New Facebook Save Option & The Opportunities It Creates For Your Business

Facebook Save OptionFacebook made an announcement in their newsroom site earlier this week (on 21-June-2014) about the new ‘Save’ feature, with a post titled “Introducing Save On Facebook”.

With this feature, Facebook allows you to save an item that appears on your newsfeed, which you can access later, when you have more time. The announcement says: You can save items like links, places, movies, TV and music. Only you can see the items you save unless you choose to share them with friends.

How Does It Work? – 3 Simple Steps

Facebook Save Screen 1 Facebook Save Screen 2Facebook Save Screen 3

In The Mobile App:

  1. To save, tap the ‘Save’ icon or choose the ‘Save’ option in the menu, on posts in your News Feed or in the Pages that you visit (see the images above)
  2. Later you can find the saved items by tapping ‘Saved’ under the Apps menu, which you can access using the More tab.
  3. On the mobile app, you can manage your saved items by swiping them to the right . You have options to view, share, review or archive the saved items.

On A Web Browser:

  1. To save, tap the ‘Save’ icon or choose the ‘Save’ option in the menu, on posts in your News Feed or in the Pages that you visit
  2. You can find the saved items later by tapping ‘Saved’ option in the navigation links, under the Apps menu.
  3. You can manage your saved items in this section. You have options to view, share, review or archive the saved items.

How Does This Impact Your Business?

1. Opportunity To Showcase Useful Content:

This move from Facebook once again reinforces the importance of good content. Every day, users are exposed to enormous amount of content in social media. Companies like Facebook have started realizing that users find some content more useful than the others, but they don’t have the time to explore them right away. Hence, the option of saving useful content for later reading.

Now, what type of content do you think your customers will choose to save & read later? Of course they will save only what is useful, value-adding, informative, entertaining, personally appealing and beneficial to them. As a business owner or marketer, you need to keep this in mind when creating content. 

2. Opportunity For Deeper Engagement With The Customer:

When your consumers are ready to save your content/page and read them later, it is a true indication of a deeper engagement. The more your customers engage with your business/product/brand, the more chances of them moving from being a researcher, to a buyer, and finally, your brand ambassador. Your goal should be to create content that people want to save on a regular basis. 

Eventually, if and when Facebook adds the details of the Saved posts & pages to Insights, it could become a key metric to track the engagement levels of the customer with the business/brand.

3. Opportunity To Showcase Your Special Offers, Discounts And Deals:

I guess that one of the top items that people would like to save on Facebook would be offers and deals which they can redeem later. Your customers could save the special offer code or coupon code that you offer and redeem it when they walk into your store or when they visit your online store.

For quite some time, Pinterest users have been using the Pin-It buttons with coupon codes in a similar manner and this has proven to be a big success.  As a business, you could start planning special offers, deals and discounts that are profitable for your customers.

4. Opportunity To Provide Your Local Business Information

With this new feature, consumers can also save the details of the ‘places’ which is your business information from your page. (See Facebook’s video above). This is a big opportunity if you are a local business and would like to help your customers find your local store using the saved information.

Make sure that you double-check the description and other business details on your Facebook page and update them regularly.

Let us know your thoughts on this new feature from Facebook.

Thank You. Happy Facebooking!

Online embroidery doesn’t have to be a battle

Bayeux tapestry

Your embroidery design database is one of your businesses’ biggest assets; so it makes perfect sense to upload your existing embroidery designs into DecoNetwork, to be used either as a stock design collection or exclusively for those clients that you created them for.

DecoNetwork uses the Wilcom embroidery engine; therefore we use the EMB format when managing embroidery files within the platform.  This means that when a customer creates embroidery text file in the DecoNetwork online designer you will receive a native Wilcom EMB file with the order. This file can be opened into Wilcom software and output as any required production file format. If you don’t own Wilcom software but need a Tajima DST file for example, then you can download their file conversion software, TrueSizer, for free.

Uploading your embroidery design database is very straightforward if it exists in Wilcom EMB format. However, the tricky bit is uploading your embroidery design database if it is in another embroidery format, rather than EMB. Well, it’s only tricky if you don’t know how…hence the purpose of this blog.

There are many embroidery file formats, each embroidery software supplier has their own native format and embroidery machine suppliers have a range of formats they have developed over time. Some contain very basic information, only stitch coordinates, stops and jumps, and others contain stitch and graphic information, needle numbers, trim codes, thread colour assignment and RGB values for thread colour display.

When converting your embroidery files you need to retain all of the essential information about the design, its size and stitch count, but also machine functionality and thread colour display.

