using

Companies use all types of online tools for accounting, marketing, social media, and so much more. But how well are you really using these tools? Are you as proficient as you could/should be? Many online tools have certifications and online courses to help you become better acquainted with them. Microsoft office, Google, and Hubspot have many certifications you can get to help you increase efficiency and performance.

Cleanse Your Schedule

Mindless tasks just might be ruining your life. If you think there aren’t enough hours in the day it’s probably because the hours you do have are being jammed with tasks that are slowing you down instead of propelling you forward! One way to increase your work productivity and efficiency is by prioritizing tasks. Too many of our “obligations” just consume or waste our time. Imagine you had only 2 hours in the work day, what would you do first? Expand that thought to your weeks and months at work. Try to eliminate or condense the tasks that wouldn’t fall in that 2 hour work day. 

Some of those tasks you’re trying to eliminate might be email or meetings, so we wanted to give you a few tips on how to do that. Close out that email tab! Checking email throughout the day is a mega time waster. Choose one or two 30 minute blocks dedicated to email and forget about it the rest of the day, you’ll be amazed with how much better off you’ll be. Meetings can be another source of schedule frustration. Half the time you can’t tell if it’s an enforced social hour or if you’re actually there to get work done. Try giving meetings an enforced cutoff time, “Hey guys, I only have 5 minutes to chat so what do I need to know?”. Avoiding meetings all together is another solution. Ask whoever wants to meet to condense what they wanted to say into an email, it’s amazing how 1 hour of talking can fit in just a few paragraphs. Want to learn more about cleaning your schedule? Check out where these ideas came from here.

Work Hard, Play Hard

This is a saying that we can all get behind, but you should make it a priority for the culture at your business. Make sure to work hard when at work, but don’t work your life away. Escape the office and blow off some steam. It is important to have other passions and interests outside of work. 

We here at Uptown Cow have a fantastic work hard, play hard ethic. When we aren’t working you can find our employees playing in the mountains, exploring cities, or traveling the world. 

In Conclusion

New Year’s Resolutions often get too much attention and not enough action. It’s important to remember that these goals and resolutions aren’t punishments to be resisted but opportunities to be embraced. So have fun, try your hardest, and don’t get too upset when you fall off the path. Just dust yourself off and get right back on!


Still need help? Check out our article on accomplishing goals here.

How To Sell On Amazon

Looking to improve your eCommerce business and reach more customers? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. One of the best ways to do this is by selling on Amazon. This will help you reach a much larger audience and hopefully generate more sales. 

The process of listing products on Amazon can seem quite daunting when you first start but after a few listings you’ll be a pro. But for first starting out, we wanted to share some important information you should have ready prior to listing an item. Listed below are steps to help you understand what information is needed, and some of the steps to start listing products.

Create an Amazon Seller Central Account

The first thing that you will need to do is to set up an amazon seller central account, you can do so here. By setting this up, you can start listing and selling products. It is important to note that to create one of these accounts, it will cost you $39.99 a month + selling fees.

Decide What Category

The next crucial step is to decide what category your product falls into. This is an important step because your product will sell much better if listed in the correct location on Amazon. There are over 20 categories that are available and many sub-categories. If you aren’t sure which category to place your product into, Amazon will help you. When you search for your product in the search bar, it will provide you with suggestions on where similar products are placed. 

Obtain a UPC Code

A UPC code is a unique identifier for your product. This is typically a code that has a lot of numbers and a barcode on it. There are many websites you can use to purchase a UPC Code, Amazon recommends using a website known as GS11. In certain circumstances, you can make a request to avoid this step. Pop us an email & we’ll help you out.

Photographs 

Next up is photos! Make sure to take nice photos of your products because it’s your main selling point. Listed below are a few of Amazon’s photo guidelines: 

  • Products must fill at least 85% of the image
  • Main images must have a plain white background
  • Images must not exceed 10000 pixels on the longest side
  • JPEG is the preferred image format

Dimensions

The next thing that you will do to sell a product on Amazon is fill out the dimensions of your product. This will be used to help calculate shipping when a customer purchases your item. Take out the tape measure for the dimensions and then get its weight. 

