The online lead generation has become a vital sales strategy for businesses, especially in the B2B sector. With the rise of the digital age, businesses are opting for advanced and efficient methods to generate online sales leads.

This process of online generated is carried out by marketers before it is passed on over to sales. With new techniques and strategies being developed rapidly, it is hard to determine the best performing strategies.

There are numerous online lead generation strategies and tips available on the web to boost sales. The following are the 10 best online lead generation strategies that have proved to be successful-

1.Email Marketing

Emailing is an extremely efficient and flexible medium that provides access to any number of prospects who are otherwise inaccessible. Direct email can be used for various purposes such as to sell products, generate sales leads, follow-ups, keep in touch with customers, referral marketing etc. You are able to consistently present every benefit or your product or service. You can contact prospects who are everywhere at any time. Reaching the right set of prospects with the right message and the right offer is the key to a successful lead generation campaign. The most important aspect of any online lead generation campaign, especially email campaign, is the number of sales inquiries it generates.

Source: MarketingWizdom.com

ImageSource: DigitalMarketingPhilippines

ImageSource: DigitalMarketingPhilippines.com

2.Website Lead Generation

A good website needs to be able to generate leads and not just attract traffic. Many websites are not designed to generate leads. They are mostly focused around propagating their products or services via brochures and banners. This makes the visitors passive. A good lead generation website needs to have a user-friendly description of your value proposition and provide information on the key problem or requirements that you can fulfill. Unless the visitor acquires this information upon visiting your page, they’ll go elsewhere. A lead generating website also needs to be easily accessible, provide valuable information, offers opportunities to sign up and provide contact information that easily accessible.

Source: Kyle-irving.co.uk

ImageSource: VTLDesign

ImageSource: VTLDesign.com

3.Automate Your Online Lead Generation

The online lead generation has given rise to various online lead generation tools and services. Using such lead generation tools and services saves a lot of time and resources and also help in acquiring qualified leads. Various web-based prospect and lead generation tools help mine qualified leads from various online sources. Such tools also provide you with lead management features where you will be able to edit, categorize and manage your leads in an organized manner. You can further automate this process by opting for advanced lead generation services. These prospect and lead generation services provide you with a processed list of qualified leads that is specifically built for you. This list contains leads with qualified contact details with email addresses and can be provided within 48 hours as per your requirements.

best lead generation tools | aeroleads

4.SEO, SEM, and PPC

Gabriel Shaoolian, the CEO & Founder of Blue Fountain Media says that generating leads through SEO and PPC is the best lead generation strategy for IT companies or B2B companies for the lowest cost per acquisition. He feels that way as whenever people require IT companies or IT services, a large majority of people search via Google. To capture these people, you need to increase the effectiveness of SEM and PPC campaigns. Brett Prince, President of Marketaire, says that his can be achieved by using long-tail keyword phrases. These keywords are highly targeted and drive targeted traffic due to their specificity, and they’re less competitive than related, shorter search terms, which tend to be higher in volume and more competitive. For SEO purposes, you need to focus on offering something informational or beneficial to the audience. You can rank faster and start generating traffic and leads once you identify your target keywords and create content around it.

Source: CIO.com

ImageSource: SearchEngineLand

ImageSource: SearchEngineLand.com

5.Online Lead Generation via Social Media

As per the report of Global Digital Statistics, Stats and Facts, social media is one of the most effective sources of lead generation. Social media is a very important channel not only in engaging or connecting with your targeted audiences, but it has evolved into a new digital marketing culture that has a strong influence on consumers’ buying behavior. Forbes indicates that up to two-thirds of the top sales experts in the world categorize social media as an important lead generation and sales channel. Another market research expert, Chadwick Martin Bailey, reported that up to 67% of twitter users and 51% of Facebook users are most likely to purchase based on recommendations from the brands they follow or their followers. This is the impact of social media on lead generation and sales. As per the report on US Social Network Ad Revenues by eMarketer, revenues are expected to go up exponentially through social media.

Source: DigitalMarketingPhilippines.com

Image Source:

Image Source: BMA Carolinas

6.Landing Pages

Landing pages which are created around the intention of online lead generation have a very specific purpose. Such pages are used to capture user data such as email addresses, names, phone numbers etc. Their only purpose is to collect such information so that it is available to you later to market your product or services to them. Acend2‘s  landing page optimization page survey reveals that 93% of respondents said increasing conversion rates is one of the most important objectives of a landing page strategy. Improving lead quality came in second at 58%. Landing page visitors are specifically directed to a page from a social media page, an email, a paid ad or similar source of traffic. These visitors are not coming to the page blind, and they expect it to be consistent with the content that brought them there. According to Marketo, you can make your landing page copy and CTAs clear and direct by going through these 4 steps: 1. Set up the problem, 2. Talk about the solution, 3. Point out the WIFM (what’s in it for me), 4. Deliver the goods.

Source: Digioh.com

ImageSource: DCDAgency

ImageSource: DCDAgency.com

7.White Papers or E-Books

This is one of the most common and successful online lead generating techniques. This lead generation technique works on the simple principle of give and take. White papers or E-Books can help in establishing credibility and generating leads. These downloadable can be offered on your website or be distributed through third party services. For the website visitor to obtain such downloadables, registering with an email id must be necessary in order to generate leads. Such downloadables also make a great PPC offering. A variation on the white paper is the e-book. Typically longer than a white paper, it serves a similar function. If you e-book goes into great depth on a subject, it can generate a great deal of buzz and establish your reputation and help boost your online lead generation campaign.

