Category Archives: Marketing

5 Tips If You’re Serious About Starting an Online Store

September 2nd, 2016 by

achieve-success

If you are serious about starting an online store, then these 5 tips will help you, think of them as a checklist you should be able to pass easily and know the reason why you will succeed.  If you can’t pass this checklist easily, then you have to rethink your business plan and if you are truly ready to start an online store yet.

  1. Do you absolutely know the product(s) you are going to sell?  You have to know the product and related products you are going to sell in your niche market, know your competitors, know the CEO’s of those companies, and decide now if you plan to become a market leader or not, and what it may take to get there.  This is where you must think as big as you can, regionally, nationally, globally!
  2. Is it your own product or not?  If it’s your own product or you have a good  vendor that is great.  If you are an affiliate or drop shipping that is not as good typically.
  3. No mall websites!   If you are a beginner entrepreneur and want to start a mall type of website like Walmart or Amazon or eBay, with tons of categories and products, we advise you to stop now; this concept is difficult even with a huge budget behind it.
  4. Can you afford to do it yourself?  Yes, the question is can you afford to, because doing it yourself while it may seem free, actually may cost you the precious time you need to get started right away by going forward with a weak website with poor design and content.   Can you afford to have a designer do it at the cost of a few thousand dollars?  If so, then do it as that what it takes to be a market leader.  Otherwise, choose Earth Skater as the budget solution where we handle the online store setup for you at no charge as part of our complimentary setup service.
  5. Can you afford to market it or can you learn to market it?  If you can afford to market it and advertise with a budget that makes sense for your business, then you must start experimenting with your propaganda/message immediately, don’t make any long term commitments, and find the best team to work with.  Either way, or if budget is a concern, you must to learn to market and advertise your business because you are the business owner, you know your business the best.  Social media and blogging are the avenues you must follow in today’s market.

Follow us on Facebook to stay in touch: https://www.facebook.com/earthskater/

Earth Skater specializes in setting up online stores for small business owners with our amazing and complimentary website setup and transfer.  We’ve helped hundreds of merchants make an easy transition to a flexible and full featured website and online store platform.

Trouble Finding Blog Ideas?

July 22nd, 2016 by

Like anything new, becoming a Blogger could be overwhelming at first but it doesn’t have to be.  With the help of a process that clicks for you, you can get past the hurdle of finding topics to write about and spend more time on writing the quality content you want to disseminate.

One of the hardest parts of blogging is finding stuff to write about

You already know that you have a lot of value in your experience, expertise, and industry knowledge to speak on.  But that is a big pool of ideas to start with and we have to think about ways to narrow it down.  Ideas for Blog topics can come from multiple sources including:

1. Daily Life

If your daily life is like mine, you have a lot going on and every now and then get that flash of inspiration that intrigues you to investigate and ponder further.  These inspirational ideas are awesome when they come but they are not always handy when you need them.  Always be ready to write down the flash of inspiration ideas immediately without thinking.  Otherwise, a second later, they may seem silly or worthless and you’ll forget about it.  On the other hand, those scribbled flashes of inspiration could save you in a crunch some other day when a topic is sorely needed.

2. News/Media Sources

The news/media that you follow is an excellent source of topics for your blog.  Industry related news gives you a chance to promote your brand perspective on the news of the day and provide valuable insight to potential customers.  This is a fun category of ideas to play with and the topic is given to you, so you just have to give commentary or spin on it.

3. Website Stats

Website statistics like Google Analytics and other real time statistics tools are good way to see what content that you already offer gets the most attention.  Track which web pages and blog posts get the most attention and what keywords are driving traffic to those pages.  This can help you to come up with Blog topic ideas that speak directly in realtime to your website visitors and social followers.

4. Search Engine Stats

Search engine statistics are stats from sources like Google Webmaster tools where you can see the organic traffic your site receives and the specific keywords generating that organic traffic.  These long tail keywords are Blogging gold and may be the source of your most valuable content ideas.

