IvyCat, Inc. https://ivycat.com Web Hosting, Design & Development Mon, 09 May 2016 18:36:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Install a Free LetsEncrypt SSL Certificate with cPanel at SiteGround https://ivycat.com/install-free-letsencrypt-ssl-certificate-cpanel-siteground/ https://ivycat.com/install-free-letsencrypt-ssl-certificate-cpanel-siteground/#respond Mon, 09 May 2016 18:24:28 +0000 https://ivycat.com/?p=5943 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.

]]>
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.

]]>
https://ivycat.com/install-free-letsencrypt-ssl-certificate-cpanel-siteground/feed/ 0 Install a Free LetsEncrypt SSL Certificate with cPanel at SiteGround 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 ha cPanel,https,let's encrypt,security,ssl,lets encrypt
Optimizing WordPress to Increase Your Website Speed (Infographic) https://ivycat.com/increase-your-website-speed/ https://ivycat.com/increase-your-website-speed/#respond Fri, 29 Apr 2016 15:06:26 +0000 https://ivycat.com/?p=5933 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.

]]>

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.

]]>
https://ivycat.com/increase-your-website-speed/feed/ 0 Website-Speed-Infographic
How to Promote Your Book – Building Your Tribe https://ivycat.com/how-to-promote-your-book/ https://ivycat.com/how-to-promote-your-book/#respond Fri, 22 Apr 2016 17:10:53 +0000 https://ivycat.com/?p=5885 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.

]]>
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.

]]>
https://ivycat.com/how-to-promote-your-book/feed/ 0 tired of reading tired of reading vector-social-media-concept_fJjvR3S__L
5 Reasons You Need an E-Commerce Content Marketing Strategy https://ivycat.com/e-commerce-content-marketing-strategy/ https://ivycat.com/e-commerce-content-marketing-strategy/#respond Fri, 15 Apr 2016 13:19:11 +0000 https://ivycat.com/?p=5849 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.

]]>
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.

]]>
https://ivycat.com/e-commerce-content-marketing-strategy/feed/ 0 river-pools-website precision-nutrition-blog bevel-code-blog birchbox-blog helm-life-blog
Overwhelmed by Marketing? Automate These 3 Tasks Today https://ivycat.com/automating-ecommerce-marketing-tasks/ https://ivycat.com/automating-ecommerce-marketing-tasks/#comments Thu, 31 Mar 2016 15:20:05 +0000 https://ivycat.com/?p=5836 Good marketing is extraordinarily time-consuming. There are blog posts to write, social media posts to schedule, email blasts to send – and the more you read about marketing, the bigger your to-do list seems to get. Automating e-commerce marketing tasks might just be the solution. Read more...

Overwhelmed by Marketing? Automate These 3 Tasks Today was originally published by Jessie Kwak on IvyCat, Inc.

]]>
Good marketing is extraordinarily time-consuming. There are blog posts to write, social media posts to schedule, email blasts to send – and the more you read about marketing, the bigger your to-do list seems to get. Automating e-commerce marketing tasks might just be the solution.

But good marketing is also the key to running a successful e-commerce business. After all, if no one knows your product is available, how will they buy it?

The solution to your marketing time crunch isn’t to do less marketing – it’s to automate the more repetitive tasks so you can focus on the high-level things like creating stellar content and running your business.

Here are 3 ways you can start automating e-commerce marketing tasks today.

1. Promoting Your Content

You already know that even the most amazing piece of content set loose on the Internet without fanfare won’t garner any views. That’s why if you’re smart, you’re probably already promoting your blog posts on social media.

There are some really fantastic tools to help you do this better.