Source: HingeMarketing.com

ImageSource:

8.Online Lead generation via Blogs

Online lead generation is all about engaging your website visitor with content. Blogging is such a phenomenon that is all about sharing great content with your website visitors. Offering content that helps readers solve their business problems or provide some value will have them coming back and share your site with other people. Blogging isn’t as instant as some of the other suggestions but is very beneficial in the long run. You can have dedicated members from your team to write such valuable and insightful content that helps readers. This should be a good way to get a lot of posts written fairly quickly. Once you get the ball rolling, you can reduce to around 2-3 blogs per week.

Source: CoBloom.com

ImageSource: WrittenT

ImageSource: Writtent.com

9.Growth Hacking

Growth hacking is a revolutionary way to spread awareness of your business. Offering free trials, freemium versions and free credits are good ways to start online lead generation via growth hacking. You can make this valuable and addictive element of your website accessible to a larger audience by sharing and inviting new users which will expand your leads tremendously in a short span of time. Whether it be free credits for use of a particular plug-in or a queue jump of some kind, create a simple problem with a simple solution. The best aspect of growth hacking is that it is more so an inbound lead generation technique as you get the people to do the work for you. People will spread the word about your value offering and gradually, more and more people will come to your site, which provides an opportunity for more leads.

Source: WhoIsVisiting.com

ImageSource: StartUpNation

ImageSource: StartUpNation.com

10.Webinars for Online Lead generation

Webinars are the best ways to engage your audience and in turn, provides an opportunity for an online lead generation. When you host a webinar, you can reach a new audience of people interested in your topic. They may not know much about your brand yet, but they probably know that they’re interested in the webinar subject. Once your webinar event concludes, make sure to continue to nurture your leads with appropriate follow-up content. Thank them for attending, send them more relevant articles or downloadable resources, invite them to your next event, and survey them regarding their experience. Webinars provide information to attendees that your potential customers can actually use. You can increase your event’s draw if you partner with an industry influencer to promote or co-host your event. That way, your influencer can advertise the webinar to their audience, introducing more of them to you in the process.

Source: Business2Community.com

ImageSource: ReadyTalk

ImageSource: ReadyTalk.com

Online lead generation needs to be done consistently and always ensure you monitor your campaigns. Analyzing the progress of your various online lead generation campaigns can help you improve your campaigns.

Comment below and share your insights on online lead generation.

 Source: This article was published aeroleads.com By Vedh Jagadish

Categorized in Online Research

Lead generation is one of the most, if not most, important functions a successful business has to master in order to survive and thrive. Lead generation is the process of attracting and converting strangers and cold prospects into warning qualified leads who are potential candidates for making a purchase of your product or service offering.  For a business to survive it needs a continuous stream of new potential customers. A lead is a person who has indicated interest in your company’s product or service in some way, shape, or form. Whenever a cold prospect shows an interest in your business, it’s the prospect that’s initiating the relationship with you, rather than you, the business, initiating the relationship with the prospect. This makes it easier and more natural for the prospect to want to make a purchasing decision from you somewhere down the line.

This article covers 10 of easy to implement and ideal ways you can create potential customers for your business starting today.

What is a sales lead?

qualified lead with purchasing intent is a potential buyer of an item or service. A lead is generated for your business when an individual or business demonstrates an interest in your product or service and in turn for something of value provides their contact information. This value proposition is what we call a sales hook. A qualified lead is vital to your business being able to eventually generate revenue and profit and is done by matriculating the lead through your sales funnel pathways. A successful business should have a well-defined lead generation strategy in order to procure the best quality leads, at the lowest price, which has intent to make a purchasing decision at a later date. Business’s engaged in lead generation activities can generate qualified leads any number ways, such as online advertising, social media promotions, trade shows, email, as well as numerous other marketing techniques. The list of potential lead generation techniques is endless and only bound by one’s creativity.

Look at it this way, if you generate more leads, but only have an average product, you still win! This is because leads mean more revenue for your business. And revenue means there’s the potential for more profit.

How to generate leads online?

Nowadays to generate leads online has become a lot easier due to the availability and multitude of online platforms and channels. For example, social media provides an excellent communication conduit for promoting and engaging your brand with consumers by directly connecting with them anywhere in the world. It’s almost a given that your business must have an established brand presence on social media channels as well as a clean and modern website that leads can easily find and review the products or services you’re offering. Given this, it’s easy to understand that online promotional activities are one of the best lead generation techniques in modern marketing.

