No products in the cart!
Please make your choice.View all catalog
In these modern times of digital transformation, it may seem like most digital marketing strategies are designed for online businesses.
So are there any digital marketing strategies for brick-and-mortar businesses?
Yes, there are, and one of the most effective ones is hyperlocal marketing.
As the name suggests, hyperlocal marketing is a marketing strategy that focuses on reaching customers in your vicinity. It is targeted to motivated people who are ready to buy your products.
The main goal of hyperlocal marketing is to increase foot traffic to your business. This is achieved by strategically placing the right ads in front of the right people at the right time.
It could also serve the purpose of raising brand awareness in your specific locale.
Several factors are considered, with the main one being your prospect’s location.
Hence the name hyperlocal marketing.
Many businesses are adopting hyperlocal marketing for the tremendous results it brings. It has many advantages over other marketing methods for both online and offline businesses. Here are the top five:
Because it is a very niche marketing technique, hyperlocal marketing has the advantage of bringing in leads that are ready to make a purchase. That’s because most of the people targeted by hyperlocal ad campaigns are already looking for the product or service you offer.
Take, for example, someone looking for a coffee shop. They’ll search for a coffee shop “near me,” and if they are in your vicinity, your coffee shop will be recommended to them by search engines. Or, they’ll be served one of your ads on their social media timelines.
Even if they’re not actively looking for a coffee shop, you can send out push notifications alerting people in your vicinity of a special you’re running.
Because you don’t have to run regional or nationwide campaigns, your ad spend can be kept at a bare minimum.
You also save on your advertising budget because you’re targeting a hyper-specific audience. This has the effect of reducing your cost per target while increasing your return on ad spend (ROAS).
Again, the niche nature of hyperlocal ad campaigns makes it easy to set up and run. It’s also easier to create personalized ads, resulting in higher conversion rates.
When it comes to measuring performance, it’s easy to track as you can tell where your foot traffic is coming from.
One of the biggest keys to growing a business is to build relationships with your customers.
Executed well, hyperlocal marketing will help people in your geographic area know that they can depend on you when they need a product or service you offer. As a result, most will turn into repeat customers. Better yet, they can end up being your brand ambassadors.
A big advantage of hyperlocal marketing is that it works in real-time. This ability increases conversion rates as it offers prospects deals on products or services they’re actively looking for.
With all these advantages, you can’t afford to ignore hyperlocal marketing.
Thanks to technology, marketers can pinpoint the exact locations of their prospects. This can be done through:
Knowing a prospect’s location is crucial to running hyperlocal ad campaigns as it allows you to narrow down your audience to a specific area. Most ad platforms, like Google and Facebook, give you the option of targeting a particular locality, making it easy for you to create your hyperlocal ad campaigns.
Once you’ve determined your target area, you can then set triggers that will deploy your ads.
Examples of triggers can include:
Depending on your campaign, your hyperlocal ads could be in the form of text messages, app notifications, email alerts, ads on search engine results pages (SERPs), and more. It could even be a combination. These are sent to the prospects’ mobile device when they enter your selected boundary and perform an action that sets off your triggers.
Now you know what hyperlocal marketing is, and you also see why it’s so essential to your marketing strategy.
Let’s look at some fundamentals you must get right before creating your hyperlocal ad campaigns that drive results.
One of your first stops as you lay the foundation for your hyperlocal ad campaigns is your Google My Business (GMB) listing.
GMB is a free tool from Google that enables businesses to manage their online presence on Google search results. It’s especially useful for brick-and-mortar businesses as it helps Google users find businesses near them.
You must optimize your GMB listing as Google uses three main criteria when serving users with GMB listings:
If you can optimize for these three, you’ll stand a better chance of success with your hyperlocal ad campaigns.
So how do you optimize your GMB listing?
While it’s virtually impossible to influence a searcher’s proximity to your business, there are a few best practices you can follow to improve your chances of Google serving your GMB listing in search results.
One such best practice is to create separate landing pages for each of your locations if you have more than one business location.
Another tip is to leverage famous landmarks near you. Including these in your business description will help your business show up when users search using that landmark as a reference. Here’s an arbitrary example:
With your GMB listing optimized, we can now move on to other fundamental elements you need to get right if your hyperlocal ad campaigns are to give you a healthy ROAS.
Local SEO plays a huge role in the effectiveness of your hyperlocal ad campaigns.
Research by Google shows that “near me” searches on mobile have increased by over 500% over the last few years.
A few tips to help you with this include:
Besides optimizing for local SEO you must make sure your website is mobile-friendly.
Most local searches are performed on mobile devices, and if your website doesn’t display correctly on mobile devices, you stand a chance of losing your prospects. With hyperlocal marketing, a positive online user experience (UX) can help drive your offline conversions.
If your brand can rank high for local search queries, it is easier for you to win at hyperlocal marketing. So, invest in ranking for your local search terms, and make sure to give your prospects a positive UX online, too.
Ready to create hyperlocal ad campaigns that drive results?
Let’s take a look at a few tips that will help you reach your marketing goals.
Keywords play a critical role in the success of ad campaigns. For your hyperlocal ad campaigns to be effective, you must focus on location-based keywords. This is where tools like Ubersuggest come in handy.
However, stopping at the right keywords to target is only half the battle, as keyword research is concerned.
You must also consider negative keywords.
These are keywords where you don’t want your ad to appear. That’s because negative keywords serve no purpose in helping you reach your goals. However, they can be dangerous as they could drive your ad spend up.
When creating the copy for your hyperlocal ads, tap into the local culture.
In short, leverage local stereotypes and incorporate local lingo if possible.
This will add a touch of personalization to your ad campaigns. As a result, your prospects will feel safe following your ad to your location.
Tapping into the local culture will also help your brand become acceptable as a relevant part of the community.
This can increase brand loyalty.
When setting up your hyperlocal ad campaigns, your biggest help can come from the most unlikely source.
Yes, I mean your competitors.
How can they help you?
Run campaigns in the vicinity of their locations.
Of course, for this strategy to work, you must be able to prove why you’re the better option. You can do this by pitching your unique value proposition (UVP) or by offering an incentive.
One of the best examples of this strategy is Burger King’s WhopperDetour campaign. Burger King drove traffic to their stores by offering app users Whopper sandwiches for a mere penny as long as they were in the vicinity (within 600 feet) of a McDonald’s.
The best thing about this strategy is that your ads will go out to people ready to make a purchase. Converting them into paying customers becomes a piece of cake.
People love events.
They love the excitement building up to an event that they’re planning on attending.
You can leverage that excitement by creating hyperlocal ad campaigns targeted at said events.
Not only will this help you get your target audience’s attention, but it will also help you leverage the excitement created by the event.
And every marketer knows that the happier a person is, the easier it is to sell to them.
Another advantage of targeting events is that they attract people from areas outside your location. This element helps increase your brand awareness beyond your geographical area.
Considered the oldest form of hyperlocal marketing, out-of-home (OOH) advertising leverages display ads placed physically in the vicinity of your business. Examples of OOH include billboards and other forms of signage that can be used to grab attention and convey a marketing message to your audience.
While it may be old-school, OOH has moved with the times and is now digital. With the use of digital signage, you can continue your online hyperlocal marketing campaigns offline. This makes for a better customer journey that has higher chances of conversions.
Hyperlocal marketing is a great way to drive traffic to your brick-and-mortar business. Especially in this day and age when competition for customers is stiff, you need to up your game to achieve your marketing goals.
And hyperlocal marketing could just be the shot in the arm that your business needs.
While it may seem counterintuitive to market to a smaller target group, going hyperlocal has the advantage of improving your lead quality.
As a result, you reduce your cost per lead (CPL) while increasing your ROAS.
Now that’s definitely a win in any marketing playbook.
If you’ve run hyperlocal ad campaigns before, what was your experience with them like?
Souce: https://unsplash.com/photos/OEdkPaxYMXU Email marketing is a way to promote your products or services via email. It’s a top digital media tool that not only can attract and retain customers but also increase brand loyalty. A marketer differs from an ordinary Internet user in that he/she uses it for work. The duties include product promotion, creation, …
The post 6 Chrome Extensions for Email Marketing Professionals appeared first on AeroLeads Blog.