  • CoSchedule: CoSchedule helps you schedule your social media across various platforms. It’s fantastic for planning campaigns (such as contests or building up hype for a new product launch) because you can schedule the entire thing out ahead of time. CoSchedule also connects with your WordPress blog to help you share old content, and schedule future social media posts to start promoting your new content as soon as you hit publish.
  • MeetEdgar: Edgar is a nifty program that allows you to build up a library of evergreen content that Edgar will automatically share on social media. You can categorize the types of content, and then customize Edgar to treat different types at different times – say, something from your “inspirational quotes” category every afternoon at 1 PM. You can also use Edgar to schedule one-off social media updates, too.
  • Hootsuite: Are you wasting time logging into Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, G+, and ever other social media platform under the sun? Hootsuite is a great way to manage all of your social media networks from one place. As with CoSchedule and Edgar, you can schedule tweets ahead of time. Hootsuite also has robust analytic capabilities to help you know which of your posts are doing well, along with search features and also social media monitoring tools to help you keep on top of what your audience is saying.

2. Monitoring Social Media

In some ways, social media has become a branch of the customer service department. People take to Facebook and Twitter with complaints and issues (and – rarely – praises). You should definitely be monitoring social media for these kinds of customer service comments so you can address them as quickly as possible.

But you should also be monitoring for conversations about your company that aren’t necessarily directed to you. This can lead to great opportunities to make an impression in a fun and surprising way.

As an example, just a few days ago I tweeted jokingly about MapQuest. Within a few hours, they had tweeted back this hilarious gif.

Screenshot 2016-03-10 10.58.11

You don’t have to spend countless hours of scrolling through social media looking for mentions of your company – which can be a total time suck. Instead, use IFTTT (If This, Then That), a free online tool that automates actions between websites, apps, gadgets, and more.

The way IFTTT works is that you create “recipes” consisting of a trigger and an action. To monitor social media, go to Twitter’s advanced search page and create a search with your business name or any keywords that you’d like.

Copy the URL and use Page2RSS to convert the search results into an RSS feed. Now you can create a custom IFTTT recipe with Feed as your trigger. You can have IFTTT send you an email with new tweets, add them to your Pocket, add them to a Google spreadsheet, or put them in Evernote notebook.

For this and other great IFTTT recipes to help automate your business, check out this blog post from Shopify.

3. Triggered Emails

Here are some stats to get you thinking:

  • Triggered email messages average 70.5% higher open rates and 152% higher click-through rates than standard marketing messages. (Epsilon Email Institute, Q4 2012 N. American Email Trends and Benchmarks, Feb 2013 and Q2 2013 N. American Email Trends and Benchmarks, Jul 2013)
  • Automated personalized emails like cart abandonment programs or birthday emails can see conversion rates as high as 50%. (eMarketer, Email Marketing Benchmarks, Feb 2013)

Who wouldn’t want conversion rates like that?

The problem is, catching all these trigger moments and sending all these wonderful personalized emails takes a ton of time.

That’s why it’s time to start automating your email. You can do that in a variety of ways.

  • Set your email program up with an autoresponder series taking inspiration from these five email strategies in order to build relationships with customers.
  • Use plugins like this one to send out triggered emails when a customer abandons a shopping cart, or a few days after purchase to ask for reviews.
  • Send an automatic email whenever someone fills out your contact form, letting them know you’ve received their info and will return shortly, in order to let them know they were heard.

Are you already automating e-commerce marketing tasks? We’d love to hear how. Leave us a comment below!

Overwhelmed by Marketing? Automate These 3 Tasks Today was originally published by Jessie Kwak on IvyCat, Inc.

]]>
https://ivycat.com/automating-ecommerce-marketing-tasks/feed/ 2 Screenshot 2016-03-10 10.58.11
5 Features You Need in a WordPress Landing Page Theme https://ivycat.com/wordpress-landing-page-theme-features/ Thu, 17 Mar 2016 17:06:25 +0000 https://ivycat.com/?p=5535 Landing pages are one of the most effective marketing tactics you can implement to kickstart your business. For a WordPress landing page theme to truly convince users to take action, you need to make sure that it's hyper-clear and focused. Read more...

5 Features You Need in a WordPress Landing Page Theme was originally published by Tom Ewer on IvyCat, Inc.

]]>
Landing pages are one of the most effective marketing tactics you can implement to kickstart your business. For a WordPress landing page theme to truly convince users to take action, you need to make sure that it’s hyper-clear and focused.