The following are ten lead generation techniques that you might consider incorporating into your marketing mix.

target leads with content marketing

1. Target Leads through Content Marketing

By now, it should be obvious that content marketing is one of the staples behind driving quality web traffic to your website in an effort generate consistent leads that will eventually turn into sales. The more focused your content marketing is on solving pain points of your targeted audience, the more likely those website visitors will be likely become loyal consumers of your brand’s product or service. Your content marketing efforts must focus on one thing and one thing only which is providing value to your target audience in the form of tips, tricks, how to’s, and more. If you remember to focus on solving your target audience’s pain point on every content article you carefully craft, you will eventually find success in generating well-qualified leads. High-quality content can also be a benefit for your business as it will draw more attention to your site from influencers and others within your industry in the form of backlinks. Backlinks are one of the most important aspects in getting your content and website ranked on the first page of Google’s Search Results Page (SERPs). Be sure to add relevant pictures, video, and infographics to expand the reach and engagement of the article, as well as give your target audience a more visual way to absorb your content (not everyone learns the same way so mix it up to appeal to more than one type of learning pathway). By allowing our site visitors to self-discover your interesting tips, event, how to, or news interest piece, will help to establish your authority and brand presence in your given niche.

target leads on forums for lead generation boost to your website

2. Be Active in Discussions and Forums

Potential clients are everywhere throughout the world and they’re most active on all discussion sites also better known as forums. Forum users will discuss any and all issues related to a business’s product or service. Forum users are there most of the time posting about these issues in order to interact with other skilled people who can help them. This is the place your organization can provide solutions to these problems as well as keeping your brand center stage with them. This is the one best lead generation techniques you can use that doesn’t cost money. All you have to do is search the forum discussion boards and have an active presence on them and make sure you’re timely in responding to inquiries on a consistent basis.

use quora for lead generation

3. Connect with People through Quora

Quora has been proven as one of the best lead generation techniques you can use to actively engage with consumers and answer their questions regarding your product or service. What makes Quora an excellent lead generation technique is that it connects you with your target consumers in a question and answer format. As an online advertiser, you can make a profile and answer questions and can interact with the people in need. It’s a good platform to generate sales leads and very helpful in the b2b lead generation side.

The purpose of Quora is to connect skilled individuals and company’s who have the information and skill sets with those who seek it. The focus is on uniting individuals with varying points of view in an effort to diversify one’s way of thinking and/or learning on any given subject. Quora provides everyone with a chance to share their insight and unique perspective they may have gained from practical application and experience. You can easily participate in this knowledge sharing social media platform and promote your business without spending a dime. Additionally, you will get first-hand experience and knowledge in order to know and understand your target audience’s pain points and how to provide them with a solution which will amplify your lead generation efforts many times over.

lead generation tip share videos on social media sites

4. Share Videos on Social Media Sites

Sharing videos on social sites is one of the best lead generation techniques that doesn’t require capital to begin doing. There is the number of web-based social networking platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and so forth, each having a unique way to engage with your target audience. YouTube is the most popular social channel for sharing video content. YouTube isn’t only a video sharing site; it’s also the 2nd largest search engine behind Google. This social platform allows your organization to create and maintain your own channel where you can share recordings with respect to specific occasions and events, instructional based videos, and just about anything you cant think of. This will help your company stay in front of your rivals which helps in your lead generation activities to procure new and ongoing sales leads. All you have to do is create a video, add it to your channel and share the simple, concise and easy to digest product videos in order to attract new leads that will eventually land on your company’s website.

website optimization for increased lead generation

5. Optimize your Website

The leads you obtain are only as good as the website that produces them. If you look at examples from some of the top converting lead generation sites, you can learn what and why works on that site and apply the same techniques to your website. As a general rule, there are general elements that should be found on every landing page you use, which includes: company phone number, short contact forms (example: full name & email), social proof in the form of customer testimonials, videos that directly speak to your audience, the use of powerful action verbs such as “get”, “feel” and “have”, with a consideration of your end-goal (get their contact information), and always test, test, and split test again. Additionally, you must follow the best on-page SEO techniques to ensure your content gets listed by the search engines.

lead generation tips for online audience discovery

6. Discover Your Target Audience through Social Media

The one thing you should take into consideration when using social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram is that you can showcase your brand in front your exact intended targeted audience. With the internet and social media, everyone is online 24/7 and using social media platforms consistently, with reports showing user averaging several hours per day. Thus it’s a platform where you can find the sales leads and by sharing the quality information lead generation can be done more easily.

With Facebook and Instagram leads are created by socio-economics, for example, age, sex, occupation, single, married, area, instruction, interests, with the sky being the only limit. Putting your capital resources to work in social communities may be one of the best methods to promote online, given the present market conditions.

lead generation get attention of the press and media

7. Catch the Attention of the Press

This old-school marketing tactic is one of the most reliable lead generation techniques. There are numerous reasons for including press releases as part of your overall marketing strategy, they can play a very powerful role in making your target audience take notice of your business. Simply put, your target audience can not conduct business with you if they do not know that your brand exists. This being the case, a press release can generate awareness of your brand.

When you launch a new product or service, one of the first things that should be done is to issue a press release informing the public of it. You have to provide the context as to what the main pain point is that your product or service solves. If you remember to answer the question, “Why should I care?” for both the journalist who will be reading your press release and the target audience interested in your niche, you will be able to get it in front of a large number of eyeballs which translates into web traffic.