Case studies go beyond simple testimonials by providing real-life examples of how your brand satisfied your customer’s needs and helped them accomplish their goals.
An in-depth case study helps you highlight your successes in a way that will help your ideal potential customer become your next customer. They help you show rather than tell prospective customers how you can help them reach their goals.
But, creating a solid case study can be a challenge. Today, I’ll provide actionable tips to help you write a case study, provide background information, and identify key metrics that will help your case study drive conversions.
Do you know who your ideal customer is? If it’s someone in the education industry, then make your case studies about your university customers. If it’s someone in the automobile industry, then make your case studies about auto parts and accessories manufacturers.
The goal is to ensure that your case study will show prospective customers that you are:
Think about it on a smaller level, such as when you’re reading a how-to blog post. Most of of these posts are geared toward average readers.
But when you come across a post designed specifically for your needs (such as online marketing for the healthcare industry), you are more likely to understand and apply the information.
The same goes with case studies – people who read about results in their industry will feel like the same approach will work for them.
Storytelling is a powerful marketing strategy. A great case study will allow someone to really get to know the customer in the case study including:
But don’t stop a month or two out. Follow up with the customer in the case study and update your case study a few months down the road to show how your solutions continue to provide long term benefits.
This gives readers the opportunity to see that your goal is not only to help with immediate needs, but also to ensure long term results.
No one likes to read one huge chunk of text, no matter how interesting and informative it might be. Case studies, like blog posts, should be scannable and easy to read.
Be sure to use good content formatting elements as you would with articles, blog posts, and copywriting on your website, including:
In addition to providing great SEO value for your case studies page, these formatting elements will help your readers (especially those that like to skim) find the most important parts of your case study and get a great impression about what your business could do for them.
Consider adding multi-media elements in addition to written content, such as videos, PDFs, and images to mix it up and make the content more engaging.
Have you ever read case studies where a business states they “doubled traffic” for the customer in their case study and wondered if that meant they went from 100 to 200 visits or 10,000 to 20,000 visits?
Avoid using broad statements by using clear, direct numbers. This makes your case study more believable and helps build trust in your brand.
You want your case study to be as precise as possible. Instead of saying you doubled their traffic, provide specific, accurate numbers and (if possible) real proof in the form of charts, graphs, or analytics data.
Remember that not everyone is as familiar with analtyics technology as you are, so highlight the most importnat pieces of data and provide context to why it matters.
This way, the reader can see where the customer began and where the customer ended up with your help.
Plus having the picture proof can help the reader envision exactly what you might do for them, making your case study that much more powerful.
So you doubled a website’s traffic or sales, right? How did you do it? This is where you sell your products or services simply by saying which ones you used and how they led to the desired result.
Don’t just say “our online marketing services led to these results.” Instead, say something like, ” A three-month social media campaign focusing on Facebook & YouTube and five-month of link building campaign led to an increase in rankings, plus brand exposure led to these results.”
Don’t worry about giving away your secrets — the goal is to establish your brand as an industry leader and you need to show you know your stuff.
Case studies do not have to be fit into a story form every time. Try different types of case studies, such as an interview format where you have your clients answer the same questions mentioned earlier about what they do, their needs, their goals, and how you met them.
Quoting your customer in their own words will make the case study even more relatable to your ideal customer than you telling the story.
Infographics, webinars, and even podcasts can also be used to highlight case studies. Don’t get stuck in the same old text-only format — get creative and see what type of content your users respond to.
Here’s a case study example from Venngage that uses a brochure-style case study to highlight how Vortex was able to grow conversion. (Notice the results section that highlights specific gains.)
While some people enjoy reading, others may prefer audio, video, or visual representation of your case study. So consider taking your text-based case studies and re-purposing the content as:
The bonus with YouTube videos and infographics is that they are easy to share. This means that your case study may go further than just your own site, leading to more of your potential customers finding out how they could benefit from your products or services.
Case studies can also be embeded in other types of content — such as an ebook, how-to blog post, or resource guide.
What’s the point of having great case studies if no one will ever read them? Be sure that your case studies are organized and easy to find.
Here’s a few examples of good case studies that are easy to find — and therefore, much more powerful.
AWS provides case studies right on their homepage. They also make it easy to look for an-industry specific case study in manufacturing, financial services, fitness, and more.
Drupal provides case studies right in their hero image. Users considering using their solution don’t have to look far at all to see how other brands are finding success with Drupal.
A great case study starts with case study research. Ask your customers to fill out a short form that highlights how you helped them reach their goals — be sure to ask for specific results.
Explain how the case study will help them by increasing brand awareness and link opportunities. Remember, a highly effective case study helps both you and your client build trust and reach a wider audience.
Have any case study best practice tips or examples of case studies you have enjoyed? Please share them in the comments!
The post 8 Tips For Creating a More Effective Case Study – With Examples appeared first on Neil Patel.
Suddenly you notice that none of your social media activity seems to be showing up at all. It’s like you don’t even exist on the site… Weird!
Is it a bug? Every website suffers from them sometimes, and the interactive features can often be the first to go haywire. Server maintenance could also be the culprit.
But another possibility is that you might have been “shadowbanned” (previously called ghostbanned).
Accounts that are shadowbanned are put into a kind of invisible mode. In other words, they become a “shadow” that no one can see.
In this post, we’ll talk more about what exactly shadowbanning is, and how you can tell if it happened to you.
Shadowbanning is when your posts or activity don’t show up on a site, but you haven’t received an official ban or notification.
It’s a way to let spammers continue to spam without anyone else in the community (or outside of it) seeing what they do.
That way, other social media users don’t suffer from spam because they can’t see it. The spammer won’t immediately start to look for ways to get around the ban, because they don’t even realize they’ve been banned.
Now, all of this might sound a little odd or shady. Since many websites and apps deny that they shadowban, there’s no way to know for sure that it’s happened.
If you suspect a shadowban, a change in the website’s search or newsfeed algorithm might actually be to blame. And since the algorithms are the property of social media companies, it’s not in their best interest to reveal everything about them publicly.
Regardless of whether you’ve been penalized deliberately or accidentally, the effect is still the same… no one can see your posts.
There’s no way of getting a full list of sites that shadowban people, since the practice isn’t entirely out in the open.
Respondents to a survey called Posting Into the Void reported four general types of shadowbans:
Here’s how to tell if you’ve been shadowbanned on some popular social media sites:
Does Twitter actually shadowban people? Well, yes and no.
In a blog post, Twitter claimed that they don’t “deliberately make people’s content undiscoverable to everyone except the person who posted it”, and they “certainly don’t shadowban based on political viewpoints or ideology.”
However, they did say they “rank tweets and search results” to “address bad-faith actors”. Basically, if Twitter thinks you’re a spammer or a troll, its algorithm will penalize your content.
Twitter lists these as some of the factors they use to tell if you’re a “bad-faith actor” or not:
To avoid getting shadowbanned on Twitter, you should confirm your email address and upload a profile picture.
Don’t spam people and don’t be overly promotional. If you’re trying to sell a product or service and are posting too much, other users might block your content, causing a shadowban on your account.
You should also try to avoid trolling, getting into online arguments, or being too confrontational in your posts and comments. This can lead people to mute or block you.
There’s no way to tell for sure if you’ve been shadowbanned on Twitter. However, you could try using the site Shadowban.eu, which claims to be able to detect a shadowban.
How frustrating is it to work hard at building up an Instagram following, only to see that your posts suddenly aren’t showing up?
Like with Twitter, Instagram’s CEO has publicly claimed that “shadowbanning is not a thing”, but as with Twitter, that’s not entirely true.
While you personally might not be being shadowbanned, the algorithm could still be hiding your posts.
Instagram’s algorithm is designed to remove certain content. Namely, the algorithm penalizes content that Instagram considers “inappropriate”, even if the content doesn’t go against the app’s Community Guidelines.
Specifically, they mention sexually-suggestive content. According to their Community Guidelines, spammy content and content associated with illegal activity or violence is also a no-go.
Instagram prefers “photos or videos that are appropriate for a diverse audience”… so less family-friendly content may be at risk of a shadowban.
There’s no surefire way to tell if you’ve been shadowbanned on Instagram, but there are sites that say they can test it. Triberr is one option.