Product Description

This is another very important part to have ready when listing products for sale. The product description can actually be broken down into two different parts, the key product features, and the product description. 

The key product features will be right below the product options. It is bullet point style information to cover quick and important key features of the product that you are selling. The product description can be found further down the page. The product description is a longer and more comprehensive area to talk about your products. Usually for the product description you will focus on the benefits of your product, and put the features in the key features section. Want to learn more about product descriptions, you can find a whole article on them here.

Key Words

Keywords are one of the last things that you’ll be plugging in before your product will be listed on Amazon. Keywords are target words within the listing a potential buyer will search when looking for a product. These can fall into multiple categories such as search terms, target audience, subject matter, and also the intended use. Having strong keywords will help your customers find you on Amazon. 

Wrapping Up

Amazon is the biggest contender in online retail, and there is no sign of that changing anytime soon. Selling on Amazon allows you to stay on top of trends and use some of the most up to date technology. It will also help you reach a much larger customer base and increase your sales volume. Amazon has incredible resources to help you set up and maintain selling products with them. If you have any questions please make sure to reach out to our team! 

E-Commerce Shipping

For the majority of your customer’s experience, you are in control. You make the ads, the website, take photos, and perform many other tasks to help your products and website appeal to your consumers. But once an order is placed, your product is handed off to someone so it can complete its journey to the consumers. This journey could make or break the entire experience for the customer so it’s important to have a good shipping strategy that helps create a good experience from start to finish.

How To Package Items

We all know that you have to package the item(s) before you send it to the customer. But there are some important factors to consider when picking packaging for your customers. The first thing you should consider is how heavy the type of packaging is. The heavier it is, the more expensive it will be. Lighter is better, but you don’t want to compromise the protection of the product. Consider how fragile your products are, and what types of padding you will want in the package. Many companies will use bubble wrap or packing peanuts to help keep the impact on the items to a minimum. There are also more eco-friendly ways to package items, such as using newspaper or recyclable materials. These are a great option because it helps your bottom line and shows customers that you care about the environment. It’s fine if this takes some time and different trials to make a final decision, it’s important and shouldn’t be rushed!

Types of Shipping

Listed below are different shipping options that you can consider using to send out your products. We will first cover a few general ways to ship, and then dive into shipping on Shopify, our favorite eCommerce platform.

Free Shipping

This is one popular option that businesses will use to help increase their number of customers. In the age of Amazon Prime many customers have come to expect this option which is absolutely something to consider. While this is consumer’s favorite option you have to be aware of how free shipping will affect your profit. It is important you know that you will be taking on the cost of shipping when you include free shipping to your customers. Many businesses will either make a minimum order price for free shipping, or they will increase the price of products by a small amount to decrease the profit lost. 

Real Time Shipping Rates

Many eCommerce websites now have different widgets or applications that can calculate the rate in real time for customers. Once the customer puts in their address, the program will consider how far the package needs to go, the speed at which the parcel is desired, and also the weight of the package. Using all three of these units the program will generate a price for the customer. They can adjust the price by picking slower/faster delivery and potentially choosing different items. 

Many of these programs will also give the estimated delivery date for the customer. Because of this it will help them know when their package will arrive if it is needed by a certain date. 

Flat Rate Shipping

Assigning one or two flat rates across your entire product offerings with a set price and delivery time. If you can’t afford free shipping and don’t have the time to setup real time shipping rates than this is the option for you. It’s a great way to save time without hurting your profits too much. 

Shipping on Shopify

As we know, a lot of ecommerce companies are hosted using Shopify. If you are unfamiliar with Shopify and would like to learn more, you can find out more here

To set up shipping in Shopify, the first thing you need to do is log into your store, and then head down to settings. Within this tab, there is a specific link to click to bring you to shipping. The first thing you will fill out, is the “Shipping Origin.” This is where your products will be sent from. 

There are three different types of shipping styles you can choose from on Shopify.