Press release distribution platforms such as PRNewsWire will get you traffic from various local and national media houses. However, if you self-publish your press releases on your own website it will count towards your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts in order to drive free traffic from search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing

google adwords for lead generation

8. Use Google Adwords Paid Ads for Lead Generation

Using Google Adwords pay per click (PPC) online advertising model to generate qualified leads with intent is a great way to generate more leads for your business. No matter what industry and niche you are in, you can reach your target audience who are ready to buy from you on a daily basis based on understanding their search term patterns.

One of the main things you should focus on is your quality score which Google rewards advertisers who have a high enough score with a lower cost per click (CPC) and higher ad positions.

In order to improve your Adwords Quality Score (QS), you have to stop targeting junk keywords and try to increase your bid with match keyword phrases.

Remarketing also can increase your Quality Score, because you will be targeting people who have already shown interest in your product or service from a previous ad from the initial search query they performed.

It’s important to recognize the impact of mobile devices have on your Adwords advertising activities so that you can optimize your account accordingly. My past experience shows that it’s a lot easier to convert mobile users who click your ads, on both search networks or display networks, mostly due to the intimacy a mobile device provides. Just like we touched on earlier, make sure you optimize all of your landing pages, so that web visitors can easily find the information that they came to the page for or the action that you want them to take next.

lead generation tip public speaking

9. Public speaking as Lead Generation Technique

Another low or no cost lead generation technique is to give a keynote presentation at an event like trade shows, conferences, and business events. Talking on an occasion and introducing your brand instantly gives you name recognition, popularity, and acknowledgment as an authority leader in your given industry. This will actually raise you from the several different merchants or specialist co-ops attempting to get noticeable. What’s more, by catching up with individuals you meet at the event in a convenient manner, you remain in their mind. The people remember more what they have heard rather than what they have seen, thus making it an excellent method to generate leads and sales.

lead generation use seo for best lead gen activities

10. SEO (Best for Online Sales Lead Generation)

Google is continuously improving and changing which makes the search results more relevant and useful for the end user. Given that over 90% of all search result clicks are not paid advertisements gives us reason to invest significantly more resources and thought into SEO strategies than attempting to blackhat hack Google’s algorithms in order to rank quickly on the search engine results pages (SERPs) with techniques that will eventually get your site banned and forever delisted. A safe and sound approach you should take is focusing on longtail keyword phrases that your target audience conducts searches on. For example, whenever somebody enters a particular keyword phrase, your website could be listed at the top of search engine page for that particular keyword, given the competition is low enough and that you have high-quality content with a word count of at least 1500 nowadays. It is imperative that your website has solid on-page technicals for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to occur. This means before you worry about backlinks for authority sites in your space, you must focus on each pages content and structure.

To generate leads and sales you have to have a solid knowledge base SEO practices and tactics. After strictly following the best practices, SEO will be one of the best lead generation techniques that will bring a continuous stream of website traffic for years to come. If you are unsure of these best practices you can always hire an SEO agency to conduct search engine optimization in order to ensure best long-term results.

Conclusion

Now that you’re aware of top 10 Lead Generation Techniques to Increase Your Online Sales, you should start with the first technique, learn everything you can about it, prior to implementation. Once you build up your skill level in these techniques, it will be much easier for you to get optimum results and an increase in sales. These lead generation tactics are a few of the best methods for online advertising and are used by a majority of Digital Marketing experts and business owners around the world.

Source: This article was published marketingmediawizard

Categorized in Research Methods

Starting an online store can seem intimidating, but after the initial leap, it works itself out naturally. Once you get the orders rolling in, you will need more and more tools to help with the current volume and to help gain more customers. These tools will help to make it easier when integrating various programs to make your working time much more productive. Boost your online sales with these tools at your disposal.

1. Google Analytics

Google Analytics successfully works with almost every e-commerce platform and it allows users to track who exactly is visiting their site. Google Analytics gives the power to see how much time is spent on the site and where exactly people are leaving and why. This tool is also able to let you know if your website is really attracting the specific audience that it is intended for.

2. PrimoPrint

This tool is an online printer that offers many types of printing solutions, including business cards. PrimoPrint is built on unbeatable customer service, competitive pricing, and outstanding products that allow their customers the convenience of online creation and printing rather than going to a brick and mortar location.

3. Canva

This tool is great for those who need high-quality images and graphics for their website but don’t really know where to start. These images can be used on social media accounts, blogs, and websites. once they have learned how to get the most out of Canva, brands with a small graphics budget can forgo hiring a pricey graphic designer.

4. ZenDesk

Use ZenDesk to improve the relationships that you have with your customers. With this tool, you get chat modules and voice support for the customers to use. Along with this, you get a number of other applications and extensions that help you reach out to the customers to get feedback on your performance or products.

5. SoftwareDepot

This e-commerce platform offers a wide range of tools and applications for computers that will help a business run smoothly including internet security software, Office applications, and the like. What is interesting is that SoftwareDepot only offers digital copies of the programs so that the customer always gets the best price.

6. MailChimp

Email newsletters are one of the best ways to ensure and improve customer retention. MailChimp makes this process easier, providing an email sign-up box on your website or blog. You will then need to create your own impressive emails that will give your customers the nudge they need to visit your website and purchase products.

7. Google Drive

Many people already use Google Drive, but if don’t, it’s high time you started. With this tool, you are able to store all of the media in one place that is safe, ensuring that none of it will become lost. As a whole, Google Apps is worth looking into to help with getting an email account that is professional and you will then gain access to programs to edit spreadsheets and documents.

