Connect with us

Growing a Business

How to sell on Amazon: A selling guide

Published

on

Get up to 30%* off! Get going with GoDaddy!

Selling from A to Z

The moment you sign up as an Amazon seller, the clock starts ticking. Amazon will hold you to its monthly performance metrics from day one. And being prepared makes all the difference: with this checklist, you’ll be ready to ace every step of selling on Amazon. We’ve covered everything from the most basic preparation to the next steps necessary to grow into your success.

How to get started selling on Amazon

To start selling on Amazon, you’ll need to start with these steps:

  1. Gather your paperwork.
  2. Figure out the logistics.
  3. Prepare your business plan.
  4. Register your seller account.
  5. Create product listings.

Let’s start selling.

1. Paperwork you need to start selling on Amazon

 

Laptop and smartphone with a cup of coffee

It’s a lot easier to start selling with your paperwork in order.

Some of this will be needed for the account opening process, some of it is common sense, and some of it helps to protect your business in the future.

You’ll need to start your Amazon store:

  • Your business name: The name of your business. If you’re doing business as another name, things get more complex, but you’ll need this whatever you do.
  • Email: You’ve got to have a valid email address. But I’d consider setting one up especially for your Amazon seller account – maybe add a new account to your business email or if you don’t have one, open a fresh Gmail and keep signed in on an alternative browser so checking it regularly is easy.
  • Credit card: You’ll need to have the credit card you’re going to use for your business handy and solvent.
  • Tax ID and State Tax: You’ll need your tax ID. If you’re selling as an individual, have your Social Security number handy; if you’re selling as a company, you’re going to need your company’s
  • Federal Tax ID number: When you’re in the process of signing up to your Amazon account, you’ll need to fill in a 1099-K Tax Interview document.

If you’re not based in the United States, you might be asked for this in error; contact Amazon and it should be cleared up in a couple of days.

State Tax ID information is only needed for states in which you have a physical presence (‘nexus’). If you have an office in Arizona, a warehouse in Nebraska, and a factory in Minnesota, those are the states you need State Tax ID info for.

If you’re planning to use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), there can be other tax issues. For a single seller with a single location, FBA tax is simple. But for a multi-state entity, it can get complex.

If that’s you, it’s cheaper and simpler to talk to a specialist tax attorney or adviser before you start selling on Amazon, in the same way that it’s far cheaper to have a good accountant than muddle through it all yourself. (Small business owners know what I’m talking about here!)

Companies that specialize in Amazon tax issues include:

  • Taxjar.com
  • Avalara.com
  • Taxify.co
  • Vertexsmb.com
  • FBAsalestax.com
  • Zip-tax.com
  • Catchingclouds.net

Yes, it’s just boring paperwork. But having it all set up before you start selling on Amazon is a lot less irritating than chasing it around on a time limit. And if you don’t have the tax info to hand to fill out your 1099-K, you won’t be able to sell on Amazon at all until you do.

This content should not be construed as legal or tax advice. Always consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific legal or tax situation.

2. Figure out your logistics in advance

Once you jump in and actually start selling on Amazon, fixing these logistical issues becomes much harder. It’s easier to set things up so they never become a problem in the first place.

You’ll need to know:

Your returns process:

Amazon has its own internal returns policy which you have to meet or exceed in order to be an Amazon seller. It’s a good idea to read this page, figure out what you’re going to do that’s at least as good as Amazon’s policy, and write that down somewhere, even if it’s a sticky note on your desktop. When you get an item returned, that’s the wrong time to be figuring out what to do about it – especially since you only have a 24-hour window to begin the process.

  • How (and if) you plan to use FBA:

You can oversimplify and say: smaller items work with FBA, bigger ones less so.

FBA works very differently if you commingle your items. Commingled selling lets Amazon sell your items and those of other sellers interchangeably, assuming that the item is the same.

The problem with that is, you can end up with your products – which you have control over and have carefully verified – mixed up with someone else’s who hasn’t bothered checking, or is selling fake stuff on purpose. Then when an order of yours gets shipped, it’s their poor quality product that arrives – and your reputation that gets trashed.