Shadowbanning on Reddit is a bit different from shadowbanning on other social media sites. Up until 2015, Reddit openly shadowbanned users who broke the site’s rules by hiding their posts.
Reddit then announced that the shadowbanning system had been replaced with an account suspension system. Basically, some Reddit staff thought that the shadowban tool had been useful for dealing with bots, but that banning real human users without telling them what they did wrong was unfair.
However, the site appears to still occasionally be using shadowbans, with the r/ShadowBan subreddit still active.
According to their official content policy, Reddit may enforce their rules by “removal of privileges from, or adding restrictions to, accounts”, and also by “removal of content”, among other methods.
Of course, to avoid getting shadowbanned on Reddit, you’ll need to follow their rules. But one tricky thing about that is that the rules on Reddit actually depend on the subreddit you are submitting to.
You’ll want to read and comment a lot first before submitting your own links. Watch how people react to various types of submissions within a specific subreddit, and then act accordingly.
You can also check out this unofficial guide on how to avoid being shadowbanned. Some key points:
To find out if you’re shadowbanned on Reddit, make a post in the r/ShadowBan subreddit. A bot will respond to you, letting you know if you’re shadowbanned.
Even if you’re not, the bot will tell you which posts of yours have been removed recently (if any).
You could also use a third-party tool, like Am I Shadowbanned?
TikTok is a popular social network for sharing short videos. Unfortunately, you can get shadowbanned there too (kind of).
While there’s no official mention of the term “shadowban” in TikTok’s Community Guidelines, like other social media networks, TikTok uses algorithms to privilege certain content. If you get on the wrong side of the algorithm, fewer people might see the content you post.
To have more people see your content and avoid penalties, try to follow best practices for TikTok’s recommendation algorithm, and always follow the Community Guidelines.
Stay away from illegal material, violence, hate speech, spam, and other similar topics.
To check if you’ve been shadowbanned on TikTok, look at your pageviews and “For You” page statistics. You can also use a hashtag and see if your post shows up under that hashtag.
Facebook calls its content moderation policy “remove, reduce, and inform.”
Basically, content that violates Facebook’s Community Standards will be removed from the site, while other undesirable content (like misleading information) may be less visible on Facebook or have a warning label placed on it.
If Facebook is consistently “reducing” your content, that could be considered a type of shadowban.
The main thing you can do to trigger a shadowban on Facebook is to share links to fake or misleading information. Content on the site is checked by independent fact-checking organizations.
Facebook also penalizes links from websites that its algorithm considers clickbait. Low-authority websites without a lot of inbound and outbound links that generate a lot of clicks on Facebook may be considered clickbait.
Facebook groups where a lot of misleading links and clickbait are frequently shared may be shadowbanned.
If you’re worried your personal page, business page, or group might have been shadowbanned on Facebook, check for a change in engagement levels on your recent posts.
While people don’t often think about getting shadowbanned on LinkedIn, it’s possible for your content’s reach to be throttled there.
Like other social media sites, LinkedIn has Community Policies that all members need to follow to avoid problems.
Since LinkedIn is a professional site, its content policies are even stricter than other platforms. Not only should your content be safe, legal, and appropriate, it has to be professional as well.
Although LinkedIn is obviously a place for career growth and self-promotion, spamming people is still a no-go.
You’ll need to respect others’ privacy and intellectual property. You should also avoid harassment or unwanted romantic advances towards other members.
If you violate LinkedIn’s policies, they may “limit the visibility of certain content, or remove it entirely.”
That said, the LinkedIn algorithm is pretty complicated. Even if your content is perfectly professional and high-quality, it might still not be getting the reach you want.
Engagement and relevance are the top two factors to keep in mind when creating content for LinkedIn.
While it’s not exactly a social network, it’s definitely still a site where people go to learn and share content. Can you be shadowbanned from YouTube?
Well, YouTube shadowbanning has been in the news because of popular creator PewDiePie. According to his fans, the Swedish videogame YouTuber’s channel was penalized in YouTube search.
YouTube’s official response was that it doesn’t shadowban channels, but that some videos might be flagged and need to be reviewed before they show up in search.
In an interview with Polygon, they said they were “currently working on fixing the issue.”
Different social networks have their own opinions on what type of violations merit a shadowban. However, we can definitely see some general trends that are worth noting.
Adhere to these guidelines if you want to be safe from a shadowban:
You may not have any idea you are being shadowbanned. At least not at first… though over time, you may begin to suspect it.
What you should do to protect yourself is to be careful that what you post isn’t against the terms and conditions of the site or app. Also, try to avoid spamming content, starting fights with and trolling other users, or posting things that might be considered inappropriate.
A shadowban can be frustrating, especially if you don’t feel like you deserve one. Maybe you don’t agree with the social media algorithm about what is or isn’t inappropriate, or maybe you think you were having a constructive debate while the algorithm thinks you were being a troll.
However, hopefully the tips in this guide can help you avoid being shadowbanned in the future, so your content can get better engagement.
What other ways can help people know if they’ve been shadowbanned? Let us know in the comments.
The post How to Tell if You’re Shadowbanned on Social Media appeared first on Neil Patel.
Dropshipping is a popular method for building an e-commerce empire. The challenge is, there are tons of people out there trying to do the same thing. So, how do you get a competitive edge? By using dropshipping tools to get the most out of your dropshipping business.
This post covers the basics of dropshipping and the 11 best dropshipping tools to maximize this fulfillment method’s benefits while minimizing the drawbacks.
Dropshipping is a fulfillment method that allows e-commerce stores to sell products without storing or maintaining stock.
Using the dropshipping model, your store markets a third-party’s (a wholesaler or manufacturer) products. When someone places an order from your site, you buy the product from a third-party, who then sends the product directly to your customer.
You don’t have to worry about logistics, and the difference between the price you sell at and the price you buy at is your profit.
This model is popular (in fact, 23% of online sales are fulfilled through dropshipping) because it allows e-commerce businesses to focus on what they do best, marketing and selling products without worrying about logistic issues.
One of the major benefits of dropshipping is starting an e-commerce store with low start-up costs. You can create the framework for a great online store with relatively little investment.
The issue is, you’ve still got to invest in and warehouse stock — unless you use dropshipping.
Dropshipping limits startup costs while allowing e-commerce stores to offer a wide range of items to customers.
By working with a third party, you can quickly set up your online store and tap into a wide selection of high-quality products from suppliers around the world.
The benefits of this are:
These benefits sound pretty great, right?
As you might expect, there are also some drawbacks to dropshipping. The most apparent negative to dropshipping is lower profit margins. Companies that buy in bulk can save money, but buying one item at a time can be more costly.
Although you’re in control of your pricing (you can lower and raise prices as you like), you’ll have to keep your prices in line with your competition. And, because there are few barriers to starting an e-commerce business with a dropshipping model, there’s lots of competition out there.
Here are some challenges to consider with dropshipping:
Whether dropshipping is an effective strategy will depend on your business needs. If you’re ready to take on the stiff competition and aren’t reliant on branding to sell your products, then dropshipping could be a viable option.
As you can see, there are plenty of benefits to using dropshipping as your fulfillment method, but there are some drawbacks as well.
These dropshipping tools can help you run a successful dropshipping business.
Shopify is the biggest e-commerce platform out there, and it’s one of the quickest and easiest ways to get your store up and running.
Shopify isn’t so much a dropshipping tool as the starting point for creating your store, so it’s important to feel comfortable with it. To ensure Shopify is right for your business, you can test out a 14-day free trial.
Once you’ve decided to build your store on Shopify, you have the following pricing options:
You will still have to pay for your website hosting (here are some recommendations) which can be factored into Shopify’s price.
Whatever your goals, Shopify has a plan to suit your business needs and allows you to make the most of their customer support and a wide range of helpful plugins.
Oberlo is a Shopify app that links you to a large market of suppliers, allowing you to choose from a huge range of products and sync them to your website in seconds.
Their free starter package allows you to sell up to 500 products a month, so it’s an ideal way to dip your toe into dropshipping.
If you see good results, you can upgrade to the basic package for $29.90 a month, allowing you to sell more products and benefit from enhanced order tracking.
You can also choose the pro package for $79.90 a month, which allows you up to 30,000 sales.
If you already have a website that runs on WordPress, or you want a cheaper alternative to Shopify, then try WooCommerce. It’s a free plugin that can turn your WordPress website into an e-commerce store.