  1. Price Based Rates – These rates are based on the total amount of money spent in an order by customers. It will be a flat rate depending on how much the customer spends. Many times companies will offer free shipping if a certain total is hit. This will usually be between $25-$100 dollars for the order. Each site has a different preference. But this can sometimes encourage additional spending by your customers.  
  1. Weight Based Rates – Weight range rates are not as common, but it is still an important consideration when setting up shipping rates for your Shopify store. When setting this up, you set up weight ranges and this will have a flat rate for your customers. This is a good technique to use if many of your products are quite heavy. 
  1. Calculated Rates – The calculated rate is one of the easiest types of shipping to set up. When you click on this tab, you select what carrier and what type of shipping services you would like available for your customers. Then the carrier will create a calculated rate every time a customer checks out. This will be based on the weight of the package, where they want to send it, and what type of services they selected at checkout. Many businesses will choose this rate if they are fulfilling products by themselves. 

There are also third party shipping apps that can be used in conjunction with your Shopify account if the built in features don’t match your needs!

Final Considerations

We’ve covered a lot about shipping so far, but there are a few more considerations when setting up shipping for your ecommerce store. There are different duties and taxes that should be considered, especially if you are shipping internationally. Duty and taxes are usually paid for by the individual receiving the item, but there can also be fees directed towards the merchant as well. These fees will depend on the item, its origin, value, and other things. Consider what the fees will be before you open up new areas to ship to.

There are also restrictions both domestic and international you should be aware of. Certain products are not allowed to be sent to specific states or countries based on rules and regulations that are in place. When shipping to a country with these rules, a shipment could be stopped and held at customs. To avoid this, make sure to do adequate research on the shipping restrictions before you open up sales to new regions. 

Wrapping Up 

Shipping is one of the hardest parts of eCommerce to nail down. But once you strategize and give it some time, you will be able to find a system that works with you and your business. If you have any questions, please make sure to reach out to us.

Shopify Apps To Boost Your E-Commerce Store

Shopify is a complete commerce platform that a large percentage of business owners use to help grow their business. It has many great features and if you are considering a platform for your eCommerce business, it is a good option to consider. If you are looking for a complete overview of Shopify, we covered it here

A big plus of Shopify is that there are plenty of applications that can be used with it. There are actually over 2000 different applications that can be used with Shopify. There are applications for marketing, sales, customer support, inventory management, and many other topics. Some are free and others will additional costs on top of your Shopify account. A general overview of the app will be available in the Shopify App Store, and how much it will cost to use the app.

It can be daunting to choose what apps will work best with your business. In this article we are going to cover our top 8 applications that we like to integrate with Shopify stores. 

Top Apps:

Listed below are our top 8 applications to use with Shopify: 

Hubspot CRM

This is the app you need if you want to organize, track, and communicate with leads and existing customers. Hubspot CRM syncs with your Shopify store and collects the data associated with it. This will help you fine tune your email and marketing campaigns. 

Hubspot CRM tracks all of the interactions that you have with leads and customers, saving them under their own customer contact. In each contact you are able to create notes, track conversations, and schedule meetings to stay on top of everything. Hubspot will quickly organize and store this information in a timeline that is easy to interpret and understand. Hubspot CRM is completely free and will always be free. 

Aftership – Track & Notify

Aftership is a tracking platform that helps you keep customers informed on where an order is once they place it. You can create your own branded tracking page with photos, marketing banners, and other media to help to engage and upsell your customers. 

Have you ever had a customer contact you multiple times for an update on a package? Aftership allows your customers to sign up for shipping notifications. As the package arrives at different locations, it will provide your customer with up to date information either via email or text. This application will help to eliminate customer frustration while also enhancing the customer experience. The application has a free version that allows you to track 100 packages a month, and then it is tiered pricing after that. 

