9 Tips For Boosting Your Shopify Store Sales This Holiday Season

Published / by Julie Stanton / Leave a Comment

 

 

The holidays are that special time of year where people are in the mood to give which spells good news for most e-commerce businesses.  This time of year typically means an increase in revenue and if your business has not experienced a boost in the past, now is the time to start putting together a strategy.

Here are 9 ways to help you boost your Shopify store sales this holiday season.

 1.   Early bird gets the worm

People are shopping for the holidays earlier and earlier every year.  This could be in part that all the stores have Christmas decor on the shelves before Thanksgiving but I digress.  Regardless of the reason why, your store needs to be prepared for those pre-holiday sales.  So make sure your inventory is stocked, your promotions are set and your store is appropriately decorated at least 2 weeks before the holiday.  You want to be the store that comes to mind when it comes to those oh so important holiday purchases.

 

  2.   Don’t forget to give your store a holiday makeover

Consumers love the mood of the holidays and when they visit your store, you need to deliver all the good holiday feels.  Make sure your store design puts them in the holiday spirit.  Shopify has a list of holiday-specific apps and tools you can use.  Also, don’t forget about those emails, make sure they have that holiday feel too.  Bonus tip: Consider some type of reward for those doing their holiday shopping with you this year.  A coupon for a percentage off a future order works well in this scenario. 

Image result for holiday themed advertising on facebook

  3.  Have flash sales

The holidays are the perfect time to run flash sales.  You want to take advantage of FOMO by using message like “% off for today only” or “purchase in the next 3 hours”.  This type of wording works to get people to pull the trigger on a purchase.

Image result for holiday flash sale

  4.  Offer free shipping

During the holidays, if you want to be competitive, you need to offer free shipping.  It is said that it is one of the top reasons for shopping cart abandonment.  This may cost you a little but if you want to stay on par and beat out your competitors, you need to do it.  One way to bring down the cost, is to have a minimum purchase amount to qualify for free shipping.  Most people will not have an issue adding some more items to their cart to qualify.  Lastly, don’t forget to use an exit offer so that when someone begins to navigate away from your store, a pop-up with an offer will appear.  This could be a discount or free shipping.  Something that will get the person to make that purchase.

Image result for free shipping with a minimum

5.  Give your social media presence a holiday twist

Stay relevant during the holidays by making sure you add a holiday feel to your social media presence.  Nothing major needs to change but you do want to update your profile picture, start posting holiday related messages, give a glimpse of your products neatly wrapped in holiday packaging.

Another way to help impart the holiday spirit is to show support to a cause or charity that means something to you.  This can be a page for a  local charity or maybe a GoFundMe donation page.  This not only helps show the more human side of your brand, but you will also be giving back which is what the holidays are all about.

Last but not least, holiday contests work great.  This can be a photo contest (think ugly sweater or best holiday lighting), fill in the blank status updates (My top gift for Christmas would be xyz), a selfie contest (person submits pic of them near something holiday themed with your product), name your favorite Christmas movie, the list is endless.

6.  Send out personalized greetings

Your customers want to know you value them and what better time to let them know than the holidays.  Send them a personalized email or a letter in the mail giving them thanks for their business.  Make them feel special and you help create a customer for life.

7.  Do some Facebook paid ads

The holidays are a good time to throw some marketing dollars in the mix.  Go through your recent social media posts and see which had a nice level of engagement.  Test out some of them earlier in December and see if any give you a nice boost in traffic.  If they do, think about putting some marketing dollars behind a paid ad for that exact post.

8.  Make sure your website is mobile friendly

People are on their mobile devices more than any other device so you need to make sure your store is good to go.  If not, you will not only be penalized in the search engines but also on the sales side.  Purchases are being made more and more on mobile devices so you need to show customers you know this.

9. Put together a holiday gift guide

A gift guide just basically categorizes your products so that the customer finds it easier to shop.  This makes it a less stressful experience for the customer and they will remember this added touch.  This is not for every business.  This works well for a business that has many affordable products.  Someone selling high end instruments would not need to put together a gift guide.  Depending on what you sell, you can do a his/her section, a kid section, maybe a top ten section.

Final thoughts

Sales during the holidays are not a given just because it is one of the biggest shopping times of the year.  In order to get the most out of the upcoming holiday season, you need to prepare ahead of time in order to have a competitive edge.  The above tips will help you boost sales and win over customers so that your Shopify store experiences a great season.

