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CRAIG FORD >> THE ORIGINAL AND BEST INTERNET MARKETING MAGAZINE DESIGNED SPECIFICALLY FOR THE IPAD, KINDLE FIRE, ANDROID AND THE WEB


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INTERNET UPDATE

STATE OF THE INTERNET In this section of Internet Marketing Magazine our editor Greg Cassar cover’s the facts and provides expert commentary on what are the big plays that have recently happened online and how they affect you. Google Changes the eCommerce Game with Dynamic Remarketing

choose from that you can customize to reflect the design elements of your brand.”

Dynamic Remarketing is a remarketing technology and methodology where the site visitor is shown banner ads as they navigate around the web for the exact products that they viewed on the eCommerce store but did not purchase.

How is works is that Google will pull the product images and descriptions from your Google Merchant Center feed to automatically place the relevant product information on the banner ads for your site visitors when they leave your site. This new remarketing feature from Google will make Dynamic Remarketing accessible to eCommerce stores of all sizes.

Examples of Google Dynamic Remarketing Ads

I remember first seeing Dynamic Remarketing demonstrated at a Yahoo site visit about 2 years ago now, and was blown away by it’s relevance and targeting and knew straight away the impact it would have on ROI. Once becoming aware of it I then started to see it popping up when navigating the web from big players such as Zappos etc. Google has announced in late June that they now offer Dynamic Remarketing technology for Google Merchant Center customers. Before Google’s announcement this month Dynamic Remarketing was only available to larger players utilising remarketing platforms such as Adroll or Mediaforge. Google advises “Dynamic remarketing lets you automatically create beautiful, customized ads that connect with shoppers across the web, by reminding them of items they’ve seen on your site. You can build ads quickly with dozens of templates to

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We’ll test it out in the months to come with the eCommerce stores we work with and let you know our findings. Facebook Making it Easier to Get App Installs with Mobile App Install Ads Facebook Mobile App Install Ads have been around for a while now but Facebook has recently announced that it is simplifying the creation of this Ad unit to make it more widely used and accessible. A Facebook Mobile App Install Ad

Advertisers can now simply enter a link for the Ad from the App Store (for Apple) or Google Play (for Android) without the requirement to have to register the App with Facebook as was the case previously. This change gets rid of a major hurdle for App developers and makes Facebook a logical place for App developers to advertise to get more installs.


Terapeak Launches New Amazon Analytics Tool Terapeak is well known in eBay circles as a big data solution for analysing niches and competition historical sales data for several large eBay platforms around the world. Not many people associate Terapeak with Amazon, but that is all about to change as Terapeak launched last month the first iteration of their historical sales data analysis tool for Amazon. Terapeak for Amazon.com features product, offer and sales rank date for over 35 Amazon categories. You are able to see average, minimum and maximum pricing history, as well as competitor research and analysis, and the ability to view historical Amazon transactions.

growth statistics like this year after year now certainly is a great time in history to be investing in eCommerce plays. What was interesting is that U.S.-based eCommerce stores hold 21.9% of the European e-commerce market share. There is no great surprise that Amazon.com topped the rankings in 2012 with European web sales of $16.11 billion (12.29 billion euros). This figure is up by 25.13% over their 2011 web sales of $13.50 billion (10.30 billion euros). The Rise and Rise of the Responsive Web… But Long Live the Mobile Site! Month by month more and more sites online now are going responsive (adjusting in size and shape depending on the form factor of the device viewing the page). At our sister marketing agency business when we had tested responsive themes a year or so ago we found them clunky and limited in their functionality and ability to seamlessly morph shapes depending on devices.

A Terapeak for Amazon Search for Baseball Bats

This is a very smart move for Terapeak as they now provide analytics and intelligence data on the world’s two largest eCommerce trading platforms. This follows on from Terapeak’s new MySales product feature in April which allows you to suck your sales data from Magento directly into Terapeak so that you can compare it with your eBay sales and now your Amazon sales history as well. Internet Retail Growth in Europe

We feel that the responsive web has come along way in maturity in the last year and that responsive themes available for common platforms like Wordpress and Magento now work seamlessly. This is great news especially for eCommerce stores where maintaining a standard site and a mobile site and keeping them in synch can be cumbersome when dealing with large numbers of SKU’s. The general buying public is becoming more and more comfortable with buying what they want at any time, from any device, so a responsive eCommerce theme is now a must. But what is the best solution for the average business owner such as a tradesman or a physical shop owner or service provider?

