The Bot That is Getting Rid of Buyer’s Remorse

31 Oct


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Buyer’s remorse is a phenomenon that any company would be happy to get rid of. It is a highly illogical response that nonetheless costs companies in a huge way by reducing its potential number of loyal customers.

Fortunately for the business community, there is currently an API based bot that may have an answer to some aspects of buyer’s remorse. Many customers who make a purchase and immediately find a cheaper alternative somewhere else may experience buyer’s remorse if they feel as though they overpaid. A new technology that is based on an API from Mastercard makes the price comparison journey much easier for these consumers.

Earny is the name of the app and it is making quite the stir in the B2B marketplace. The main function of the app is to scan the recent purchases of a consumer against inventory that retailers currently hold. Putting these two lists up against each other gives the consumer a quick way to find savings that would otherwise have gone missing. If a consumer is confident that he is getting the lowest price, there is less chance of buyer’s remorse.

Earny goes a bit further than psychological stroking, however. By using the app, consumers actually become privy to the current price of goods and the inventory of competitors in real time. The result is a very real improvement in price comparison technology. The implications of this new technology are massive.

First of all, the market can definitely expect copycat APIs to appear very quickly. With price comparison APIs all backed by the major credit card companies, will there be any room for price differences in the market? Companies will be forced to justify any increase in price, which will certainly make it harder to market on anything except price.

Secondly, apps like this may actually invite an informal type of collusion into certain marketplaces. Consumers are not the only ones who can use Earny and its cousins – companies can use the app just as easily. Savvy companies will be moving their prices in real time to match the best prices on the market. Smaller industries may begin to imitate the future’s market because of the speed with which prices can now be accessed.

Third, companies who try to make profit based upon the ignorance of the customer will have a great deal to answer for. The post purchase communications between a company and a customer are incredibly important when trying to upsell or resell to that customer. Suddenly, the level of communication will become much more sophisticated. The consumer now has the same amount of information as the industry insider.

In large scale markets with low profit margins, the introduction of apps such as Earny represent a changing of the guard. This is why you must keep your ear to the street – to stay ahead of innovations like this. Savvy companies are already shoring up their prices and customer service lines to deal with any backlash from the introduction of this new technology. You should definitely do the same, especially if you have loyal customers that you are planning to keep.

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Why You Should Move from HTTP to HTTPS

26 Oct

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One of the trends that has been most evident in 2017 is that many B2B website owners are moving from HTTP to HTTPS. For those who are not tech savvy, this change is almost invisible unless you are paying attention. You can still search for websites at their original HTTP web address and smoothly be redirected to the HTTPS version without ever noticing. HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, which is the safer version of HTTP.

Why are Websites Changing?

The real answer to this question is that Google has recommended this change. Since webmasters want to comply with Google’s recommendations to perform better in SERP (Search Engine Results Pages), sites are being upgraded to HTTPS. Google has made this recommendation because they want websites to be as secure as possible. As is clear through daily news reports, website hacking is getting more sophisticated every day. Therefore upgrading security can only endear you to your users and clients. Certainly, no one wants their private information to be displayed any more publicly than necessary. Adding layers of security will give your customers confidence to use your website without fear of privacy risk.

Do You Really Need to Change to HTTPS?

If you don’t have an e-commerce site or collect private customer information, you really don’t NEED HTTPS. However, this issue is a catch-22 for website operators: visitors to your site who read your posts and learn about products or services, and then don’t leave their data behind aren’t risking their security. But, even if the only information you collect is an email address, privacy becomes an issue. The truth is that it probably isn’t too hard to obtain a person’s email address in other ways. Customers may not realize that truth, though.

Perception vs. Reality

The appearance of security in the customer’s mind is the key factor in this discussion. If a customer feels safer with HTTPS, that fact in itself is a reason to change over. With news media posting articles about voter hacking and data breaches, you can understand why clients might be leery about privacy and security. Why should they trust you when it seems that anyone can hack into supposedly secure websites? Ultimately, your decision should be based on what is best for your customers and your company’s business growth. And that decision is clearly moving to HTTPS. Any marketer can tell you that perception is more important than reality. If your site appears to be more secure (even if it really doesn’t need that level of security), your visitors will feel more secure.

