Know When to Turn Down a Client.

Know When to Turn Down a Client.

It’s simply possible to have too many clients and have clients that require way more time and effort than they are worth. If you have the time, energy, and manpower at your disposal then, by all means, take on new projects and grow your business. However, if you don’t have these limited resources (and they are limited!), don’t place an unneeded burden on yourself or your team to pull an excellent final product out of thin air. If you over-commit yourself then there is the risk of not spending the time and effort needed on existing work, making your current clients unhappy and potentially driving them away. It can be very tempting to obligate yourself to new projects that could be enjoyable or lucrative for you and your team, but if you know that you can’t handle the work at that moment, it can be better to say “no” then to risk your reputation and good name.

Don’t Shy from Promoting Your High Profile Clients

Don’t Shy from Promoting Your High Profile Clients

You could well be a digital guru who has spent years working in the industry and earned the respect of the Web community, but most clients won’t understand what this means. They have never heard of websites such as CSS-Tricks.com and Awwwards.com or magazines such as Net or Wired, and they probably won’t grasp the gravitas that comes with being a speaker at Web conferences such as SXSW.

However, all clients tend to respond when you say you have worked on a high-profile brand website. When clients hear that you’ve been hired by a big name that they’ve heard of and whose products they perhaps use, their eyes double in size and think to themselves that they’ve hit the jackpot.

While some web professionals aren’t always comfortable selling themselves, and while big brand experience is not always proof of ability, it almost always resonates with clients and makes them see you as more credible. This reinforces your position as an expert whose advice should be heeded. After all, if big brand X thought you were good, you must be, right?

Sometimes, of course, no matter how much credibility you demonstrate, a client may choose not to listen to your recommendations. But perhaps they’ll listen to others…

How to Establish Yourself as a Web Expert to Clients

How to Establish Yourself as a Web Expert to Clients

The position of a web expert is not always easy to establish (even if you are already one), because it usually only becomes apparent to a client over time with a few successful decisions or projects. It doesn’t help either that many clients still regard creative digital agencies and freelancers as either kids living in their parents’ basement or shady professionals out to take them for every last penny.

Though a challenge, you can establish your credibility quickly using a few methods, some of which are relatively simple to do.

BE PROFESSIONAL

Before they’re convinced that you’re a digital professional and that they should trust your recommendations, you must first demonstrate your professionalism by doing the basics well:

• Be punctual at meetings and teleconferences.
• Always speak in a professional manner.
• Deliver pre-sales paperwork on time.
• Present all documents and images on professionally branded templates.
• Use correct grammar and punctuation in emails.

You’d be surprised by how quickly clients pick upon deficiencies in these basic business skills. Their perception of you and your recommendations will be immediately affected. Unless you come across as the consummate professional early on, shaking off this reputation will be difficult.

Does Amazon Buying Target Still Make Sense?

Does Amazon Buying Target Still Make Sense?

With only two weeks left in 2018, Loup Ventures founder Gene Munster has conceded his bold prediction that Amazon would acquire Target before the end of the year. In a new blog post, however, Munster said the deal still makes sense 2019 for the same reasons it did in 2018.

Deal Rationale

There are three main reasons Amazon should buy Target, according to Munster:

  1. Online sales are gaining share from offline sales, but retail will never go 100 percent online. Instead, Munster says online’s share of total U.S. retail sales will grow from about 10 percent today to a peak of about 55 percent in the long-term.
  2. There’s a lot of overlap in Amazon and Target’s target demographic. Both companies are aiming for younger, higher-income shoppers.
  3. Traditional retailers like Target need to become more advanced to survive, and Amazon’s technology and data could completely change Target’s approach to business.

Munster said Amazon and Walmart are aggressively going after each other’s business, with Amazon lagging behind Walmart in physical stores and Walmart significantly trailing Amazon in its online offerings. Neither company has been shy about spending big bucks to close the gap, with Amazon opening rolling out new physical stores in 2018 and Walmart recently acquiring Art.com. Munster said Amazon needs Target and its 1,800 stores to give a boost to its physical retail presence.

No Timetable

Munster may have gotten the timing wrong on his 2018 prediction, be he said the rationale for a Target buyout is not time-sensitive.

“In fact, our belief that online retail will eventually represent 55% of US retail sales is one that will take place over a very long term — at a glacial pace, and Amazon is playing the long game in brick and mortar retail,” Munster wrote.

Despite a weak overall market Amazon stock is up another 30 percent year-to-date in 2018.