If your designs have very limited information to start with, for example only contain stitch coordinates, stops and jumps like a Tajima DST file, then you will need to add thread colour information so that they will display correctly when uploaded. I am given to understand that the TrueSizer Pro e3 will allow you to assign thread colours. However, if you can get hold of an earlier version of TrueSizer V9 this editing functionality was included for free.

If your designs are stored in other formats that do contain machine functions and thread colours (RGB values) then you need to make sure that this information is retained when the file is converted to EMB.  I have run some tests using TrueSizer e3 and found two formats that when converted do retain RGB thread colour information, Compucon xxx and Brother PES. There are a high degree of variables to consider when running these kinds of tests but overall the PES format seemed to be more successful because it consistently retained trim functionality as well as thread colours.

Once your embroidery files are stored as EMB files it’s a very simple job to upload them as a collection or individually to DecoNetwork.

Image reference: The Bayeux Tapestry is not actually a tapestry it is embroidered on cloth. It is 70 metres long and it depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England, concluding in the Battle of Hastings in 1066. http://www.bayeuxmuseum.com/la_tapisserie_de_bayeux.html

http://www.wilcom.com/en-us/products/truesizerproducts

How To Improve Sales: Is There A Magical Sales Wand?

Magic Wand Recently I did a seminar on Understanding eCommerce. In this seminar I focused on the ins and outs of building an online store, but I think I got the most attention when I spoke about how to acquire new business. When I got to that part of my presentation, not a single person was updating their Facebook status or playing Candy Crush. Nope, all eyes and ears were finely tuned instruments waiting on each word that I spoke. The anticipation, the excitement, the build-up, it was perfect. I could feel the tension in the air as the attendees held on to every word waiting for that magical thing I would say that could help them transform their business. Ok, maybe it was not exactly like that, but there was definitely a sense of expectation that I could bestow on them the ‘Magical Sales Wand’ to acquire new customers through their eCommerce business.

Is There A Magical Sales Wand?

While I gave them great advice and tips that our clients have told me they swear by, there really is no Magical Sales Wand. What I told the attendees is that most clients who sign up for DecoNetwork tell us that they sign up to acquire new clients and new business. And my best advice to them… ‘Start with your existing clients’. Yes, the closest thing to a ‘Magical Sales Wand’ that could jump start your business, is ‘Your Existing Client’ base.

How Much Did That Customer Just Cost Me?

Sure, I can understand the desire to attract new customers, but the reality is that attracting new customers is really hard work and can be very expensive. The cost of getting new customers vary greatly based on what you do to attract them (marketing, promotions, tradeshows, etc.) but it is not uncommon for clients to spend as much as $100 per lead. Take a look at what some of these very popular companies spend to obtain one new client:

  • Priceline.com – $7
  • Sprint PCS – $315
  • Barnes and Noble – $10
  • TD Waterhouse – $175

The reality is that for every dollar you can spend on Pay Per Click on Google to attract clients there is someone out there who can outbid you…by a lot. But all is not lost, in my opinion, the best way to get your eCommerce business booming and to attract new customers is to start with your existing customers. That’s right, start with those clients that already do business with you today.

It Makes Financial Sense:

Not only are there some standard reasons why it makes sense to start with those clients, such as, they already trust you and they already feel comfortable doing business with you, but financially it makes more sense to start with your existing clients. The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60%-70%, but the probability of selling to a new prospect is only 5%-20% (Marketing Metrics).  It also costs between 6-7 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one (Bain and company).  Not only it harder to attract new prospect to buy from you than working with your existing customer base, they also are not as willing to spend some of their hard earned money with you. An interesting statistic is that eCommerce spending for new customers is on average $24.50 per order, compare that to an average of $52.50 per order for repeat customers. The reality is that your best bet to kick start your online business is to start with those clients you already call your own.  Organically those clients will spread the word about you and your business will grow.  That growth overtime will include new customers. I am not saying that you should not try to acquire new customers, you will need them to grow and expand but there is a time and a place for that.

Your Existing Client Base Is The Key:

There are tons of other reasons why it also makes sense to put your initial marketing push to your existing client base:

  • Existing clients typically are a little more understanding if your site has small hiccups
  • If they are unhappy with your service or offerings on your site existing clients are much more likely to call you and tell you. People that have never done business with you will just leave your site or post a negative comment about your business.
  • Existing clients have a relationship with you and their feedback on your site, your product offerings, pricing and design offerings will prove to be invaluable. By adjusting your site based on their feedback you can be sure that once the new clients start to find your site it will be solid.

In my next blog post I will share with you some ideas on how to maximize your sales opportunity utilizing your current client base. In the meantime let me know your thoughts using the comments section. Thank you. Until next time…

The Great Online Opportunity: Is Your Business Ready?

global connectivity great online opportunity imageThe State of The Internet report recently published by Akamai for Q1 of 2014, states that the average internet connection speed around the world is increasing steadily and is currently at 3.9 Mbps. The reports says, “Globally, the average connection speed was up by 24% over the same period of the year prior”. That’s a 24% increase.