It needs to be capable of standing on its own in relation to your website, with no distractions such as unnecessary menus or sidebars. And, naturally, it has to guide the visitor’s thought process smoothly and inevitably towards the action you want them to take.

Great landing pages serve one purpose: to direct visitors to take a specific action. Classic examples include signing up for your newsletter, filling out a form, or making a purchase. These days, luckily, WordPress landing page themes make it very simple to build a landing page that knocks it out of the park.

With that in mind, let’s look at five key features you should insist on.

1. A Great WordPress Landing Page Theme Needs a Flexible Layout

Shaping Rain's Just Landed theme ships with a number of variations.

Shaping Rain’s Just Landed theme ships with a number of variations.

Converting visitors is not a one-size-fits-all process. Depending on your audience, choosing between an all-text layout, one with testimonials, or a video-focused offering could make all the difference.

You’ll need to be able to customize your layout as you go to fit your content and respond to conversion data. Most WordPress landing page themes should provide pre-tested layouts to choose from straight out of the box.

Choosing a theme that provides customizable layout options, in addition to pre-made variations, enables you to modify the design of your landing page with ease. With the flexibility of point-and-click and drag-and-drop interfaces, even non-technical users can create and change landing page layouts in minutes.

2. Customizable Color Scheme Variations

YouLanded theme makes it easy to match your branding with unlimited colors.

The YouLanded theme makes it easy to match your branding with unlimited colors.

The proven psychological effects of color become even more relevant when trying to persuade a visitor to your landing page to do something specific.

It’s essential to use colors that match your brand, create a unified color scheme, and draw attention to the important parts of the page (like the button you want them to click).

Most WordPress landing page themes will come with pre-set color schemes that you can use to get started. These give you something professional looking straight out of the gate with balanced colors and adequate contrast.

If you have particular colors you want to use such as those in your logo, these color schemes may be too restrictive. A good WordPress landing page theme will offer you starter color schemes but also provide easy customization options along with an intuitive color picker.

3. Built-in Responsive Layouts

Themify's Landing theme provides fluid responsive design.

Themify’s Landing theme provides fluid responsive design

Mobile device penetration is skyrocketing. Your website and landing pages simply have to be easily viewable on phones and tablets unless you want to needlessly antagonize the majority of your audience. Getting the user experience right on mobile is particularly crucial.

You need landing pages which function equally well on desktop and mobile by default. A well-built WordPress landing page theme should ensure that, whatever layout is used, it works beautifully on mobile without needing further expensive designer intervention.

4. Available Widgets and Shortcodes

Landing Page theme from Templatic provides a wide range of widgets to customize your page.

Landing Page theme from Templatic provides a wide range of widgets to customize your page.

Your well-thought out words may not be enough on their own to convince visitors to take action. Videos of a product in use or testimonials from previous customers, for example, can strengthen your case by offering convincing detail and social proof.

Most WordPress landing page themes will allow you to use widgets and shortcodes to easily add various types of useful additional information to your page. Strategic use of these goes a long way towards helping your visitors make the right decision.

5. Easy Integration with Email Signup Forms

OptimizePress integrates with most major email marketing providers.

OptimizePress integrates with most major email marketing providers.

Email hasn’t gone away. With people still feverishly checking their inboxes multiple times per day (or even per hour) it remains one of the most high-impact marketing channels out there. Getting visitors to give you their email address is one of the most valuable goals a landing page can achieve.

Copying email addresses from a landing page database to your mailing list is tedious and leaves lots of room for error. The process should really be automatic.

The best WordPress landing page themes should all offer straightforward integration with prominent email marketing tools such as MailChimpAweber and Infusionsoft.

Conclusion

Landing page themes have come a long way in recent years and you should feel comfortable insisting on the five features we’ve highlighted above when making your choice. Let’s briefly recap them. You’re looking for a theme with:

  1. Flexible page layouts.
  2. Customizable color scheme variations.
  3. Built-in responsive layouts.
  4. Available widgets and shortcodes.
  5. Easy integration with popular email marketing tools.

