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3 ways to stop having one night stands with your customers

Increasing repeat sales to one-time buyers dramatically increases your profits. For e-commerce sites, it’s often the simple fix of being intentional about your customer user experience before, during, and after the purchase.

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UX design

Simple UX tweaks to keep ’em coming back

We’ve all been there before. You launch a great product, build an online store, and get people to come to your site. Your sales start off great but start to tank…along with your traffic. No one’s coming back!

Why?! Most customers treat you like takeout from that seedy little Chinese place on Lamar. You are there to fulfill an immediate need, but they don’t want to “love you long time.” Brand loyalty does not exist yet so they will not return to your site unless they get another guilty hankering for orange chicken and egg rolls.

Increasing repeat sales to one-time buyers dramatically increases your profits (how does a 95 percent increase sound?). For e-commerce sites, it’s often the simple fix of being intentional about your customer user experience before, during, and after the purchase.

Use dynamic content to increase both average order value and customer frequency

I’ve got 3 words for you: Amazon. Related. Products.

It’s why they are so successful and it is why I’m so broke. Amazon has mastered the art of not only helping you find what you came for, but also finding everything under the sun related to that product.

There are great ways you can customize the UX around what your customer is looking for: Homepages, product pages, category pages, search results, and the shopping cart page. The awesome part is you don’t have to have the massive size of Amazon to take advantage of this.

  • Dyno lets you customize your copy to fit the traffic source.
  • Unbounce helps you customize personalized landing pages while running A/B variation tests to deliver a tailored experience.
  • Boomtrain powers your dynamic feeds and helps you harvest and apply machine learning data.

Even if your customer doesn’t buy the related product on their first visit, it lets them know that you have what they need. It implants a trigger that says, “Remember that place you got X? Those folks have this other product you need as well.”

Optimize your checkout process

How is this for a juicy tidbit? 66 percent of your hard-won shoppers…who have said “YES!” to your product… are going to abandon their cart. The average customer who comes to you is extremely impatient. They want an easy experience and if they do not get it from you, they will move on to someone else *cough*Amazon-one-click-checkout*cough*.

Check out how your traffic works its way down your conversion funnel. If you find where most customers bounce then you have found where your UX sucks.

Your conversion funnel

  • Do you have products that are easy to find and select?
  • Is it easy for your customers to find variations on a product?
  • How hard is it to add products to the shopping cart?
  • Does your customer receive a notification that their product has been added to the cart?
  • Are there unneeded barriers in your checkout process?
  • Do you require customers to create an account?
  • Do you cookie customers to auto-populate their information?
  • Do you have a one-click checkout option?
  • Is it easy for your customer to checkout?
  • Are there any steps you can remove?
  • Do any of the above answers change for your mobile traffic?

Making the checkout process streamlined and easy will pay off exponentially you will both increase your first-visit customer conversion rate as well as the likelihood that the customer will return.

Maximize your invoice/receipt/shipping confirmation e-mails.

Your customer’s inbox can be a powerful and personal tool that brings back a customer. Deliver a friendly, personalized, customer-centric personality to your customers.

  • Offer discount codes with an expiration date that brings them back to the site.
  • Start or promote your referral program.
  • Show them products related to the one they purchase.
  • Help them discover completely new products.
  • Make sure that they know that your company is here to take care of them.

Avoid being spammy at all cost. However, if you play your cards right, follow-up e-mails can be a powerful method of building your company personality and driving customers back to your site. STAND OUT! Everyone sends digital receipts. Make yours provide value and engage the customer.

Improve your customer UX

It costs far less to keep a customer than to go find a new one. Improving your Customer UX is a fantastic way to increase your retention and activation rates. Create a relationship with your customer and treat them right.

#UXForConversions

Dave Novotny loves writing about cutting edge technology and business innovation. A creative by nature and a number cruncher by blood, sweat, and tears, Dave loves telling the story that the numbers and analytics write in a way that connects to people. When he's not crafting copy, he's out hiking with his wife and two rescue dogs, Jackie and Loki.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Sarah Ross

    March 30, 2016 at 8:21 pm

    Unbounce is a great tool. and so worth the price.
    There are a million and 1 (a gross hyperbole, I know) recommendation engines out there masked as simple personalization attempts.