Technical Aspects of Moving to HTTPS

The most critical areas of your website to move to HTTPS are pages that involve e-commerce, payment, or collecting data. You may find the moving part of your website is more budget-friendly, and then you can delay the rest for next year’s budget.

Moving the entire site is not too complicated with a knowledgeable webmaster or web service. There are plugins for WordPress that will handle the change for you if you have a smaller site, or if your site is more complex, your website contractor can make the move for you. The change isn’t time-consuming and can be made without any interruption of service.

Conclusion

The primary reasons that you should move to HTTPS are that (1) Google wants you to, and (2) your customers will feel more secure. The procedure will not change your content or customer interactions, but will improve your relationships with Google and prospective and existing clients. Eventually, Google will require HTTPS for any sites that want to be competitive in their search engine, and they may require it to appear in SERP at all.

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Why B2B Marketers Could Learn Some Things From B2C Brands

24 Oct

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B2B and B2C are too often seen as completely separate and distinct modes of business. As consumers become bulk buyers and large companies demand more personalized service, however, business practices are overlapping between the two disciplines more and more. There are quite a few things that B2B marketers could learn from the consumer marketing pros. Here are just a few of the most successful tips.

The Audience as Your Central Focus

It is becoming important to recognize even the largest of companies as a personal partner in the sales process. If your sales process consists of checking off boxes in your CRM, you may soon find yourself supplanted by a company that drills down into the personal information of your former customer. You need individual site hierarchies. You need to understand a company’s capacity to purchase. Most importantly, you must cultivate personal relationships within the company in order to truly qualify a lead and streamline your sales funnel.

Getting More Personal

The more precisely that you know your target market, the more effectively you can target relevant content to qualified leads.Your work in this matter will provide an advantage not only to your company, but also to the prospects you market to. If you personalize your research and connection to customers, they will buy more because they “get” the reasons why you are actually contacting them. Forego the temptation to waste your time marketing to unqualified leads for the sake of playing the percentage game.

Omnichannel Marketing

It may seem counterintuitive to talk about streamlining the sales flow process while expanding the communications platforms upon which the sales funnel takes place. However, giving your prospects a proper choice of how to get in touch with you actually personalizes the experience more for them, giving you a leg up on your competition. You never know how a company may prefer to be contacted – direct mail, phone, social media – so it is best to have all of those stations fully manned and ready to go.

Benefits, Not Features

Features are what your tech staff communicate to your executive staff when the company is looking to generate a genuinely superior product for the marketplace. Once the value has been established, it must be translated to the needs of each individual user. This is where your personalized research into each prospect will truly pay off. Just as you never know how your prospect will prefer to contact you, you never know what feature will truly speak to their needs unless you know them. Benefit descriptions speak directly to the immediate problems that a prospect is facing and gives precise solutions.

There will always be a bit of difference between selling to Sears and Roebuck and selling to Joe Roebuck. However, a good marketer understands the distance between business is closing as technology expands and improves. Take the tips above to heart no matter the scale that you sell on. Every marketer needs to be more flexible in order to keep up with the challenges of the modern business landscape. For best results, bring it all together in a constantly evolving strategy that takes the responses of your target prospects into account at all times.

 

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Using Social Media for Customer Service

19 Oct

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There are many ways that B2B companies are different entities than B2C companies, but social media usage is not one of them. Because the fact is that your prospects, existing customers and employees are all on social media, probably every single day. Social media has become an easy way to keep up with friends and relatives as well as business connections.

Depending on your industry, the social media sites your clients visit will vary. But there is a lot of usage overlap with B2C companies. One of the best features of social media sites is the ability to chat in real time with your contacts. This feature is used so much on Facebook that the site has a separate mobile app just for chat alone. Additionally, video sites such as YouTube offer product and service education opportunities that you can use in discussions with existing customers to help them solve problems.

B2B Customers are Not Just on LinkedIn

While it is true that many B2B professionals are active on LinkedIn, you can also find them on other social sites including Facebook, Twitter and some industry-specific sites. LinkedIn is a great site for content, connections and networking, but is it the best place for customer service? Probably not. Unless you are using LinkedIn for setting up a face-to-face customer service meeting, there are better places to interact.

