Yelling From Internet Mountain: A Story About Telling Great Marketing Stories

Once upon a time, there was a company called The Footwear Fairies. All they wanted was to sell their shoes to people online. Every day they’d stand at the top of Internet Mountain and yell to the townsfolk below saying “WE HAVE SHOES, THEY’RE COMFORTABLE LIKE CLOUDS AND BEAUTIFUL LIKE UNICORNS AND YOU MUST BUY THEM!” However, the townsfolk, busy with their busy Social Media lives would hear the Fairies and not look up. They were far too concerned with their own lives, listening to others lives and happy milling about to worry about shoes at the moment. Besides, people were screaming from the mountain tops all the time about all kinds of things that didn’t seem to connect with the townspeople. The Footwear Fairies were dismayed. They knew people would love their shoes, heck, half the townsfolk had bruised bare feet and were in dire NEED of shoes. Why then, was the message not connecting? The Footwear Fairies decided to visit the wise old Internet Marketing Wizard, who lived deep within the Content Forest, who has been providing powerful online marketing advice since the dawn of the internet (about three decades by our count). The Footwear Fairies, slightly afraid, asked their question, “Marketing Wizard, we’ve been yelling for days from the top of Internet Mountain asking people to buy our shoes, we know we have an amazing product, why do the townsfolk not seem interested?” “Well are you just talking about your shoes?” asked the wise Wizard. “Yes! They have amazing fairy insoles that are cushioned like a cloud, and they sparkle beautifully thanks to our patented Unicorn glitter design.” replied the Fairies. “Hmm…” pondered the Wizard, “I’ve heard of shoes like this before, don’t the Boot Goblins do something similar? And what of the Flip-flop Elves, do their shoes not offer similar perks?” “Well that’s true, but they produce shoes on mass and don’t provide the same level of detail we do.” retorted the Fairies. “We used to wear their shoes and found it didn’t have the personal touch we wanted.” “Oh that’s interesting,” said the Wizard. “Please tell me more!” “Well our founder Jebidiah, trekked across Internet mountain to find the highest peak wherein he found the most beautiful Unicorns in all the land. Upon explaining his passion for high quality shoe ingredients, he formed an alliance with the unicorns who allowed only him to use their dust for shoes. He now works with them to design Unicorn-approved designs that are one-of-a-kind for each new line of shoes.” “Hmm…” pondered the Wizard again, “That’s a fascinating story. Have you ever told it to someone who was looking to buy shoes? It really seems to set you apart.” “Well… no,” said the Fairies. “We didn’t know if people would care about Jebediah's story.” “People care about stories a lot more than they care about shoes,” said the Wizard looking down at his bare feet. “I saw a lot of passion, emotion, and love in your story. When I heard what Jebidiah had gone through, I was much more attached to you shoes then when you just told me about the features.” The Fairies now knew what they needed to do and thanked the Wizard for his help. Of course! There were plenty of people yelling about shoes, and tunics and pantaloons from the top of Internet mountain. The Fairies finally realized: they would never get attention by just adding to the noise! After returning to their peak, the Footwear Fairies began a new strategy. This time they yelled “After years of foot pain and toe sadness, our founder Jebidiah has traversed mountains to find a perfect shoe, the quest led to a beautiful new line of shoes to help everyone struggling with sore feet.” All of a sudden, townsfolk started to listen. Those who were sad from sore feet identified with the tale of Jebidiah and were intrigued. Some shouted their praises from down below, others shared the news with their friends who they knew were also struggling, some even walked up the mountain and talked to The Footwear Fairies asking how they too could get a pair of these shoes that now seemed like a perfect fit. The Footwear Fairies were filled with joy! They found connection to people and were able to meet the Townspeople’s needs. They quickly became the most popular shoe-makers in the land, not because they had the best shoes (there could always be better ones) but because they told the best stories. ____________________________________________________________________________ Every small business and content marketer should take a page out of the old Wizard’s playbook. When advertising your business online, people are far more likely to identify with a story than an advertisement. This was a pretty simple story, but you’ve read this far… would this have been an interesting read if you didn’t connect with the Footwear Fairies’ plight, or we simply explained the benefits of stories? The golden rule of story-telling is to SHOW rather than TELL. Show people why your product will connect with them through blogs, videos and other content, don’t just tell them. People get told thing all the time, the last thing they need is a brand telling them what they need on the internet. People are much more likely to connect with your brand if they see creativity, passion, and emotion behind your content. The days of blasting out stale one-sided copy is done. From now on, it’s story time! Thank you to our GD Commerce Partners: Create Your Business Website Using Shopify Harness the Power of Drip CRM Software Set up Subscription Boxes, Recurring Orders and Payments Easily Using Bold Partners Boost Your Business Bookkeeping with Bench Learn How to Master Website SEO Using Mangools