7 Facebook Marketing Strategies Your Business Should Be Doing

Published / by Julie Stanton / Leave a Comment

Having a presence on Facebook for your business is essential these days.  With that being said, it is becoming more and more difficult to stand apart from every other business.  With over a billion users on the platform everyday, businesses need to know how to properly use Facebook to grow their business and audience.

Below are seven Facebook marketing strategies you should be doing for your business

1. Video

When it comes to marketing on Facebook, video has taken center stage.  Over a 100 million hours of video is watched everyday making it one of the most used marketing strategies for businesses.   The key to successfully using video is to keep it native, short and engaging.  You also want to think about adding captions as many people are viewing video without sound.  

2. Live video

We just mentioned the popularity of video.  Now we move onto live video which is one of the most effective forms of video right now. They estimate that live videos on Facebook are watched up to 3 times longer than normal videos.  This presents a great opportunity for brands to embrace those spontaneous moments via live streaming which in turn really boosts engagement. 

3. Pages for customer service

Communication between brands and their consumers has been facilitated greatly by Facebook Pages. They offer some great options like automated responses when a message is received by a brand as well as an option to set up ‘away messages’ if you are not available.  Pages can really function as the shopfront for your business, providing all the details that a customer would need to know.  This is just another example how using Facebook can really enhance the customer experience. 

4. Cross-Promote on Facebook and Instagram

It has been found that images that are posted to Facebook via Instagram experience a higher organic reach than those posted directly from Facebook.  They are really pushing cross promotion between the two platforms and they are rewarding the pages that do it.  Instagram’s 600 mill users does not compare to Facebook’s 1.4 billion so they will be trying to ramp up Instagram’s numbers over the next few years and cross promotion will be an essential part of the strategy.

5. Mix up your content

Facebook is always changing its algorithm.  They make sure they are adapting and adjusting to the types of content the majority of people want to see.  When it comes to putting together content to post, you want to make sure to experiment in order to figure out what your audience responds to best.  One thing is for sure, do not post the same type of content over and over.  It is also a good idea to pay attention to your competitors’ strategy for tips and information.  With that being said, coming up with the best content on a consistent basis can prove challenging.  I know for me, it was eating up too much of my time.  I ended up finding this company that can create custom social media content for you.  Just provide them with basic details about your company and your target audience and they will create unique content for your brand. They can do this not only for Facebook but also Twitter and LinkedIn.  Once you approve the content, you are able to schedule the day and time you want it to go out.   This service has really been a lifesaver for my business and I highly recommend looking into it.

7. Run a contest to boost engagement

Facebook contests are all over the platform and you have probably entered a few yourself.  Running a contest is a great way to boost engagement with your audience.  It does not need to be complicated and there are plenty of simple of ideas out there.  Like to win, comment to win, caption contest, fill in the blank contest, the list can go on.  Get creative, the sky’s the limit.

 

 

5 Elements For A Successful Workplace Safety Program

Published / by Julie Stanton / Leave a Comment

In the landscaping industry, Insurance is by far one of the largest expenses for a company. Finding a way to cut down the cost will go a long way in helping the company turn a profit.  One of the best ways to get insurance premiums lowered is by coming up with a properly documented safety program.  It will prove to be beneficial for both your employees and your business.

Below are five elements needed for a successful workplace safety  program.

Commitment to safety

In order for a workplace safety program to be successful, there has to be a commitment to safety starting from the top.  Everyone from the owner down to the management teams needs to be on board. Workplace safety is not something that just trickles down from the higher ups, you will not see success with the program that way.

To this end, there has to be someone designated within the company that will be in charge of leading the safety training efforts. For a larger company, it may make sense to hire a safety and training director.  With a smaller company, it may make more financial sense to go with a crew manager.  Once you have come up with who will be overseeing the program, a formal policy statement should be made that way all employees see that the commitment level to safety starts from the top.

Refine your safety training

As you begin putting together your safety program, it is important to look at all the facets of the business.  Everything from services offered, climate issues, added equipment to the fleet, properties the crew works on, have to be considered in order to properly refine the training.

As an example, if you expand your lawn care services to include tree cutting, you now have new equipment like chainsaws  and other hazards to think about.  You have to constantly keep reworking your safety program to make sure it stays up to date as the company grows.