You may well find you need assistance with customizing a particular theme once you’ve selected it. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us here at IvyCat and we’ll be happy to help.

Got a favorite theme you’ve found success with or any questions? Get in touch via the comments and let us know!

5 Features You Need in a WordPress Landing Page Theme was originally published by Tom Ewer on IvyCat, Inc.

]]>
Shaping Rain’s Just Landed theme ships with a number of variations. Shaping Rain's Just Landed theme ships with a number of variations. YouLanded theme makes it easy to match your branding with unlimited colors. YouLanded theme makes it easy to match your branding with unlimited colors. Themify’s Landing theme provides fluid responsive design. Themify's Landing theme provides fluid responsive design Landing Page theme from Templatic provides a wide range of widgets to customize your page. Landing Page theme from Templatic provides a wide range of widgets to customize your page. OptimizePress integrates with most major email marketing providers. OptimizePress integrates with most major email marketing providers.
5 Ways Case Studies Boost Your E-Commerce Business https://ivycat.com/5-ways-case-studies-boost-your-e-commerce-business/ Thu, 10 Mar 2016 16:57:25 +0000 https://ivycat.com/?p=5792 Even though the case studies are coming from your company, they’re perceived as a peer-to-peer interaction. Customers who read them don’t think, “The company wants me to think this.” Instead, they think, “Oh, neat, here’s a story from a person just like me.”

Read more...

5 Ways Case Studies Boost Your E-Commerce Business was originally published by Jessie Kwak on IvyCat, Inc.

]]>
Savvy customers are spending more time in the research phase of their online shopping experience – comparing prices, features, shipping costs, and more. It’s called the “zero moment of truth,” that time between identifying a product and making a purchase when a customer is still on the fence about handing over their credit card.

During this time, they’re often seeking out information. Product reviews, testimonials, videos, and anything else that will help them make the right decision.

That’s why savvy e-commerce business owners make sure that information is available.

Case studies are normally thought of as a business-to-business (B2B) marketing tool, rather than a business-to-customer (B2C) tool, but when employed at the “zero moment of truth” they can have a huge effect.

How?

1. Case studies build trust

One of the biggest benefits of using case studies is that they show off the point of view of happy customers – not your company. You can write as many promotional videos, blog posts, and how to guides as you like to show how great your product is, but because they’re from your company’s point of view, a potential customer will take it all with a grain of salt.

But in a case study – or customer success story – your point of view takes a backseat while your customers gush on and on about how great your product is.

Even though the case studies are coming from your company, they’re perceived as a peer-to-peer interaction. Customers who read them don’t think, “The company wants me to think this.” Instead, they think, “Oh, neat, here’s a story from a person just like me.”

Take it from engagement ring company Ritani. Rather than telling customers that they’ll have the perfect engagement story if they buy a Ritani ring, the company has a section on their website showcasing proposal stories. It perfectly fits with their clientele, who want to read how others’ magical moment happened, and it subtly weaves in their message: With Ritani, you get the perfect ring that makes the moment even more special.

Screenshot 2016-02-12 11.38.43

2. Case studies take it further than testimonials

You may already have testimonials on your website – and if so, you’re probably wondering why you should bother with case studies. It’s true, they’re very similar. Both serve the same purpose: to let your customers know that your product has solved the problems of other people like them.

But whereas testimonials are brief moments of praise for your product or service, case studies take it deeper. That makes them especially great for businesses that have more expensive products or services that require more research before making the sale – particularly if you’re making claims that using your product or service will be transformative for a customer.

Case studies aren’t just for expensive products, though – they can work for all sorts of things. Take Swiffer, for example. Household cleaning products have been using the formula of showing someone using their product to get better/faster/more thorough results since the dawn of advertising. Swiffer’s take is to present the story of an actual customer – say, Jerry Bell II of Hillsboro, Oregon – in the traditional case study format of Problem —> Solution —> Results. Add in Jerry’s adorable son, and you have a pretty compelling reason to buy a WetJet.