5 Reasons Why Co-working Is Awesome

  Is your office currently your living room or kitchen? Maybe it’s your bed, or the local coffee shop? While some of those places can be nice, perhaps you should consider giving yourself the chance to work at a coworking space. First: what is a coworking space? Basically it’s a place you can go to sit and work alongside like-minded people in a structured atmosphere. When at a coffee shop, lots of conversations are not work focused (and rightly so!), and can create unwanted distraction. At home, it’s so easy to slack off with nobody watching. This is where coworking spaces come in. What exactly are the benefits? Efficiency An office environment can create a mindset of success through task completion, something which is very handy to an entrepreneur. According to Office Vibe, a coworking space made 64% of entrepreneurs more focused. You owe yourself the opportunity to have more efficient and productive work days! Networking Of course, running into other entrepreneurs CAN happen if you’re out at a coffee shop, but it is more likely that you would drum up conversation at a coworking space than interrupt someone with their caffeine outing. Networking is crucial to advancing and improving your business, and at coworking spaces, lots of like-minded people are already making connections to expand. Confidence That same Office Vibe study reported that 90% of people said they felt more confident when coworking! As an entrepreneur knows, fear is such a barrier to productivity and achievement when it comes to business. Imagine feeling more confident, and how much further you might go. Structure Working from home can be distracting, with your bed in the next room, TV available, and distractions from family members/roommates. In an office environment, you will be more easily able to ‘buckle down’. Then, when you go home, your home may feel much more relaxed. Camaraderie When you see other coworkers struggling with accomplishing a project, and they see you do the same, it can create a sense of community. Maybe it’s just a knowing look while you’re pulling your hair out, or a high five when you landed an awesome project… either way, it’s more valuable to have people working around you! So there you have it. Just a few reasons to love Coworking. While we believe there’s many more than just this simple list, we encourage you to try it for yourself! With 40% of the workforce being freelancers, temps, independent contractors, and solopreneurs by 2020, it’s about time to try Coworking, and see if this work style is for you! (It probably is). Thank you to our GD Commerce Partners: Create Your Business Website Using Shopify Harness the Power of Drip CRM Software Set up Subscription Boxes, Recurring Orders and Payments Easily Using Bold Partners Boost Your Business Bookkeeping with Bench Learn How to Master Website SEO Using Mangools