8. Pingdom

Pingdom helps you to check the speed of your website in order to improve the SEO, as well as the overall experience for the customer. All you need to do is paste the URL of the website into the Pingdom speed test box and you can see where your website could benefit from improvements regarding the speed. It is so simple, yet it provides priceless insight.

9. SurveyMonkey

Create and distribute surveys with SurveyMonkey as a way to receive feedback from customers. This tool is at the top of the list for free questionnaires that are capable of being embedded into websites and web stores. Once you receive a certain amount of responses, there is a fee to pay, but this allows you the chance to ask the customers questions like which products they like and what they expect from your company.

Author : Sasha Brown

Source : http://www.lifehack.org/465546/9-handy-tools-for-boosting-your-online-sales

Categorized in Online Research

Seventy percent of in-store purchases are preceded by a check on mobile, according to the findings of a new study from Google and market research firm Purchased.

 The study of 1,000 smartphone users, which resulted in more than 14,000 responses, found that 96% of consumers use their phone to conduct day to day tasks. The most-used resource on mobile was found to be mobile search (87%) which is often the first place people go.

Indeed, using a search engine was the most common activity undertaken before making a purchase, found the survey, with 30% doing so. However, the same amount of people said the first activity conducted before making a purchase was to visit a store, or other location. Both activities come before visiting a retailer website or app (24%), visiting another website or app (14%) or using a map (13%).

needs.png

The research also found that 70% of mobile users who made a purchase in a store had first checked their smartphone for information related to that purchase. But, not all mobile activity takes place so soon before a purchase with 68% searching on their smartphone for future purchases. However, nearly two-thirds (65%) used a mobile device in the moment they wanted to make a purchase.

"Consumer expectations for immediacy and relevance are higher than ever, and successful brands are those that connect with people in the moments that matter most to them - the I-want-to-know, I-want-to-go, I-want-to-do, and I-want-to-buy moments," said Lisa Gevelber, vice president of marketing at Google, Americas.

"Mobile search, in particular, helps marketers meet the higher expectations that consumers demand. It's with search that marketers can be there right when a consumer is looking for something to buy, somewhere to go or information to help them make a decision."

Source: http://www.bizreport.com/2016/09/mobile-search-precedes-in-store-purchases.html

Categorized in Online Research

 

I've been shopping online since it was possible to shop online. I'm not talking early-day Amazon, people, I'm saying I used to order stuff through America Online. Maybe even Prodigy (remember that?).In other words, I have literally decades of online-shopping experience, and during those years I've learned a few things. Things you should know. Things that can save you time, money, hassles or maybe even all three.So, the next time you find yourself at the checkout page for any online store, remember these three tips.

Check the cancellation options

Once the online-order wheels are set in motion, they can be hard to stop. Why would you want to? I'll give you an example: Recently I ordered an all-in-one color laser printer, having found what I thought was the best deal.

 

Not two hours later, I found it for $50 less from another store. Immediately I reached out to the first store's customer service department and requested cancellation of my order. After all, it had been only a couple hours; surely the printer hadn't shipped yet. Indeed, according to the online status page, it was still "processing."

The rep told me that this particular product was sold by a third-party vendor, and he would forward the cancellation request to them immediately. "Expect a response within four hours," I was told.

Long story short: After several days and a lot of back-and-forth with the company, the cancellation never happened -- even though I was assured it would. I had to receive the shipment, refuse it, then wait for the return and eventual refund. Bleh.

 

The takeaway: Although policies vary from one company to another, don't expect to be able to cancel an order once you've placed it. Do check the company's FAQ page to learn your options. At the same time, make sure there's a phone number you can call, because email might prove too slow to keep you within the cancellation window.

And while you're at it...

 

Check the return policy

I'm often surprised how few people do this, even though it's arguably the most important part of the online-shopping process. Before you buy anything, you should know everything there is to know about returning it. Specifically:

Is there a restocking fee?
Who pays for return shipping?
What's the window for returns? 30 days? 14? Less?
Does it matter if the item has been opened?

You should also note the conditions for returns. If an item is damaged or defective, you usually have more flexibility than if, say, you just don't like it. What's more, different policies often apply to different products. Suppose, for example, you buy a new printer, then decide it doesn't meet your needs. Because it's much harder for a vendor to resell a printer (because you've already opened the ink or toner) than, say, a smartphone, you might get charged a restocking fee. But if it's a smartphone, you might not.

Bottom line: Investigate all this stuff before you buy. It's worth the extra couple minutes of reading to avoid some potentially painful (and costly) issues later on.

Check for coupon codes

As I mentioned, I shop online a lot. And if there's one thing I've learned, it's that you should always always always try to find a coupon code.

 

Here's how: Open a new tab and do a quick search for [store name] coupon code. Doesn't matter how small the outfit; you might just find a code that's good for five percent off or free shipping or even better. It's like discovering a pot of discount gold at the end of the checkout.

If you'd rather not spend extra time poring through various sites in search of a code that works, consider a browser plug-in that does the work for you. I'm a fan of Honey, which recently added a new feature that helps you save money on Amazon purchases. But its claim to fame is one-click coupon-code search, and it'll even try the ones it finds to see if any of them work.