This growth is part of the ongoing trend in which companies and governments around the world are working very hard to ensure high speed connectivity to as many people as possible. You might be aware of the innovative global connectivity projects by tech giants like Google (Project Loon) and Facebook (Internet.org).

Now, what does that mean to your business?

1. Better Connectivity Means More Empowered Customers:

As connectivity increases, the internet will become the primary source of information for the consumer before making a purchase decision. The more information they get about products using the internet the more empowered they are to make the buying decision.

In 2013, Google partnered with Nielsen to research the purchasing pattern of consumers, the report was titled Mobile Path to Purchase. The study found that consumers spent 15+ hours a week on their smartphones researching products, before making the buying decision.

Right now as you read this, your prospects might be searching for your products on the internet, somewhere on the globe using their laptop or mobile devices. Being aware of this buying behaviour will help you better equip your business.

2. Global Connectivity Means Expansion Of Your Market:

Today, businesses need not be limited to one geography. Based on your business goals & type of products that you offer, you can choose to serve customers from any region in your country or any part of the world. This increases your market size and potential for growth.

3. Better Connectivity Means Efficient Business Operations:

Better internet connectivity around the world will enable you to run your business & control key business processes like sales, marketing and production from anywhere in the world. If you set up your business software right, you can manage your business right from your tablet.

Even today we see many of our customer’s benefit from the Business Hub feature in DecoNetwork, which is designed to help them run their businesses more efficiently using cloud software, to create quotes & orders, to streamline communications with their clients, to approve payments online and much more. (Get more details on Business Hub).

4. Global Connectivity Means More Partnership Opportunities:

With better connectivity around the globe, there are more chances of you partnering with the right suppliers, vendors and service providers around the globe who can help you take your business to the next level. As a business owner you can use social media, directories, forums and blogs to connect with the right partners.

5. Better Connectivity Means Better Ways of Adding Value To Your Customers:

Today, as a business you have more ways of adding value to your customers than ever before. From your warehouse or your office, just by using your smart phone, you can create help videos for your customers. Without leaving your desk, you can interact with all your customers using social media, offer them product support, teach them about your products, write useful blogs and announce new products that you are going to launch.

Is Your Business Ready? 5 Questions To Help You Find Out

1. Do You Have A Strong Online Presence?

Do you have a website that reflects your business goals, with products that are well presented, with enough information to help buyers make a decision, with information that is accessible on mobile devices, well connected with social media & optimised for searches?

2. What Is Your Online Strategy?

Apart from your offline strategies, do you have a plan and strategy for selling online? Online sales & marketing plan needs be a regular part of the agenda in your monthly strategy discussions.

3. Are You Using Technology For Business Efficiency?

As mentioned earlier, using technology in business is not only about having a website and being present on social media; your production and other business operations can also use technology and the power of the Internet to operate efficiently. Re-assess the way you process orders, send quotes, communicate with your key stake holders, make and receive payments.

4. Are you connected with your customers?

Being present on Social Media is not just a good idea anymore, it is an important means of staying connected with your customers. With social media channels growing across the globe, most of your customers might be on social media already. Which in turn means that your business’ presence in social media will help you stay connected with them, help them make the buying decisions when they need to, support them, update them with key business information and educate them. You can even have a bit of fun by creating relevant, smart & humorous marketing campaigns to entertain them!

5. Do you have a content strategy?

Content is everything. Search engines are moving towards an age when ‘visibility depends on high quality content’. If you have a content strategy to educate, empower and make life easier for your customers, then you have high chance of showing up in search results, when your customers try to find you.

Now go ahead and prepare your business to make full use of this great online opportunity, that is created by high-speed global connectivity.

Share with us if you have any thoughts on the impact of this Global Connectivity on your business. We would love to hear from you.

Please leave your comments below. Thank you!

Google My Business: A Simplified Local Marketing Tool for your Printing & Decoration Business

Being visible to your customers when they search for you on the internet should be one of the top priorities for your business. Google made an important announcement that could help your business gain visibility online.

Google My Business – A New Simplified Local Marketing Tool from Google

Last week  (on 11-June-2014) Google made a significant announcement about the launch of ‘Google My Business’ which is an upgrade to their existing Google Places for Business. Google aims to create a unified interface that will be a one-stop shop for small businesses to update their business information, get reviews & ratings from customers and to establish presence on Google+.

Any serious online marketer should take note of this move from the world’s most influential search engine.

