IvyCat, Inc. Web Hosting, Design & Development 2016-07-07T18:27:54Z https://ivycat.com/feed/atom/ Tom Ewer http://leavingworkbehind.com/ <![CDATA[5 Types of Events You Can Promote with Event Espresso]]> https://ivycat.com/?p=6029 2016-07-07T18:27:54Z 2016-07-07T18:27:54Z If you host events, you have no doubt realized that they simply must be online. No matter the type of events you host, you need a website that not only showcases them, but enables online registration and ticketing. Check out these 5 types of events you can promote with Event Espresso. Read more...

5 Types of Events You Can Promote with Event Espresso was originally published by Tom Ewer on IvyCat, Inc.

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If you host events, you have no doubt realized that they simply must be online. No matter the type of events you host, you need a website that not only showcases them, but enables online registration and ticketing. Check out these 5 types of events you can promote with Event Espresso.

5 Types of Events You Can Promote with Event Espresso

Event Espresso is the most popular event management WordPress plugin, and it has a full-featured free version to get you started. Best of all, it works for many different types of events.

This post will take a look at several event types that can be managed with Event Espresso, complete with examples. By the time we’re done, you’ll know if Event Espresso is right for you!

1. Conferences

events you can promote with event espresso

The National Spine & Pain Centers uses Event Espresso’s ticket management for their annual conference on pain management.

A conference’s website is one of the most crucial parts of its marketing arsenal. It has to showcase the speakers, detail the schedule of sessions, and facilitate attendee registration.

Event Espresso is a powerful tool that enables conference organizers to easily market their event and sell tickets with a full-featured website. The Business of Pain Medicine conference website uses Event Espresso to make its website a useful home for this annual conference.

2. Classes

events you can promote with event espresso

The London School of Photography uses Event Espresso to manage classes and bookings.

If you’re offering classes to the public, whether online or offline, your website can be a key means of attracting the attention of potential students. Classes make perfect events you can promote with Event Espresso. You will want your website to make it easy for users to see the schedule and sign up for the classes they are interested in.

Event Espresso can power your class schedule calendar and make it easy for your students to sign up and pay for classes. The London School of Photography offers photography courses and workshops in London throughout the year, and they chose Event Espresso to handle their classes.

3. Social Events

events you can promote with event espresso

The Expats Club uses Event Espresso to manage their meetup events is several countries.

Social events are geared at bringing together people with common interests. To further this goal, social event organizers need their website to be easy to use and welcoming, to encourage people to sign up and take part in the events.

Event Espresso makes it really simple to show upcoming events and easily accept registrations. The Expats Club uses Event Espresso to manage their listings of events in more than eight cities.

4. Arts and Cultural Events

events you can promote with event espresso

The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum uses Event Espresso’s robust calendar and reservation system for their maritime heritage events.

Cultural organizations (such as museums) need to attract audiences, and events have proven to be a good way to get people in the door. They need engaging websites that showcase their calendar of activities. These are ideal events you can promote with Event Espresso.

Event Espresso is a solid solution to help arts and cultural organizations create websites that share details of upcoming activities for their visitors. The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum uses Event Espresso to highlight their calendar of lectures, exhibitions, and other activities.

5. Tours and Attractions

events you can promote with event espresso

Fort Edmonton Park is a multifaceted attraction that uses Event Espresso to handle general admission, memberships, and events for the park.

Visitors to tours and attraction websites are often very busy planning the rest of their trip, so the website has to be easy to use and enable visitors to quickly see a schedule and make bookings.

Event Espresso makes it easy for visitors to book tours and attractions with a clear schedule and simple booking process. The Fort Edmonton Park uses Event Espresso on their website to help visitors buy tickets for events and make bookings to visit the park.

Conclusion

Nowadays, many people will want to pay for your event online, and Event Espresso makes that easy. It works for a variety of event types, provides clear and easy to use event calendars, simple ticket purchases or bookings, and detailed event pages.

Some of the events you can promote with Event Espresso include:

  1. Conferences
  2. Classes
  3. Social events
  4. Arts and cultural events
  5. Tours and attractions

Event Espresso is IvyCat’s preferred plugin for events management, so if you need any help with its setup, contact us for a quote on a custom events management WordPress site using Event Espresso!

5 Types of Events You Can Promote with Event Espresso was originally published by Tom Ewer on IvyCat, Inc.

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Jessie Kwak http://www.jlkwak.com <![CDATA[Educational Marketing: Why Your E-commerce Business Needs This]]> https://ivycat.com/?p=6072 2016-06-23T18:07:31Z 2016-06-23T18:06:11Z Every e-commerce company out there has the same problem: how do you convince somebody to buy your product? The answer is through educational marketing. Customer education can be used at all stages of the buyer’s journey. From the awareness stage through the consideration and decision stages – and even beyond the purchase. Read more...

Educational Marketing: Why Your E-commerce Business Needs This was originally published by Jessie Kwak on IvyCat, Inc.