    Can’t say I have ever heard of Boomtown, however I have heard really good things about Blueshift and even Optimizely.

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Business Entrepreneur

How to know when it’s time to go freelance full time

(ENTREPRENEUR) There may come a point when traditional work becomes burdensome. Know how to spot when it is time to go full freelance.

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freelance productivity

Freelancing is often thought of as a mythical concept, something that is almost too good to be true. While it isn’t all about hanging out at home in your pajamas all day, being a freelance is something that is completely possible to be successful – assuming you do your homework.

Recently, a friend of mine who is a licensed esthetician was no longer happy with her position at the salon and spa she worked for. The set hours were becoming a burden, as was having to divvy up appointments between another esthetician within the salon.

She noticed an increasing number of people asking her if she could perform services (eyebrow and lip waxing) from her home, as they preferred not to go into the hectic salon. My friend also found an increase in requests for her to travel to bridal parties for their makeup, rather than the parties coming into the salon.

It was around this time that my friend began to seriously consider becoming a freelance esthetician, rather than a salon employee. After about six months of research and consideration, she decided that this was the best route for her.

Below are the reasons she felt ready to pursue this option, and if they resonate with you, you may be ready for a full time freelance career.

1. She had a number of built-in clients and a list of people she could contact to announce her at-home services. Doing this at the start of one’s career would be very difficult without a contact list and word-of-mouth references, so it’s important to have…

2. …experience! My friend had worked for a number of salons over the years, and had the experience of working with all different types of clients. She also learned what she liked and didn’t like about each salon, which were pieces that factored into her own work-from-home space.

3. Since she had years of experience and had done all of the necessary aforementioned research, she knew what was expected of her and knew that getting a freelance career off the ground wouldn’t be a walk in the park. Operating a freelance career is completely on you, so you have to be 100 percent dedicated to making it work – it won’t just happen for you.

4. Once she began thinking about this idea nonstop and became more excited, she knew it was time to move forward. At first, the “what ifs” were daunting, but became more positive as time went on. If the idea of being a freelancer elicits more smiles than frowns, definitely take the time to consider this option.

5. In addition to the clients she already had, she also had an amazing support system who helped her develop her freelance brand and get her at-home business up and running. Having a solid group of people in your life that will help you is crucial, and any offer for help should be appreciated.

Other things to consider are: do you have enough money saved in case the freelance venture takes longer than planned to take off? If not, maybe stick with the day job until you feel more financially secure.

Jumping into something too quickly can cause you to become overwhelmed and drown in the stress. Make sure you’ve covered every single base before making this leap. Good luck, freelancers!

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Business Entrepreneur

Teach kids music and they’ll learn entrepreneurship

(ENTREPRENEUR) Sowing the seed of music education and appreciation in your child when they’re young is a great way to produce the fruit of entrepreneurship when they’re older.

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entrepreneurship

With all the focus sports gets as the petri dish for producing driven adults, I’d like to offer up a different extracurricular activity for your consideration: music. Supporting your child as they learn how to harmonize with others will help set them up for success later in life, as music cultivates many of the characteristics that entrepreneurs rely on every day.

Iteration

Anybody who’s played an instrument or been a part of a choir can tell you that the number one thing you’ll learn in a musical group is that you won’t make it unless you practice, practice, practice. Although in the moment it’s not that great to hear little Timmy or Ginny run through their C-scale a hundred times, a few years down the line when all those hours of iterating result in the lilt of Beethoven through your household, you can be sure that your kid has learned that repeating the little steps helps them achieve large goals.

Showmanship

A large part of being a successful entrepreneur is knowing your markets, or your audience, and able to keep their attention so that they come back to you when they need your business. Being a part of an ensemble not only teaches children to be comfortable in the spotlight but to crave putting on a show.

Teamwork

When young musicians come together to play in a band or raise their voices in a choir, they’re learning a lot about how to collaborate with others in order to achieve a goal. When a young alto sings alone, her notes may sound strange without the soprano tones filling out the melody. The duet that comes from them learning to work together and complement each other builds a strong foundation for any team venture your child will encounter later in their careers.