How you respond is key

The landscaping industry is dangerous and with that come the accidents.  This is something that cannot be completely avoided but it is how you react that can make all the difference.  You also need to determine how do you keep this from happening again.

You want to start by identifying the issue and what caused the accident.  Often times the employees want to save on time by cutting corners.  Check to make certain that all the right measures were taken.  Knowing these potential issues before an accident occurs is key.  Only then can you come up with the right training that will help avoid these issues in the future. 

Training is essential

As you are getting started putting together your training materials, it is key to begin with looking at the unique characteristics of your company like we mentioned above.  The training program you put together should be tailored to the hazards employees face at their specific worksites.

There are also many resources available to help you put together the necessary training materials.  OSHA’s website, osha.gov, is a great starting point. Insurance companies are also a good source of information as well as schools that have horticulture programs.

The use of videos is also really popular as a training tool.  With smartphones and tablets it makes it simple to deliver content.

Constantly evaluate your program

It is key to circle back with employees after every safety training session.  Their feedback is essential to your program’s success.  They should be answering questions and letting you know what they thought of the program, if they understood everything and if there are any changes they think need to be made. This critical information will help you better your program and provide retraining if necessary.  In addition, if you are not already using a landscaping business management software, you should think about implementing one.  It will provide you with the necessary project and internal management functions you need to run your business successfully and your safety program will benefit as well.

 

 

Tips For Staging a Home On A Budget

Published / by Julie Stanton / Leave a Comment

 

They key to selling a home is to appeal to the greatest possible pool of prospective buyers.  You can achieve this with the right home staging that both highlights the strengths of the home and de-emphasizes the weaknesses. Stage the home properly and you will no doubt reap the benefits of a higher final selling price.

Here are 5 tips to staging a home to sell on a budget

1.  Make the space less personal

Family photos and your kids drawings are awesome, but when it comes down to selling your house, you want the buyers to be able to picture themselves in the house. In order for that to happen, photos need to be put away and closets cleaned out.  You want to the house to be as clutter free as possible.

2. Maximize space

You want the home to look as spacious as possible.  Overstuffed rooms and closets take away from from the spaciousness and should be de-cluttered. Also take a look at the bedroom and see if it couldn’t benefit from a more gender neutral color scheme that appeals to more people. Throw in a few decorative items to improve the overall look of the room, remove any extra clutter ( power strips, cords, office furniture) and the room will have a more relaxing feeling to it.

3. Clean, clean, clean

A dirty home is a huge no no when it comes to showing a home.  Clear off your countertops so that the space looks larger and make sure all your appliances are clean as well as your sink. When it comes to the bathroom, not only should it be sparkling clean, but also consider switching out your bathroom towels for white ones as it gives an open feel.  We can’t stress this enough, kitchens and bathrooms are the two areas of the home that are essential and they can definitely make or break a deal.

4. Add a modern touch

When you are working with an older dated home, you are already looking at a lower offer.  For this reason, you want to try and do some small updates to help modernize the home. Try replacing outdated fixtures like gold or brass with chrome, nickel or stainless steel.  It really does make a difference.

When it comes to appliances, there are paints especially for them as well as stainless steel stick-on coverings.  Try either to give your appliances a fresh updated look.  Also take the time to clean out your draws, cabinets and any other kitchen spaces that are full of things.  When people are touring a home, they really do look into every little space of the home.  Tip:  If you have a rug in your kitchen, take it out, it will help the kitchen appear larger.

5. Keep the color scheme neutral

When a buyer walks into a home, the last thing they want to be met with is strong colors. Keeping the color scheme neutral helps buyers more easily envision themselves in the home. The dining room is a key statement-making area where you want to create visual interest.  You can achieve this by having a simple set up on the table along with a vase filled with fresh flowers.  This will provide a beautiful focal point.  Try to accentuate any natural light by using a mirror and subtle lamps.

In order to get the most out of your staging, you also want to give attention to the window treatments.  These should be kept neutral and sheer curtains let in more light which is appealing as well.  Be sure to install the rods high and keep them thin to maximize the space.

Making subtle tweaks like the above can boost your selling price by hundreds and even thousands of dollars.  Now that the home is picture perfect, it is time to take those important photos to use for your real estate email flyers and any other marketing collateral you plan to put together.

 

Tips On Creating Effective Real Estate Flyers

Published / by Julie Stanton / Leave a Comment

 

One of the most basic and still effective forms of marketing is the real estate flyer.  A properly done flyer should be comprehensive, beautiful and compelling and can be an effortless way to gain new customers.  The key to flyers that will sell listings and impress clients is having the essential components.