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Every e-commerce company out there has the same problem: how do you convince somebody to buy your product? The answer is through educational marketing. Customer education can be used at all stages of the buyer’s journey. From the awareness stage through the consideration and decision stages – and even beyond the purchase.

(The concept of the buyer’s journey is most often used in B2B marketing, but e-commerce sites with a consumer-directs focus can still gain a lot by thinking this way.)

If you think about the content you’ve watched, read, or listened to today, chances are some of it was part of an educational marketing initiative. Including a lot of the content you’ll find right here on this blog.

Customer education is a smart marketing tactic for any e-commerce company, but it’s especially important when you’re trying to sell bigger ticket items or subscriptions – something like the Dollar Shave Club, or Blue Apron – where the costs of returns and customer churn are much greater.

Here’s how to get started.

(A quick note: I’m going to talk about this concept in how it applies to marketing a specific product, but educational content can also be used in marketing your brand as a whole.)

Educational Marketing – How To Implement It For Your E-commerce Site

Educate your customers about their needs

In the early stages of the customer’s journey, you’ll need to educate your customers on exactly why they need your product.

This is often called the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey. In it, you’re making your customers aware of their pain. Maybe that pain is that’s all their favorite clothes have faded in the wash – that’s where Tide comes in to save the day. Or, maybe that pain is not finding time to go to the grocery store and get ingredients for healthy meals – enter Blue Apron.

In many cases, your customers may already be aware of the pain. If they’re experiencing acid reflux or sleepless nights, for example, they’re probably already searching for a solution. But other times, your customers may not realize that they need your solution. That’s where customer education becomes really important.

Let me give you a specific example from my week.

I love camping. Yes, you always have to find and clear a spot for your tent, but that’s just how things are. It’s annoying, but I’m not looking for a solution – why would I?

And then my aunt shared this video on Facebook.

The instant I saw the video, I became very aware of my need to set up a tent without having to clear a spot, or contend with lumpy, wet ground.

I can’t stop obsessing about these tents. Just ask my husband.

Now, this video may not have struck the same chord with you, and that’s fine. You may not be Tentsile’s target market in the same way that I am.

In fact, that brings us to a good point:

Getting your customers to self-identify

The goal of customer education isn’t to try to convert every visitor or social media follower into a buyer. The goal of customer education is to create compelling pieces of content that cause your ideal buyers to self identify.

Because the Tentsile video is so unique and shareable, my aunt posted it on Facebook. Other people who saw it may have just shrugged their shoulders and moved on, but I looked at it and said, “Please, who can I give my money to?”

Best content types for Awareness Stage education:

  • Promotional videos
  • Infographics
  • Traditional advertising campaigns
  • Fun “gimmick” campaigns

Educate your customers about how to shop for a solution

Once your customers are aware of their needs, you need to start educating them about how to shop for the right solution. In the case of Tentsile, now that they have me daydreaming about my need for a good night’s sleep camping, they need to create educational content that nudges me towards their solution while I’m considering my options to solve my problem.

Basically, you want to make sure that once your customers are aware of their problem, they don’t choose a different solution entirely.

This type of content will straddle the gap between awareness and decision. It could come in the form of longer promotional videos that teach a customer more about your product and offerings. It could come in the form of blog posts that teach a customer about nuances and things they should consider.

For Tentsile, a good form of consideration stage educational marketing might be a video about how traditional tent camping causes excessive wear and tear on forests, whereas sleeping in a suspended hammock reduces your footprint. Or, this blog post about how camping is evolving.

educational marketing

Best content types for Consideration Stage education:

  • Blog posts
  • Videos
  • Articles
  • Email newsletters
  • Infographics

Educate your customers about why your product is the right solution

Lastly, you need to educate your customers during the decision phase of their journey. Here, your customers are aware that they have a problem, they’re informed about the types of solutions out there, and they’re ready to hit the “Buy” button.

This is where you knock your customers’ socks off with information about why your solution is better than your competitors’.

At this stage, your customers aren’t looking for flashy advertisements and promotional videos – they’re looking for nuts and bolts content. How many nodes do your widgets have? How durable are the materials you use? How good is your customer service?

In the decision phase, your customers want the nitty-gritty details they need to know in order to choose your product over somebody else’s. This type of educational marketing comes in the form of things like this video from Tentsile’s FAQ page that shows how to set up their tents.

educational marketing

Best content types for Decision Stage education

  • Website copy
  • Blog posts
  • Email newsletters
  • Product descriptions
  • Informational videos
  • Case studies
  • Spec sheets
  • FAQ pages

A note about CTAs

Once you have your educational content mapped out to each stage of the buyer’s journey, take a minute to think about your calls to action. In the earlier stages of the buyer’s journey, those CTAs should be things like “Learn More.” It’s unlikely a customer will want to buy in the first minute they’re made aware of your product, which is why you want to try to lead them along and educate them further before pressing them to convert.