No code? Try to reverse-engineer yourself a discount by hitting up a cashback service. Even if you already have the item in your cart and you're ready to check out, swing by a site like Ebates. If there's a cashback option available, click through and return to the store. Your items should still be in your cart; now you can check out like normal, except you'll score a rebate after your purchase.

Source:  http://www.cnet.com/how-to/3-things-you-should-always-do-at-the-online-checkout/

 

 

 

 

 

Categorized in Online Research

Is everyone’s website illegal?

Your website consists of visible text and graphics, geared to the sighted reader. Its terms and conditions include legal disclaimers and limitations of liability, which, it explains, apply unless they are specifically prohibited by law. As a service to the public, you have posted scores of videos providing useful information for consumers in your industry.
Are these common practices illegal?

Some class action lawyers say so. They’ve been making claims against standard websites that they claim violate the federal Americans with Disabilities Act or a New Jersey consumer protection statute.
Class actions targeting website practices aren’t unusual. In the early days of the commercial Internet, many companies were sloppy with their website terms and privacy policies. Most notably, high flying dot-com companies that promised never to sell their customer data were caught flat-footed when the bubble burst. In liquidation, their customer lists were their most saleable assets, which they then usually sold, in violation of their prior promises.
Cases from that era showed the legal vulnerability of disconnects between website promises and actual business practices.

Similarly, when web technologies ran ahead of website disclosures, as allegedly occurred in some cases with behavioral advertising, customer tracking, and information sharing practices, the class action lawyers pounced then too. On multiple occasions in 2010 and 2011, the Wall Street Journal’s “What They Know” series would run articles about customer tracking on the Internet, and, the very next day, class action suits were filed keyed to the practices revealed by the Journal.

The ADA and New Jersey suits appear to be the newest wave of Internet class actions —ones that have the potential to reach thousands if not millions of website operators.

Is the Internet expanding privacy expectations?

Internet privacy - e-mails
Is the Internet invading privacy, or expanding privacy? The conventional wisdom is that the Internet is eviscerating privacy. But in some ways a heightened focus on privacy in the digital era may be creating new and greater privacy expectations.

Consider the simple matter of lists of addressees and cc’s on emails.
In the ancient days of postal mail, it was never a big deal if a sender revealed, on a letter, the other persons to whom he or she were sending the same letter, or to whom he or she was sending copies of that letter. Lots of letters show multiple addressees or multiple persons copied. That indeed explains the origin of the “cc” field, as a visible list of the persons to whom a “carbon copy” (another ancient term) was being sent.

But an expectation has developed recently that one should never send out a mass email that reveals the email addresses of all of the recipients, unless they previously knew one another. That is why the Federal Trade Commission was so red-faced recently when, in the course of preparation for its first PrivacyCon workshop on privacy research, it sent an email out to all attendees revealing – horrors! – all of their email addresses. The agency “sincerely apologized” for this terrible mistake

The presumed confidentiality of one’s email address is seen in other laws. College professors, for example, are instructed never to communicate with an entire class of students by placing all of their email addresses in the “to” field; rather, they must use the “bcc” field, so that no student receives his or her fellow students’ email addresses, which some of them may have designated as confidential personal information under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Law.

Though the prohibition against letting strangers see others’ email addresses in group emails now seems to be settled, the presumed harm to be avoided — use of those email addresses for bulk commercial emails — is fairly speculative, and such a misuse, if it occurred, would seem to cause more of an inconvenienced harm than a true privacy invasion. The same goes for concerns about reply-all “catastrophes,” such as the one that hit Thompson Reuters employees in August 2015. The event inconvenienced employees, but its true lasting impact appeared to be a flood of humorous Twitter traffic. (Another reply-all incident struck Time Inc. just this week.)

The best explanation for this new expectation, rather, seems to be an expanding understanding of privacy, at least in certain areas. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, our expectations of privacy are not steadily and uniformly shrinking. In some cases, they are expanding.

Can you be sued for posting your opinions on the Internet?

A restaurant tells customers it may sue them if they post unfavorable reviews on the Internet. A flooring company sues a customer who complained on social media that he had an “absolutely horrible experience” with the company.
Klear-Gear, a gadget company, included in its Internet terms a provision that “your acceptance of this sales contract prohibits you from taking any action that negatively impacts KlearGear.com, its reputation, products, services, management or expenses.” The terms also set damages for a violation: $3,500.

If something seems wrong to you about these cases, you are not alone. While libel law has struggled for years with the dividing line between expressions of actionable fact and constitutionally protected opinion, most laypeople, and judges, believe that statements of opinion should be protected, and broadly construed.
That may be why Grill 225, a restaurant in Charleston, met with such opposition when its scheme for suppressing unfavorable reviews was recently publicized. The restaurant required persons booking online reservations to agree to terms and conditions in which, among other things, the customer agreed “that they may be held legally liable for generating any potential negative, verbal, or written defamation against Grill 225.

Most efforts to prevent or penalize Internet comments and criticism are crushed in the court of public opinion even before they reach the courthouse. Grill 225, for example, is really only stating the obvious when it says that it could sue a customer. It wisely hasn’t done so in the two years that it has posted its terms. The flooring company, in Colorado, did sue its customer, but the case provoked a state legislator to propose stronger protection against suits aimed at chilling free speech.