Google My Business Logo

 

 

Features:

Google lists the following as the key features of Google My Business:

1. Your business details ‘found’ across Google:

Google My Business puts your business information on Google’s three important search hubs: Google Search, Google Maps and Google+, so that customers can find you using their desktops or mobile devices.

2. Right information, in the Right format, at the Right time:

Google My Business aims to give your customers the required information, in the right format at the right time, whether it is driving directions to your business using Maps, your business opening hours or your phone number on their mobile device so they can hit that green ‘call’ button and talk to you.

It does not matter whether you are in a printing or embroidery business, or whether you are decorating garments or mobile cases, today your customers expect to connect with your business using their mobile devices. By getting your business information on Google My Business, you are making it easier for them to do so.

3. Get social, with more of Google+:

With this move, Google hopes to increase the usage of Google+ by the small business community. Your customers can now rate, review, use the +1 button in Google+ to endorse your content, and re-share your Google+ posts across the web, all from a single interface.

Ok, you get the point. But what should you do now?

a. Existing Google Places Users:

If you have previously registered your business & managed your business information on Google Places for Business or Google+ Pages Dashboard, you don’t need to do much, your account will be automatically upgraded to Google My Business.

But we suggest that you login to your account and make sure everything is in order. Since this is a recent announcement from Google, they might add new features to this in the next couple of days based on user feedback and you want to make sure that your customers are seeing your business information exactly the way you want them to.

b. New Users:

If you have not yet registered your business on Google Places then this is the right time to do it. Google has simplified the process for you.

1. Visit http://www.google.com/mybusiness

2. Click on the ‘Get On Google’ button

3. Find your business using the search bar or create a new entry

4. Choose your business type and follow a simple step-by-step instructions to enter your business details.

After entering your business information, make sure you verify your details with Google. Because your business details will appear the way you want them to, only after the verification process.

If your business has multiple locations you can also use the Bulk Upload Tool and Bulk Verification features from Google My Business.

Connect your Social Media to your DecoNetwork site:

Finally, a very important step is for you to connect your Google+ account to your DecoNetwork website so that your customers can stay connected with you. With the ‘Social Sites’ feature in your DecoNetwork backend (you can go to ‘manage fulfillment>websites>manage>social sites’), it is very easy to link all your key social media channels to your website.

Remember, linking all your active social media channels to your DecoNetwork website might also help you in your search rankings, since that conveys a message to the search engines that you are ‘a business that stays connected to its customers and adds value to them via social media’.

Hope this helps. Let us know your thoughts & comments. Thanks!

Natchi Lazarus

Unexpected pop up window with not your own products offered on the site? Check if your computer was infected with an adware

We live in a world where your computer can be infected with various number of adwares, malwares, and viruses. Fortunately once you will recognize the problems, there are always ways to remove them. I have received recently a question about how to remove “Deal Finder” widget in DecoNetwork. This question was very suprising as we don’t have such functionality in DecoNetwork, so I did a quick research just to find out that the Deal Finder is an adware. If you have experienced similar problem as you can see below, it means that you also have this adware installed on your computer.
dealfinder

Deal Finder is not related to DecoNetwork in any way, and is not caused by DecoNetwork. The source of the problem must have come from some via free downloads, fake updates and abundant extra methods on your end. It also shows only on the machine which was infected, and when you have it, you will see it in all of the online stores including i.e. amazon.com

You can also find other variations of this adware called “Hot Deals” or “Similar Products”

How to remove it:
The easiest way to remove it from your computer is by using one of the many available on the market adware removal tools. Some of them are commercial but you can also find a freeware tools like Adware Removal v3.8. Which software you will choose is up to you; we don’t recommend one choice over the other but overall most/all of the adware removals should do the job just fine. You can also manually remove this adware from your computer by following one of the many instructions available online on this process. I have found this particular instruction to be the most straightforward: http://malwaretips.com/blogs/deal-finder-virus-removal/

Free premium templates and cliparts now available in DecoNetwork!

designs
You Asked – We Listened. Traditionally, DecoNetwork is offering design collections created by well known in the industry companies such as Digital Art Solutions, OESD, or Rival Art. As is right now we have over 18K designs available for use in DecoNetwork, and we will continue to add more collections like that in the future. That said, we decided that our DecoNetwork subscribers deserve even more from us, and as a gift, we have added completely FREE premium template and clipart collection. The first batch contains 72 high quality sport artworks, and we are looking for a feedback from you, and what would you like us to do next? Yes, you heard us right, this is just the beginning, and we have in plans keep adding more entirely free design collections for you :-)

To enable free sport collection in your store go to:

1) Manage Fulfillment > Stock Designs > Add DecoNetwork Design Collections
2) Select Sports Collections under DecoNetwork
sportscollection

Enjoy it.

Ps. Special thanks to Cris who was managing this project, and made it happen.