Consistent Cart

Consistent Cart is an all in one multi-channel marketing solution. Consistent Cart offers a plethora of features that are designed to be the only app you need for your marketing. These features are used to increase the conversions with your business. A few of the features that Consistent Cart offers are:

  • Abandoned Cart Emails
  • SMS Notifications
  • Push Notifications
  • Customer Thank You Emails 
  • Happy Birthday Emails
  • Many more options

Consistent Cart is free to download, and provides users with a 14-day free trial. After that you will be charged 29$ USD per month. 

Privy

Privy is a subscription-based application that provides pop-ups, flyers, bars, and banners that can show up on your website. You can use these to promote various parts of your business while consumers are browsing your website.

Privy provides you with real time reporting to let you understand what is effective for your consumer base. The dashboards will provide you access to a number of key metrics. Privy will help you better manage abandoned carts and hopefully increase conversion. 

Coin Currency Converter 

Coin is an application specifically designed to allow you to offer multiple currency options for your customers to pay with. The app can switch the currency automatically based on IP address or the consumer can use the drop down menu and choose what currency they prefer. 

The app supports over 193 different currencies that can be used by your store and customers. If you know you only have traffic from specific countries, you are able to edit the currencies available. The exchange rates for Coin are updated throughout the day using multiple financial resources. Coin also works with other Shopify applications to make the transition into your store easier. The app offers a 14-day free trial and then charges $4.99 per month. 

Xero

Xero is a cloud based accounting software that offers a plethora of options at a good price point. It is specifically marketed towards small and medium sized businesses. The program provides features such as invoicing, payroll processing, inventory management, and others. It is starting to gain popularity with more and more bookkeepers and accountants. Many are now Xero partners. 

Xero has three different types of plans that your business can use. Prices start as low as $9 USD / Month. 

Product Reviews

Shopify product reviews allows you to add customer reviews to products. This provides your customers with an area for them to write how they feel about your product. These reviews will help you engage with customers and receive feedback on products. Good reviews can also help encourage other consumers that are on the fence about the purchase. 

This application has theme-friendly designs and and easily allows for customization. It also provides you with the option to import or export reviews from a CSV file. This is a completely free application that will help you become more engaged with your customers.

Size Matters

If you sell any sort of apparel items on your Shopify store, you should install the Size Matters application. This is a completely free app that is designed to help you create size charts for the products on your website. 

When using Size Matters, you are able to create size charts without any advanced coding knowledge. You create each chart using the table generator that’s in the app. Once that is done you add a small amount of code and product tag to finish it off. When using the app you are able to create as many size charts as you need, there is not limit. You can also customize the look of the charts for better integration with the theme of your Shopify store. 

Takeaways

With such a large library of applications, it can be hard to decide which ones to use with your Shopify store. Hopefully this article will help you add some applications to your tool kit, and increase conversions and revenue for your Shopify store. If you have any Shopify applications you would recommend please leave them in the comments below. 
If you need any help with these applications, or have any questions, please reach out to our team at any time!

How To Choose An E-Commerce Platform

Setting up and building an e-Commerce business isn’t as easy as some people view it from the outside, some think you just upload products to the internet and you will start making money. Unfortunately starting an e-Commerce business isn’t that easy. There are a lot of different steps that you must go through and consider before you have a site up and running. One of the most important things to consider is the platform that you are going to use to host your e-Commerce site. In this article we are going to examine some of the factors you should consider when choosing your e-Commerce platform.

Pricing

This is one of the first and most important aspects that a business will consider when choosing the right platform. If you are just starting out, you probably have a limited budget and won’t be able to afford a costly monthly fee. Many e-Commerce platforms offer a tiered pricing system, many have a budget level that still offers the majority of the features. Then it will go up and more features will be unlocked with each step up. It’s important to compare the features you can get on each.

Depending on the pricing it will also affect the types of payments you will be allowed to process when customers are placing orders. Some platforms will accept certain types of payment, and others will not. Sometimes you have to pay extra to allow third-party payments such as PayPal. Look into the types of payments you would like to be able to process before choosing a platform. 

Mobile Integration

Phones have become a large part of our everyday life, and now it has become a part of our online shopping routine. It is important to consider platforms that allow an easy transition from desktop to mobile. Some perform this transition better than others, take a look at websites that are already running on platforms that you are considering. Compare the desktop version to your phone. 