Screenshot 2016-02-14 15.48.01

3. Case studies tell stories

One reason case studies really work is that they tell stories. In the case of Jerry Bell II and Swiffer, the 30-second ad tells the story of a single dad cleaning up the messes of his high-energy son – a task which is made easier with the arrival of his new Swiffer WetJet. As a result, Jerry can clean up faster, and engage in some “deep couch sitting.”

It’s basically a short story with a beginning, middle, and end. Or, in case study language, the Problem, Solution, and Result.

  • The Problem is the sorry state of affairs your customer is in before they have your product.
  • The Solution is your product or service.
  • The Result is how fantastic life is now.

4. Case studies get specific

I’m sure you’ve already given some thought to the value proposition of your product or service. Does it help relieve pain or discomfort? Give people’s pets a better night’s sleep? Make entertaining guests a breeze? Grow your clients’ incomes?

In most of your marketing, you may be focusing on the big picture of what your product does – casting your net wide to appeal to as many people as necessary. The problem with that is it can often be difficult for people to visualize just how they would use your product.

That’s the beauty of case studies. They let you narrow in on a specific use case of your product or service – but instead of making your product seem narrowly focused, they tend to unlock potential customers’ imaginations. It helps pin down just how they would use your product – even if it would be in a very different way than the case study subject.

5. Case studies build social proof

The fact that your customers love your product and are willing to go on record saying that provides fantastic social proof. With so many options, many consumers rely on word-of-mouth when making decisions. Reading a case study on your website may not be the same thing as having their best friend recommend your product, but it’s still quite powerful.

Screenshot 2016-02-15 09.03.39

IKEA has been focusing on building the social proof through telling their customers’ success stories. The Home Tour Series has been a hugely popular way to show the design problems individual customers face, and how IKEA solutions were able to come to the rescue. While one home tour would have been impressive, IKEA provides overwhelming social proof by showcasing customer case studies from all walks of life.

However you use them, case studies can help you cut through the marketing clutter and to truly connect with your customer.

Are you using case studies on your e-commerce site? Let us know how in the comments!

5 Ways Case Studies Boost Your E-Commerce Business was originally published by Jessie Kwak on IvyCat, Inc.

]]>
Screenshot 2016-02-12 11.38.43 Screenshot 2016-02-14 15.48.01 Screenshot 2016-02-15 09.03.39
5 E-Commerce Homepages That Sell https://ivycat.com/wordpress-e-commerce-homepages-that-sell/ Thu, 25 Feb 2016 22:10:37 +0000 https://ivycat.com/?p=5800 A well-designed e-commerce homepage layout will encourage your customers to buy from you through credibility, convenience and products. You need to make sure that your homepage looks professional, makes it easy to see what’s on offer on your site, and provides enough product information to entice your customers to go further into the site. Read more...

5 E-Commerce Homepages That Sell was originally published by Tom Ewer on IvyCat, Inc.

]]>
The homepage of your e-commerce website is like a store window – if it doesn’t grab your customers’ attention, you can forget about them actually buying anything.

A well-designed e-commerce homepage layout will encourage your customers to buy from you through credibility, convenience and products. You need to make sure that your homepage looks professional, makes it easy to see what’s on offer on your site, and provides enough product information to entice your customers to go further into the site.

This post will take a look at five well-designed WordPress e-commerce homepages that sell, what makes them stand out, and how you might be able to achieve the same results for your homepage.

1. S’well Bottle

S'well ecommerce homepage
S’well Bottle has had great success with their beautifully crafted insulated bottles. Their website speaks directly to their audience with a clean, simple layout. The focus of the homepage is on the large image slider showcasing their collections and a mailing list signup.

For your e-commerce homepage, you can create a static front page in WordPress featuring a slider that links through to your WooCommerce shop. Be sure to choose a clean design that matches your brand and product style to be most effective.