Below are the key details to include to make an attention-grabbing real estate flyer every time.

The headline 

The headline is one of the most important parts of the flyer since this is the piece that is going to peak the buyer’s interest.  Some examples of catchy real estate headlines include:  “Welcome Home”,  “Your Dream Home Awaits” or “Ideal Starter Home”.

For your headline to do its job, you want to make sure you use a nice large font.  Fancy scripts are not a good idea as they lessen the readability.  Keep the size of the font to around 24-48.

Sub-headline

Your sub-headline gives you the perfect opportunity to provide more details about the property and elaborate on its benefits.  Here are some examples of attention grabbing sub-headlines:

  • Exclusive Listing
  • Close to Everything!
  • Spend Less – Get More!

Property address

Do not forget this important feature on your flyer. Here is what should be included:

  • The address should be in a simple font.
  • Abbreviations look unprofessional.  The address should be spelled out.
  • Double check the address and make certain it is correct.

Price

When it comes to price, the jury is still out.  Leaving out the price of the property creates an air of mystery.  It will provoke a phone call and if you excel over the phone, this is a winner.  If you do list the price, only strong leads will be calling, but you also risk losing out on capturing other leads.

Whether you decide to list the pricing or not, you should include something in this section. Here are some ideas:

  • Priced at $256,789
  • Call for current pricing
  • Please contact Jane Doe for price

Property Description

Providing a description section to your flyer is key.  It is a great place to sell the qualities of the home.  It also helps to create a connection with potential buyers on the value the home will bring them.  Here are some things to keep in mind as you generate your descriptions:

  • Don’t put too much focus on using adjectives.
  • Use words that set the scene and give the impression they are getting a tour of the home.
  • Give them an idea of what living in the home looks and feels like.  Let them imagine themselves sitting on the porch or in the backyard enjoying a family bbq.

Bullet Points

Bullet points should list out all the details about the house, not a property description.  This section should list all the key features including:

  • Number of bedrooms
  • Number of bathrooms
  • Square footage

Optional features can be added to highlight specific selling features of the home like:

  • Listing of upgrades
  • Desirable features of the neighborhood
  • Landmarks or city centers in the vicinity

Bullet points should be kept to a few words.  No full sentences.

Photos

The photo section of your flyer should be one of the easier sections.  With that being said, many agents have a hard time choosing which photos to feature and how many.  As a general rule of thumb, between 2-6 photos is good.  4 is typically the sweet spot since they should represent the key images a buyer wants to see of a house.  As a guideline, your main photo should be a large photo of the front of the property accompanied by two additional photos at around 30% of the main photo size.  Here are some additional photos to include:

  • A photo of the exterior
  • The kitchen
  • The master Bedroom
  • The yard and the view

If you just have too many great photos, you can add a couple more featuring any of these:

  • Rear exterior
  • Any kitchen details
  • Living or Family Room
  • Bedrooms or office/den

Agent Contact

This is the most straightforward section of your website.  You contact section should include the following:

  • A professional photo
  • Your name and title
  • Firm name
  • Office number
  • Cell number
  • Fax number
  • Email address
  • Website address

Advertising Disclaimer

A small detail but a must. The disclaimer goes at the bottom of your flyer in small print (about six point).

A well designed flyer is a great advertising tool that will not only help you sell properties but also generate high quality leads. Furthermore, they help boost your brand and give you a leg up on the competition.  When it comes time to make your real estate flyers, Flyerco offers beautiful, customizable flyers and tons of templates to choose from.

 

Strengthen Your Brand With These Social Media Strategies

Published / by Julie Stanton / Leave a Comment

schedule instagram posts

An essential aspect of business success with social media is reaching consumers via both inventive and thorough marketing campaigns.

Below are a few tips that will certainly expand both your following and your brand.

1. Your Tweets Should Stand Out

We all know how fleeting twitter posts can be.  One second they are there, the next they are below the other fifty tweets that were posted after you.  Your posts  are way to important to get lost in the Twitter feed.  To get noticed, be sure to add an image,  a related link or a fun emoji to your post.  This will certainly set you apart from the rest.

2. Sometimes You Just want To Write A Long Post…And You Should

We all have so much we want to say and longer posts allow us to do that.  So if Twitter’s 140 character limit is not cutting it for you, check out Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.