Save the “Buy Now” CTAs for educational content that’s further down the funnel.

Of course, this will vary depending on your product and target audience. The best thing to do is to A/B test your CTAs in order to see which ones are the most effective.

Do you use educational marketing to sell your products? What has your experience been? Let us know in the comments.

Educational Marketing: Why Your E-commerce Business Needs This was originally published by Jessie Kwak on IvyCat, Inc.

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Jenny Bones https://ivycat.com/cms <![CDATA[8 Interesting Content Marketing Trends [Infographic]]]> https://ivycat.com/?p=6055 2016-06-20T15:29:50Z 2016-06-17T17:05:04Z Staying on top of the latest content marketing trends is key to any Wordpress business site's success. Content marketing is not only the most affordable marketing strategy, it's also the best way to reach your ideal customers and clients. Read more...

8 Interesting Content Marketing Trends [Infographic] was originally published by Jenny Bones on IvyCat, Inc.

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Staying on top of the latest content marketing trends is key to any WordPress business site’s success. Content marketing is not only the most affordable marketing strategy, it’s also the best way to reach your ideal customers and clients.

CJG Digital Marketing has put together an interesting infographic exploring today’s most popular content marketing trends, as well as some interesting predictions for future strategies. According to their article, CJG explains that:

“Content marketing is not all about dominating organic search. It entails getting your message across to the right audience using the right tools and channels that deliver results. Market growth is very promising, moving at speeds of 12.4% CAGR each year. At this rate, it can eventually reach figures of up to 32.4 billion dollars by the year 2018.

But the market is constantly changing and getting your content across to your audience keeps getting more difficult and complex. New technologies and tools are constantly emerging and it takes some effort just to keep up. Content marketing strategies that are working today might not generate the same results in the coming periods.”

Content Marketing Trends

 

content marketing trends

 

Content marketing has long been touted as the “main arm” of any successful online marketing strategy. It’s inexpensive, effective and a perfect way to reach your intended audience with the most precision and efficiency.

We’d love to hear what you think of CJG’s observations and predictions. Which content marketing trends are you finding most effective this year? Leave comment below and let us know.

8 Interesting Content Marketing Trends [Infographic] was originally published by Jenny Bones on IvyCat, Inc.

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Tom Ewer http://leavingworkbehind.com/ <![CDATA[Earning Your Customers’ Trust in 5 Simple Steps]]> https://ivycat.com/?p=5897 2016-06-09T16:03:52Z 2016-06-09T16:03:52Z Earning your customers' trust should be your first priority as an e-commerce business owner. Once you get traffic to your site, you want visitors to take action, select products and place an order. But nobody wants to buy from someone they don’t know and trust – especially online. Read more...

Earning Your Customers’ Trust in 5 Simple Steps was originally published by Tom Ewer on IvyCat, Inc.

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Earning your customers’ trust should be your first priority as an e-commerce business owner. Once you get traffic to your site, you want visitors to take action, select products and place an order. But nobody wants to buy from someone they don’t know and trust – especially online.

Even though sales continue to grow, trust is a major issue in e-commerce, as customers are all too familiar with stories of website scams. However, you can establish trust with your customers through some simple changes to your website.

In this article we will share five easy steps to earning your customers’ trust, so they will be comfortable making purchases on your website.

Earning Your Customers’ Trust

1. Add a Personal Touch

Earning Your Customers' Trust

The founders of Calico Wallpaper share their story and photos of the process on their About page.

 

It is a simple truth that people trust people – not websites or businesses. So, your online store needs to have a human face for your customers to relate to, so they can see that there are real people behind the business.

Showcase yourself and your team by using names and images of the people in your business on your About page and throughout your website. Adding that human factor can make your customers feel more comfortable.

2. Anticipate Their Questions

Earning Your Customers' Trust

Vers Audio provides prospective customers with detailed FAQs, user manuals, and multiple means of contact.

 

When buying in a physical store, customers can ask the salesperson all their questions before buying. Not being able to get the answers they need can make them hesitate before purchasing online.

Make sure your website includes ways for your customers to get all the information and support they need. Your customers expect to see a contact page with all your details and a form, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), and customer support options.

3. Secure Your Website

Earning Your Customers' Trust

Output ensures customers enter their billing information on a secure page at checkout.

 

Your customers have all seen stories about website hacks in the news, and the average customer wants to feel safe when handing over their information. For many people, the fear of credit card data theft is a strong deterrent to shopping online.

Securing your website and showing the customer that you have done so is a necessity to earning their trust. Using SSL and displaying the certificate symbol is a key first step.

4. Highlight Social Proof

Earning Your Customers' Trust

Best Ever shows off the reviews from professionals using their saddle pads.

 

Customers want to see that they are not your guinea pigs. They need to know that others before them have purchased from you and been very satisfied with your product or service. This will make them feel much more comfortable making a purchase.