There are benefits to this approach, but it’s risky. By and large standard practice should be, use FBA but don’t commingle.

  • Whether you want to use a DBA name on your Amazon account:

Amazon lets you use a DBA (doing business as) name on your Amazon account, basically rebranding your Amazon account as something different from your main business.

There are plenty of legitimate reasons to do this – such as, you have a specific part of your business that takes place on Amazon. If you normally sell furniture of every kind but on Amazon you sell only wardrobes, Texas Furniture isn’t as good a name as Texas Wardrobes, for instance.

But there are also plenty of sketchy sellers on Amazon who use DBA to conceal the real identity of their company; you might have more credibility and trust if you just use your regular business name.

  • How Amazon’s product gating applies to what you want to sell:

Amazon uses restrictions to decide who can sell things in certain categories. If the categories you want to sell are gated, you’ll need to apply for the ungating process as soon as possible. Check if your products are on the gated list here.

3. Prepare your business plan

Decide your business plan in advance. Don’t try to wing it.

Your answers to these questions might change, even in your first month as an Amazon seller.

But by planning out your first month, you force yourself to ask the questions.

At the very least, ask yourself:

  • Are you going to sell the same products or change it up?

If you’re going to sell more opportunistically, or from a large range, this isn’t so much of an issue. But if you’re selling the same products all the time, it’s smart to take advantage of Seller Central’s replenishment alert.

  • How will you identify stale inventory?

However you’re selling, keeping track of inventory age is an important part of handling your supply chain. If products are sitting on the shelf for three months, that tells you something about what you need to order.

More urgently, if you’re using FBA, it’s vital to identify stale inventory so you don’t get caught in Amazon’s 180-day inventory sweeps and charged a much higher storage fee. Don’t wait 179 days and then wonder how much of your inventory is now costing you money instead of making you money.

You can find Amazon’s inventory report under Reports > Fulfillment > Manage FBA Inventory if you’re using FBA. There, you’ll find a full real-time inventory report containing numerical values for a range of inventory data – SKU, product condition and so on.

  • How will you source your products?

Inventory is a major issue on Amazon. Sellers who aspire to the buy box already know: you won’t get in if your product’s out of stock. You also need to avoid periods when you’re out of stock and not selling – and thus not making any money.

Only you know the most appropriate sources of inventory for your business, but make sure you have fallbacks if it’s possible so you don’t get caught out.

  • Who is already selling the same products as you on Amazon?

It’s pretty common for new sellers to jump in with products that are already so popular, in such crowded markets, that there’s no real chance of successfully selling them. So it’s really vital to check that you’re selling something where you have a chance at actually making a business work.

The biggest competitor on Amazon is Amazon itself – check your intended catalog against Amazon and if the company itself is selling your products, rethink your approach.

Related: Product targeting — How to optimize exposure on Amazon

4. Register your Amazon seller account

So, how do you become an Amazon seller? You need to register an Amazon seller account.

There are two types of accounts: An individual seller account, with no monthly fee but a charge of 99 cents for each item you sell, or the pro seller account for $39.99 per month no matter how many items you sell. So, if you plan to sell only a few items per month, go with the individual seller account.

But, if this will be a larger venture, plan on using the pro seller account. If you want to sell on Handmade or Launchpad, you have to use a pro seller account, no matter how much product you are selling. You can change plans at any time.

For both account types, you can sign up with your existing customer account or you can create a new seller account with your business email.

Before you sign up, be sure you have these items ready:

  • Business email address or Amazon customer account
  • Internationally chargeable credit card
  • Government ID (identity verification protects sellers and customers)
  • Tax information
  • Phone number
  • A bank account where Amazon can send you proceeds from your sales

Amazon also collects a referral fee on each sale no matter the chosen plan, which is a percentage of the total transaction and varies by product category.

5. Create your product listings

You have your seller profile created, so now you need products. But, how do you put your product on Amazon?

First, you need to consider what you are listing — you can’t just list whatever you want. Some categories are open to all sellers, some require a pro seller account, some require approval to sell, and some include products that cannot be sold by third-party sellers.