Is it as responsive? Are all of the images still loading? How user friendly is it? Putting yourself in the customer’s shoes will help you enhance the experience on your own site. 

Plugins

Another important thing to look into when choosing a platform is the integration that it can have with other programs. These other tools and programs can help you run your business in a much smoother way. Shopify and Bigcommerce, for example, both have plenty of plugins to allow you to use other applications with your platform. Bigcommerce has a page showing all of the different plugins that are available, and which ones they recommend as well. 

If you have certain applications that you already use, or applications you know will be critical to your site, take a look at the platforms plugin options before committing.

Customer Service

As much as we like to think that this is a perfect world, it sadly is not, and not everything will go as planned. A site will go down, servers can freeze, payment can’t be processed, there is a whole number of things that can go wrong. This is why it is so crucial to read reviews and see how each platform deals with these situations as they arise. 

When reading about the customer service there are a few things you should consider:

  • How often are they available, is it all day everyday?
  • What methods can you use to contact the support team?
  • How quickly do issues usually get resolved?

Takeaways

It is going to take you a lot of time, money, and effort to set up your e-Commerce website. Make sure that this time and money isn’t being wasted! Nothing is more frustrating than setting up your website, and a few months later deciding to switch the e-Commerce platform that you’ve been using. The factors we listed above are just a few of the things you should consider. Make sure to take your time, and if you need any help, please let us know. 

Google Ads Academy

30 years ago the internet was a passing fad, it has since grown into a critical component of everyday life. All this growth has changed how many of us market online and the skills we need to do so. A key player in this game is Google. The tools Google provides for businesses, such as Adwords and Analytics, are popular resources that almost every business is now using. This has inspired Google to create a set of certifications to help individuals get better at using these products, and to help use them more efficiently for their business.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a popular web analytics tool created by Google. It provides you with information on traffic to your website, how consumers interact with your website, purchasing information, and many more topics. If you are new to Google Analytics, Google has created the Google Analytics Academy to help you start using this program for your online business. This is also a great tool for anyone in the marketing field to become more familiar with this popular tool. The Google Analytics Academy is the resource you need to be using if you use Google Analytics for your website analytics. The academy provides 6 different certifications that you can complete, starting from the very basics and moving up to the more complicated ways to use the program. If you are looking for additional information on Google Analytics you can find it here and here.

Google Ads

Google Ads is an online advertising program created by Google for the Google ad network. This includes the Google search engine, websites, and any mobile applications that Google has created. It allows companies to display short ads, product listings, videos, and other forms of advertising on the Google network. This network has a massive audience and could be very beneficial for your company. Like Google Analytics, there is a Google Ads Academy. There are multiple different lessons you can take to give you a better understanding of how to use the program and how it can benefit your business. Personally I think that the Google Ads Mobile, Search, and Display are the first few lessons that you should complete. You can find more info on Google Ads here.

Other Programs

Google offers additional programs on top of the Google Ads and Analytics training. Google has another academy known as Google Digital Academy. This program offers a wide range of programs to help companies to stay ahead of changes. They provide this information in videos on Youtube and articles that can be accessed online. Google also has a physical Academy space in London, so if you live in England or are visiting, it would be worth stopping in for a class or two. Are you still looking to learn more? Google has made a mobile application called Primer. The main focus of primer is to provide you with quick, easy, and interactive ways to continue learning new marketing strategies. It provides lessons on the ever changing marketing world, and also provides refresher lessons on more basic, but essential topics. There are over 18 topics available on Primer. The best part about Primer is that you can take the lessons anywhere and at anytime, you can even use the application if you don’t have service.

Wrapping Up

With the ever changing world of marketing, Google is going to have a significant impact on how you choose to run your online business. Google has multiple tools that can help take your business to the next level. Luckily they have made these products free, and the training and resources associated with them as well. If you have any questions about Google’s products and how to use them, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team.