Feature testimonials from previous customers (especially if you can get video) to show your customers that they are in good hands. CopyBlogger has some solid tips for great testimonials.

5. Reduce the Customer’s Risk

earning your customers' trust

Alkemistry reassures its customers with a returns and refund policy.

 

Once they know their data is going to be safe, the next biggest fear of many customers is that they will have wasted their money and not actually like your product or service. Most will look for a returns policy before purchasing – especially on higher priced products and services.

Studies consistently show that lenient returns policies encourage purchases. Reduce the risk for your customers by addressing their concerns up front with shipping and return information. You’ll get even more points if you offer a guarantee.

Conclusion

If you want to get visitors to buy from your website, you need to convince them that you (and your site) can be trusted. Although people are more comfortable than ever buying online, they are also more wary of sites they don’t know.

Above we outlined five ways you can earn the trust of your customers by making some changes to your website:

  1. Add a personal touch
  2. Anticipate your customers’ questions
  3. Secure your website
  4. Highlight social proof
  5. Reduce your customers’ risk

Customers are the lifeblood of your online business, so do what you can to show them you are worth their time and money.

Leave a comment below and let us know how you earn your customers’ trust, or shoot over any questions you might have about how you can do so more effectively. We’d love to hear from you!

Earning Your Customers’ Trust in 5 Simple Steps was originally published by Tom Ewer on IvyCat, Inc.

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Tom Ewer http://leavingworkbehind.com/ <![CDATA[5 Proven Online Marketing Strategies and Tactics for E-commerce Sites]]> https://ivycat.com/?p=5952 2016-06-02T18:28:23Z 2016-06-02T18:28:23Z We all think we're in full control of our minds, especially when it comes to deciding where and how to spend our money. However, most people don’t realize that buying behavior can be influenced by taking advantage of the way our brains work. In this article, we will share five proven online marketing strategies and tactics you can use to subtly influence your website visitors to buy more. Read more...

5 Proven Online Marketing Strategies and Tactics for E-commerce Sites was originally published by Tom Ewer on IvyCat, Inc.

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Everyone knows that developing effective online marketing strategies and tactics to drive traffic to your WordPress e-commerce store is the hard part. However, once the traffic is flowing to your site, the work doesn’t stop there – you’ll still need to persuade them to buy from you.

We all think we’re in full control of our minds, especially when it comes to deciding where and how to spend our money. However, most people don’t realize that buying behavior can be influenced by taking advantage of the way our brains work.

In this article, we will share five proven online marketing strategies and tactics you can use to subtly influence your website visitors – converting them from online window shoppers to customers – and increase your conversion rates.

 

Online Marketing Strategies and Tactics to Convert Visitors Into Customers

 

1. Create a Sense of Urgency

 

Online Marketing Strategies and Tactics for E-commerce Sites

Amazon, with their countdown deals, is the master of urgency.

It’s human nature to want what we can’t have, so limited availability of a product increases its perceived value. Creating a furore over a rapidly dwindling product also tells us that others have purchased the item – and if we want to be one of them too, we have to hurry.

Many WordPress e-commerce stores have learned that showing the quantity of product left in inventory will encourage visitors to buy, especially when only a few units are left. Countdown timers can also be effective to show a finite period of availability.

2. Use a Customer’s Fear of Missing Out

Online Marketing Strategies and Tactics for E-commerce Sites

Civilist makes sure to show you the original cost next to the sale price.

People hate to think they missed out on something valuable by doing nothing. Wasted opportunity can haunt us, even for relatively minor life choices, such as buying a pair of shoes.

Showing your customers what they’d be missing out on is a good trigger for purchasing. By displaying the original price of a product along with a discounted price and the saving made, you show your visitors the cost of procrastinating.

3. Reduce the Risk of Buying

Online Marketing Strategies and Tactics for E-commerce Sites

Twillory’s free shipping and returns makes ordering a no-brainer.

Though it feels like online shopping has been around forever, many people still have anxiety over purchasing online. They may be especially cautious on a first-time visit to your store.

To entice visitors to actually make a purchase, reduce their risk as much as possible by eliminating any concerns they have. Lifetime warranties, money back guarantees, and no questions asked returns make the decision process smooth and simple by removing the barriers between the customer and their wallet.

4. Reduce Cart Abandonment

Online Marketing Strategies and Tactics for E-commerce Sites

A one-page checkout reduces the risk you’ll abandon Roberto Coin’s expensive jewelry in your cart.

E-commerce store owners who closely follow their statistics will realize that too many customers abandon their shopping carts. There are several reasons this could happen, but the essential point is the cost to you when people leave without buying.

One way of reducing cart abandonment is to make purchasing as easy as possible once at the checkout page. A one-click or express checkout means information can be entered quickly and easily before clicking Buy.