InternetRetailer.com publishes each year a guide on the top 500 Internet Retailers in Europe. They recently reported that the 500 leading online retailers If I was to just follow the industry trends I would in Europe grew their web sales in 2012 by 17% to say a responsive site, but when I really think about $123 billion (93.74 billion euros). it 9 out 10 businesses we meet really need inbound phone leads and so in this case I say the industry Europe is now the world’s largest e-commerce trend is just plain wrong. marketplace with total online sales that grew 16% in 2012 to just over $300 billion. With consistent internet marketing magazine july 2013

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Our research is showing that for these types of businesses having a mobile site at their m.domainname. com is resulting in far more leads than for those who choose purely the responsive design without a mobile site. The reason for this is two or three very important tools for lead generation. The first of these is ‘Click to Call’ – having this at the top of a mobile site for many businesses results in as many leads if not more than their enquiry webform on their traditional website. Another important feature on mobile sites is the ability to add one click to Google Maps to ‘Find Us’. Whilst from mobile analytics we only see this get used about 30% as much as the ‘Click to Call’, its still a very important lead generation feature for getting potential customers to the door of physical stores.

From the Desk of the Editor The ‘Internet Marketing Magazine’ Podcast is now live in iTunes. If you like to learn on the go then subscribe and grab a copy of it. It kicks off with the first interview we did with Perry Marshall and then goes on from there. These expert interviews are really worth listening to as the calibre of market leading professionals who have graced the cover of Internet Marketing Magazine have been nothing short of brilliant and have done many hundreds of millions of dollars in sales online between them. We also did a site visit to Google for Google Engage to find out the very latest news from the dominant search provider online. We’ve included some of that breaking info here in this section and we have more to follow in future issues. A big thanks goes out to Google for running that excellent event series for agencies and the very knowledgeable Dave Booth who ran the day.

If you haven’t got access to the member’s area please feel free to do at http://internetmarketingmag.net/become-member (it’s free). This month’s complete audio interview with Craig Ford has now A new feature on been added. It has lots of sections in it that were not many mobile site plat- included in the magazine, so be sure to check it out. forms is ‘Click to Text’ An example of a mobile site with ‘Click which enables the A special thanks to those who have left reviews in to Call’ and ‘Find Us’ features mobile site visitor to the apple platforms as it really helps us out. If you click one button and are getting good value from Internet Marketing Magthen be able to send the business owner a text. The azine and you can spare 1 minute of your time to jury is still out on this one as we are new to testing click this link to give us a quick honest review that it, but will share the results with you in the months would be greatly appreciated (click ‘view in iTunes’ to come as we test it in the wild across a number of then scroll down and click ‘write a review’, thanks different industries mobile sites. :). So I think if you have a large and complex site then We hope you get great value from Internet Marketing responsive is the way to go. If you need the phone to Magazine. Wishing you the best of success online, ring for lead generation then there is no better move than a mobile site with ‘Click to Call’ functionality. Regards, Perhaps a hybrid solution of a responsive design that only redirects to a mobile site when the form factor of the device is a hand held the size of a smartphone will prove to be the best solution for the majority of Greg Cassar businesses moving forwards. Internet Marketing Strategist & Editor

GregCassar

Internet Marketing Magazine

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EXPERT INTERVIEW

CRAIG FORD

IMPORT FROM CHINA LIKE A PRO An Interview by Internet Marketing Strategist Greg Cassar Craig Ford is an import and export market expert with a long history of success. Craig has spent virtually his entire working life in different companies related to importing and exporting of goods. Prior to setting up his import education platform, My Import Label, Craig and his team recorded over $20 million in export sales. Craig has extensive experience in importing from China, India, Vietnam, Malaysia and a whole bunch of other regions, as well as expertise in private labeling products. Craig, really, it is quite a unique skill set you have there, and certainly an area of huge demand with the rise of e-commerce at the moment and also eBay as well. My understanding is that you first got started importing when you were backpacking around the world. How did that come about?

of age and there are a couple of other sites like Alibaba. It’s easy to find suppliers - finding them is actually not the issue. The issue is being able to sort through the genuine manufacturers from the tons of trading companies, sales agents, wholesalers and other brokers that are out there.