So, consider what you are selling and make sure you have the appropriate account.

Once logged in, you’ll navigate to Seller Central to create your listing. To create your listing you’ll need:

  • A product identifier, such as GTIN, UPC, ISBN, or EAN to specify the exact item you’re selling. You can get a UPC code directly from GS1, or request an exemption.
  • A SKU, which is a product ID you create to track your own inventory.
  • Details, including the price, product condition, quantity available and shipping options.
  • Product details including name, brand, category, description, and images.
  • Keywords and search terms.

If there is already an exact product match on Amazon, then you can match your listing so things like product identifier will already be in place. If you are the first, then you will have to provide those details.

Amazon product details

 

Source: sell.amazon.com/sell

Your offer details will be displayed on a product detail page, the page in which people see when they look at products on Amazon.

Here is what is included on this page:

  1. Title: 200 characters max, capitalize the first letter of every word
  2. Images: 500 x 500 or 1,000 x 1,000 pixels to increase listing quality
  3. Variations in colors, sizes, etc.
  4. Bullet points: Short, descriptive sentences highlighting key features and benefits
  5. Featured offer (“Buy Box”): The featured offer on a detail page. Customers can add to their cart or “Buy Now”Amazon buy now button
  6. Other offers: If you sell a product that is sold by multiple sellers, you’ll see the same product sold by multiple sellers offering a different price, shipping options, etc.
  7. Description: Be sure to use keywords that will help customers find your product.

How to promote your products on Amazon

To profit as a seller, you have to stand out against over two million merchants. But if you do grab buyers’ attention, you’re bound to make sales since so many shoppers flock to Amazon. The average conversion rate in the marketplace is roughly 15%, roughly three to five times that of other ecommerce sites.

The key to reaching Amazon shoppers is maximizing your listings’ visibility.

There are so many products on the marketplace, and buyers don’t have the time or patience to sift through every single one. Make it easy for buyers to find your products and you’re on track to win greater sales.

To boost your listings’ visibility, we’ll highlight nine key ways to drive external traffic outside of Amazon and internal traffic within the marketplace to your products. Using these strategies leads buyers right to your listings, so they can make their way down your sales funnel and grow to become a customer.

1. Optimize your listings with SEO

Search engine optimization attracts a wide range of buyers to your listing. Both shoppers who are already on Amazon and those who are using other sites can find your listing when you include popular keywords. With these additions, search engines — both Amazon’s and others — determine that your listing is a relevant result and rank it higher.

There are a few key tools to identify the keywords your shoppers are searching for most frequently.

  • Google Keyword Planner: This free tool indicates the monthly search volume of keywords on Google’s search engine. Since Amazon listings can rank on Google, this tool is especially helpful.
  • Scope: A keyword tool that’s specifically geared for Amazon. It allows you to track keywords’ monthly volume, ranking position over time, estimated sales, and more.

Once you’ve collected your keywords, place them throughout your listing, such as in the title and description. Detecting these popular keywords, search engines will recognize your listing as a relevant result for your buyers’ searches and rank it higher.

Related: 10 simple small business SEO tactics that you can do in-house

2. Buy sponsored product ads

Even with SEO, there’s no guarantee that your listing will be placed higher in Amazon’s search results. The marketplace’s engine considers other factors for ranking — selling history, price, and more — so SEO alone doesn’t necessarily lead to higher rankings.

To gain more control over their listings’ visibility, Amazon sellers can pay for the marketplace to sponsor their products and place them higher in search results.

Sellers only pay when shoppers click on their ad, so the payoff with Amazon promotion is guaranteed. Your listings’ visibility is increased, so shoppers on Amazon can easily find your product and potentially make a purchase.

3. Share listings on social media

The average person spends nearly two hours per day on social media platforms. Given this popularity, sharing your Amazon listings on social media through your business’ accounts is a powerful way of getting your products in front of more buyers.