5. Offer Reassurance to Your Customers

Online Marketing Strategies and Tactics for E-commerce Sites

Kawaii Box knows you’ll trust independent bloggers more about their products, compared to the usual sales copy.

Independent opinions are important to customers when making a purchase. In fact, they are often (unsurprisingly) judged as more unbiased and trustworthy, with most customers preferring to buy from a site that has user reviews.

Using customer reviews in your WordPress e-commerce store can help reassure others about their potential purchase. They will see that not only have other people purchased your products, they’ve received, used, and liked them.

Conclusion

It may not seem obvious, but simply getting visitors to visit your WordPress e-commerce website is not enough to get them to buy. Making an online purchase involves a very detailed (often unconscious) thought process that you, the merchant, has to contend with.

In this article, we outlined five subtle online marketing strategies and tactics you can use to influence the decision-making process of your website’s visitors:

  1. Create a sense of urgency.
  2. Use their fear of missing out.
  3. Reduce the risk of purchase.
  4. Reduce cart abandonment.
  5. Offer them reassurance.

If you’re looking for a little help with your WordPress e-commerce website, we are always on-hand to assist. Fire away in the comments section below, or feel free to drop us a line!

Image credit: PublicDomainPictures.

5 Proven Online Marketing Strategies and Tactics for E-commerce Sites was originally published by Tom Ewer on IvyCat, Inc.

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Jessie Kwak http://www.jlkwak.com <![CDATA[5 Ways to Create a Personalized Shopping Experience]]> https://ivycat.com/?p=5958 2016-05-26T19:53:14Z 2016-05-26T19:46:04Z It won’t be news to you that online shopping is highly competitive space. Between their constant searching for a better deal and ever-decreasing attention spans, customers can be hard to retain. Plus, “customer loyalty” sounds like a phrase out of some nostalgic old film. Fortunately, e-commerce companies have a powerful tool at their service - learning to create a personalized shopping experience.

Read more...

5 Ways to Create a Personalized Shopping Experience was originally published by Jessie Kwak on IvyCat, Inc.

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It won’t be news to you that online shopping is highly competitive space. Between their constant searching for a better deal and ever-decreasing attention spans, customers can be hard to retain. Plus, “customer loyalty” sounds like a phrase out of some nostalgic old film. Fortunately, e-commerce companies have a powerful tool at their service – learning to create a personalized shopping experience.

Cookies, marketing automation tools, and analytics programs are making it possible to get the experience of shopping alongside a helpful salesperson at a brick-and-mortar store – all without leaving your home. E-commerce companies can learn their customers’ wants, needs, and preferences in order to create a smoother shopping experience and cross-sell additional items.

According to Econsultancy, 74% of marketers say targeted personalization increases customer engagement, which can lead to increased sales, and a recent survey by E-tailing Group Inc. showed that 40% of consumers would prefer to buy from retailers that cater to their preferences. Yet many e-commerce companies have been slow to adopt personalization. Here are five ways you can get started today.

How to Create a Personalized Shopping Experience for Your Online Customers

1. Hand-curated product picks

When you walk into a department store, do you spend hours wandering the aisles until you find the right section, or do you scan the directory and head straight to the thing you want to buy? When a customer arrives on your e-commerce site, they do the same thing – clicking on the menu to go to the department they want.

But what if you could walk into that department store – or load up the front page of the e-commerce site – and be shown exactly what you’re looking for, right off the bat? (Without having to wade past the perfume counter, no less!)

Customer experience optimization platforms allow you to gather information about the customer’s demographics and preferences, then adapt your website interface to show what they’re most likely to be looking for. Whether that’s highlighting your menswear to a male browser, or showing off your rain jackets to visitors from colder zipcodes.

Don’t believe customer experience optimization works? Check out this study on how The Clymb used Optimizely to increase sales by 12%.

2. Personalize email

How many marketing emails to you actually open? Not very many? Yeah – neither do your customers.

Personalizing your email campaigns can increase your open and click through rates, and according to Experian Marketing Services, personalized emails generate up to 6 times higher revenue per email than do non-personalized emails. Customers know the emails are still automated, but if you can come up with a way to make them feel special? Gold!

In another study, Experian found that birthday and anniversary emails had an especially high transaction rate when compared to standard bulk mailings – almost fives times for birthday mailings and six times for anniversary mailings. With only the click of a few automation buttons and collection of a little bit of data, you can send customers a specialized coupon or other gift they can actually use.

Need inspiration? Check out this collection of personalized email campaigns on Hubspot.

3. Reward brand ambassadors

You hear it over and over again – consumers are more likely to buy a product a friend recommends over something they simply saw an ad for. If you have a fantastic product, it’s probable that customers are already raving about it. Thank them, and make their shopping experience a bit more personalized by rewarding them with discounts when they share your products on social media.

