Energize Your Website

Greg Jameson's Ecommerce Blog

What Can We Learn from Amazon Prime Day?

These are some important lessons that small etailers can learn from Amazon Prime Day:
1. Create Your Own Holiday!
2. Get your affiliates to promote it for you.
3. Make people join your membership program in order to participate.
4. Build hype early, including pre-deals. Send out press releases.
5. Offer the best deals on your own products.

Learn more at http://20minutesofinfluence.com

What you need to know to get the best deals on Prime Day

Remember, the goal of Prime Day is to promote Amazon Prime. Lots of gadgets and tech accessories will be discounted for the sale, but products from […]

What I learned form a Recent Trade Show

OK, to be fair, I guess I already knew this lesson, but I found it interesting how it really struck a chord with me: people are skeptical. It certainly doesn’t help when you go to a trade show and some of the vendors are sitting in their booth, playing on their phones or their laptops, or reading a book instead of standing up engaging with the attendees. Really? You paid good money to exhibit at the show – the least you could do is be interested in those that have come to see you. But the attendees are skeptical of those exhibitors that do engage with them as well. Here was my experience:

I had some custom fortune cookies made, with 10 different “fortunes.” Each one was some type of free gift. These included getting a copy of one of my books (which I had sitting out on the table next to the fortune cookies), a free consultation, a digital download of over 1 million royalty-free images and tools, the opportunity to appear on my podcast, or a program worth $97. All the gifts were pretty decent giveaways for a trade show, certainly much better than a pen or a piece of candy – they all had some significant value. I set the jar on the counter, with a sign telling people to take a cookie as there were prizes inside each one. People would walk up to my booth, read the sign, look at the fortune cookies, and walk on. Finally, I decided to verbally offer them a cookie and explain what they might win. That’s when I noticed that […]

EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY! You must collect internet sales tax in all 50 states…

On Thursday June 21st, the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of the state of South Dakota vs. Quill Corporation that states have the right to collect taxes on internet sales regardless of whether or not you have a physical presence in the state. This means that as an ecommerce company selling through your website, you are now responsible for collecting the bewildering array of taxes levied at the city, county, and state level everywhere in the United States. And you thought the GDPR privacy issues in the European Union were a mess! This ruling is going to be a game changer, and is a serious concern, especially for small businesses selling online.

The case allowed that South Dakota has the right to collect sales tax on retailers with more than $100,000 in sales or 200 transactions. That is a pretty small amount, meaning that almost anyone selling online is required to collect and report sales tax regardless of where they are located. We’ve probably all been expecting this for some time, as physical retailers have complained about an unlevel playing field as they’ve lost sales to online etailers, but that doesn’t change the impact for small businesses who now have to comply with individual laws in the 45 states that collect sales taxes.

Is this really effective immediately? According to an article USA Today, it will […]

Why Do Websites Break?

If you have ever had a website, you know that they are never finished. Nor are they supposed to be. As your business changes and you get new products and services to sell, or you get new information and prices changes for current products and services, your website needs to reflect those changes. But these changes only represent a small piece of what is happening to a website on a daily basis. A website is a complex entity with lots of moving parts, not unlike an automobile.

Imagine you own a car. Obviously you must maintain the car: putting gas in the engine, changing the oil, checking the fluids, checking the tire pressure, rotating the tires, replacing brake pads when they become worn, changing the wiper blades, and servicing parts as they become worn. The good thing with a car is that you usually know what to expect. But what would happen if that car manufacturer decided to update a part, like the oil filter, and the new oil filter didn’t fit your old car? Now you would have to buy an adapter to get the new oil filter to fit the old car. Then, the gas companies decide that the fuel they’ve been selling you needs some new additives to make it more efficient or to meet current EPA guidelines for clean air, but the additives corrupt the seals and your car has to be modified to accommodate the new gas additives. And to top it all off, your car is being driven by thousands of different drivers, all with different driving habits, some of whom break things just because they don’t understand.

That’s pretty much what happens with a website. Hackers, security concerns, new laws and regulations, and advances in technology all put pressures on your website. Nothing is static. Your website is […]

Getting More Referrals Into Your Business

This is a guest post by Doren Aldana, who I will be doing a webinar with next week. Register for the webinar on June 12th at 11am Mountain Time now.  I highly recommend listening to what he has to say…

No amount of advertising, tweeting, posting on social media, or direct mail can impact customers the way a review can. We are living in an era where it’s not what you say about your business that matters, it’s what others say about you that counts.

But you must remember, getting reviews from your customers is a delicate task. The biggest obstacle isn’t overcoming negative reviews, it’s getting them to begin with.
Here are 5 tips to help you get reviews, without annoying your customers…

  • Make writing a review easy. Ask your customers to give you a review without requiring an account. If it’s positive, ask them to share it on review sites (i.e. Google, Yelp, etc.).
  • Be present on multiple review sites. Ask your customers to review you on their favorite review site (Google, Yelp, Facebook, etc.). Don’t expect or ask them to review you on all of them.
  • Be candid with your customers. Keep your request simple and honest. For example, it might be something like “we know you read customer reviews, and we do too. That’s why we would love it if you would review us…”
  • Be careful when you offer incentives. Some argue that offering incentives can corrupt the process and defeat the purpose of getting truthful reviews. However offering a small incentive (i.e. “surprise gift”), is a way to show your appreciation to them for leaving a review. Just make sure to clarify your offer is for writing a review, not just a good one.
  • Consider your demographics. If your customers are Millenials, they are already used to sharing experiences online. So less handholding is required. However, if you have an older and less tech-savy group of customers, they may need more prompting and detailed step-by-step instructions.