Since your followers expect to receive value from your posts, it’s best to avoid creating posts on your account that are basically ads for your listings. Instead, it’s better to share your listing in more subtle ways that are still helpful to your followers. Here are a few ideas:

  • Use a social media promo code. Merchants with a Professional Selling account on Amazon can create a promotion link to share through social media about a discount they’re offering on the listing. Unlike a traditional ad, sharing a promo code gives users value by helping them save money. For more details on setting up this promo code, check out this guide.
  • Share content that includes your listing link. Posting an informative, helpful blog post or video that includes a link to your Amazon listing, such as a How-to video or list post, is a great way to indirectly promote your products through social media.
  • Host a contest or giveaway. Announce through your social media accounts that any user who posts your Amazon listing in their bio will be entered for a chance to win a prize. This reward will motivate users to share your listing and spread the word about your Amazon products.

By creating social media content that is exciting and relevant, you can promote your Amazon listings through social media in a way that feels natural rather than invasive.

Related: How to get more customers with social media

4. Run competitor analysis

For internal visibility on Amazon, your listings need to stay ahead of competitors’ products. In buyers’ searches, your products will fall behind competitors’ items in rankings if you aren’t monitoring how those listings are engaging shoppers.

To keep your listings high in Amazon’s search rankings, there are a few factors you should monitor in competitors’ listings:

  • Price: You want to keep your listings’ prices at or lower than competitors’ not only because shoppers are looking for the best deals — you also want to win the Buy Box if you’re sharing a listing with other sellers, and Amazon highly prioritizes price in choosing the box winner.
  • Images: When Amazon shoppers are browsing through search results, they’re not only looking at price — they’re also checking out images. Visuals can be a very persuasive factor in encouraging purchases, so you want to make sure that your listing has more images with higher quality than competing items.
  • Text: If your listing currently isn’t ranking high for your product keywords, it might be because the listing text isn’t considered relevant by Amazon’s search engine. Analyze the text of the current top-ranking listings to search for potentially relevant keywords that you can include to boost your product.

Finding ways to make your listing outshine competitors’ items on Amazon will increase your product rank in the marketplace’s search results.

5. Partner with influencers

Just like products on an online store, Amazon listings can gain significant traffic through influencer marketing.

When prominent individuals in your industry stand behind your product and link to your listing, it sends a message to communities of your key buyers that your listing is worth checking out.

To promote your listing through influencer marketing, start by coming up with a list of key individuals in your sector with a large base of social media followers. You brainstorm this list by considering your own personal network or use an influencer platform like Influence.co.

Once you have a list going, check out this guide to learn about the best ways to reach out to influencers and measure results once they share your Amazon listings.

6. Maintain strong product ratings

5 yellow stars on pink and blue background

 

First impressions matter when you’re on a marketplace as competitive as Amazon. Buyers are browsing through thousands of products, so they won’t settle for items that seem low-quality.

A clear way to give shoppers a positive first impression of your Amazon listings is to maintain high-star ratings. When buyers are browsing through their Amazon search results, the star ratings are visible for each product.

Along with price, these star ratings are a major factor in whether shoppers decide to click on your listings. They can’t see your products in person, so this feedback from other buyers is especially meaningful to shoppers trying to make a purchase.

Here are a few tips for maintaining high-star ratings on all of your Amazon listings:

  • Describe your item exactly as it is in your listing. False product details and images may boost sales initially, but ultimately they only hurt your Amazon business. Buyers who receive a product that’s totally different from the listing are bound to leave a low rating in disappointment.
  • Provide excellent customer service. If you don’t handle customer requests properly, such as shipping the item late or not being prompt in completing a return, you’ll anger buyers. Avoid receiving a low product rating by delivering the item as expected and promptly resolving issues.
  • Reach out to disappointed buyers. When a customer leaves a poor rating, reach out to the buyer to see if you can still resolve their issue. If you can fix their problem, they do have the power to edit their review and could adjust their rating to improve the product’s overall score.

Ratings are a key way for buyers to quickly assess your Amazon products. Make sure your items’ scores stay high to keep buyers interested in your listing.

Related: Generate reviews — 8 ways to get more product reviews

7. Maintain strong shipping performance

Shipping, at first, might seem totally unrelated to promoting your products. But on Amazon, your shipping performance is a key factor in your listings’ visibility.