The Social Coupon plugin will automate that for you. When a customer shares a page as they shop, a coupon code is automatically added to their cart. This plugin works with the WooCommerce couponing system, and you can control where the sharing buttons appears on your WordPress website using shortcode.

create a personalized shopping experience

4. Action-Based Personalization

While some of these ideas involve already knowing information about your customer, it’s also possible to deliver personalization just in the moment. Action-based personalization is a responsive tool that changes what a customer sees on your website based on the actions she takes there, like adding or removing items from the shopping cart, viewing products, entering information, and answering surveys.

The way you change your site to create a personalized shopping experience for your customers can include things like also-bought recommendations, links to relevant content, wish list or “buy later” list reminders, and automatically moving abandoned shopping cart items onto a wish list.

The more data is gathered about the customer, the more personalized your e-commerce site will be – and the more your customer will start to feel like they’re getting a private concierge experience.

5. Machine learning

Machine learning is the personalization of the future, according to this fantastic article on Shopify. It’s already being used in online courses and higher education to customize student learning paths, and – of course – behemoths like Amazon have been using algorithms to make recommendations and learn your shopping habits for years.

As Andrea Wahbe writes on Shopify: “This “super concierge” concept is not far off from what high-end brick and mortar fashion stores do already – which is get to know their best and most loyal customers’ personal tastes, clothing size and their personalities to recommend products, or even put something aside for them to try on when they are back in the store.”

The tools are still developing, but when they do e-commerce stores will be able to create a personalized shopping experience that is even more powerful – making even the biggest e-retailer feel like it knows the customer as well as a mom-and-pop shop.

How do you create a personalized shopping experience for your online customers? Share your tips and ask any questions below!

5 Ways to Create a Personalized Shopping Experience was originally published by Jessie Kwak on IvyCat, Inc.

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Eric Amundson https://ivycat.com <![CDATA[Install a Free LetsEncrypt SSL Certificate with cPanel at SiteGround]]> https://ivycat.com/?p=5943 2016-05-09T18:36:23Z 2016-05-09T18:24:28Z Encrypt your site's traffic by adding HTTPS to your site using SiteGround's simple Let's Encrypt SSL implementation through cPanel.

Install a Free LetsEncrypt SSL Certificate with cPanel at SiteGround was originally published by Eric Amundson on IvyCat, Inc.

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Adding an SSL certificate so you can use https to encrypt your site’s web traffic used to be time-consuming, difficult, and often costly. Those days are over.

Thanks to the awesome open source project Let’s Encrypt, anyone can get a free SSL certificate for their domain.

Companies like SiteGround have made integrating an SSL certificate incredibly easy by allowing you to quickly install a free auto-renewing LetsEncrypt SSL certificate directly through cPanel.

This quick two-minute video will show you how to install your own Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate

Once you’ve installed your SSL certificate, you should verify it using one of the following SSL Checker Tools:

You want an A rating on your SSL implementation – anything less should be investigated and fixed by your and/or your hosting company.

Install a Free LetsEncrypt SSL Certificate with cPanel at SiteGround was originally published by Eric Amundson on IvyCat, Inc.

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Jenny Bones https://ivycat.com/cms <![CDATA[Optimizing WordPress to Increase Your Website Speed (Infographic)]]> https://ivycat.com/?p=5933 2016-05-03T20:10:59Z 2016-04-29T15:06:26Z Optimizing a WordPress website is about more than just tweaking a few settings. It’s about creating the ideal user experience from the moment your customers arrive, to the moment they leave. One of the most important improvements you can make is to increase your website speed. Read more...

Optimizing WordPress to Increase Your Website Speed (Infographic) was originally published by Jenny Bones on IvyCat, Inc.

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Today’s post is a guest post courtesy of Matt Banner. Matt is a digital marketing expert who focuses on helping people learn how to successfully start and grow online blogs. You can follow him on Twitter @blastyourblog.

Optimizing a WordPress website is about more than just tweaking a few settings. It’s about creating the ideal user experience from the moment your customers arrive, to the moment they leave. One of the most important improvements you can make is to increase your website speed.

Users will leave your site by the dozens if the page doesn’t load fast enough. Not only this, but one of Google’s top ranking factors is page speed. By optimizing your website loading speed, you’re benefiting more than just your user experience. It benefits every aspect of your website’s success.

3 Ways to Increase Your Website Speed Today!

Increasing your website speed doesn’t require a complete overhaul. Instead, it’s all about making simple and easy tweaks to your site.  Here are three quick tips:

  1. Keep an Eye on Your Plugins

Slow speed is a silent killer. Something as simple as your plugins can be the cause. When installing new software, always ask yourself if it’s absolutely needed. If so, make sure the reviews and the feedback don’t reflect bad or heavy coding as this is worse than installing too many plugins.

  1. Optimize Your Images

The size of your images files absolutely reflects the speed at which they load. A great way to keep the quality while keeping the bytes low is to use a plugin called WP Smush.it. This will ensure that your images pop up quickly and don’t slow down the overall speed.