2. Xero Shoes

Xero Shoes ecommerce homepage
Xero Shoes provides durable, stylish and affordable barefoot running sandals. Their homepage features some important elements for a product that may be less familiar to prospective customers, such as social proof (in the form of press comments and testimonials) and answers to possible objections (through links to information about exchanging your shoes and how to decide if the shoes are right for you).

To implement a similar page on your website, you should use a flexible theme, like Storefront (a free theme from WooCommerce) with a page builder plugin (such as Site Origin PageBuilder, Velocity Page or Visual Composer) to add various modules that link to posts and products as needed. If your budget allows, consider getting a custom site that speaks directly to your intended audience.

3. Zula Juice

Zula ecommerce homepage
Zula Juice tells you at the top of their site that they offer organic-certified, cold-pressed juice. The clean layout matches their brand attributes and exudes a healthy and fresh energy to appeal to their customers. The homepage is centred around showcasing the benefits and unique features of product.

If you want a site similar to Zula, choose a theme that fits well with your brand personality and values, and use very high quality images.

4. The Feed

The Feed ecommerce homepage

The Feed provides hand-picked boxes of health and nutrition products by subscription. Their homepage has a unique product filter navigation in the sidebar, as well as featured products and links to related subject content. The homepage is designed to guide people to the right kinds of products for them.

For your e-commerce site, use a plugin like Ajax Layered Navigation or WooCommerce Product Filter to create filtered navigation and make it easier for customers to find what they are looking for in your WooCommerce store.

5. YoYoBestBuy

YoyoBestBuy ecommerce homepage
YoyoBestBuy is all about yoyos and the apparel and accessories that yoyo enthusiasts will need. The website homepage features various product groupings on home page, such as new releases, featured brands, and top rated products. These are designed to guide the users to products in multiple ways.

For your site, you can easily use built-in WooCommerce widgets or added extensions (like Products of the Day) to display products in ways that make sense to your customers.

Conclusion

Your e-commerce homepage is the place to hook your customers and persuade them to not only explore your website but eventually make purchases.

The five sites showcased above illustrate several ways you can engage your customers on the homepage of your e-commerce website. Different elements can appeal to different audiences, so you may need to test a bit to find what works for your site.

If you have some other e-commerce homepages you think deserve a look, let us know in the comments. If you need help implementing e-commerce for your business, get in touch!

5 E-Commerce Homepages That Sell was originally published by Tom Ewer on IvyCat, Inc.

]]>
swell-ecommerce-homepage xeroshoes-ecommerce-homepage zula-ecommerce-homepage thefeed-ecommerce-homepage yoyobestbuy-ecommerce-homepage
Does Your Site Make Every Customer Feel Special? https://ivycat.com/does-your-site-make-every-customer-feel-special/ Thu, 11 Feb 2016 21:46:32 +0000 https://ivycat.com/?p=5772 Web personalization is method that takes into account the fact that all users come from different locations and have different devices, time limitations, motivations and interests. With modern technology, e-commerce entrepreneurs and marketers alike can collect a lot of data on what a certain visitor is searching for, which can ultimately help them boost their websites' conversion rate. Read more...

Does Your Site Make Every Customer Feel Special? was originally published by Jenny Bones on IvyCat, Inc.

]]>

The following is a guest post from George Dragojevic. Wherever you may be in your journey, George is willing to assist you in making a beautiful online home for your next big adventure! Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Web personalization is method that takes into account the fact that all users come from different locations and have different devices, time limitations, motivations and interests. With modern technology, e-commerce entrepreneurs and marketers alike can collect a lot of data on what a certain visitor is searching for, which can ultimately help them boost their websites’ conversion rate.

There are many statistics that show that customers will likely buy products from retailers who have customized their web stores to fit the individual shopper and offer a personalized shopping experience. Most online consumers will tell you that it’s very frustrating when they visit a site that has content which doesn’t pertain to them. With these things in mind, it becomes very clear that personalized websites offer much more to entrepreneurs or marketers who wish to run a successful modern business.