Amazon wants to keep shoppers happy, so they discourage poor shipping practices by making shipping a factor in winning the Buy Box and ranking high on Amazon’s search rankings.

With consistent shipping issues, you’re less likely to win the box or to rank high in search.

Instead of hurting your visibility, use these tips to maintain a strong shipping performance on Amazon:

  • Regularly check your shipping performance metrics. In Amazon Seller Central, you can monitor several key shipping performance metrics — on-time delivery rate, valid tracking rate — to ensure that you’re consistently offering great shipping and pleasing customers.
  • Use Amazon FBA. By signing up for Fulfillment by Amazon, sellers no longer have to worry about providing great shipping as the marketplace handles fulfilling your orders. If there are any complaints about your shipping from buyers, the marketplace will remove the rating since they are responsible for shipping issues.
  • Use inventory management software. Adopting an inventory management program, like Sellbrite, keeps you on track so you can avoid understocking and being unable to complete orders. Sellbrite monitors when your stock is low across channels so you always know when to reorder.

Always provide great shipping and you won’t hurt your chance at winning the Buy Box or at ranking high in search results. With this visibility, Amazon shoppers can easily find your products.

8. Monitor your seller rating

Like shipping performance, your overall seller rating on Amazon also impacts your chances of winning the Buy Box and ranking high in Amazon’s search results.

Punishing low-rated sellers with less visibility is a measure to keep Amazon shoppers happy and sustain the marketplace. It ensures that buyers are first and foremost working with merchants who have a positive record and can provide great service.

To keep your listings visible on Amazon, follow these tips to maintain a high seller rating:

  • Monitor your seller rating. On Seller Central, you can view the factors that contribute to your overall seller ratings — such as Perfect Order Percentage and Late Response Rate — and determine which ones need to be improved to increase it.
  • Be prompt in customer service. Set a daily reminder to resolve customer issues and respond to customer messages. The quicker you give buyers attention, the more impressed they’ll be with your service.
  • Determine whether negative feedback could be removed. Amazon has clear guidelines for providing feedback. Review this post to determine whether any of your negative feedback from buyers should be removed.

Make an effort to keep your seller rating as high as possible and you’ll help your listings stay visible through the Buy Box and Amazon search results.

9. Launch a Lightning Deal

Lightning deal example on Amazon

Lightning deal example on Amazon

Beyond convenience, many shoppers come to Amazon for the marketplace’s low prices. With this interest, a primary way of attracting Amazon shoppers to your listing is by launching a Lightning Deal.

Lightning Deals are time-based, marked-down products that buyers can find in Amazon’s Today’s Deals section. They draw a lot of attention and sales from Amazon’s shoppers not only because they appreciate discounts, but also because their limited time frame motivates buyers to make a purchase.

Sellers have to pay a fee and Amazon has to approve Lightning Deals before they’re launched.

Here are a few of the key guidelines that sellers need to meet for their Lightning Deals to be approved:

  • Lightning Deals run for four to twelve hours.
  • Lightning Deals can only run once in a seven-day period.
  • You should have your proposed quantity for the deal available at least seven days before the deal is expected to launch.

Amazon selling FAQs

How can I put my product on Amazon? You need to start with a seller account. Choose an individual account or a pro seller account. Once you have that set up you can, you can begin listing products. You’ll need to have a product identifier, a SKU, product and store details, and keywords to show up in the search.

How do beginners sell on Amazon? If you only plan to sell a few products a month, start with an individual account. You will be charged 99 cents per item sold, but does not have a monthly fee.

How much does it cost to sell on Amazon? It depends on the plan you choose and what you are selling. Individual accounts are free, but you are charged 99 centers per item sold. Pro seller accounts have a monthly fee of $39.99, with unlimited sales. Each sale, no matter the account, also has referrals fees, which depend on the type of product. There are additional fees for shipping and Fulfillment by Amazon, if using that service.