WordPress powers around 35% of the web, so you know you’re in safe hands with this platform, and the WooCommerce plugin allows you to give it powerful e-commerce capabilities.
Already have an e-commerce store set up? Spocket is one of the best dropshipping tools to connect you with suppliers from around the world.
Spocket integrates with Shopify, WooCommerce, Wix, BigCommerce, and AliScraper. It offers a free trial which allows you to view their catalog, but to truly benefit from this tool, you need one of the paid plans:
With many suppliers based in the US and Europe, Spocket is an excellent dropshipping tool for stores that value fast, easy fulfillment.
AutoDS is an all-in-one dropshipping tool for e-commerce stores that plugs into both Shopify and eBay. With AutoDS, you can automate processes like stock monitoring, optimizing pricing, updating tracking numbers, collecting social proof, and much more.
This dropshipping tool takes a lot of the busy work out of running your store and gives you more time to focus on boosting your sales.
One of the great things about AutoDS is they offer a vast range of packages designed to suit your business. They start at $6.33 a month for basic stores but can accommodate stores with up to 100,000 products.
Dropified connects you with suppliers and automates your dropshipping processes. With integrations for e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, GrooveKart, and CommerceHQ, it aims to give you all the dropshipping tools you need to run a successful business.
With lots of helpful automation, Dropified is ideal for sellers looking to develop their custom brand. They offer two distinct pricing structures:
This dropshipping tool price might seem costly, but the ability to use private labels helps you overcome one of the most significant drawbacks of dropshipping – difficulty establishing your brand.
SaleHoo is a directory of wholesale companies and a great dropshipping tool for market research. Their annual plan gives you full access to the directory for $67, or you can choose a lifetime plan for $127. Those prices make it an affordable tool to research the market and find the best suppliers.
There’s also the option to upgrade to full automation, and you can get lifetime access to the SaleHoo education program for $47.
With so many apps helping you run your business, you might be wondering how to coordinate them all. The answer is Zapier.
Zapier automates workflows across different apps, which reduces manual work. For example, when you receive an order on Shopify, Zapier can instruct MailChimp to add that customer to your monthly newsletter and create an invoice through Invoice Ninja.
With a free lifetime plan that allows you to create 5 “zaps,” Zapier is one of those dropshipping tools you’ve got to try. If you find it significantly streamlines your store, then there are many plans to choose from.
AliDropship connects you to suppliers. However, there’s one big difference — with AliDropship there are no monthly fees. Instead, you make a one-time payment of $89 for a lifetime subscription.
You can also have AliDropship create you a website for a one-time price of $299, making it a viable alternative to Shopify. You will have to pay for your monthly hosting, but this option is about as quick and easy as it comes in terms of getting started with dropshipping.
For sellers looking for a fast, convenient way to get into dropshipping, AliDropship is an ideal option.
While many of the dropshipping tools on this list offer important insights about customers and traffic, some of the most important metrics can be found in your Google Analytics dashboard. All the data you need to know about your store is in your analytics for free.
There’s no need to pay for extra website analytics if you know how to make the most of Google Analytics, and this is the reason why it’s one of the most powerful dropshipping tools.
Track your visitors, understand where your traffic comes from, what content works well, and how to boost your store’s all-round performance by making use of the data that’s available to you.
If you’re dropshipping through eBay, then Chili-Hunter is a handy market research tool. Use it to discover new trends, find the most profitable items to sell, and get insight into your store’s performance and your competitors.
This dropshipping tool provides vital information to maximize your profits, and the best part is it comes in one simple plan.
You can choose either a monthly membership for $39.99 per month or a yearly membership for $16.66/mo.
With Chilli-Hunter, you can find the best products to dropship and boost your business’s performance in seconds.
One of the biggest challenges with dropshipping is maintaining workable margins. To do this, you need your e-commerce store to be as streamline as possible so you can adapt to changing markets and build up a large volume of sales.
To scale your business, look for ways to automate areas such as marketing, order processing, and product selection. This is where dropshipping tools come in handy.
While you will need to pay the monthly subscription fees for the right dropshipping tools, the return on investment can be immense.
How do you use dropshipping tools to give your store the edge?
High-quality video content is a great way to showcase products professionally in an e-commerce store. AI Multiple, a digital B2B research firm, found that video content makes website visitors 64-85% more likely to buy a product, compared to static images.
There are many ways to edit your videos for free. Free video editing software has become increasingly popular in recent years, and the perks of the programs are always evolving.
These days, you can create high-quality, engaging video content that converts without paying the high sticker price of big-name software. If you’re not sure about product videos for e-commerce, or you don’t know where to invest your money, then free video editing software is a great place to start experimenting.
Paid doesn’t always mean better. Free video editing software has come a long way since its inception, and the latest platforms are incredibly versatile.
Many paid tools have impressive free versions, so you can use your favorite software without paying a subscription fee. This is a great way to test out content types and figure out the design direction for your videos.
These free versions allow you to test out paid products and see how they work. If you’re a beginner, there are tutorials and walkthroughs that can get you started.
That being said, there are many free tools with equal or greater editing options as paid tools. It’s important to figure out what kind of features you’re looking for, whether that be short-form, DIY social videos, product testimonials, online ads, or animated clips. Once you know what you need, it will be much easier to find the tool that suits your verticals.
Video content can help you display your products in new and inventive ways. Customers appreciate being able to see a product in action. They also want to know what other people think of it, so posting reviews and demos can be a great way to target those audiences.
Youtube is the second-most trafficked site on the internet, coming in right after Google. This tells us the public is interested in video content and is searching for it every day. In fact, it’s estimated that users spend almost 100 minutes a day watching online video content.
So, what are these consumers looking for?
The CMO Council, a marketing research firm, found 48% of consumers want to see content that reflects products or services they are already interested in. Likewise, 43% of consumers want to see content that gives them clear information on the next steps they need to take in order to purchase.
Free video editing software can help you speak to this growing demographic and introduce your products to their vast sales funnel.
With well-edited videos, you can showcase the way your products move, answer FAQs, make your own promotional videos, highlight customer reviews, and give live product demos. This offers new value to your consumers that static content misses.
Want to find out how to get started with video marketing? With just a few simple tools you can maximize your conversions and extend your reach online.
Free video editing software can help you to create stand-out video content for your e-commerce platform.
There are so many different programs to choose from and even more features to consider.
But don’t get overwhelmed!
The first step is to figure out what you want your content to look like. Are you making short-form ads for Instagram Stories? Are you creating Google ads, Facebook banners, or on-site product pieces? Different content requires different features, so make sure you know what you’re looking for.
Once you know what you want to create, sorting through the noise is easier. Here are some features to consider when choosing your free video editing software.
If you’re brand new to video editing, it’s best to start simple. Choose video editing software that doesn’t have too many complex features and one that will give you a tutorial. You can also find an online walkthrough to explain the best ways to use the software.
Give yourself enough time to play around with software before your project deadline. These tools can have a learning curve depending on which software you choose, so keep that in mind before you commit.
Some platforms, such as Youtube, require specific formats in order to upload content. It’s important to research what your format requirements are before diving into the new software.
If you want to publish your content in 4K, or maybe convert it to 720p, it’s a good idea to factor that into your content creation planning.
Some free video editing software platforms have a range of compatibility options, while others are very limited. Be sure to read the fine print before downloading anything.
Depending on what kind of content you’re producing, you may want to add audio tracks or musical elements to your videos.
Some free video editing software support audio mastering, while others don’t have those options. You may be able to add audio in through a secondary program if you want to, but it’s probably better to find software that does everything you need it to from the start.
Likewise, the audio tools may be limited to in-program purchases or pre-determined tracks. So be sure to choose software that will allow you to upload outside media if that’s what your content needs.
Titles and subtitles are a great way to overlay branding or text. You can also increase accessibility and speak to consumers who may have their volume turned off as they scroll.
Many free video editing software platforms have title and subtitle options. That being said, not all of them allow you to export or import these and you may need to do a bit of extra research to find a platform that supports more advanced text options.
If you’re looking to involve your team members in the editing process, then choosing a tool that supports collaboration will be important.
Many of these tools have limits on how many collaborators can participate, so make sure you know how many people will be logging onto the software and in what capacity they will be contributing.