  1. Utilize a Caching Plugin

A strong caching plugin can cut down the resources and time needed to load your pages. The most highly recommended one by far is W3 Total Cache.

Bring on The Speed! (Infographic)

Your entire success is tied to how you optimize your website. The infographic below is designed to help you understand and utilize top tools for increasing your website speed and ultimately your conversions and traffic.

 

increase your website speed

 

 

How are you speeding up your WordPress website? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Optimizing WordPress to Increase Your Website Speed (Infographic) was originally published by Jenny Bones on IvyCat, Inc.

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Jessie Kwak http://www.jlkwak.com <![CDATA[How to Promote Your Book – Building Your Tribe]]> https://ivycat.com/?p=5885 2016-05-03T20:08:59Z 2016-04-22T17:10:53Z These days, it’s become easier than ever to write – and sell – books. Whether you’re working on your hot new military sci-fi series or a non-fiction guide to support your consulting business, you have a ton more options for how to promote your book. There are online platforms like Amazon and iBooks, of course, and you can also sell your book through your own e-commerce website. But just putting a book up for sale doesn’t mean it’ll get noticed. Read more...

How to Promote Your Book – Building Your Tribe was originally published by Jessie Kwak on IvyCat, Inc.

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These days, it’s become easier than ever to write – and sell – books. Whether you’re working on your hot new military sci-fi series or a non-fiction guide to support your consulting business, you have a ton more options for how to promote your book.

There are online platforms like Amazon and iBooks, of course, and you can also sell your book through your own e-commerce website. But just putting a book up for sale doesn’t mean it’ll get noticed.

And isn’t getting noticed the point?

I’m going to start by acknowledging that this is a huge huge topic, about which entire books have been written. (One of my favorites is Joanna Penn’s book, How to Market a Book.)

Some book marketing tactics – like creating sales funnels, email marketing, paid advertising, etc. – are the same no matter what product you’re selling online. The thing is, though, those tactics are the most effective when you’re further along in your writing career and have several books to promote. So in this post I’m going to talk more about the “tribe-building” aspects of marketing a book, rather than the “get-rich-quick advertising” aspects.

(Check out the links at the end of this post for more book marketing advice.)

Be warned that this is the long game. But if you’re interested in building a sustainable career as an author – whether fiction or nonfiction – building your audience, your tribe, is one of the most important marketing things you can do.

Well, that and write more books.

But you already know how to do that one.

How to Promote Your Book

Who needs your book?

On some level, marketing a book is a lot like marketing any other e-commerce product – you’re solving a need for your customers. But unlike a soluble fiber supplement or an app that does your to-do list for you (you guys let me know when you make that one, OK?), the problem your book is solving may not be immediately clear at first. Particularly if it’s fiction.

Who did you write your book for? A nonfiction book may be something that you wrote to promote your expertise or your business, like a definitive guide to social selling written by a sales consultant. In that case, the people who need your book are the same people who need your services: sales professionals who aren’t seeing the results they want.

how to promote your book

 

In my experience most fiction writers – myself included – wrote their books because they had a burning desire to tell their stories. I didn’t first identify a group of people who needed a story about a mother of three who gets possessed by her sisters dead boyfriend before I wrote my first novel, Shifting Borders, I just wrote the novel that I was dying to write.

By putting that book into the world, I’ve found that the people who enjoy it are the sorts of people who like to get caught up reading all night about characters that they really enjoy spending time with. Does anyone need another supernatural thriller novel? Probably not. But have I brought many of my readers a lot of pleasure? Sure!

The goal in answering the question of “who needs your book” is to find out who your readers are – whether you’re trying to build a tribe of people you can tap into to be clients, or you’re trying to build a tribe of people who are eagerly waiting for your next romance novel.

If you’re a fiction author, start by thinking about why you read. What do you love about your favorite authors? What have people told you they love about your book?

For me, I adore getting to know characters and watching their interplay together, while at the same time being desperate to know what happens next. That’s why my favorite books are essentially thrillers with well-developed ensemble casts, no matter which genre shelf they sit on. In Shifting Borders, I didn’t just want to write a ghost story – I wanted to write about the relationship between two sisters.

And, of course, how that already fragile relationship comes under pressure when the younger sister botches her dead boyfriend’s resurrection.

How do you connect with your tribe?

promote your book

Once you’ve identified the group of people who most need your book, how do you connect with them? The answer is by being open and generous with yourself, and attracting them to you over time.

(Remember, I said this wasn’t the “get rich quick” marketing technique – it’s the “build a sustainable career” marketing technique.)

I recently heard an interview with Ron Vitale, who writes young adult novels. In it, he mentioned that he regularly blogs about anxiety and stress management, because those themes in his books really resonate with his millennial readership. If you’ve written a nonfiction book, of course, your topic is probably a little better defined.

Social media is another fantastic way to seek out and join the conversation – but remember that it’s a conversation. Don’t go on social media only to flog your own book. Go there to seek out people who are like-minded, and start to build relationships with them. If you’re open and genuine, your social media circles will grow.