5. Advertising Stats

Advertising statistics are stats from sources like Google Adwords where you can see the paid traffic (PPC) to your website and the keywords that are generating the most interest.  Keywords that generate traffic and not sales can be paused but they may represent visitors in the investigative stage of the buying process, and it is those keywords that you may want to focus on writing Blog posts on.  Blogging gold here again.

I’m happy to help with any questions so please feel free to comment or contact freely.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sener Korkusuz is the Founder and CEO of EarthSkater.com, dedicated to helping small business owners succeed online with custom tailored eCommerce solutions.  He is the Co-founder and CTO of the LinkedOpinions.com, a free tool used to survey your LinkedIn connections and the co-founder and CEO of the A7FL. The American 7’s Football League, “The Game America Wants”.

 

How to Setup an Online Clothing Store

July 15th, 2016 by

7696fcce.slide-1-boutique-woman

The most frequent question we receive from new online merchants is… how do I setup my online store?  The answer to that question is typically the same whether you are selling clothing, electronics, supplements, or any other retail product.  It is important to note a few exceptions to the typical online store setup.  More complex online store setups include sites that sell recurring subscriptions, digital downloadable products, or some other custom calculation that involves the customers input.

OK, so you are ready to start your online clothing store.  Here are our top 6 things to consider when it comes to setting up an online clothes store.

  1. Brandable Domain Name
  2. Online Store Platform
  3. Product Photos
  4. Social Media
  5. Blogging
  6. Newsletter

Brandable Domain Name

A short and memorable domain name is ideal.  Premium domain names, domain names that are for sale at a premium price,  may be the best way to get the exact brand name you desire.  Sites like Oro.Domains specialize in the sale of premium domain names.  The more basic and identifiable your domain name is, the more likely it will be ranked higher in the search results.  For a clothing store, choosing a name that represents the brand or one that represents the specific niche in the clothing market may work well.  Your business plan should help guide you in this process.  Earth Skater offers a complimentary domain name branding service during our setup process to help choose the perfect name for your business.

Online Store Platform

Setting up your online clothing store can be difficult and time consuming to say the least, not to mention costly.   Clothing store merchants do better with an online store platform that can help them set up the website.  Questions to consider when choosing your online store platform for your clothing store are:

  1. Will I be able to design the site to match my brands image
  2. Will I have help in uploading the products, content, and photos
  3. Does the online store support all of the product options needed to sell my product line effectively and efficiently

Product Photos

Product photos are extremely important and just as important as having an awesome looking web design.  So your product photos must be top notch in order for your brand clothing store to shine online.  Taking time to optimize, resize, crop, and re-create product photos so that they are as near perfect as possible can be an easy way to differentiate your clothing store from your competitors. Photos should be consistent in terms of size, lighting, background, to give the most professional appearance.  Photo watermarks can be added and most online stores allow for a watermark to be added when inserting products into the online store.

Social Media

Setting up your social media accounts is vital to building your online clothing store brand.  It is not that difficult or time consuming, just go over to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, and other social media sites and create an account with your business name and information.  After you create your accounts you will add the links and plugins to your website to connect your website with the social platforms.  Finally, the vital part is to stay active on your social media accounts.  This means regular posting to each account.  Vary the content posted to each social media platform accordingly based on the audiences you are reaching respectively.  Clothing stores can post about things customers are thinking about and looking for.  Use keywords in your posts that customers are searching for and focus on the customer always.

Blogging

Setting up your Blog is the other vital part of marketing your online clothes store.  Blogging and social media go hand in hand.  The blogs you write will also be posted to your social media accounts to create life cycle of marketing content.  Blogging is vital to building your online clothing store brand because of the content that you create as the business owner.  As a clothing store owner you will post about topics of interest to your customers and include the keywords they are searching for.  Also, your customers will see that your website is alive with content through the regular posting being done.

Newsletter

A very important piece of the puzzle in marketing an online clothing store is setting up a newsletter.   Adding a JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER feature to your website allows you to build a list of targeted people to market to.  You can offer an incentive to join your newsletter like a 5 or 10% discount on their next clothing purchase.   The bigger your list grows the more valuable it becomes as a go to source for increasing sales.   Your newsletter is a vital way to keep in contact with your followers and increase sales.