Getting Your First Online Sale in 3 Steps

What good is a website if it’s not bringing in sales? NO good. That’s what. With eCommerce and online sales becoming the more popular option with customers every day, you’ve got to make sure you set yourself up for success. Whether you have a brick and mortar store, or are starting fresh, getting that first online sale can be the toughest one to get. But oh boy, once that first sale comes in - you’re bound to feel great! Keep working on your site, and eventually, it will work for you, bringing in sales so you can focus on other elements of your business. Here’s out three key considerations for getting that website selling like a boss. Step 1: Setting Up for Success The first step is building a great website. Keeping these things in mind is Phase one, or else there will be no Phase two. Take The Time to Build an Attractive and Easy to Navigate Website The prep work is the most important element of your store. If people get to your store and are turned off by its appearance or layout, you’ll never make a sale. Your shop page should be easy to find in the navigation or from the home page. A clear call to action and checkout process are also essential. Track Those Website Analytics Using tools like Google Analytics or your Shopify Reports will show you where your traffic is coming from, where customers go on your website, and how long they spend there. If you notice high bounce rates, that’s a good sign your website is too confusing or not captivating enough and needs a touch-up. You can also see which pages, products or collections are most popular so you know what to put front and centre on your home page. Make Changes as Necessary Frequently check in on your analytics and make changes as you go. The beauty of an online store is renovations are much simpler and less expensive that a brick and mortar. A quick copy change or photo swap can work wonders in improving your customer’s shopping experience. Step 2: Getting Traffic It’s tough to test your website analytics if no one is visiting. If you don’t have enough traffic to your website, you’re likely not going to get that sale. Here’s a crash course in marketing which will help boost the people coming to your store. Get Some Press/Blogger Attention PR is an increasingly tough sell to journalists, however, companies that come up with a great PR angle, event, or stunt can attract media attention, which in turn drives tons of people to your website. While time spent in this may not pay off, if it does, usually those first sales come fast and in high numbers. Network Online Don’t underestimate the power of social media! Followings won’t just come to you, however. Get out there and brand your business with an online strategy. Shout out people with higher followings so they’ll shout out to you. Post regularly and often showing your brand’s personality and benefits. It’s only a matter of time before you resonate with someone who will visit your website and make that purchase.   Network Offline Just because your store is online, doesn’t mean YOU have to spend all your time online. Letting people in real life know about your website is a great way to get people there. Go to business networking events and talk about your website and products. Make sure your URL is on your business card, flyers, posters, and other printable materials so people can check out your store after you make that incredible first in-person impression. Work on SEO Don’t let your website get stuck in the dark reaches of the internet. Make it Google-friendly by following simple SEO Practices. That means writing great site content, updating your site regularly, organizing your site well, picking Goldilocks keywords (not too competitive, but not too niche), and including those keywords generously in your titles, meta tags and throughout your site. Running ads is also a great way to get a quick boost, and we’re happy to help with that! Step 3: Educating People If you’re getting website traffic, and finding people are sticking around on your website or adding things to carts, but still not purchasing, perhaps that extra notch of education is needed. Build a Newsletter Automation If people aren’t buying, see if they’ll sign up for a newsletter. That’s a good sign they are interested in your products but just need a little bit more coaxing. Frequently link back to your website and send special offers until someone makes the right decision to buy. Write a Blog/Make Videos Blogs and videos are an excellent way to create a connection with your audience, content for your social media channels, and an education tool for people who are in the decision-phase of product buying. Keep regularly creating content and you you will keep regularly making sales! Free Samples Try trading sample uses of your products for reviews. People are far more likely to buy a product if they hear other people explain how great it is. Let people use your products so they can be brand ambassadors for you and attract those new customers. Hopefully this gets you off to a great start toward your first sale. We’re wishing you the best, and don’t hesitate to reach out or ask us for help. Thank you to our GD Commerce Partners: Create Your Business Website Using Shopify Harness the Power of Drip CRM Software Set up Subscription Boxes, Recurring Orders and Payments Easily Using Bold Partners Boost Your Business Bookkeeping with Bench Learn How to Master Website SEO Using Mangools  

How to Keep Customers After the Holidays

Gift-time is over, and now we’re back to that grind to get sales. But don’t fear, there’s plenty of ways to take advantage of that holiday fun and start the New Year right.