References: loup ventures, benzinga

10 Things to Grow Your Business Online in the First Year

10 Things to Grow Your Business Online in the First Year

Business forecasts indicate that ecommerce is exploding, which means now is the perfect time for startups to firmly establish their online stores. There are numerous tactics for nurturing a new online business. If you’re just getting started, now’s the perfect time to make sure all the elements for your online success are in place.

Let’s review 10 crucial steps to capitalizing on this trend:

1. Carefully target the online audience. 

Ecommerce depends largely on a reputable, accessible online presence. To be recognized as such, businesses must make themselves available to those who are most likely to notice. Identify the demographic characteristics of consumers who will benefit from relevant products and services, and base marketing strategies on these details.

2. Create high-quality content and deliver it at high speed.

High-quality content is described as relevant and engaging information that encourages site visitors to return in the future. Content should reflect the given brand in tone and style, and include the company’s mission statement, services and policies. It should also offer industry education and urge interaction with consumers. This may take the form of asking questions, answers to which can be provided in online comment sections. Interaction can also take place via surveys and contests.

But Internet-based businesses live and die by their online visibility and credibility, and they’re judged by more than just consumers. They’re also judged by search engines, which play a major role in bestowing that credibility and visibility. In the wake of recent security vulnerabilities making national headlines such as the HeartBleed bug, secure web hosting which thwarts vulnerabilities is essential for maintaining credibility, and speedy website load times are essential for delivering a positive user experience, maximizing sales conversions and optimizing from an SEO (search engine optimization) perspective.

Amazon reported a 1 percent revenue increase for every 100 milliseconds improvement in load time. Furthermore, Google has stated that fast load speeds are indeed a factor in the ranking algorithm. In response, VPS hosting is quickly becoming more popular among new businesses looking to maximize site speed, as opposed to traditional, shared hosting services.

3. Personalize content.

Visitors know that unique, individualized web experiences are possible, which is why they expect such features. Take advantage of available technology that can generate shopping selections based on personal preferences. While some of the larger websites (Google, Apple, Facebook, etc.) have apps built into their system that identify users and track their online movements, small businesses might focus on smaller CRM solutions. Batchbook, ContactMe, and Zoho are perfect CRM software solutions for small businesses, each costing less than $20 a month.

 4. Invest in mobile capabilities. 

Consumer use of mobile devices is greater than ever before, which is why a robust mobile ecommerce platform is crucial. Available solutions include mobile sites, responsive sites, apps, click-to-call tools, maps and real-time notifications.

5. Integrate sales channels.

Enable consumers to experience the brand similarly across all channels of interaction and methods of shopping. Promotions, products, services, company information and policies should be available both on and offline.

6. Consider subscription. 

Subscription commerce occurs in various forms. For instance, the replenishment model allows for a product to be sent to a customer every month or other regular basis. The discovery model provides for new and exciting experiences with each delivery. These may include customized or rare items. It’s up to the company to decide which form of subscription works best for them, and to implement that into their sales and marketing strategies. Most CRM software and programs organize consumer data that can be used to delineate and track which model each customer prefers and whether the customer has subscribed or not.

7. Remember logistics. 

Scalability is integral to growing a business. To accommodate growth, third-parties such as UPS, Nippon Express, or DB Schenker can be depended upon to manage large and complex transactions. Costs will vary based upon the size of the transaction, the size of shipments, the distance that products need to be shipped or the complexity of the transaction. Third-party logistics become more cost effective as a company grows and handles larger transactions. Reverse logistics — the efficient handling of product exchanges and returns — is significant as well.

For Internet-based businesses, website speed, security and infrastructure are important foundations of not only logistics, but also SEO. These aspects of online business translate to better search engine visibility, resulting in more traffic, leads, brand credibility and sales. Speeding up your website is crucial for online logistics.

8. Skip the middlemen.

Thanks to the Internet, small businesses can reach consumers quickly and easily. Also, manufacturers are increasingly eager to work directly with small businesses because they realize small brands are likely to bring new and innovative products to the marketplace — they are less limited by minimal shelf space and complex supply chains.

9. Sell Internet-only merchandise.

Although essential to maintain continuity across multiple sales channels, it is still possible to offer products via the Internet only. Doing so builds an exclusive brand with ecommerce as the core distribution channel. By offering certain products in only one arena, it is possible to maintain greater control over margins.

10. Curate a proprietary selection.

Proprietary selection refers to a strategy dedicated to “curating” a deep but narrow array of exclusive products in a specific segment. These areas give the relevant merchandise the allure of distinction due to original characteristics and the difficulty of locating such a selection elsewhere.

One of the main goals of any business is consistent growth. Through careful strategic planning, quality marketing campaigns and a healthy combination of the steps outlined above, conversions are likely to increase steadily.

references: entrepreneur