Craig: I did the usual Aussie thing, which is put on a backpack and head away for a couple of years. Australia is a long way from anywhere and when you’re backpacking you tend to get off the beaten track a bit. When you’re travelling you tend to find lots of interesting products that you think, “I haven’t seen that before. I wonder how that would go with selling it back home?”

Unfortunately, Alibaba has taken a bit of a back step there. Once upon a time, you could do an advanced search and filter those guys out. It’s not as easy to do that anymore. So it does require a little bit of skill to be able to weed out those guys. Certainly one thing we encourage our clients to do is just to take the information that’s posted online at face value, much like you would do if you were on a dating website.

I was already used to selling in Australia through weekend markets, so it was pretty easy for me to grab new products and send them back or bring them back with me and test them out. It was all about finding unique stuff that no one else has got ideally, and then making sure that there’s some residual value and a good margin on it. The first question for many Internet Marketers and upcoming Internet Retailers once they’ve chosen their product and market niche would be where online can they find genuine suppliers who are legitimate manufacturers rather than just product distributors? Craig: In the last three years, Alibaba has come

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When you see a profile of a supplier that you like, by all means have a chat with them and see what they’re offering. But it’s quite another thing to place a commercial order just on the information posted online. So we encourage our marketers to go through a whole lot more steps before they go and place that order. Is there a definite right way and a wrong way to approach a supplier professionally so as to not come across as an amateur importer? Craig: There is a low level of trust initially, so you’ve got to go to another level to show to the supplier that you are serious. There’s a few basic things you can do such as: • Contact them with your own domain name rather than a hotmail or a Gmail type free email account. • Already have an online presence setup so that they can look you up and make sure that you are an actual business. • Include a positioning sales blurb in your initial inquiries about who you sell to and the volumes you are currently doing and where the business is headed. Just let them know, “I’m a major retailer in XYZ Country, I sell to all of these markets at the moment, I’ll be expanding into these markets” etc. The key is to get them to see you as the real deal, but also look beyond the initial discussion and look at the long-term opportunity for you. It’s really important

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Alibaba.com

to talk to those suppliers about your long-term quantities. If you go in there trying to negotiate to drive down a minimum order quantity, you’re really not going to get far at all. Another rule is don’t talk about prices and quantities in your initial discussions. Focus on the product and focus on if they are a suitable supplier.

As a general rule we all want to deal with the manufacturer, but it actually gets complicated when manufacturers sometimes have trading names. They call it an import/export company, which is generally what the trading company is.

To make it even more complicated, some of the wholesalers can do very low volume orders for you and have very well designed, ready-made products. How important is a site visit to a Sometimes it is best to start manufacturer and when would working with a wholesaler iniyou recommend that in a rela- tially and work your way up to tionship, or is there any other working directly with a manuway of doing that due diligence facturer. on the supplier? You need to find a suitable supCraig: There’s a lot of due dili- plier that matches your needs. gence you can do from your desk- Many marketers need to start top initially. We talk quite a lot with ready-made products, with of this on the program and just low quantity orders and have ways to filter out trading com- plenty of factory designs to panies and filter out the guys choose from. This means that who are not as well suited to the often it’s not the factory that has product. 10,000 staff and massive


production lines that is a perfect fit for you. So even though you might want to deal with them, they might not want to deal with you. It’s about finding that suitability. If we go back to the dating example - You’ve got to find someone who matches your needs and you have to match their needs as well. With regards to doing more due diligence on the supplier its important to then move into a sampling and testing stage. This stage is about much more than about just testing the product. The sampling stage is you testing the supplier to see how flexible they are, how willing they are to work with you and how good the relationship is. Another area that we talk a lot about with clients these days is testing your markets, so ideally you want to be getting that product back to your country so that you can test if your market wants it and is willing to pay for it.

