Holidays

2016 Resolutions for eCommerce Businesses Success

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 10.33.02 AM2015 was a good year for many eCommerce businesses, but regardless of how prosperous your company was, there’s always room for improvement! With the new year upon us, BLACK + GOLD has come up with five New Year’s resolutions that can help make 2016 progressive and prosperous for your business.

  1. Get engaged with social media marketing

Social media Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 10.42.23 AMcontinues to grow like a weed, and it has become a great venue for not only marketing but also selling using newly introduced “buy buttons” where people can buy directly from the social media site. Everything is testable on social media, including which types of “content” resonate with your target audience, reflected by what they choose to engage with and share.

  1. Start your own blog (and post frequently)

More and more companies are using marketing to “invite a conversation” with their customers rather than “talk at them” the way traditional advertising does. A blog can tell your story, or invite your customers to share their stories about your brand. Authentic and engaging content produces results: people will think your blog is worthy of sharing and commenting on, and it will build your brand in the process.

  1. Upgrade your website content

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 10.45.49 AMYour website is your “digital storefront” and it should be treated with great care. Take an objective look at your site (or have someone else do it) to make sure the content makes sense. Look at your web analytics for simple metrics like the “bounce rate” off your site (people who only look at the home page then leave, often never to return). Be sure to change a homepage that is boring or off-putting. Make sure you have a clear call-to-action and use relevant key words to consistently drive web search traffic.

CCampaign4

Branded image created by B+G in 2015

  1. Create a consistent / high quality visual brand image

Consider creating visual keywords. Does your website and its product images convey a consistent, high-quality look and feel? Are all the images easily identifiable as your brand? This applies to static images and video /streamed content as well. Consider developing visual keywords for your website. Check out our blog post on the best ways to do this.

  1. Take reasonable risks

In his book “The Start-up of You” LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman suggests that people should act like a start-up and be in “permanent beta”  or constantly challenging the status quo by testing new things. This can include your merchandise, distribution channels, website images, pricing strategy, marketing efforts or even evolving your business model. Try a test-learn-apply approach to business. Disruption can create big value, just look at Uber and Airbnb.

Here’s to a healthy, happy, and- most of all -prosperous 2016 from the team at BLACK + GOLD.

Read More

Holiday Tips for the Upcoming Season

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 2.42.02 PMThinking about how to make life better during a typically stressful time of year, the BLACK+GOLD staff discussed our personal and business holiday tips. We decided to share them in the hopes they might help others.

  1. Remember to be kind to yourself: We have two schools of thought here, one physical and one emotional.

Physical: Massage. The highly respected Mayo Clinic reports in its Healthy Lifestyle blog under Stress Management about the many benefits of massages. The article states “Studies of the benefits of massage demonstrate that it is an effective treatment for reducing stress, pain and muscle tension.”

The potential benefits of a massage include treatment of anxiety, headaches, insomnia related to stress, soft-tissue strains and sports injuries.

Massages are now available in places like malls and airports. Xpress Spa and Be Relax are two of the leading airport spa / massage providers. Check out their websites for airport locations nationwide.

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 2.59.31 PMEmotional: Meditation Apps. The NY Time recently wrote a review of meditation apps designed for smart phones. The article starts by saying “By now you’ve probably read about how meditation may help you manage anxiety, stress and blood pressure, and help you sleep better, be more creative and improve your relationships.” We couldn’t agree more.

It’s best to start with an app that will teach you the basics of meditation through a guided program. The sessions will introduce you to the concepts of mindful awareness and techniques such as focusing on your breath and body.

2. Outsourcing for Any Occasion: We’re big on outsourcing, and we don’t necessarily mean having your manufacturing done in some third world country.

From a business standpoint we like Intelecall Inc. for lead generation, outbound sales calls, inbound sales support, customer service and tech support. (Check them out. Mention BLACK+GOLD to receive a 10% discount)

For personal convenience we like instant delivery apps. Even living and working in NYC you can’t beat delivery to your door for nearly anything the heart desires. The NY Times rated four leading services recently. Be aware that there is a price mark-up for these services, that’s sometimes not transparently communicated.

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 3.06.47 PMAnd if you live in NYC check out Task Rabbit. They can help with home cleaning, delivery services, assembling IKEA furniture, general handyman services and even wait in line for restaurants, special events or the Department of Motor Vehicles.

3. Remember to Work On Your Business (not just in it). Business can just get crazy during the holidays, especially for eCommerce businesses.

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 3.08.52 PMWhile you’re busy filling orders and providing extra customer service, be sure to take time to look at the data your eCommerce is generating. Then use that information to optimize your website and social media marketing.

Start with Google analytics. Check out “The absolute beginners guide to Google Analytics” from the Moz blog. This article will give the clear reasons why you need Google Analytics, and then a step-by-step guide to installing and using it.

With these handy tips you‘ll get through the holiday in calm and good order, and build your business in the process. What a great way to go into 2016.

Read More