No matter what kind of content you want to create, there is a free video editing software out there that can make your e-commerce dreams come true.
Remember, there are different apps for mobile, desktop, and even Instagram-specific editing tools. Read the software details to ensure you’ll be able to use your video on your desired platform.
Adobe Spark is one of the most approachable free video editing software platforms. You can add images, soundtracks, and animations directly into your uploaded videos. You can also edit and share your videos from the app, so you don’t have to spend time waiting for lengthy uploads.
The free version gives you access to most of their basic editing software. You can also go premium for $9.99 per month.
Avidemux is a great beginner video editing software. It can be used on Windows, Mac, or Linux operating systems and boasts a clear, simple, easy-to-navigate interface.
The downside is there aren’t as many features as some of the other software platforms we’ve discussed. That said, if you’re just getting into video editing, this is a great place to start.
Avidemux is 100% free.
Clipchamp lets you edit clips directly in your browser without having to upload anything. It’s compatible with all file sizes and offers a range of customizable video templates curated by industry professionals.
Clipchamp is a great option for those looking to do some quick and easy editing. Although it lacks some of the in-depth, professional features that can be useful, it makes up for it by being easy to navigate and learn.
The basic platform is free for up to 5-minute pieces. Premium plans begin at $14 per month.
HitFilm Express is a professional-grade free video editing software that can be used on either Mac or Windows systems.
HitFilm offers advanced and beginner features that rival some of the best paid platforms out there. The catch? You have to post about them on social media before you can start editing.
If you’re a beginner, factor in some extra time to learn the interface. Don’t worry too much, there are a range of tutorial videos to get you started which are based on popular Hollywood franchises like Star Wars and Marvel. The videos are fun to watch and you might even learn something!
Wave.video is free video editing software for creating branded content. They have a huge stock video and image library and an array of different templates you can add to your video.
Wave.video is free for up to 15-second videos. Paid subscriptions start at $8.25 per minute.
Looking for more video editing software options? Check out these 5 video editing tools.
Once you’ve chosen your software, it’s time to get to work!
Depending on the software you pick, your next steps will look a little different.
If you choose a professional video editing software such as Avidemux or HitFilm Express, then you’ll need to upload some content of your own before you get started.
If you have some product shots or e-commerce reels, you can upload them into these platforms to cut them into shorter clips, add in text overlays or branded content, or add in audio tracks or music.
If you chose a more simple software like Adobe Spark or Wave.video, you could start by choosing a template and editing it to make it your own. You can also upload product images or videos and then utilize some of the free, in-app features like typography or animations to enhance your video.
To maximize your content for e-commerce conversions, make sure you tailor your content for your platform. If you’re trying to showcase how your product works, a product video is a good place to start. If you want to advertise a sale or discount on a Facebook ad, be sure to pay attention to sizing requirements and formatting options.
We know how important video content is for e-commerce conversions, but making video content doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag.
Who knows, maybe with a little practice, you’ll be the next Spielberg of e-commerce.
What are some ways you can use video content to strengthen your e-commerce sales?
Do terms like “AI” and “machine learning” make you think of robots and science fiction?
These technologies are being used everywhere, and the age of AI is already in full swing.
AI and technology offer a solution to inefficiency. Deloitte has shown that 83 percent of early adopters of AI and cognitive technologies achieved either “moderate” or “substantial” benefits.
AI is somewhat part of augmented intelligence tools’ technology, but how is it used in marketing right now?
Gartner defines “augmented intelligence” as “a human-centric partnership model of people and artificial intelligence working together to enhance cognitive performance.”
What that means is that augmented intelligence isn’t just about creating super smart machines. It’s about creating technology that can help you and your brain do things better.
Augmented intelligence is sometimes also called intelligence automation (IA).
Artificial intelligence is all about computers making decisions. But augmented intelligence is about you making better decisions, with the help of a computer.
Let’s dive into some specific examples so we can see how this works:
Artificial intelligence operates on its own, without help from humans.
That might make you think of autonomous killer robots, but the reality is usually a little less exciting.
Ever used a grammar checker tool? Lots of those use AI to give you more sophisticated grammar recommendations.
Even Google Docs uses an AI grammar checker. Google’s engineers train the model using correct sentences. It’s then able to predict whether sentences are correct or incorrect on its own, without needing to be programmed with every single grammar rule.
Know where else Google uses AI? In its search engine algorithms.
Now that we’ve seen how AI is used, how is augmented intelligence used? How are its applications different from AI?
Augmented intelligence is a pretty general term. You can use it to talk about basically any machine that helps humans enhance their capabilities and make better decisions, even something as simple as a compass or telescope.
But in practice, augmented intelligence is usually used to talk about automated systems that need direction or input from humans to function. Augmented reality tools, like Google Glass, are just one example.
The augmented intelligence tool gives recommendations, and then the human makes the final call. Feedback from humans helps the tool to learn and grow continuously.
Why would you want to use augmented intelligence when you could use “true AI?” Well, augmented intelligence allows us to do more with the technology we currently have, without needing to wait for AI to advance.
It also adds a human element to the decision-making process, which can be helpful for complying with regulation in some industries. Plus, with augmented intelligence, we can take advantage of new technologies while also continuing to use human talent.
But the best thing about augmented intelligence? When humans and machines work together, they can achieve better results than one or the other working alone.
For example, an experiment by a team from a Harvard Medical School hospital at the Camelyon Grand Challenge showed that an algorithm could accurately detect breast cancer 92% of the time, while a human pathologist accurately detected it 96% of the time. When the pathologist worked together with the algorithm, the results were accurate 99% of the time.
Overall, augmented intelligence is just a different philosophy that can help us get the most from AI, without needing really sophisticated capabilities.
The truth is, augmented intelligence can do huge things for your company.
There are tons of different ways to use augmented intelligence. There’s probably an IA application out there that can help you streamline and improve every single area of your business.
Here’s an example: Augmented intelligence can help you sell things online.
Think about the last time you thought about buying something online. What were some reasons you might have hesitated before making a purchase?
You might not want to lay out money for certain items before trying them out in person. Furniture, glasses, clothes are examples of products users want to see how they look up close before you buy.
Enter augmented intelligence. With augmented reality (AR) applications, your customers can “try on” things virtually. Even if they’d prefer to shop from home, they can still get a feel for your merchandise.
To use the virtual try-on tools, you can upload a photo or open your webcam, and the tool will show you what the product looks like in real life.
But sales isn’t the only area where augmented intelligence can help your business.
Want to make your product safer? Car companies are already using augmented reality to help drivers spot dangers on the road and avoid looking down at their phones.
Want to thrill your customers with a cool new feature? Google did that when they introduced internet searchers to AR animals.
You can improve your customer service with augmented intelligence, too. Chatbots can help answer some more straightforward customer questions, freeing up more time for your human staff. IA can also help support your customer service reps when they need more information to help customers.
Finally, just like with sales, product, and customer service, augmented intelligence tools can take your marketing efforts to the next level.
Here are three crucial reasons why you should use augmented intelligence tools to supercharge your marketing.
If you use augmented intelligence to create an extra cool or innovative product, your marketing will basically be halfway done for you. An awesome customer experience pretty much markets itself. Just look at all the videos people have made about Google’s AR animals:
Check out all these articles people have written about Wayfair’s augmented reality feature for furniture:
If you make something interesting enough, you might end up getting lots of new backlinks and traffic without even trying.
Besides creating new product features, you can also improve your customer experience with augmented intelligence in other ways.
For instance, customers are more likely to be satisfied if they can get their questions answered faster with technology like automated chatbots, as mentioned above.
You can also use augmented intelligence to help personalize the customer experience. An example of this would be user recommendations. You’ve probably seen these on YouTube on the right-hand side:
And on Amazon as suggested product examples:
These websites use algorithms to make recommendations based on the videos you’ve already watched or products you’ve already shown interest in. When you click on a recommendation, you’re sending a signal to the algorithm that the recommendation was relevant.
Recommendations help you offer a better experience by helping your customers find things they might be interested in. They are also a way to convince customers to stay on your website for longer.
Another major reason why companies are interested in automation is that it saves time. According to WorkMarket’s 2020 In(Sight) Report, over half of employees think they could save 240 hours every year through automation.