Can you sell your own thing on Amazon? There are limits to what you can sell. You can view a list of restricted items here. If you are looking to sell your handmade products, you’ll need a pro seller account to use Amazon Handmade.

Lauren Joyner contributed to this article. 

Image by: Christian Wiediger on Unsplash



Get Hosting for $1.00*/mo with GoDaddy!

This post was originally published on this site

Continue Reading

Growing a Business

Shopping Video – New Marketing Trend

Published

on

One of the best ways for marketers and business owners to increase sales and engage customers is video shopping. This new marketing trend involves using video content to promote and sell your products.

Here is everything you need to know about shopping videos for business owners.

What is Video Shopping

Video shopping involves using video content to promote your products/services with the aim of increasing sales. With a shopping video, business owners can show off their brand and give relevant information about their products and services. Also, videos help influence the decision-making process of buyers and increase sales.

Types of Shopping Videos

There are two main categories of shopping videos, and they are:

Live Video Shopping

This type of video shopping involves creating a live presentation of your products. It is not pre-recorded, thus making it easy for customers to interact in real-time.

Non-Live Video Shopping

In this case, you record the video and then upload it on platforms where customers can find them. While you can’t get real-time responses from customers, non-live videos are easily accessible, unlike live videos.

Engaging social video ads

Benefits of Video Shopping

Video shopping can provide many benefits for business owners and their customers. Some of the advantages of video shopping are:

1. Engaging Visuals That Increase Sales

Consumers generally prefer video content over text because they are a more expressive form of content. With video shopping, business owners can create an interactive environment where customers can engage. This form of engaging content increases your chance of converting visitors to actual customers.

2. Increase Brand Awareness

Business owners can increase the chance of being seen by their target audience through impressive shopping videos. Shopping videos prove to be a convenient way to promote your business and increase brand awareness.

3. Convenient Customer Interaction

Video shopping helps engage with customers in real-time, thus making them feel seen. You can chat with customers one-on-one, which makes it easier to serve their needs. Whether it’s a car dealer chat or a skincare consultation, you can count on video shopping to improve rapport.

4. Bring Products to Live

With video shopping, shoppers can easily browse products in real-time. For example, fashion brands often bring clothes to life by making a video of how it looks on a real person. This will help customers have a feel of how the item will look on them, and this can increase sales.

5. Easy to Create

Creating shopping videos doesn’t have to be a long and complicated process. Shopping videos tend to be short and easy to make without requiring a professional. With a smartphone or camera, anyone can make a marketing video that converts. Also, there are many channels and platforms available to create videos that will persuade visitors into being actual customers.

6. Increased SEO Ranking

Videos tend to perform better than other forms of content, and having them on your website will increase your SEO rankings. This makes it easy for customers to find you and do business with you.

Video marketing

If you are running an online business, you need to keep up with new marketing trends to boost your brand. One of the latest marketing trends to implement is video shopping. When done correctly, video can help provide valuable information for customers, boost engagement, and increase sales.

This post was originally published on this site

Continue Reading

Growing a Business

In Business, Image Matters. How to Improve Yours?

Published

on

Your business may boast of excellent products and/or services. However, nowadays, excellent products and services simply aren’t enough to help a business survive and thrive in the long run. What your business also needs is a strong image – one that can help it stand out from its competitors.

But how exactly do you go about improving the image of your business? To know the answer to this question, read on as we take you through all the steps you can and must take to take your business forward towards success.

photo credit: August de Richeliu / Pexels

1. Face-to-face interactions with people

We may be living in the digital age, but nothing can beat face-to-face interactions when it comes to telling people about your business. Here are some ways through which you can inform people about your business and what it’s all about:

Meet people and start conversations

It’s unrealistic to expect that people will know about your business if you don’t reach out to them. So, start going out and attending events.

Business-centric open meetings and conferences would be the best place to start. At these events, you’ll run into several businessmen like yourself. You should make the most of these opportunities to start conversations with others from the world of business. This will gradually let people know about your business and the products and/or services it has to offer.

Prepare a pitch

When you meet potential customers, you have to be prepared to speak spontaneously about your business. At this juncture, it’s important that you don’t fumble or sound unconfident. After all, what you tell people about your business will form impressions in their minds – and you’d want those impressions to be positive, wouldn’t you?