3. Up Your Facebook Game

As organic reach lessens for Facebook business pages, you may find your message is not getting out to your followers.  This is where creating Facebook groups is a great idea.  Creating a group will allow you to generate more connections and conversations about your product and brand.  Also, members can to opt-in to receive direct notifications about updates in the group.

4. Spark Action.

This step is super easy to implement.  Include call to action button (i.e. “like this page” and “learn more”) in your posts to achieve increased clicks, conversions and traction.

5. Posting Consistently Is Key

Consistency is key to ensuring your social media profiles remain active and engaged with your audience.  My number one tip for consistency is using a tool to schedule instagram posts.  With a tool like Autogrammer, you have the ability to create a tailored schedule in advance where you can specify the day and time your posts will go out.

Gone are the days of scrambling to post on the fly.  The other great thing about this tool is that you can also use it for multiple platforms including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. My last tip is to make certain you are including links to your other social accounts in the bio  and about sections.  This will ensure your customers know where else they can find you.


I think we can all agree that social media has become one of the most powerful ways to acquire new leads. For this reason, having a solid social media strategy in place so crucial.  If you make certain to consistently share valuable content and effectively utilize the proper social media platforms,  your brand building efforts are bound to pay off in the long-run.

Easy Tips On How To Boost Your Business Credit Score

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If you have your own business, ensuring you have a good credit score is essential.  It will start you out on the right path by helping you get approved for loans and hopefully pave the way for a smooth running business in the long run.  As soon as you are approved with a line of credit, your credit score is officially on the hook for the long haul.

boost your credit score

Below are some great tips for improving your business credit score.

Make Sure You Are Paying Your Bills On Time

The first step here is to know when your payment deadlines are.  Make it a habit to make your payments before they are due so that you avoid any penalties to your credit score.  I love plugging all my bills and due dates into an excel spreadsheet.  It makes it so easy to have that readily available as a reference.  Also, I am sure you know that late payments incur a late payment fee and those can add up real fast.  

Refinance Loans

The great thing about refinancing a loan is that with a good credit score,  you receive a lower interest rate.  This in turn makes your debt much easier to pay off as time goes on, and of course saves you money.  Ca-ching!

Stay Away From Opening New Accounts.

Now that you have a business, when you get your business card, do not open more accounts.  If you do start applying for more cards, those credit applications are not benefiting your credit score.  You will certainly be inundated with attractive offers, but you want to keep it to a minimum in order to maintain a steady credit score. 

Do Not Close Your Old Accounts

It may seem like a good idea to close an account once it is paid off…but hold off.  Credit history is taken into account when formulating your credit score, so keeping those paid off cards open can prove beneficial.  It will show potential lenders that you can pay debt off on time.

Do Not Mix Business and Personal Finances

It is important that when you open your business account, you make sure to use your Employee Identification Number (EIN) and not your Social Security Number.  Keeping your personal finances separate from business finances will help you maintain a good credit score on both ends.  If you were not to do this,  a negative credit score on the personal side will certainly affect your business credit score as well.  

Keep An Eye On Your Personal And Business Credit Scores And Resolve Errors ASAP

Keeping tabs on your business credit score is key to ensuring it remains unblemished.  Doing this, affords you the opportunity to evaluate any money habits that may be affecting your credit score and it will also help you stay on top of any errors that may be negatively affecting it as well.  Always keep in mind that any fraudulent accounts or mistakes on your credit report can really do damage to your credit score.  If you find yourself in this position, it is imperative that you contact a credit repair company.   They will quickly identify any mistakes, remove any negative reporting and they will also keep track of any activity on your credit report.  Credit Repair companies help you understand your credit report and can help you come up with a plan to put your credit back on track.   Now do not forget about your personal credit report. There are lenders that will be looking at both your business and personal credit reports, so keeping a close eye on both of them is crucial.

Try To Borrow from the lenders that Report To The Credit Bureaus

Small business loans play a big role in building up your business credit when you make your payments on time.   When you do so, your lender is sending a nice report card back to the business credit bureaus.  The only thing is that not all lenders do this reporting, so when taking out a loan, make sure you are going with a lender that does.

Monitoring your credit scores can be a time-consuming process, but taking steps now to monitor and improve your business credit score is nothing but a smart idea. The better your company’s credit score, the better the terms you’re likely to be offered from both vendors and lenders.