Indeed, last year California passed a so-called “Yelp Bill” that prohibited businesses from including in their contracts “a provision waiving the consumer’s right to make any statement regarding the seller or lessor or its employees or agents, or concerning the goods or services.” A similar bill, the proposed Consumer Review Freedom Act, has been introduced in Congress.

When cases do get to court, even under existing law, statements of opinion are generally protected. As one example, consider a case involving presidential candidate Donald Trump, back in the early 1980s, when he announced an audacious plan to build the tallest building in the world, a 150-story skyscraper, on landfill just south of downtown Manhattan.

Trump’s plan met opposition in Chicago, then home of the world’s tallest building, the 108-story Sears Tower (now Willis Tower). Specifically, the Chicago Tribune’s architecture critic, Paul Gapp, analyzed Trump’s proposal in a review and deemed it, among other things, “one of the silliest things anyone could inflict on New York or any other city." Gapp’s review was accompanied by a Tribune artist’s rendering of southern Manhattan with a giant new building, a Sears Tower lookalike on steroids, sticking out like a sore thumb below and east of Battery Park.

Trump, no more shy then than he is now, immediately sued the Tribune, seeking damages to the tune of $500 million. I worked for the Tribune’s law firm and had the task of writing the motion to dismiss Trump’s case. There were plenty of good legal authorities on the right of critics to express their opinions, but I decided to prepare our brief a bit differently.

Experts make privacy regulation a serious threat

Now is the time to get smart about privacy and technology, because your government regulators are smart and savvy in those areas.

No, that’s not a misprint. Though government regulators are often far behind on the technology curve, real experts have taken over at several important agencies that regulate conduct on the Internet.
Take Ashkan Soltani, who took over in late 2014 as Chief Technologist for the Federal Trade Commission. Just by hiring a chief technologist, the FTC showed awareness of the need for deep computer expertise to effectively regulate privacy and commercial practices on the Internet. And by hiring Soltani, one of the sharpest computer privacy experts in country, the FTC showed it was serious.

Soltani was one of a handful of computer experts who have been at the forefront of studying privacy on the Internet. Along with his former colleagues at Berkeley, and like-minded researchers, especially at Stanford and Carnegie-Mellon universities, Soltani has identified and publicized many previously unknown ways in which the Internet allows personal information to be collected, used and commercialized.
Soltani and his colleagues haven’t just quietly studied Internet privacy. They’ve been active and savvy in getting the word out on their studies.

To take one example, a few years back, most website operators thought they had satisfied their disclosure obligations if they told their users that they honored users’ instructions with respect to HTTP “cookies” (datasets that identify previous browsing activity). But in an important research report in 2009, Soltani and colleagues reported that even when users deleted HTTP cookies, in an attempt to shield knowledge of their previous browsing activity, some websites, by activating Flash cookies (often tied to web video files) would automatically regenerate those HTTP cookies – a generally unintended result, but one that cast doubt on the company’s privacy promises. Soltani followed this up with reports on other pervasive tracking technologies.

Soltani and his colleagues and co-authors, many of whom, like him, are motivated by their need for more privacy protection, focused their research on exposing technologies (like Flash cookies) that collected or revealed information that consumers thought was private. Many of their research projects became the foundation of class action lawsuits against companies that made privacy promises in ignorance of these technologies.

And it wasn’t a coincidence that Soltani’s research was used in class action cases. He served as technology adviser to the Wall Street Journal for its widely read “What They Know” series that has brought many Internet privacy issues to widespread attention, beginning in 2010. In several instances, a flurry of class action suits followed within days of the Journal’s Soltani-supported articles.

Soltani isn’t the only technology whiz to join the government from the Berkeley-Stanford-Carnegie-Mellon research triad. The Federal Communications Commission recently announced that it was hiring Jonathan Mayer, another member of the group, to act as its Chief Technologist. Like Soltani, his research has focused specifically on web-tracking technologies. And as with Soltani, Mayer’s research has led to major privacy cases, including an FTC consent decree against Google, concerning its use of tracking code on the Safari browser. While privacy isn’t an FCC focus, Mayer’s work on net neutrality could significantly affect many businesses.

Some business people may think that they don’t have to worry much about the FTC, a slimly staffed agency that has the impossible mission of policing “unfair or deceptive acts or practices” all over our huge country. But the FTC has been very active in the Internet privacy area, and its results, usually in the form of consent decrees, are reshaping how business is done on the Internet.

As two privacy experts have pointed out in a law review article titled “The FTC and the New Common Law of Privacy,” the FTC has become the primary regulator of privacy on the Internet, and its large and growing body of consent decrees have an effect far beyond the companies that are directly bound (which, moreover, includes such Internet giants as Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Linkedin). The authors assert that contrary to the general belief that the United States has weak privacy regulation compared to Europe, that view is “becoming outdated as FTC privacy jurisdiction develops and thickens.”

Source:  http://www.thompsoncoburn.com/news-and-information/internet-law-twists-and-turns.aspx

Categorized in Internet Privacy

Just about every online business or business with a website uses an analytics tool to track traffic. However, more often than not, business owners and managers do not take full advantage of the information contained in analytics reports - or they don't know how to.