Building a mailing list is also a crucial way to build your relationship with your tribe. I won’t talk about the tactics of email marketing here – it’s way too huge a topic for this post – but remember when you email your list that you’re still building a relationship. Be open and honest, and people will listen. Be spammy, and they’ll unsubscribe.

For a great example, I love Laura Vanderkam’s email newsletter. She writes fiction, as well as nonfiction about time management and modern life, and her newsletters are always filled with deeply personal stories and tips for making the most of every day.

Beyond the tribe

Want to know more? I’m still getting started in my book marketing journey, so I’m get a pass you off to the experts.

  • Nick Stephenson – Your First 10k Readers – Great marketing advice about sales funnels and email marketing.
  • Joanna Penn – The Creative Penn – Lots of fantastic advice, and interviews with other authors
  • Mark Dawson – Self Publishing Formula – Here’s your place to learn Facebook advertising and other marketing techniques

Got any advice or questions on how to promote your book? Leave a comment below!

How to Promote Your Book – Building Your Tribe was originally published by Jessie Kwak on IvyCat, Inc.

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Tom Ewer http://leavingworkbehind.com/ <![CDATA[5 Reasons You Need an E-Commerce Content Marketing Strategy]]> https://ivycat.com/?p=5849 2016-04-15T13:19:11Z 2016-04-15T13:19:11Z As a WordPress e-commerce store owner, your primary goal is to sell products; anything else can be seen as a distraction. As such, creating a blog and writing content may seem like a lot of work. But if you want to see a boost in sales, implementing an effective e-commerce content marketing strategy is paramount. Read more...

5 Reasons You Need an E-Commerce Content Marketing Strategy was originally published by Tom Ewer on IvyCat, Inc.

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As a WordPress e-commerce store owner, your primary goal is to sell products; anything else can be seen as a distraction. As such, creating a blog and writing content may seem like a lot of work. But if you want to see a boost in sales, implementing an effective e-commerce content marketing strategy is paramount.

You’ve probably heard that a blog can help to drive traffic, which is a great first step to getting more customers. However, there are several other benefits of content marketing for e-commerce websites that can help you grow your business.

In this article we will share five reasons content marketing is a great strategy for WordPress e-commerce sites and show some examples in different niches that are doing it well.

1. A Good E-commerce Content Marketing Strategy Can Improve How Search Engines See Your Site

River Pools website

River Pools’ blog gives Google a huge amount of context with which to fully understand their company’s niche.

The biggest challenge for most businesses online is being found. A blog can help search engines crawl your site and index its content by including links and specific phrases related to your site and niche.

The more valuable content that gets indexed for your site, the better it will rank, and more people will find it when searching.

2. You Can Become the Authority in Your Niche

Precision Nutrition blog

Precision Nutrition positions itself as experts in its field by presenting comprehensive and authoritative content.

Any e-commerce website worth its salt includes detailed product information; you can go above and beyond by demonstrating your expertise in your field.

By using your blog to go beyond product information, you can present your company as a true expert and share the breadth and depth of your industry knowledge.

3. You Can Help to Answer Your Customers’ Questions

Bevel Code blog

Bevel Code uses their blog to address customers’ concerns about grooming and facial hair.

People prefer to shop with a merchant that connects with their customers and makes them a priority. As such, you need to show that you care about your readers and their concerns.

A great way to do this is by answering questions received directly, via comments, or in social media. If one customer has a question, it is likely others do too, but haven’t thought (or dared) to ask.

4. You Can Get Involved and Start a Discussion

Birchbox blog

The Birchbox blog tackles issues concerning the beauty industry through discussions, such as the ethics of photoshopping images.

Customers like to feel they are being listened to by online merchants, especially where it comes to issues they care about. Using your blog to initiate a discussion around a topical issue will involve you in online conversations with your customers.

5. You Can Connect by Sharing Your Story

Helm Life blog

Helm Life is about more than just boots as the blog shares stories of people and travel.

People buy from people they like, so your e-commerce site needs to have a personality and be ‘human’. Sharing stories and anecdotes about the experiences of you and your team can draw your readers into your blog and show that you are like them.

Conclusion

The challenge for all e-commerce store owners is how to increase sales, and increasing traffic is a clear solution. However, content marketing can do much more than increase traffic to your website.

Above, we outlined five reasons you should use content marketing on your e-commerce site to help grow your business:

  1. Improve how search engines see your site.
  2. Become the authority in your niche.
  3. Help to answer your customers’ questions.
  4. Get involved and start a discussion.
  5. Connect by sharing your story.

Getting a blog set up on your e-commerce site is easy with WordPress, but if you need help, be sure to reach out to us at IvyCat!

5 Reasons You Need an E-Commerce Content Marketing Strategy was originally published by Tom Ewer on IvyCat, Inc.

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