Happy-01
The frequency of visits determines different experiences

What does this mean? Simply put, a visitor who is browsing a site for the first time will always look for something different than the person who pays frequent visits to that site. Tracking each visitor individually will help create unique user experiences. It is possible to use a cookie for tracking a frequent visitor, this way it will be much easier to direct that person to the most relevant and appropriate page for them and allow them to navigate more intuitively.

On the other hand, if you want to increase conversion rates of people who visit your page for the first time, you can include a business address, phone number, short video tutorial to explain your services or products or a contact form that will help you capture leads.

web personaliztion

Adjust content accordingly

Content doesn’t have to be static, in fact it’s better to switch things up from time to time. You can increase your conversions by changing the content on your site according to the time of the week, day or season. For example, the phone number that is displayed to visitors during your work hours can be replaced with a contact form when your business is closed. By doing this, you will avoid losing potential customers due to your unavailability outside of working hours.

If you offer different types of products or services during the day based on culture, habits or targeted trends you will be able to increase conversions. A clear example of how this works in brick-and-mortar businesses is a restaurant that changes its menu during the day. If you have a blog section on your site, you should try to refresh it often and include relevant topics that have value to your visitors. If you want to know more about running a successful blog, there are some excellent guides you can find at Firstsiteguide.com that will help you master the basics.

Recognize special events

special events
This is one of the best ways to connect with customers and personalize your website. For example, if Christmas is just around the corner, you can change your theme to be holiday-like, put in some hearts for Valentine’s Day or add some photos of amazing fireworks for 4th of July… Include a big text that wishes your visitors all the best, and in return, it can reflect positively on customer engagement.

As a final tip I suggest tracking the initial source from which a visitor has entered your site, so that you can adapt your content accordingly. This should impact the type of content the visitors first see when they get to your landing page, and you will provide them with a consistent experience. Offering the same information for all potential customers is a thing of the past, and you should look to get the most out of the available technology, to make your customers feel special when they visit your online store.

How do you use web personalization on your e-commerce site? Leave a comment or questions below.

 

Does Your Site Make Every Customer Feel Special? was originally published by Jenny Bones on IvyCat, Inc.

]]>
Happy-01 web personaliztion special events
How Your Slow Website is Costing You Money https://ivycat.com/website-speed/ Tue, 02 Feb 2016 09:10:24 +0000 https://ivycat.com/?p=5747 Whether you run an e-commerce store or offer design services, a travel portal or book tickets online for city events, the priority to have a well performing website in terms of speed is the most sensible business mantra. Read more...

How Your Slow Website is Costing You Money was originally published by Jenny Bones on IvyCat, Inc.

]]>

The following is a guest post from John Stevens of HostingFacts.com, and we love the infographic they’ve put together!

Whether you run an e-commerce store or offer design services, a travel portal or book tickets online for city events, the priority to have a well performing website in terms of speed is the most sensible business mantra.

Website Speed

Let’s evaluate how critical is your website speed from a perspective of a first time visitor. In such a case, the ‘Fully Rendered Speed’ is what comes into the picture wherein the visitor would want to see just about everything your website offers.

 

A website loading slow or not entirely loading has a stern capacity to persuade the visitor to search for a competitor site. User experience goes for a toss without saying.

Slow Site, No Customers

Now imagine for an already existing customer who would rather be more concerned about the ‘Document Complete Speed’. He wants to buy a particular product that he has already added to his cart; however he is not able to complete the purchase due to slow speed.

 

The fact of the matter is that he would only stick around if the product is not available anywhere else or he is not getting a good deal. The urgency of buying it could still make you lose him. Either ways, a run of the mill website performance is taking a toll on your business.

 

The following infographic would take you through some facts that would be hard to digest even for the so called successful businesses which might just be churning thousands of millions of bucks but have never realized their true potential because of a slow website.

Hosting-Facts-Updated

Ready to speed up your site and boost those sales? Contact IvyCat today to get started.

How Your Slow Website is Costing You Money was originally published by Jenny Bones on IvyCat, Inc.

]]>
Hosting-Facts-Updated