The Testimonial Engine helps you automate each of these steps, and makes getting reviews from your customers quick and easy. Our goal is to get – and publish – your reviews for you, without annoying your customers! Sign up for the webinar here.

You will not want to miss this webinar. […]

Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You

“Be so good they can’t ignore you” – Steve Martin

I don’t like insurance companies. They are in the business of taking your money, then denying claims. This is true for all insurance types: health, home, and auto. Even life insurance expires once you reach a certain age. Basically insurance companies are in business to make money, not to protect you. Except one: USAA. USAA has created a reputation for itself where its members (including me) are fiercely loyal. How did they do that? Let me give you 2 of my personal experiences.

  1. I was driving my father-in-law’s Cadillac. I pulled into a gas station and drive around the cars that were parked at the pumps. As I was doing this, the person parked at the pump pulled out and side-swiped my car, causing a couple thousand dollars worth of damage. As this was private property, not a public road, we exchanged drivers license numbers. He admitted he was at fault, and gave me his insurance information. At first his insurance company agreed to pay, but then this guy changed his story and they denied the claim. My insurance company USAA, stepped in, paid the claim without hesitation, then negotiated with his company after the fact.
  2. Another time involved hail damage to the roof of my house. My previous insurance company denied my hail claims 3 times! I finally had enough and when USAA started handling home owners insurance, I jumped on board. the next time we had a hail storm, I submitted a claim to them. Even though much of the hail damage was old (because of the previous insurance company), USAA replaced my entire roof.

In both of the cases above, USAA did NOT raise my rates. They merely sent me a note thanking me for being a long time customer. I have to say, that they are so good, they can’t be ignored.

Now let me tell you about Vail Resorts. When it comes to being so good they can’t ignore you, Vail is […]

Invitation

I recently hosted a podcast with Doren Aldana and it quickly became obvious that we needed to collaborate to help out not only our WebStores customers, but everyone who reads this blog and newsletter.  So, Doren and I are hosting a webinar on Tuesday, May 29th at 11:00 am Mountain Time called:

“HOW TO ATTRACT 5-STAR RAVE REVIEWS ON AUTOPILOT, So You Can DOMInate on Google+, Yelp, etc., and become the #1 choice!

 

There is limited seating and Doren tells me that this will fill up quickly, so sign up now!

Sign Up Now!

We’re going to show you…

  • The fastest, easiest way to way to dominate Google, Yelp, etc., so you become the #1 choice
  • The biggest reason why you’re unwittingly losing deals to the competition (and how to fix it)
  • How to give yourself an INSTANT PAY RAISE — working smarter, not harder
  • How to systematically convert 20-40% of your client database into 5-star rave reviews… all on autopilot!
  • How to prevent negative reviews from tarnishing your online reputation and brand
  • A proven “set it and forget it” campaign that automatically turns your rabid raving fans into sizzling red-hot referrals
  • 7 ways to LEVERAGE your client reviews once you get them
  • And much, much more! 

 

Sign Up Now!

[…]

What is GDPR and should I be concerned?

GDPR stands for “The General Data Protection Regulation” a privacy law from the European Union that goes into effect May 25, 2018. Even though it’s a European Union law, all online entrepreneurs need to be paying attention because the GDPR will mean major changes for the way we operate. If you use Google Analytics, Facebook pixel tracking, or have an email opt-in on your website, you need to pay attention to this post!

In essence, if you have ANY contact with someone in Europe through your website, such as downloading a lead magnet to get them to sign up for an email list, you MUST comply with the GDPR, even though you are in the United States and are only selling in the United States. You will probably need to re-write your policy page to show that you are compliant. Specifically, the way you collect and handle emails will require a change. Here is the  simplest form:

1. If you offer a lead magnet to collect emails, you CANNOT automatically add those people to your email list if they are in Europe.

2. If they are in Europe and have not previously opted in to be on your email list, you MUST delete them from your database.

3. When offering a lead magnet, you MAY ask them to join your email list, but this cannot be the default. They must specifically state that they want to be on your list.

4. All of this must happen before midnight on May 25th.

Does this mean that you should be concerned and the CDPR police will come knocking on your door on May 26th if you haven’t complied? […]

Being Proactive With Getting Reviews

There is a special offer that I strongly recommend you take advantage of at the end of this post – make sure you read the whole thing by clicking through and reading to the end.

While the number one concern for most small businesses remains, “How do I get listed on page 1 of Google?,” the second biggest concern is “How can I get more positive online reviews?” And interestingly, these two concerns are intrecately tied together: the more positive online reviews you get, the higher you are likely to be shown in the search engine results. And, believe it or not, you can actually control how many online reviews you get. I recently interviewed Doren Aldana of MyTestimonialEngine.com for my podcast (20MinutesofInfluence.com) about this topic.

There are lots of places on the internet where people may be leaving reviews about you: Google, Facebook, Yelp, Amazon, AngiesList, Trip Advisor, Yellow Pages, Manta, Better Business Bureau (BBB),  FourSquare, and many industry-specific sites like Houzz, Cars.com, Edmunds, OpenTable, and HealthGrades .  Yet, businesses are often afraid to manage customer reviews on business review sites as they don’t want to end up in one of these situations:

  • receiving zero business reviews
  • receiving zero recent online business reviews
  • receiving negative online business reviews

Unfortunately, these businesses are missing out and hurting their business through inaction, as reputation drives both traffic and conversion. Online reviews and ratings heavily influence consumers’ purchase decisions and can make or break a business. A number of research studies suggest that online reviews are more trustworthy and useful than branded social media content, advertising, information from salespeople, and even natural search engine results. Here are 3 factors you want to consider when getting reviews: […]