Earth Skater specializes in eCommerce with complimentary website setup and transfer.  We’ve helped hundreds of merchants make an easy transition into the world of websites and selling online with our online store platform.

Stress Free Online Store Set up

July 1st, 2016 by

7696fcce.slide-1-boutique-woman

Whether you are starting a side business or working for yourself full time, setting up your online store could be a very difficult hurdle to get over.

Here are the top 3 things we think new merchants should consider when choosing their online store builder and the company to work with.

Setup Service

The question to ask yourself are:

  1. What is your experience level in web design and development?
  2. How do you feel about setting up your own online store, is that something you desire to give a try?
  3. Do you want to set up your online store yourself or do you want to have it done for you?

Today most online store builders focus on providing you the tools and education so that you can set up your online store yourself.  But wait, you may be saying, hey, I don’t want to set up my own online store but how can I get it done affordably?  That’s where there is a big gap between online store builders and the expert service many merchants need to properly set up and grow their business online.  That is where Earth Skater comes in to fill the gap, you guide the design and Earth Skater sets it up affordably.

2) Customization / Flexibility

Most online store builders are what you see is what you get when it comes to features.  It’s extremely important to make sure your online store has the features you need.  The number of features is not as important as the key features you need so don’t get distracted.   Think of questions like:

  1. Will your website need customization that is beyond any of the features the store provides?
  2. Does the online store support customization like custom programming?
  3. Will the online store provider add new features to support your business

These are all questions to consider when it comes to customization and flexibility for your website.  This is again where Earth Skater fills the gap with affordable custom programming and complete customization for your online store.

3) On-going Support

Once your website is online, it’s your time to shine, now you can take full advantage of the online store builder to add and update products, write blog posts, update your slideshow and more.  On-going support is vital to the reputation of your business.  When you need help to make a change to your website, these questions are the important ones to consider:

  1. Does your online store provider have staff on call to provide on demand, hands on, support for your business?
  2. Will your online store provider go the extra mile to provide after hours service to support you in a critical time of need?
  3. Does your online store provider care about your business enough to provide suggestions that you may have overlooked that could be hindering your business

Earth Skater is unique when it comes to eCommerce.  Earth Skater is the online store builder with the expert service merchants need to succeed online with less stress and less wasted time and money.

Building Big Connections

June 30th, 2016 by

10-Tips-to-double-your-LinkedIn-connections

We use social media like LinkedIn to make connections, establish business contacts, and build mutually beneficial relationships.  Often, we must reach out to people blindly, so to speak, without any formal introduction or direct connection.

I’ve acquired these tips through experience and hope they will work for you as well as they have for me.

1. Persistence

If you reach out to someone and they do not respond back, first do not take it personally. Popular and successful people receive hundreds of messages daily from people looking to connect, get advice, need help, and everything else under the sun.

Mr. Louis David Spagnuolo, whom I’ve had the great honor and pleasure of meeting, is one of the most popular and inspiring people on LinkedIn, and he get’s flooded with inquiries 24/7, so start thinking about how you can stand out from the crowd.

Reach out as many times as it takes to establish a contact that you truly believe should be made… just don’t go overboard chasing after one contact because there are many others that you may click with sooner.

2. Timing

If you reach out and you get a response or your invitation is accepted immediately… this is great!  This means your timing was right and the context of your message was on point.

However, if you do not get an immediate response or connection, you will not give up because of rule #1. Now, you must focus on the timing and context of your next message. Do not send a second message right away and do not wait too long either.  One idea is to get to know their social media schedule so the next message you send will be at a time when you are fairly confident they may read it.

It took three years of effort before I connected with Mike Mann, a king of the domain name world, and it was largely due to persistence and timing.

Today Mike is a great collegue, I’ve worked with him personally, and was honored to serve as CTO of his company DomainMarket.com for a period of time.

3. Context

Take the time to learn about each person you want to connect with.  The key is to findhow you can provide value to your contact.  Compare their business and services with your skills and your experience.  Think in terms of what you can do for them and not what you can receive.  Think about how you can differentiate yourself and stand out from the crowd of other inquiries they receive.