Selling Products on Instagram

Social media is one of the fastest growing and most powerful business tools that can be used at a relatively inexpensive price. When considering what social media platforms to invest time in, Instagram should be on the top of your list. It is a photo and video platform that was started in 2010, and has been growing rapidly ever since. Instagram has over a billion monthly active users making it as much a necessity as an opportunity for businesses.

Over the years Instagram has implemented updates and platform changes to keep up with competitors such as Snapchat and Facebook. Some of these updates have been made to help businesses sell products on the social media platform. We would like to introduce you to these business friendly updates to help your business get started selling on Instagram.

Instagram Business Account

The first thing you will need to do before you start to build your profile and sell products is to set up an Instagram business account. You can choose which type of profile you would like when first setting up your account, but don’t worry, a personal account can be switched to a business account at any time. A business account can become verified, have additional contact information, and can allow you to advertise on Instagram. Business accounts also give you access to features such as Instagram Analytics, which will help you track performance. These additional features will help you step up your game, and better understand the impact your posts are having on your audience. 

Below is Vans Instagram Business account. You can see that right next to the name it has a blue check mark which means it has been verified. This allows your customers to know which is the official account for a brand. Instagram now allows all business accounts to apply for verification just go to “Settings” then “Account” where you will find a form to apply for verification.

Instagram Stories

This is a separate feature that is now being used by most users that have an account on Instagram. Instagram stories are photos or videos that are available to view for only 24 hours. To use Instagram Stories, head to the top bar of your profile, from there you just need to click on the + button around your profile picture. From here you can take a new photo or video, or upload one that you have already taken. When someone else you are following uploads new content to their Instagram Story, you will see a multi-colored ring light up around their profile picture. Stories are a great way to interact with your audience on a less formal basis than the traditional posting formats.

So how can this feature be used to sell products? When posting an Instagram story, brands with more than 10,000 followers have the option to include a link in your post. When you do this, customers just need to “swipe up” and they will be taken to the corresponding link. Many brands will posts photos of products and link the URL to their online store. Brands will also use this feature to gain traffic to other parts of their website. Below is an Instagram Story from an action sports film company known as Teton Gravity Research. They are using the “swipe up” story feature to bring their audience to an article recently published on their website. 

Instagram Shoppable Posts

This is a relatively new feature that Instagram released in 2018. It is a feature that allows customers to complete their entire buying journey without even leaving the Instagram application. These posts are marked with a small shopping bag icon in the bottom left hand corner. Once having everything set up, tagging a product in a photo is just as easy as tagging a person in a photo. 

Pictured above is an Instagram Shoppable post from the backpack company Osprey. In the post there are two products that are being shown with the corresponding prices. To view the product, a customer simply clicks on the “view products” page. This will then pull up all of the products that are in the post, providing the customers an opportunity to view the products on your own website. The great thing about this shopping feature, is that it won’t make you leave the Instagram application, everything is done within it. 

So how do you start using the shoppable feature of Instagram? First you need to complete a few steps:

  1. You must be located in a country where the feature is currently available, there are currently 46 countries. 
  2. You need an Instagram business account
  3. Must have the latest version of the Instagram application
  4. Your business must sell physical goods that are in compliance with Instagrams merchant agreement and commerce policies
  5. Your business profile must be connected to a Facebook catalog. This can be created using a business Facebook page, Bigcommerce, or Shopify. 

If you meet the above requirements, you can add the Instagram channel to your Shopify or Bigcommerce at no additional cost. Then you enable the “Shopping Feature” under the Business Settings on the Instagram Application.

Link in Bio

Another very popular way for businesses to advertise products is by placing a link for customers to click in their bio. A business’s bio is located under the name of the business. It is where businesses can fill in any additional information they want, such as hashtags, business hours, location, or any other relevant information they want customers to see when visiting their profile. 

A business will create a post mentioning a certain product or line of new products and tell customers to click the link in their bio. This requires some effort from the customer, but if done well, it takes only a few taps of a phone screen and customers will quickly be on your website shopping your products. Shown below is a link that Stance Socks placed in their bio for customers to view products that are new for the Fall of 2019. 