IA can help your marketing department save time in lots of different ways. If you’re currently using data for strategic planning, augmented intelligence tools can help.
You can use these tools to help clean data sets, forecast future trends with predictive modeling, or even keep an eye on competitors, social trends, and customer feedback. This can help you create more effective marketing plans more quickly.
If you decide to use augmented intelligence in your marketing, you won’t be alone. According to a Forrester report, 46% of respondents say that marketing and sales teams are leading AI adoption.
It’s no wonder marketers are excited to adopt this technology. Hubspot found that using AI software cut the time one agency spent on reporting by 97 percent.
Here’s another way that augmented intelligence can help with your marketing: It can help you write better content, faster.
If you’re a marketer, you know that writing quality content takes serious time and effort.
A survey by Orbit Media Studios states that the average blog post takes almost four hours to write. That’s actually a 63% increase over 2014, when the average blog post took just under 2.5 hours.
If you’re wondering why the writing time has gone up so much, it’s because Google’s algorithm updates have started to favor long-form content.
Augmented intelligence can helpfully write text, but it can’t add much research, facts, or emotions to it.
AI’s writing style can be a little different from what we’re used to, so it needs human polishing.
That’s an excerpt from an article written by an AI, published in The Guardian.
As you can see, AI can write sentences, but you might need to edit or adjust them to fit your content needs.
Even if you don’t want a robot to write your articles, you can still use augmented intelligence tools to help you in your writing. Spelling and grammar checkers, like Grammarly, are a good example of this.
Augmented intelligence can also help you create better content by coming up with more relevant topics for your audience.
If you want to do a content audit to review the content that’s already on your website, augmented intelligence can help with that, too.
It looks like AI, and automation in general, are here to stay. McKinsey predicts that “half of today’s work activities could be automated by 2055.”
With “AI’s adoption increasing year-on-year,” marketing departments are leading the charge.
Augmented intelligence offers the perfect approach to AI, because it’s all about pairing AI’s strengths with human strengths.
As a marketer, you’re all about staying ahead of the competition.
To do that, you’ll need to have the best tools, including artificial intelligence.
However, a lot of people are skeptical about AI. In fact, research by PwC shows that 67% of CEOs think AI and automation will have a negative impact on trust in their industry over the next five years.
With augmented intelligence tools, you don’t have to rely on AI alone. Instead, you can use AI’s strengths and human strengths together to get better results.
If you’ve already started using augmented intelligence in your marketing, or if you’re thinking about using it soon, tell us about your experience in the comments.
The post 3 Key Reasons to Use Augmented Intelligence Tools in Digital Marketing appeared first on Neil Patel.
Most of us have got a favorite non-profit, and usually with good reason. They might provide vital resources for your community or just be a cause close to your heart. Or they may have played an important role in your own life or that of a family member.
Non-profits need to be visible in today’s digital age — but that takes time, money, and expertise. Which is where Google Ad grants can help.
If you’re a non-profit, Google Ad grants offer a set amount of funding towards Google advertising every month.
Why did Google launch its Ads grants program, and how do they work?
Google designed the grants program to help nonprofits flourish. The ads work just like regular PPC ads. Nonprofits use them to drive targeted traffic to their sites, just as any marketer or business owner would
And whether you realize it or not, you’ve probably seen some of these ads online; they show up beneath paid-for ads when you do a Google search.
But unlike Google’s PPC ads, there are some limitations. For instance, Google Ad Grant adverts are text only.
Google Ad Grants also have a strict eligibility criterion, and all non-profits must complete an application process. We’ll discuss the details of eligibility below.
From high-profile nonprofits like Habitat for Humanity and the American Cancer Society to smaller organizations like the Elder Wisdom Circle and Travel to Impact, Google Ads Grants have many success stories.
For example, Habitat for Humanity achieved its marketing goals by combining Ad Grants and Paid Ads. This helped the organization to increase pickups.
The charity then sells the donated items to raise funds for its vital support programs. And to provide low-cost furniture and other goods for the local community.
Using free tools like Google Analytics and Tag Manager allowed Habitat for Humanity to measure its conversion values. As a result, the charity noted a substantial increase over the next six months.
The free ads also helped Habit to Humanity attract more donors and use remarketing campaigns to keep visitors engaged and encourage them to donate again.
But it’s not just the free advertising budget that nonprofits can benefit from. Other advantages of Google Ad Grants include their digital marketing resources.
Your digital marketing strategy is fundamental to success online. The same is also true for nonprofits that want to raise awareness and funds in the digital age.
And if you’re new to digital marketing, Google has you covered. There’s a set of videos to talk you through the various elements of a successful digital campaign, such as:
Your nonprofit can also use the ads to:
If you’re tracking donations, purchases, and fees, then Google suggests using a maximizing conversion bidding strategy. You can read more about this on Google’s support pages.
Your organization can decide how to best spend the money itself. Or you can turn to one of Google’s Ad Grants certified professionals to guide you through the application.
As with any other grant, there’s an application to fill out. But don’t let the process put you off applying. It isn’t nearly as complex as you might think.
In this next section, I’ll break this down into the following steps:
The Google Ads grants are only open to eligible non-profits. This means your organization must:
Your next step is to establish a Google for Nonprofits account.
To sign up to Google for Nonprofits:
1. Register with TechSoup. If you’re not familiar with TechSoup, here’s what you need to know:
TechSoup is a nonprofit that offers a variety of tech resources from well-known brands like Microsoft and Intuit QuickBooks. It’s free to join, and all you need to do is complete a short application.
For nonprofits outside of the U.S., you may need to register through one of Google’s other partners. For example, in the UK, you’ll get taken to the charitydigitalexchange.org website.
Note: Verification from TechSoup can take up to 12 days.
2. Request a Google for Nonprofits account by clicking ‘Get Started.’
Then, fill out the requested information, and wait for Google’s verification email.
To activate your Google Ad Grants account, follow these steps.
That’s it. Activation typically takes up to three business days.
Note: Remember, your Google for Nonprofits/Ad Grants accounts need the same username.
Now you’ve established your Google Ads account, your nonprofit can start reaping the benefits, like launching your free ad campaigns.
Setting up your first ads may seem confusing. Let’s walk through it.
To create your Google Ads Grant marketing, just follow these steps.
Your campaign setup is complete!
If you’re creating the campaign yourself, the best thing you can do is take your time and consider Google’s best practices. But if you’re not comfortable with this part, remember there are certified professionals who can manage the advertising.
To get you started, here are some tips along with some Google recommendations:
What makes your organization different? This is how you stand out from the crowd and encourage engagement and donations. For example, does your organization:
If you’re struggling to find your nonprofit’s unique selling point, there’s a useful article on identifying your non-profit’s USP online. And you can also learn more about one non-profit’s marketing approach.
Perhaps the most important part of any online ad is the call to action. What do you want visitors to do next? Think about your goals and what steps you need visitors to take to reach your goals.
Begin by thinking of the search terms and keywords you’d use if you were looking for a nonprofit in your niche. Then, use a keyword planner tool like Ubersuggest to perform further keyword research. Use these terms in your ads.
Develop a group of ads for rotation and include your target keywords in each group. You’ll also want to ensure that your ads are relevant to your intended audience.
For example, you may want to target them at attracting:
What do your visitors do once they’ve visited your site? Do they donate? Sign up as a volunteer? Ask for information?
Use an analytics tool to determine this, and design future campaigns around relevant keywords.
For further tips for creating successful Google ads, visit their support page.
A recent survey found that 64% of marketing professionals would choose Google Ads over SEO. This is despite SEO’s positive return on investment (ROI) and the organic traffic it delivers.
Well, according to the survey, Google Ads are better for:
And there’s another huge plus to Google Ads: they’re easier to implement.
You can see how important these factors are to a marketing professional. But they’re every bit as important to your nonprofit too.
By tracking and analyzing the data of your nonprofit, you can also:
There may come a time when you want to change your nonprofit ads. Just make sure your nonprofit complies with Google’s policies.
For example, Google doesn’t allow:
Nonprofits must also keep their click-through rates (CTRs) at 5% every month (or risk having their accounts deactivated) and have valid conversion tracking if using smart bidding.