As Mr. Louis David Spagnuolo puts it, “If you want a seat, first bring something to the table”.

This is where context comes in.  If you explain yourself well, and within the context outlined here, and within the criteria your contact is looking for, then you will have done the work for your contact and they will instantly be able to acknowledge how you may be of immediate value and put your expertise to use.

Therefore, you must craft your message in the context of the need or desire you can fulfill.  Your message should be about helping your contact to fulfill that need for free (gratis, pro-bono) if possible or on an introductory (trial) basis.  Only then, with the right timing and the right context, are you most likely to get a response.

Once you establish your new connection, work as quickly as you can to iron out the details of your offer and then to fulfill the terms of your discussion or agreement.  You may have one foot in the door but you are only one step closer to your goals.  Once you have made a new contact, it is up to you to work even harder now to cultivate that relationship in the spirit of mutually beneficial success. 

BONUS TIP:  Pick up a copy of Napoleon Hill’s “The Wisdom of Andrew Carnegie As Told To Napoleon Hill” and study the 17 Principles of Success that many of your big contacts probably follow.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below and I will be pleased to reply.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sener Korkusuz is the Founder and CEO of EarthSkater.com, dedicated to helping small business owners succeed online with custom tailored eCommerce solutions.  He is the Co-founder and CTO of the LinkedOpinions.com, a free tool used to survey your LinkedIn connections and the co-founder and CEO of the A7FL. The American 7’s Football League, The Game America Wants.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Web Design

June 27th, 2016 by

Let’s start with the basics.  What do people look for when they visit a website? If your website is too bland and filled with details which will take too much time to read, your visitor may quickly close the browser tab and move on to the next website.  This may be the case when the website design is not attractive, doesn’t look like a market leading website, enough to keep your visitors interest. This is a mistake that we at Earth Skater always aim to avoid.

Designing a business website or online store is not such an easy task. When creating an online store website, a good e-commerce webhost helps the website owner understand the available services and gathers information to get the best results for the website.  A company’s website is often the first and only place clients will see and be presented with all the information they need about the business.   You cannot show your customers a webpage that their they will not be interested in. Here, we are going to note down just some of the common mistakes you should avoid if you want to enjoy a successful web design.

·        Incorrect Use of Color

Color is important. Color schemes are generated for a reason and with so many online tools helping you choose the right match for your business, choosing the wrong color can create a very distracting image for the visitors. Not only does the wrong color make your website look unappealing, but it also makes the text unreadable.

·        Content Layout

Haphazardly placing the content on your website prevents the visitors from quickly zeroing in on what they need from your website. Disorganized and messy layouts not only make the visitor believe that you have not put in sufficient time in the designing stage, but it also makes your business look unprofessional, and thus unreliable.

·        Inaccessibility on All Devices

We live in the age of technology, so creating a website which cannot be accessed by all devices, can really hinder the flow of online traffic to your business. When creating a website for a business, you have to think about mobile friendly responsive web design and all the aspects, including a diverse audience, different operating systems and even screen sizes so that the website is properly displayed.

·        Too Long to Load

Too much animation, video, outdated Flash animation, and large image files can add an element of excitement to the site but using them excessively can make the website load slower.  Also, not everyone has Flash or the bandwidth to support it, and that can create a very irritating experience for a customer as the website would take too long to open up, and if it finally does, the customer will not be able to see what the graphics are, because their system does not support flash.

·        Installing Separate Software

No one wants to install a software program just to be able to can use content from your site. Most internet users also block software installations from websites for many reasons, chiefly among them being that they simply do not want to install software from unknown sources. Although many people already have programs such as Acrobat and Flash, asking potential customers to install additional software will only make them open a tab to a different website.

Ask any of the best website design companies in the business and they will give you long lists of even more mistakes which are still being made in web design. With the help of these pointers, you now know that when it comes to creating the best online store software for your business, it is better to know what NOT to do, so that you have an even better chance of creating a successful website.