Competiveness

Although music provides a solid foundation in harmony, it also contains just as much grit and competition as the football field. Music groups compete in regional and national championships just as athletes do, and solos offer opportunities to self-select and advocate. Hell hath no fire like a second seat musician who dreams of being first chair.

Self Confidence

Unlike sports, music is accessible to those who might struggle with finding confidence. There are no “best” requirements to play—regardless of height, weight, and other characteristics that nobody has any control over—nearly anyone can pick up an instrument or find their voice. This perhaps may be the greatest gift that you can give your child, the confidence that no matter what they look like they can excel.

As your child begins to consider the different activities that will help them build toward their future, don’t discourage them from pursuing a musical path. When they have to stand in front of an audience of their peers and deliver a presentation with an unwavering voice, they’ll thank you for the years they spent getting comfortable in the spotlight. Especially if they pursue entrepreneurship!

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Business Entrepreneur

The 6 numbers every small business owner should have on speed dial

(ENTREPRENEUR) Don’t wait until you have an emergency to have proper business contacts, make sure you know at least these six people for your speed dial.

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smartphone speed dial

As a small business owner, it’s easy to feel like you’re on your own island. But if you ever find yourself stuck in this mentality for too long, it’s probably because you’re unintentionally isolating yourself. What you need is a deep network of business services, partners, and contacts to help you succeed.

Regardless of what business you’re in, what your budget looks like, or the professional skills you have, it’s smart to develop business contacts with as many people as possible. Here are a few contacts you should always have at your fingertips:

1. Lawyer

Most small business owners think, “I can’t afford a lawyer!” But the truth is that you can’t afford to not have a lawyer. You don’t need an attorney in-house – or even need to keep one on retainer – but it’s wise to be on a first name basis with a business attorney whom you can call when you have a question or issue.

Not only will this save your rear end, but it’ll also significantly lower your stress level.

2. CPA

If you’re currently doing all of your month-to-month financial statements, expense filing, taxes, and financial planning, you’re not operating at your peak potential. Accounting is important, but it’s not something you should do yourself.

By hiring a CPA – whether through an outsourced accounting firm or as a full-time member of your team – you can keep your financials in order and free up your schedule to focus on the tasks that really matter.

3. Notary

You may or may not need documents notarized on a regular basis, but every business owner will encounter the occasional situation where a quick notary is necessary in order to push a project forward. It’s best if you have an in-house notary.

It’s not very difficult to become an official notary, so you can always encourage one of your administrative assistants to embrace the role.

4. Printing Service

Access to affordable, 24/7 printing services is a must. This enhances your flexibility and gives you the opportunity to quickly produce things like booklets, catalogs, brochures, calendars, and other promotional items.

An online service like PrintingCenterUSA is the most convenient option.

5. Banker

Having a reliable banker is good for a couple of reasons. First off, it gives you access to the right banking plan or package that fits your needs. (This cuts down on costs and ensures proper access to your liquid assets.) Secondly, it helps you with loans, lines of credit, and other financing services that are important to growing and scaling your business operations.

6. Insurance agent

Insurance isn’t something anyone enjoys talking about, but it’s one of the more integral pieces of maintaining and growing a successful business. Without the right insurance policies, you face higher risk and lower certainty.

By aligning with an insurance professional – preferably a broker who isn’t associated with one company – you instantly gain access to all of the best products that are available in the marketplace.

Most importantly, never stop networking.

People often think about business networking in terms of finding new clients and customers. However, it’s equally important to network for the purposes of establishing mutually beneficial partnerships and relationships.

Not sure where to cultivate genuine business connections? The answer is everywhere. From structured environments like small business conferences and trade shows to impromptu encounters at the supermarket or in your neighborhood, you’re surrounded by opportunities.

If the thought of putting yourself out there and networking with total strangers makes you nervous, preparation is the greatest remedy.

As entrepreneur Alyssa Gregory explains, “One of the best ways to ease any anxiety you may have as you prepare for a business networking situation is by developing an elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is a short description of what you do, who you work with and the value you offer to your customers or clients. The goal is to be able to deliver this ‘pitch’ in 60 seconds or less, in a conversational way.”

“Conversational” is an important word in the larger context of networking. Whether you’re building a relationship with an accountant or an investor, you don’t want the interaction to feel forced and scripted. Being genuine and relatable is the best approach.

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