Note: It’s worth mentioning that Google policies are subject to change. Their Ad Grants Compliance Guidelines are available online. Keep up-to-date with these, and if you’re unclear on anything, check.
Google’s Ad Grants program allows qualifying nonprofits to gain visibility, attract more donations, and recruit staff and volunteers. Google Ad Grants is an ideal starting place for nonprofits that don’t have a digital marketing strategy or lack the budget to get started.
Aside from the generous $10,000 limit available to nonprofits, there are many other advantages to signing up with Google Ad Grants, such as access to technology tools, data tracking, and professional services to help grow your nonprofit.
Although it may seem complicated, Ad Grants are free to set up. And if you’re unsure of the correct strategy, consider hiring a PPC consultant to guide you.
Has your nonprofit applied for a Google Ad Grant? Tell us about your experiences or share some tips below.
If you ever plan on finding investors, partners, or employees for your e-commerce startup, you’ll need to know how to create a business plan. A lot of people make this process out to be more complicated than it needs to be. When you do it right, creating a business plan doesn’t have to be so difficult.
In this guide, I’m breaking down step-by-step everything you need to know about creating a powerful e-commerce business plan.
Have you ever thought about something you wanted to accomplish in your business? You’d likely jot down a few lines discussing strategies, costs, and methods behind the steps you would take to achieve those goals.
If you’ve ever done that, you’ve created a basic business plan, and there isn’t too much more to it than that. An e-commerce business plan is a strategy for how your business will work, how you’ll fund it, who your audience will be, and how you plan to succeed.
Understanding how to create a business plan is key. It requires research, understanding your audience, budgeting, and more.
The overall key to writing a business plan is to create something comprehensive enough, so you never have to wonder what step is coming next. As you navigate the sometimes challenging process of starting an e-commerce business, don’t leave anything to chance.
When you’re struggling or having a hard time envisioning the next step, you don’t have to worry because your business plan thoroughly outlines everything you’re going to do, when you’ll do it, and how much it’ll cost.
Another aspect of business plan writing is looking for investors or partners. You need to pitch your e-commerce business in a way that is easy to understand. Investors aren’t going to jump aboard something that lacks vision or appears unorganized.
Having a thorough business plan that gets straight to the point will show investors that you know what you’re doing and you have a concrete strategy for success.
The way e-commerce businesses reach their customers is much different. At a brick and mortar store, for example, foot or vehicle traffic will contribute to a lot of free advertising for the business.
E-commerce stores, on the other hand, can very easily get buried in the SERPs, never to be seen by anyone if you don’t know how to get the word out. You need to keep these types of things in mind when putting together your business plan.
As for research and development of your business plan, standard businesses need to factor in local licenses, ordinances, building codes, and other factors that may influence where and how they can conduct business.
Luckily, e-commerce doesn’t have to worry as much about that, but it doesn’t mean you can ignore it either. It’s your responsibility to understand any restrictions or requirements that may prevent you from sourcing and selling your products.
Understanding how to create a business plan means nothing if you can’t see the importance behind it. While I believe there are more important aspects of starting a successful business, every e-commerce venture should have a stable foundation, beginning with a business plan.
You’re the driver of this business, but you’ll end up going in circles, wasting time and money, if you don’t know where you’re going. Having a solid business plan guides you through the steps of starting and growing a business. Think of the plan as the GPS of your business. If you ever get lost, you can fall back on your original plan.
This process is much easier than it seems. It might seem like this looming dark cloud of horror, but once you dive in, the juices will start flowing, and you’ll find out that you probably have a lot of great ideas. This may be the first project of your new venture, so business plan templates and how-to guides can help.
Getting your audience right is the most important aspect of an e-commerce business. If you’re trying to reach everyone, you’ll reach no one. A big part of your business plan needs to be the development of a customer avatar. This avatar is your perfect customer. They’re the ones that buy everything you sell because they love you and your brand.
Whether you’re looking for funding or business partners, you’ll need a business plan. Having a strong strategy shows investors that you’re confident in what you’re doing, you understand the business, and investing with you is a smart choice for them.
What better way to look back and see everything you’ve dreamed of come to life? You can map out the next few years in a business plan and look back as everything comes together, and keep track of everything you’ve accomplished. A business plan acts as a “to-do” list for your new venture.
If you’re wondering what a business plan should include, it might look a little different than you originally thought. The days of massive 15-page business plans are over; you don’t need a super complicated plan to find investors and sell your products.
Lean business plans are growing in popularity. This e-commerce business plan involves a one-page “pitch” of your business. You’ll document the problem you’re solving, your unique solution, your market, the competition, your team, and a little information about your company culture.
Think of an Executive Summary as an overview of your company’s goals and objectives. If you had to hand someone a piece of paper explaining as much about your business in 250 words or less, what would you say?
It should include information such as:
While you’re not going in-depth in any one area here, this is the most important aspect of the business plan because it’s your overview. When people think of your e-commerce brand, this is what they’ll think.
Who are you, what is your experience, and why should you have the right to sell products to other people?
The company’s description is a lot less about what you want it to “be like” and more of what “you’re like.” You’re pitching yourself, your experience, and your ability here.
A great business example here might be:
In this description, we covered what we’re selling and provide the credentials of the owner, which will create confidence in potential investors and partners.
If you don’t understand your audience or the industry you’re working in, you’re doomed. Researching the market is critical, and there’s a big difference between standard business and e-commerce here.
When you’re researching the market for a retail store, you’re very limited in who your audience is, so it’s a bit more cut and dry.
As for e-commerce, the world is your audience, but you need to narrow it down to a specific demographic to cater to your products and marketing to those people.
Ask questions like:
Forget learning how to create a business plan; we all go into business to profit, right? Having an operations plan helps ensure you remain profitable by keeping all your costs in line. This section of the business plan discusses managing, staffing, preparing products, fulfilling orders, inventory management, customer service, and more.
This part is where you get to start outlining what a typical day will look like in your business. How will it run, how will people convert, and how will you fulfill those orders?
Start thinking about things such as:
Make sure you keep your industry, market, and target audience in mind as you prepare your operations plan. You don’t want to venture off in the wrong direction as you dive deeper into it.
It’s a no-brainer that you’ll have to market your business if you want to have success, but you need a plan. In e-commerce, you have a few different options, and the choices you make will determine a lot.
You need to highlight the methods you plan on using so partners and investors can see that you have a clear path to success. Some of your choices may be:
I recommend using a combination of all of these because they each have upsides and downsides. For example, SEO is a relatively low cost to get started, but it takes time, and if you don’t possess the knowledge yourself, you’ll have to hire an agency to do it for you.
PPC can be costly if you don’t know what you’re doing, but the results can come quickly because you’re leapfrogging over a lot of the competition.
Regardless of what marketing methods you choose for your e-commerce business plan, you need to highlight them and explain how you plan to use them.
Now you need to wrap up your business plan and put a nice bow on top. Based on everything you’ve included so far in your business plan, what are your costs versus your revenue? Keep in mind that first-year revenues aren’t always extravagant, but you need the potential to gain more revenue in the future.
As long as investors and partners see that you have the growth potential, they won’t worry too much about first-year losses. The goal should be to keep your costs as low as possible and your revenue as high as possible (makes sense, right?).
Predict the total cost of operation in your business in the first year or two and include that in the plan. Then, anticipate the revenue prediction as well and include that.
If you’ve followed everything in this guide, there should be a clear path that brings you to those numbers. You should know how much everything will cost to get started and operate the business for a year.
Based on your market and what your competition is doing, that’s where you get your first-year revenue predictions.
Make it transparent and keep it simple.
Now that you know how to create a business plan, what are your next steps? What do you plan to do with the business plan? Most people will use their business plan to find investors, partners, and employees when they’re getting started.
If you’re thinking about pitching to investors, you’ll want to choose carefully because not all investors are the right choice for you. Even if someone is willing to give you what you ask, they might not be the right fit, and taking their money will lead you down the wrong path.
First, you want to look at an investor’s expertise. When they have experience in a certain area, it makes it easier for them to understand your potential, and they can offer guidance to help you succeed.
Second, in what stage is your business? Different investors specialize in different stages. Some invest in pre-seed, while others won’t even hear your pitch until you have revenue.
Third, how much do you think you need? What you think you need and what you need are two different things.