This is where preparing a pitch can come in incredibly handy. Write it down first and then keep practicing it out loud, and make changes where necessary.

Participate in community events

Your local community is the first pillar of support for your business. So, get out there and try playing a role in all community events. At these events, you should promote your business in a friendly and welcoming manner.

This should encourage members of your local community to take an interest in your business and what it has to offer. Sure, this may not result in immediate sales, but it will definitely improve your business’s public visibility.

Businessman in a fancy coffee shop

2. Make your business appear professional

A surprising fact is that the modern-day consumer values professionalism more than the quality of products and services. Of course, product and service quality is important, but if your business lacks professionalism, it will lose out on customers.

So, to make your business appear professional, you can put the following steps into practice:

Invest in a business website

The internet is arguably the biggest platform for businesses nowadays, which is why you should invest in a dedicated website for your business. We recommend hiring professional web developers and designers to curate your business website. This will ensure that your website looks and feels professional.

Apart from setting up a website, you should also pay attention to its content. Quite simply, it should have all the information that your target audience may want to know, i.e., contact information and information about the business. Your business website should also have a blog with consistent posts. This can go a long way towards ensuring your expertise within your niche.

Set up a dedicated email account for your business

Using your personal email account as your business’s email account is nothing short of a criminal offense. That’s why you should set up a dedicated business email account. It’ll help you achieve consistency with your branding, and it’ll also allow your business to look professional to the people who subscribe to your business newsletters.

To set up a business email account, you need to first create a domain name and then get in touch with an email provider. Two of the best email providers out there include Office 365 for Business and Google Apps for Business. Both options provide business-class email along with features such as online storage and document editing. The best thing about these options is that they’re quite inexpensive.

Provide 24/7 Customer Service

These days, consumers expect the companies they buy products and services from to be available for them 24/7. Fortunately, the widely availble virtual assistant and reception services such as those provided by www.virtualreception.com.au can do that for you – both on and off office hours – to any types and sizes of business, from freelancing digital nomads to multinational corporations.

Social media manager

3. Set up your social media for success

Social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are excellent places to market your business and its products. Here are a few ways to make your business succeed on social media:

Create business profiles

On all major social media platforms, you have the option of setting up personal profiles and business profiles. It’s best to create the latter type of profile as it is designed specifically for business purposes.

During the setup process, make sure that you include relevant info in the bio sections. Don’t forget to add links to your official website and other social media handles as well.

Post relevant content regularly

All social media algorithms tend to favor accounts that post relevant content on a consistent basis. So, irrespective of the social media platforms you’re active on, make sure that you’re posting new content as much as possible.

Not posting regularly can limit your business account’s reach and stall its growth on social media.

Keep branding elements consistent across all platforms

If your Instagram page looks drastically different from your Facebook page, your target audience is bound to get confused. That’s why it’s vital to use similar branding elements across all social media platforms.

The branding elements you should focus on keeping consistent include your business’s logo, its imagery, and its voice, i.e., the tone of communicating with your audience.

Encourage users to engage with you on social media and interact with them: Through the use of call-to-action (CTA) messages, you can encourage your followers on social media to engage with your posts. You should also spare time to respond to your followers’ comments.

Business owner in the Portugal-based office
photo credit: Fauxels / Pexels

Takeaway

There are quite some things to consider in your endeavor to increase your buisness image. However, focusing on the three above is more than sufficient to get started: Meet people and tell the about your business; make an effort to be professional, especially in your online presence; and lastly, make use of social media platforms to your advantage.

Be sure to do a lot of trials-and-errors so that you can form the best practices for your company.

This post was originally published on this site

Continue Reading

Growing a Business

5 Ways Virtual Headquarters Pandemic-Proof Your Business

Published

on

The coronavirus pandemic battered many businesses to the ground. At its peak, we saw businesses either shutting down or struggling to make ends meet. We had job cuts and salary cuts left, right and center. Businesses across the world, especially small businesses, are still suffering from the economic shock of the coronavirus pandemic. Even now, with things finally opening up, many businesses are skeptical of the times and have gone into planning mode.