 

So how should businesses interpret Web analytics data -- and leverage that information to decrease bounce and exit rates and increase sales on their website? To find out, CIO.com asked dozens of Web analytics and marketing experts. Their top eight tips on how to use web analytics data to improve conversion rates and sales appear below.

 

[Note: Most of the advice below refers to Google Analytics. However, it can also be applied to other Web analytics software and services.]

 

See how people are accessing your site (mobile devices vs. laptops or desktops) -- and optimize accordingly. "Look at how sales, especially conversion rates, differ by device type," says Bill Elward, CIO, Castle Ink, a provider of remanufactured ink cartridges, laser toner and printer cartridges.

 

"With close to 40 percent of Internet activity generated via mobile devices, it's critical to understand which devices are being used to access your website," Elward says. "Be sure to look at conversion funnels and bounce rates by device for your key conversion pages as it could highlight issues such as page load [times] and layout [problems]." And if customers are using mobile devices to view your site, make sure the entire site is mobile friendly.

 

Track where traffic is coming from -- to help determine where to invest marketing dollars and time. Ask yourself, "Is your traffic coming from other websites (referrals), social media or search engines (paid/organic)?" says Mike Wolfe, CEO, WAM Enterprises, a digital marketing agency. "Knowing where traffic comes from can help you understand where to invest more time and money to increase traffic."

 

"Analytics data can [also] allow you to understand what marketing channel is leading to the most conversions on your website," adds Chris Meares, director of Analytics at MaassMedia, a boutique digital analytics consulting firm.

 

"By tracking marketing campaigns -- email, display and paid search -- companies can understand what campaigns are contributing to conversion by utilizing the Google Analytics attribution model," Meares says. "By understanding the conversion rates of each campaign, a company can move their marketing budgets to the most productive marketing channel."

 

Discover where visitors are located, so you can better target those areas. "Use a geographic filter to figure out which countries, regions or states generate more sales than others," says Noah Parsons, COO, Palo Alto Software, providers of business plan software. Then you can "use this information to create focused advertising campaigns for specific geographies." You can also use the information to "try and figure out why some regions don't convert and consider special offers, discounts or other incentives to boost sales for those regions."

 

Use demographics data to better understand and target your audience. "Google Analytics recently released a Demographics and Interests segmentation in the Audience report," says Katya Constantine, founder, DigiShopGirl Media.

 

"This allows sites to see the age, [gender] and interests of their site users - and which segments have a higher conversion rate," Constantine explains. "Based on this data, you can create better targeting criteria in future display and paid traffic efforts."

 

Know exactly what your customers are looking for (with Site Search). "Use Site Search data in Google Analytics to find terms people are searching for while they are on your site, along with the page they were visiting at the time," says Dave Cannon, co founder, FindProz, a private instruction marketplace.

 

"This will help you pinpoint lost opportunities for product placements or additional mid-to-low-funnel content, and where they should be located on your site," Cannon says. For example, "someone might search for 'photographer' and then refine the search with 'wedding photographer.' [So] now you know to advertise wedding photographers."

 

Learn where visitors are landing. "Look at your Landing Page metrics," says Nick Mather, COO, CyberMark International, an Internet marketing firm specializing in ethical SEO. "These are the pages where all your website traffic lands from search engines and other referrers. The content (text, images, call-to-action elements, etc.) on these pages should be perfected as to decrease the bounce rate and increase the conversion rate."

 

Find out which calls to action generate the most interest. "When it comes to online conversion rates and lead generation, you can use in-page analytics to learn which calls to action are producing the best results on your Web pages," says Brendan Cournoyer, director of Content Marketing, Brainshark, a provider of cloud-based business presentation solutions for sales, marketing and training.

 

"For example, Google Analytics allows you to view a web page and see which links on that page are driving the most clicks," Cournoyer says. "Are some calls to action more effective than others? Does the placement of the call to action matter? Do some calls to action resonate better based on the topical focus on the page they live on? By using this data, you can further hone your messages to increase conversions based on the practices that work best."

 

Pay attention to bounce rates to see where you're losing customers. "Review the bounce rate of your landing pages," says Steve Lamar, vice president, SEO Production, Volume 9, a search marketing firm.

 

"Look for pages with higher traffic and high bounce rates relative to your other pages," he advises. "Pages with high bounce rates can indicate a problem with the information, layout or call to actions. Use bounce rates as a initial indicator of problem pages."

 

In addition, think about using "a conversion funnel to figure out where you are losing customers on the way to a sale," says Parsons. "Are there steps in your checkout process that are causing users to drop out and not purchase? Simple changes might result in dramatic improvements in the number of people who end up purchasing," he says. Moreover, "conversion funnels can be used for sites that aren't ecommerce sites, too."

 

Have another tip regarding how to interpret and use web analytics data to improve conversion rates? Leave a Comment.

 

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff is a regular contributor to CIO.com and runs a marketing communications firm focused on helping organizations better interact with their customers, employees and partners.

 

Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline, Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn. 

 

Source : http://www.cio.com/article/2379548/web-analytics/8-ways-to-use-web-analytics-to-increase-online-sales.html 

Categorized in Business Research

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