Lastly, how do you plan on involving your investors? Some investors will back you financially and offer nothing more, while others will demand consistent financial updates and reports while offering guidance and assistance. You need to determine how involved you want your investor to be in your operations.
Now that you know how to create a business plan, the rest is up to you. Remember that gathering information and understanding something is important, but it’s nothing if you don’t implement what you learn. Take the steps outlined in this guide and put them to work.
If this seems a little daunting, we have plenty of resources to help you. Your business plan doesn’t need to be this elaborate essay; you can complete it in a day with the right strategy.
What do you think is the most important part of creating a solid business plan?
It’s no secret: the world of PPC advertising is not for the faint-hearted. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could end up throwing money down the drain.
How can you increase the chances of the right people clicking on your ads? You need to learn how to write ad copy that converts.
Thankfully, technological advancements like artificial intelligence (AI) are here to save the day. AI tools can help you write ad copy that produces results.
Just so we’re on the same page, let’s quickly look at a simple definition of AI.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a multidisciplinary branch of science that includes machine learning (ML), natural language processing (NLP), deep learning, and many other emerging technologies.
The main benefits of AI when it comes to creating compelling PPC ad copy include:
However, no matter how much data you have at your fingertips and how well you can identify lucrative bids, all that will be to no avail if your ad copy sucks.
AI can help you with that. I’ll show you how below.
Many tools can help you write ad copy. However, many AI-powered tools have one huge advantage: unlike their predecessors that relied on historical data, AI-powered tools give you real-time data. This process allows you to refine your copy to better suit the market situation when the content is created and published.
The very first thing you need to do before writing ad copy is to understand your target audience. The key to successful ad copy is to know not only who your target audience is, but also to know:
In short, understanding your audience will help you understand the intent behind your prospect’s search. Knowing this could help you write personalized ad copy that will resonate with your audience, eliciting a click through to your offer.
It will also help you create ads that are so targeted that only the right people will click on them. Additionally, it will help you write ad copy that addresses any objections your audience may have.
When you know how to write ad copy that speaks directly to your audience, you’ll likely enjoy a reduction in wasted clicks and an increase in your return on ad spend (ROAS).
How do you get to know your audience? This process is where AI shines best.
AI-powered audience research tools like IBM’s Watson are great for helping you with predictive audiences. These consumers may not look anything alike but have some common threads that make them relevant targets for your PPC ads. By processing data from multiple sources, AI helps you understand the type of people you should target with your ads.
These insights help you significantly reduce the risk of ad waste, as your ad copy will be hyper-personalized, making it appealing to the right people. With ad spend steadily increasing across all industries, AI will help ensure that you get a good ROI from your campaigns.
Before you put pen to paper, you must study the competitive environment.
You must conduct competitor research. This data will help you understand (among other things):
The data you get from your competitors’ ad campaigns is invaluable in helping you know how to write ad copy that will perform exceptionally well.
This process is where AI-powered competitor research tools like Adthena come to play.
By gaining insights into your competitors’ PPC activity and market shifts, you’ll be better armed to write compelling PPC ad copy.
The real-time data AI technologies provide may help you gain or keep a corner the market by ensuring you’re up-to-date with trends and news that affect your market audience. Real-time data is also essential when conducting competitor analysis, as any lag in time could result in the competition cornering the market.
Don’t delay to get on the AI bandwagon, especially when it comes to writing ad copy.
Everyone knows keywords are the foundation of every good PPC campaign. Unfortunately, with more businesses vying for the same target audience, relevant keyword opportunities are becoming harder to find.
AI can help.
With the competition for profitable keywords being uber-stiff, normal keyword research just doesn’t cut it anymore. You must leverage AI to help you uncover hidden keyword gems.
This fact is especially true since keyword research for SEO and PPC is not the same. For PPC, your money rides or sinks on the keywords you use. That’s why you must find keywords that will give you a good return when you bid for them.
AI-powered tools like BrightEdge, for example, not only help you discover profitable keywords but are also able to give insight into the intent behind those keywords.
Because they offer real-time data, you are in a better position to write ad copy based on keyword opportunities as they arise. Of course, this will give you an edge over the competition, as your ads will have a better chance of being served to users while keeping your ad spend low.
Saying that your headline is a critical part of your ad copy is an understatement. Its value can never be overstated because it’s your first chance to hook your customers.
If your headers are poorly crafted, users will just scroll past your ad. But if you write your headline well, it will stop them from scrolling so they look at the rest of your ad copy. AI can help you craft headlines that stop people in their tracks by helping you write headlines that result in much-coveted clicks.
A great example is Persado. The AI-powered copywriting tool helped Chase Bank increase the CTR on their ads by as much as 450%. How? By crafting headlines that resonate more with their target audience.
There are AI-powered tools that are designed to help you optimize your headers to elicit users to click on your ads.
The success of your ad campaigns rides on your headlines.
The next part users look at is the ad description.
Next to your headline, your ad description is the most crucial part of your ad copy. While the headline is the hook that grabs your prospect’s attention, your ad description is the sales pitch that gets them to click on your ad.
However, there’s a catch: you have a limited number of characters to use to convince your prospects to click-through to your offer. This means every character counts. It must help elicit a positive reaction from users. That’s why you must make sure you know how to write ad copy that drives clicks.
Fortunately, AI can help you write compelling ad copy.
With AI copywriting tools like Phrasee, you don’t have to guess what kind of copy works.
Using machine learning and gathering data from different platforms, AI copywriting tools have “mastered” the art of writing great ad copy.
Using machine learning (ML), natural language generation (NLG), deep learning, and other technologies, AI-powered copywriting tools can help you create compelling ad copy that stands out from the crowd. AI takes into consideration many facets, such as language, semantics, sentence structure, and a whole lot more to help you create optimized ad copy at scale.
Another great AI-powered ad creation tool you can consider is CopyAI.
Copy AI is designed to take the grunt work out of brainstorming unique ad ideas. It will help you increase your ROAS by helping you come up with relevant audience-based copy that your customers won’t be able to resist. The deep learning platform that powers CopyAI can personalize your ad copy to suit any holiday, occasion, or campaign.
AI-powered copywriting tools are a great way to save time and money as they work faster and more efficiently. And at the end of the day, they’ll help you boost your bottom line.
Calls-to-action (CTAs) are a tricky part of writing ad copy. That’s because your CTA is usually made up of 2-5 words to inspire people to take action.
While platforms like Google and Facebook give you some CTA options to choose from as you create your campaigns, it’s always better to create your own CTAs. After all, if you use the options generated by search engines and social media platforms, you won’t stand out from the competition.
Your CTA plays a crucial role in pushing your prospects across the finish line. As such, give it careful consideration. You may get every other element of your ad copy correct, but if your CTA is weak, your hard work will be in vain.
Different audiences respond differently to CTAs. That’s why you must pay special attention to the language your audience uses and try as much as possible to implement it in your CTAs. This is one area where audience research pays off because it helps you craft personalized CTAs. Studies show that personalized CTAs perform up to 202% better than generic ones.
Note: make sure to create a different CTA for each campaign. Don’t just regurgitate past CTAs, even if they worked well in previous campaigns.
Yes, it may be a lot of work if you do it manually. That’s why you shouldn’t do it manually; use AI instead.
Again, tools like Persado make creating impactful CTAs easier.
Leveraging data such as sentiment analysis (or emotion AI), AI-powered tools help you create CTAs that tug at your prospects’ heartstrings. Of course, every marketer knows that it is easier to loosen your prospects’ purse strings if you can do that.
By leveraging AI in crafting your CTAs, you increase your ad copy’s chances of achieving its goal of boosting your bottom line.
It’s impossible to ignore AI as a digital marketer. It’s everywhere around us. From AI SEO to AI in website design, every facet of digital marketing is becoming more efficient thanks to artificial intelligence.
As a marketer, if you’re looking to know how to write ad copy that converts, you must lean heavily on AI-powered tools to help you. From the planning stage to deployment, AI can help you optimize every part of your PPC ad campaigns.
Though remember: without good ad copy, your ad spend will be wasted. How do you write good ad copy? By using AI.
Sure, AI may not be able to handle the creative side of writing ad copy completely alone. However, it does go a long way in helping you create ad copy that sells.
Are you ready to embrace the power of AI in your ad copy creation?