Using Facebook for Customer Service

Facebook gives you several ways to conduct customer service conversations. You can set up a section of your company’s Facebook page to have questions and complaints answered. The key here is making sure someone is always available to answer these questions during the hours you specify you are open. Facebook is a great way to have direct contact with customers, but if you don’t respond quickly, they will be disappointed. You can connect with your customers via Facebook Messenger from just about anywhere in the world for free. As long as you have an internet or mobile connection, you can help customers solve their product issues or discover their service needs. You can also set up a section of your Facebook page for customers to ask questions that other customers answer with the ability for your staff to jump in when needed.

Twitter for Rapid Response

Twitter only has room for 140 characters; however this makes it ideal for rapid response to service issues. The entire platform is full of interactions that are short and to-the-point. You can set up an entire account just for customer service, and post the link on your main Twitter account and other social media sites. Customers can contact you easily and you can respond with a quick solution. The biggest drawback to Twitter is that the site is open for all to see, whereas Facebook offers you privacy on Messenger.

Customer Service Adds Value

When a customer knows that they can get the customer service they need consistently and quickly, they will be happy with your level of service. This customer confidence adds value to your company as a whole and can act as a channel to market new products or services to existing customers. At least for establishing initial contact, social media is an ideal way to interact and resolve customer service issues.

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Top 5 Content Marketing Trends for 2017

17 Oct

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Content marketing trends change often due to advances in technology, search engine preferences and changes in advertising. While the primary goals remain the same, strategies and techniques vary dependent on audience and industry. B2B companies work to find the best practices to reach their leads and prospects and turn them into loyal customers as they move through the marketing funnel. As content marketing becomes more sophisticated and prospects more discerning, let’s take a look at the current trends for 2017.

1. Videos Gain Importance

When online videos were first introduced, the video channels were clogged with homemade videos made by teenagers and kids that they shared with friends on YouTube and other video sites. Videos are still made by teens these days, but they are vastly surpassed by professionally made content marketing videos. Videos are a popular form of content, especially with the growth of mobile technology. They are easy for prospects to view on any device and if they offer value, drive traffic, revenues and profits to your website and/or brick-and-mortar store.

While videos can be effective for any product or service, they are particularly useful for B2B companies. Most B2B companies need to explain complex operations in bite-sized pieces. Videos are the perfect medium for that purpose. Videos don’t always have to be highly professional; simple hand-held cameras that display insight into a company’s culture, process or events can build a relationship between the business and customer one person at a time. You should also take note that videos show up at the top of the SERPS on Google, and can be searched on YouTube. YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine on the internet.

2. People Get their News from Social Media

With the majority of the news media online, many people get their news from their preferred social media channel. While a person may get individual updates from a local or national news source via email, it is quite likely that they are also getting access to stories on Facebook, Twitter or other social media sites. When you add this trend to the growing move towards personalized content, you can see how different segments of the population are seeing completely different stories. Knowing where your audience hangs out is very important in targeting your content marketing. Knowing which personas are your best customers will help hone that content for your preferred audience.

3. Super Niche, Micro Niche or Sub-Niche Branding

As content marketing becomes more personalized, marketers can increasingly dig deeper for niche interests. By pulling together a detailed persona of their ideal buyer for each tiny niche, marketing can be targeted to a very niche population. Big brands are taking advantage of this sophisticated targeting by creating micro-niche branding. If you pay attention, you can see this trend every day in advertising for foods, travel, clothing and specialized markets.

4. The Growth of Remarketing

Remarketing is an insidious force that is very effective. When you visit a website and then leave, you are shown ads from that site as you move around the internet. You can see evidence of this trend any time you search for a topic or visit a site. You get reminders to go back to the original site and place an order.

5. Interactive and Easy-to-Navigate Content

It is easy to lose prospects when they land on difficult or confusing content or hard-to-navigate pages. This issue is problematic, especially after working so hard to move leads and prospects through your marketing funnel. Making websites easier and more fun to use is an effective method of retaining visitors. As technology advances, it is a smart choice to make site interactions more entertaining.

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