How Small Online Businesses Can Accept Credit Cards

On August 5th, 2011, wrote:

If you’re planning an online business or e-Commerce site that will sell products or services, or require membership fees to access content through the website, you must have a way to accept credit cards. You simply won’t be successful if you expect your customers to stop using your site, write and mail a check, and wait for it to clear before they can buy something from your website or access content in membership areas. Indeed, consumers have come to expect instant access and ordering through the use of their credit and debit cards. But how can a small online business or startup company accept credit cards affordably and securely? Two Credit Card Processing Options for Small Businesses With an Internet-based business, you have the option of getting a merchant account or working with a third-party processor. For most new businesses, particularly those selling exclusively online, a third-party processor is the ideal method for getting started. Once your business is more – Read the full article

5 Cheap but Effective Small Business PR Tips

On August 4th, 2011, wrote:

We have witnessed a dramatic evolution in media in the past few years – the media elite matter less every day, everyone is the media, and everyone matters. Reaching the big media gatekeepers of yesterday is no longer the challenge. Now the challenge is effectively reaching the audience that will be interested in hearing your story and engaging with you. Fortunately this new media environment has had great benefits for small business PR, giving small business owners more power to disseminate their message and reach their target audiences. Here we offer some of our best, cost-effective PR tips for small business owners and entrepreneurs. Create a Press Release There are several cheap and free options these days for issuing a press release. Platforms such as PR Web offer business owners access to a large network of media outlets and bloggers on the cheap, while giving them the ability to target specific and relevant audiences. You may also want to consider submitting your press release to the editors of specific news outlets you are trying – Read the full article

FourSquare: Boon to Both Brands and Local Businesses

On July 12th, 2011, wrote:

FourSquare is an emerging social network that specifically joins consumers with local businesses and local, regional and national brands. Consumers can determine what FourSquare providers are in their area and discover discount coupons, reward programs and heightened FS status, all of which lead to more discounts, rewards and status advancement. Local Businesses Let’s say you own a dry cleaning business. You advertise effectively in the terrestrial world with newspaper ads and even a billboard or two. You have sales regularly, and you are located in a very convenient section of town. You even have a terrific website through which you have a loyal email list to which you send periodic notices, information and yes, sales pitches. However, you want to do more. Enter: FourSquare. If a potential customer finds you among the local FourSquare businesses, and the discounts you post in your business profile presents a lower price than that customer’s usual cleaner or you offer a service the other – Read the full article

Three Tips for Effective Online Lead Generation

On July 5th, 2011, wrote:

Small business owners often rely on leads in order for them to keep their business afloat. The only problem is that online lead generation can be a very difficult thing to master, especially when the goal is not just simply to come up with a huge list. The quality of the leads is something that owners need to consider as well. Trying to hit both goals can be very tricky. Most people assume that the numbers are all the matter in online lead generation. But what is the use of a big list if it consists mostly of unqualified leads which cost not just money but time as well? Online lead generation is a tool that allows business owners to make attractive offers to prospective buyers. In order to keep you from engaging unqualified leads, wasting both time and effort, here are a few tips. 1. Conversion Mechanisms Should Be Consistent with Purchase This is a very simple concept which – Read the full article

Product Page: Tips to Making It An Awesome Sales Magnet

On June 29th, 2011, wrote:

So you’ve e-Commerce’d your site up. (Hopefully with Magento, our favorite.) And you’re ready to roll. The homepage is ready. The product shots have been Photoshopped to perfection. The design and the color schemes look very cool (ahem, an aesthetic term) and you’ve set up your checkout process with a secure third-party payment gateway. That’s it, right? Well – not if you haven’t dedicated as much effort as you already have to your product pages. Here’s a list of awesome tips for turning your product pages into awesome sales magnets: Optimize it. This, really, is a given, since you want the search engines to find you as easily and as often as the human visitors do. Great ways to make your product page SEO-friendly include: avoiding duplicate content and duplicate URLs; writing up unique and compelling text descriptions for each product (don’t just copy the manufacturers’ descriptions); and editing this content in a way that makes it relevant to your – Read the full article

How to Create a Profitable Opt-In List

On June 24th, 2011, wrote:

Success in list building is not assured by selecting the right niche or adding people to a list. Just because you have included potential clients on your list does not imply that they will purchase your services and products. The following are tips that will be helpful when you want to build or alter a list – and make it as profitable as possible.   Win your customer’s trust You can’t just recommend services and products to people who don’t even know you. It is important to win their trust before attempting to sell anything to them. However, trust does not come easy; you have to work for it. The fact that you have an opt-in list does not necessarily mean that you are now a trustworthy seller. Begin by writing articles about your niche and let people see your expertise. You could then go ahead to create a forum on your website. This will help you extract important information – Read the full article

Will Klout Impersonalize LinkedIn?

On June 20th, 2011, wrote:

LinkedIn is universally respected in the business world for its ability to bring professionals together. Originally, the network was very strict about managing connections. Only people who had done business or gone to school together were allowed to be connected. If a person was a stranger to you, LinkedIn shunned adding them as a connection. However, this may have all changed. A LinkedIn connection was once almost as personal (while still being professional) as a Facebook connection; however, recent news is reporting that Klout scores are available fore LinkedIn users. Will this mean users will embrace LinkedIn with a game-like sense? I’m not going as far to say users on LinkedIn will begin exploiting connections to gain Klout, but users on Twitter are already tweeting about raising their Klout score quite often. We may see a paradigm shift in the sole purpose of LinkedIn. What is Klout? A Klout score is best compared as a social popularity ranking. Users are – Read the full article

Great E-commerce Tips for Selling Online: Getting Started

On April 30th, 2011, wrote:

Over the recent years, consumers have been spending billions of dollars at e-Commerce sites. With the growth of online business, e-Commerce has become a very viable venture. Many people even begin an e-Commerce website as their main business. If you have a physical location where you operate your business from, beginning an e-Commerce website can provide an extra sales channel for you. Creating a site for selling coupons, services, or products online, however, involves a lot of research and planning. The following are steps you can take in starting an online business. Establish a business and marketing plan: Set up a meeting with your team members or business partners. Brainstorm together and write out all the plans in one document. The plan should include all startup and recurring expenses. Set up an overall sales forecast and expense budget. Choose a good domain name which will help customers find you: You need to choose a domain name for your website that – Read the full article