Every business now wants to create a contingency plan for when things start to go out of hand. Many businesses which were able to survive the pandemic were the ones that were prepared. The ones that had a contingency plan and a disaster management plan ready to roll out.

photo credit: LinkedIn Sales Solutions / Unsplash

Taking a cue from this, all every company wants to plan for right now is this: What to do if and when a pandemic hits again? Is there a way to pandemic proof your business?

One step that most businesses have taken is setting up a virtual headquarters.

What is a Virtual Headquarters?

Virtual headquarters or a virtual office is a physical address of your online business. At this physical address, you can create shared workspaces, meeting rooms, and set up a virtual assistant. You and your employees can continue working from home, but you still have a physical address for your place of work.

But why would you go to all that trouble when everyone is working from home? A number of factors come into play here, the biggest of them being the pandemic. As more and more businesses attempt to pandemic proof their businesses, they are striving to find the right balance between remote working and having a physical office. For a lot of businesses, a model that works better is having a watered-down version of a physical space up and running.

Remote working

 

photo credit: Karolina Grabowska / Pexels

Here are some of the main advantages of opting to have a virtual headquarter for your business in order to keep it as pandemic proof as possible.

1. You get a prestigious office address

First impressions matter. And having a prestigious office address on your business card certainly makes the right impression. This point becomes even more significant if you are a small business that’s trying to make it big. A calling card with a flashy office address sends a positive sign to potential clients — about your seriousness regarding the business and your credibility and professionalism. A prestigious office address is also something your employees will be proud of.

So you get a great address without the long lease and the major utilities and upkeep costs involved. An absolute win-win.

2. Expansion is easy

It is a lot easier to expand or even downsize your business when you have a virtual headquarter. This is because you do not need to think about the physical space aspect of it. Need to hire more people? Go ahead without worrying about where they will sit, if you will need to lease a new floor, or if the office space is enough.

Thinking of moving a department offshore? No need to redo your office space lease to physically downsize. Having a virtual headquarters gives you the flexibility without the constraints.

3. Your employees can keep working remotely

Having a virtual headquarters does not mean a proper office space that employees will eventually return to. You and your employees will continue to work remotely while being associated with that one physical address.

Depending on how big or small your virtual headquarters are, you can make room for monthly in-person team meets. You can even give some employees to have the option to book up a terminal and work from the office once a week. Or you could simply reserve your physical address as a place to forward mail and work calls. The possibilities are endless.

Excellent customer service

4. Customer service are made easy

When the pandemic hit, too many companies had to suddenly shut shop and move everything online. While the transition came with its own hurdles, one of the bigger issues was customer service.

Shutting shop completely may cause some technical issues with providing customer service. Having a virtual headquarters means that you can now use the available virtual services, such as 24/7 customer service – which can be a critical success factor in winning customers during the pandemic.

5. Better work-life balance

Just knowing there is a demarcation between your work life and your personal life helps a lot in trying to strike a balance. As great as working from home is, many find it very hard to disconnect completely from work. This happens when the place you work from and the place where you relax overlap.

A lot of employees are prone to giving out their personal details more easily while working from home. This may be to receive official correspondence via postal mail or receive calls on their personal mobile number. While this may seem like part and parcel of remote working, it makes disconnecting difficult. Things seem tougher when you proceed to go on leave or a holiday but are constantly being bombarded with work calls, emails and postal mails.

When you have a physical headquarters, employees are able to make use of the virtual receptionist to handle calls and also have an address to forward relevant mail in their absence. This provides a much-needed demarcation between personal and professional life.

Business team meeting in a Virtual Headquarters

Takeaway

A virtual headquarters may not work for a particular business type. On the other hand, it may be the thing another business needs to flourish. It is important to evaluate all the pros and cons before you make a decision for your business.

This post was originally published on this site

Continue Reading

Trending

SmallBiz Newsletter

Join our newsletter for the latest information, news and products that are vital to running a successful SmallBiz.