7 eCommerce New Years Resolutions for Your Website

A web consultant has resolutions just like any of you. Eat healthier, get more exercise, give more to charity, etc. But when recommending resolutions for clients, we need to be a little more business-minded. You may be wondering, “What are the best things I can do to make my website better in the new year?” Never fear, GD Commerce is here with 7 Resolutions to up your website and e-commerce game. Do An Audit of Your Home Page/Landing Page Before you even start driving people to your website, you better make sure your website is prepared to welcome them. A home page with a clear call to action (CTA) is the most important element of driving sales. People on the internet have the attention span of a squirrel at a nut factory. There’s so many distractions, make it obvious where they need to go to buy their thing. Not having clear CTAs on your home page and landing page means your customer won’t know where to go to buy cool things, and will probably just end up leaving your website. The same thing applies to any traffic coming in from social media or newsletters. You better send these squirrely buyers to a page that clearly communicates the emotional appeal of your product and where they can buy it. You can never be too clear.   Get Reviews/Testimonials Few are going to take the seller’s word for it when it comes to buying online. Of course YOU would say your product or service is awesome. Make it a resolution to get 5-10 testimonials from customers who have used and loved your product, so you can post them on your website or use it in your marketing. Make it easy for customers to leave reviews by reminding them via email after a purchase, and clearly communicating on your product pages where you can leave reviews. However, don’t delete the bad reviews either. Retailers who display both bad and good reviews are actually more likely to get sales, because you’re more honestly representing your product. It’s fishy to see only positive reviews. Not everyone likes everything, but if most people like your product - people will trust that.   Start a Blog  A blog is the best way to communicate the stories behind your products or show its uses. For example, a shoe company that shows off how to tie cool lace patterns is more likely to get it’s content shared on the web compared to a boring ad talking about the built in orthotic feature. Blogs are also great places to show the “behind-the-scenes” of your company. Show off your people and tell their stories, people are far more likely to connect with other people than shoes. And don’t be afraid to highlight your company culture, or processes for making your products, people love that cool stuff. Big bonus points if you convince a customer to write a blog. A guest blog from customers are like reviews on steroids, offering reusable content that communicates a story and the value of your awesome product. Master Newsletter Re-Targeting/Automation No one likes spammy, every day emails. It’s easy to ignore these. However, great automation or re-targeting email is a different story. Giving people a special automated sign-up email with a unique discount, or reminding people via email who have abandoned their carts are proven strategies that pick up sales you would have never had otherwise. You can do this stuff for free on a Mailchimp account, so there’s really no excuse! Improve Delivery Times 2018 might just be the year where same-day delivery becomes the norm. The biggest edge brick and mortar has over online is the fact that you can leave the store with your new product. As e-commerce quickly passes in-store purchasing, people are going to start wanting their products faster. In fact, 30% of people are willing to pay more if it means their product shows up the same day they order it. If you can make this happen this year you might see a big sales boost! Up Your Social Media Game If retail brands do social media right, they can see big-time traffic and sales come their way. In fact, most brands without a strong social presence these days won’t be taken very seriously. Some things to consider this year to up your game is trying new channels, like Snapchat, that have a younger user base more likely to use ecommerce as their main method of getting new things. Another new strategy you might explore is influencer marketing, which involves paying people with big social followings to feature your products and social accounts on their channels so you can reap the salesy rewards of larger brand awareness and followings. Get Familiar with Facebook/Google Re-Targeting Ads If you don’t have a Facebook Pixel or Google Pixel, people who leave your website are gone forever. With re-targeting ads, anyone who visits your website can be hit up again with your products and services. If you give an additional discount code or offer in your ads, you’re more likely to bring people back to your website and close the deal. These pixels are free and easy to install and you can see the results almost immediately. It’s never too soon to get started on a marketing, e-commerce or website upgrade. Hoping these ideas will help launch your sales and leads in 2018. Of course if you need help implementing any of these tactics, please contact us today! Thank you to our GD Commerce Partners: Create Your Business Website Using Shopify Harness the Power of Drip CRM Software Set up Subscription Boxes, Recurring Orders and Payments Easily Using Bold Partners Boost Your Business Bookkeeping with Bench Learn How to Master Website SEO Using Mangools

Want a Website? Do it Yourself in 6 Steps!