Consider These Points Before Starting your Website

June 18th, 2016 by

For your business to have the greatest chance of big success, your online store software should feature a top notch design as well as be super user-friendly.  Your online store website needs to be more than just a basic catalog of your products, it needs to compete with your markets leaders in terms of functionality and web design

Here, we are going to give you a few tips which you should consider while creating your online store website.

Domain and Host

A domain is your identity. You can either make it very simple or be creative with it; either way, it has to be something that sticks to memory but is also easily accessible. Take our domain name, Earth Skater. We chose a name which created intrigue for our customers similar to Web Surfer.  When choosing a domain name for your business, remember that it needs to click for your customer so they stay and explore your business.

Minimalist Design

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when creating your website is overcrowding it.  Messy websites can dilute the value of your call to action message (for example, your buy now button or lead generation form).  With a clean design which not only gives the proper information but also, does not overwhelm the senses, you can give customers a positive user experience and encourage their return.

Colors & Theme

Colors make all the difference in the world. There is a reason why many popular websites use specific shades of blue, and that is because blue has a calming and comforting influence for the user, and thus, the user of the website feels more attracted towards the site. Color schemes are influenced by many factors such as the target audience, brand logo, company’s message and chosen scheme. So if you want to create a successful website, then taking time out for some color based research can make a big difference in how visitors perceive your website.

Easy Access

If the customer finds the website difficult to navigate through, then they will leave. Along with keeping a minimalistic design, if you want to create a positive customer experience, then you need to make sure that your website visitors can access all public areas of the website at will. If the site is user friendly and has a mobile friendly responsive design, then your potential customers will be more likely to venture into the other tabs of your website, and even read the blogs you’ve written to help them out.

Appropriate Loading Time

This is a mistake many web designers make and flaw many online store software’s suffer from. Testing your website can give you a chance to look at some of the issues that may be prevalent on your website.  Page or slideshow slow loading time will only make customers frustrated, so by making sure that everything loads quickly to efficiently service customers.

SSL Security

Customers will not shop on your website if the site does not have security measures like SSL security and/or a name brand merchant account in place.  Customers want and need to be sure their transactions will be safe and secure.  A secure website is a trustworthy website to your customers.

The best online store software comes with real service behind it, Earth Skater uses all these tips and more to its advantage when servicing our clients websites.  We strive to provide customers with services that will ensure success for their businesses.

Social Networking: Making The Right Connections

June 16th, 2016 by

astronaut_with_laptop_in_space_hi

As an entrepreneur, networking plays an important role in building your business.  Even if you could do it all on your own, you would still need to network, and the sooner you start building your network, the better.

Building a network of entrepreneurs both in and out of your field starts to tell a story about who you are professionally, what opportunities you are seeking, and what inquiries you may have interest in hearing.  You can connect with everyone from industry thought leaders and influencers to potential partners and clients. First making the connections and then following your connections puts you in the position to reach out proactively so that you are prepared when a perceived opportunity arises.  The best networkers research their connections to understand them better so that they can take the right action, at the right time, with the right contact.

What does it tell you when someone does not accept your connection?  Maybe they did not get to it yet… that’s unlikely.  What is likely, is that they researched you, checked your profile, and not accepted your connection.  This can give you valuable insight as well.

Your hopeful contact chose not to accept your connection which can mean multiple things.  I’ve listed these red flags in the order of likelihood based on my experience in not connecting.

  1. Spammy looking profile (no photo, few if any connections, red flags are going off when googling you)
  2. Your approach may have been at the wrong time or if you sent a message it may have been off target  (were you soliciting first or were you bringing something to the table first
  3. You may be perceived as a direct competitor and potential threat
  4. They may see themselves as a valuable contact and not want to lend you the credibility of the connection

BONUS TIP:  If you didn’t make the connection the first time around, and you believe it is an important connection to make, don’t be afraid to try again, build your value, pick your timing, adjust your message, and try again.

Personally, I accept almost all of the connection requests I receive, but I definitely avoid #1 almost always (sometimes it’s hard to tell so I give the benefit of the doubt)… so with that, please feel free to leave your comments and questions and I look forward to connecting with you!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sener Korkusuz is the Founder and CEO of EarthSkater.com, dedicated to helping small business owners succeed online with unbeatable web design, web hosting, and online store service.