Wrapping Up

Even though selling on Instagram is becoming easier, it is important that you are not only selling products to your audience. They are following your brand/business for a specific reason and don’t want to only see advertisements and posts about buying services or products. It is important to continue with the same content strategies you have created for your brand and expect to have success with in the future. It’s easy to overwhelm your customers with shopping related posts so make sure you strike a balance of genuine content posts and shopping posts. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to our team, we would love to help you out. 

How To Use Google My Business

Image result for google my business

Google My Business is a free tool for both businesses and organizations to manage the online presence that they have within Google, this also includes Google Maps and Google Search. In GMB(Google My Business) you add info such as your business name, hours, location, and you can show/respond to reviews. Editing and verifying this information will make it much easier for customers to find your business. Below we will be going over the benefits of Google My Business and how to set it up for your own business.

Benefits of using GMB

Manage Your Information – Google My Business allows you to manage the information that customers see when they are doing research on your business. You are able to verify your information through Google, which helps customers consider it more trustworthy. When people find your business on Maps or Search it is important that you have the correct information available. This will help to draw in more traffic to your business. 

Interact With Customers – With GMB you are able to read and respond to the reviews that have been posted about your business. You can also post photos to show off what your business does. 

Understand & Expand Presence – An important feature you can use is insights. This will show you how customers arrived on your website and where they are from. You can create & track Smart campaigns, allowing you to enhance the following of your brand. 

How To Set Up Google My Business

Setting up a Google My Business account is fairly easy, and doesn’t take that long. If you follow the steps listed below, it will allow you to maximize the benefit you can receive from GMB. 

Create A Listing – The first thing that you need to do is to create a Google My Business listing. To start this, you need to first sign into the Google account that you would like associated with the business, and then go to google.com/business. 

After that it prompts you to fill in information about your business. You will need to provide your business name, location, website, phone number, and business category. 

Verify Your Listing – This is a very important step, that is sometimes overlooked. Verified businesses on Google are more likely to be trusted compared to unverified businesses. There are many ways to become verified, we will cover some of them below. 

A common way to become verified, is by phone. If you are eligible you will see the “Verify by Phone” option when you go to verify your business. Google will send you a text to the number that you provided earlier in the process, from here you must enter the code that they sent to you. 

Another common way is by email. If you are eligible for this option, you will see “Verify by Email” option when you go to verify your business. Google will use the email that you provided and send you an email. When you open the email up there will be a link to click that will verify your business. 

Some businesses will be able to have “instant verification.” This is possible if you have already verified your business by using another tool called Google Search Console. 

Optimize Your Listing – Now that you’ve created your listing, it isn’t over yet. It’s time to finish creating your profile so it will be as beneficial as possible to all the people that look at your Google My Business profile. 

The first thing you should do is to go to the “info” section, and add as much information as possible. Make sure you have a profile photo, correct hours, your website url, phone number(s), and attributes for your business. An attribute would be a characteristic such as “free wifi”. 

Another thing you should do is add photos to your profile. This will help customers get a better idea of what you offer, and it can help to draw them in. For example, if you are a restaurant, add photos of the food, drinks, and the atmosphere. If done right, this will help to draw customers in. On your GMB profile, customers will also be able to add their own photos from experiences in your business. 

Another important aspect to add is the location of your business. On top of the physical address you can add the location on Google Maps, and show the street view from Google Maps. This will assist customers by giving them multiple reference points when looking for your business. 

You can edit your listing at any time by logging into your profile and heading down to the “info” tab. We suggest periodically checking on your GMB listing to make sure that all of the information is current. Sometimes business will forget to change things, such as Winter back to Summer hours of operation. There is also a Google My Business mobile application. You can download this to a mobile device to edit information on the go, add photos, and to view available insights. 

Wrapping Up

Google My Business is a simple and free tool that every business should be utilizing. It won’t take long to set up and fill in with information. Using the tips and tricks we’ve listed above should help your business receive more traffic and hopefully an increase in sales. If you have any questions, or need any help with this process, please let our team know.