Whether you're a blogger, business owner or even a regular person, you’re not going to get too far these days without a website. For many folks, a website seems like one of those unattainable things only computer science majors, or nerds from 90’s movies can do. The truth is, making a website doesn’t have to be that difficult. You just need to know the steps and where to start. Have a Vision Some things in life are more fun when you go in without a plan. Creating a website is NOT one of those things. Before you even consider starting up your website, make sure your vision for your blog is totally fleshed out. You better have an answer to these questions: Who is my audience? What am I selling?  What is my voice? What will the copy look like? What message am I trying to convey?  What is the goal of this website? And my business at large?  What look and feel do I want for my brand? We suggest taking the MOST time researching during this step. Find other websites you like and send them to web consultants, who will likely know how these websites were created and what steps you’ll need to take to replicate them. Choosing Your URL/Webhost We’ve recently gone more in depth with things to consider while choosing your URL. If you want to look professional online, purchasing a URL is definitely recommended. It’s the only way to get a email. It’s not a huge expense (usually less than $20 per year) and will give you professional email services. However, if you’re just a blogger or hobby business starting out, you can probably get away with using a free URL provided by your CMS (more info below). Your site will function like most other websites, however things like SEO might be affected. Usually the structure of these URLs is like this: yourbusiness.myshopify.comA domain can be purchased through a variety of sites. Some of the most popular are GoDaddy, BlueHost, HostGator, or any on this list really. We used GoDaddy for this website. But each person is going to have a different preference or need, so do your research here and see what works best for you. Choosing Your Platform/CMS Once you have a URL it’s time to figure out which platform and/or Content Management System (CMS) you\re going to host things on. First, let’s take a breath. This can be when things start to get overwhelming for people. But trust us. It’s easy. And you can do this. Alright, here we go. In the early days of websites, it used to be you needed to know how to code long boring sequences in order to make your website look a certain way. These days things are a lot simpler. A CMS essentially allows you to do all the coding, without having to actually know anything about coding. Working in the back end of your website becomes more simple. Here’s the most popular CMS we like to work with. WordPress: Pros: It’s free to use, and you only have to pay for your URL or Theme Very customizable with free and paid plugins Cons: It’s not as intuitive as other CMS Can have a pretty steep learning curve Shopify: Pros: A great and easy to use ecommerce platform for setting up an online shop  Very customizable with free and paid themes/apps Cons: More limited blogs/customization options when compared to WordPress Has a monthly/annual fee Squarespace Pros: A great and easy to use ecommerce platform for setting up an online shop  Very customizable with free and paid plugins  Cons: Limited back end functionality  Online stores have a monthly/annual fee Wix: Pros: Easiest to use for beginners, has a drag and drop style set up  Loads of customization options Cons: Tough to integrate online stores with compared to Squarespace or Shopify Can be buggy and tough to manage sometimes Planning Your Website Structure Simple websites like blogs or community pages won’t take too much planning, however, if you plan on creating an online store or online registration - things can quickly get complicated.Use good old pen and paper to flesh out what pages you will need. Here’s some common ones to get you started: About Us: It’s a good idea to have an About Us page, so anyone visiting your site can learn what you’re about. Use this page to tell your brand’s story! Products/Services: Outline the services and programs you offer and why they are so awesome. Values/Missions: People should know what your business is about! A values and mission page is a great place to communicate this. Team: It’s a good place to show your expertise and personal side! Blog: Even if you’re not a blogger, having a blog is generally a great idea so you can share useful knowledge with your followers (like this!), and improve your SEO. Start thinking of which photos and copy will be included on each website, so the next step can be smoother for you. Choosing Your Theme It’s like buying clothes, but for your website! Each CMS listed above also contains a number of themes. The theme is going to act as the stylistic foundation you build your website upon, so take your time choosing. There are plenty of free themes available, but if you want to stand out online, and in most cases get more customizability and features, you might want to spend the dollars on a paid theme. Enjoy this part! Diving into some of these themes can be a lot of fun and a good way to spend your Friday night if you’re into long, dark internet browsing sessions. Writing/Designing Your Website  This is the fun part! And probably the part you wanted to start with. Start writing copy and finding photos to plug into your theme and pages. Suddenly you’ll begin to see your vision coming together! If you’re looking for some free to use stock photos, Shopify Burst and Pexels are two great places to begin. If you happen to struggle at any point along this website building road, there’s definitely a ton of online resources (and real-life people like us) to help you. Let us know how your website build goes and be sure to email us a before and after! Thank you to our GD Commerce Partners: Create Your Business Website Using Shopify Harness the Power of Drip CRM Software Set up Subscription Boxes, Recurring Orders and Payments Easily Using Bold Partners Boost Your Business Bookkeeping with Bench Learn How to Master Website SEO Using Mangools

To become an Entrepreneur, or not to become an entrepreneur. That is the question.

Recently I was asked for advice from a former coworker about becoming an entrepreneur. She asked, "What are your tips for entrepreneurship and just doing it?"

Purchasing a domain for your website

Domains - you need one and yet you have no idea how to get one. There are hundreds of options as to where to purchase your domain (domain registrars), but which one is right for you? Well, that depends on a few factors, so let’s get into it.