Becoming an Influencer by Blogging

June 6th, 2016 by

achieve-success

As a CEO, you are already the thought leader of your organization.  Your thoughts drive the actions your company takes.  Ultimately, you are the ONE responsible for leading your team, or pushing yourself, to continuously take the necessary actions to achieve success.  The goal is to increase the scale and range of your influence as a thought leader and to leverage your following and network of connections to create new bigger opportunities.

You are already the thought leader of your organization.

At this point in your career, your mind may have already shifted towards the bigger picture. Using your thoughts, your expertise, your experience, to gain influence in your market to attract new clients, partners, and opportunities.  On the other hand, you may just be beginning to get started with social media, social networking, and even the idea of blogging, let alone becoming an influencer.

JUST DO IT!

In either case, the solution is the same, as the slogan goes, JUST DO IT!  The point is to start blogging… PERIOD.  You have the passion to promote your business.  You have a likeable personality and will increasingly become more  effective in networking and making business connections.  Lastly, you have built up the feverish obsession to become successful in your business and blogging and becoming an influencer will only help you to achieve greater success.

Do not expect to, nor will you, become a national or global thought leader overnight.  But, take comfort in knowing your unique perspective holds true value to those in your industry, whether to potential clients, partners, investors, or other interested parties like press and media.

That which you are seeking is causing you to seek.

You should already be thinking about things you could blog about related to your market.  As you get involved in social networking and make new connections you will get additional ideas on what to blog about relevant to your community.  You will attract the opportunities you are seeking.  As the saying goes “that which you are seeking is causing you to seek”.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sener Korkusuz is the Founder and CEO of EarthSkater.com, dedicated to helping small business owners succeed online with unbeatable web design, web hosting, and online store service.  He is the co-founder and CEO of the A7FL, American 7’s Football League.  He is the Co-founder and CTO of LinkedOpinions.com, a free tool used to survey your LinkedIn connections.

Small Business Tip of the Day – Blogging

May 31st, 2016 by

I am often asked by small business owners, how can I get more traffic to my website…

…the simple answer to getting more traffic to your website is in BLOGGING.

Often, there is very little to no budget available for PayPerClick, social media advertising, or other paid advertising.

On the other hand, business owners with passion are willing to do the work themselves, the thing is, they just want to know what to do…

After working with expensive strategic advisors and marketing experts, I can tell you that the simple answer to getting more traffic to your website is in BLOGGING.

A blog is just a silly word for a web page.

Your blog can be built into your website or hosted on a different domain name entirely.  Your blog is organized by date and category, which is why you need to use a blog content management system like WordPress or similar because it will ensure your blog posts are in the proper format and organized for your readers.

It is up to you, just like the sharks of SharkTank, Mark Cuban and the like, have become expert bloggers.  They’ve defined the  idea of becoming an influencer, of becoming a thought leader, and if they can do it… then why can’t you?  There is NO reason why, it’s a rhetorical question!

I myself, personally, am starting right now, with this, my first post of what I anticipate to be a regular stream to follow.  I am opening up, reaching out, and helping small business owners/entrepreneurs through the benefit of my background and expertise as a CEO in e-commerce.

My aim is to help entrepreneurs through my unique point of view and perspective on e-commerce and provide food for thought on how to compete in increasingly competitive marketplaces.

So, to sum it all up, start your blog, post your perspectives on the marketplace, share those posts on your social media accounts, and get active on the platforms you are posting to, build your community, and the rest will follow.

Look for more posts on these topics and others related to e-commerce, online stores, marketing and advertising, and visit me at www.earthskater.com to learn more.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sener Korkusuz is the Founder and CEO of EarthSkater.com, dedicated to helping small business owners succeed online with unbeatable web design, web hosting, and online store service.  He is the co-founder and CEO of the A7FL, American 7’s Football League.  He is the Co-founder and CTO of LinkedOpinions.com, a free tool used to survey your LinkedIn connections.