There are lots of different things that you can do before you get to that commercial importer stage. Certainly we have a team in China, and that’s exactly what they do. Clients will get to the point of negotiation and before they go and part with their money, they just want to know if this supplier exists and if they’re the real deal. Our team can go look at the factory and make sure the factory is what they say it is, and importantly, it’s actually producing the quality of product that they’re claiming. If you are about to commit to a big order, then we strongly recommend you go to the factory yourself and check it out. It always brings up a few surprises, both good and bad. Some suppliers that you didn’t think were that great can turn out to be really well suited. On the other hand we’ve certainly been to factories on a couple of occasions and found out that the quality

Some of the wholesalers can do very low volume orders for you and have very well designed, readymade products. Sometimes it is best to start working with a wholesaler initially and work your way up to working directly with a manufacturer.

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of product was just poor. We were looking at the products that were being produced and they were for the Chinese domestic market, so the quality and materials were not what we would expect in a western country. That’s the sort of thing that you can only find out when you’ve got a trusted eye and ear on the ground. Greg: That’s a good point that you raised. One of the things you’d have to think about when you’re dealing with a supplier is have they dealt with any other Western countries before, because you would imagine that the UK, USA, Australia, and parts of Europe have similar safety standards. Is that something that you would generally think about? Craig: Yes, absolutely. We’ve got a big criteria list that we work through for each new supplier. One of the major things on that list is they must already export. They’ve got to export to the U.S. or the EU because of comparable style and design and also comparable quality requirements.

be produced elsewhere and then people will take it to China and China then becomes a specialist in that product. So China is always the default location and will be for some time. The issue with China is it’s actually becoming very expensive. Certainly, on the Eastern seaboard, the prices we’ve seen for clothing in the last two years have gone up exponentially.

How would you normally go about getting samples or prototypes of the product to test to ensure that they sell in the market that they’re good quality before doing a more substantial order? Craig: The default option here is people will hop on Alibaba and they’ll order some samples. They’ll bring it back here and they’ll check the product out, they’ll test it, and then they’ll launch into a commercial sized order. Other countries like India and Bangladesh are becoming popular for clothing now. Bangladesh has become the go-to market for the major department stores like Wal-Mart purely because they’re producing quality; they’ve got a good background in textiles; they’ve got the skills and they’re producing at a very low cost.

China gets the most focus as they are well known as a manufacturing country to be importing products from. Are they across all types of products, or is it just certain product areas? And what are other countries that people should think about for different categories of prod- India is a fantastic location as ucts to import from? well. It doesn’t have as many export-capable companies and as Craig: China is the default loca- much industry as China does, but tion for manufactured products India is a leader in textiles, and worldwide because they have so we have plenty of clients that much scale of industry that they source very unique good quality can produce such a massive va- home ware, giftware, and texriety of products. Products can tiles from India.

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Vietnam is another good one. I’ve actually got quite a few clients that are doing clothing and textiles, and they’re raving about Vietnam. One of the reasons is that they’re finding very small manufacturers, sometimes factory-owned businesses that are able to do small runs that are very high quality, and also they’re extremely adaptive.

Really, it is a high-risk way to do it like that because there are so many steps that you can put in place to remove a lot of risks and assumptions that you’re making in doing that. We’ve been following closely ‘The Lean Startup Process’ which was pioneered in Silicon Valley. There are a few really important principles that have come out of the Lean startup process that can be applied to importers. The first part of that is you don’t over-engineer a product. You go to market with a minimum viable product at the start, so that you can get tons of feedback.


10% bracket. You can get concessions if the product is not manufactured in the country where you are importing to and sometimes the tariff can be zero. Probably the biggest issue is port charges, and the array of costs that are applied by government. As an importer you need to figure out the government charges and the duty and also GST (or VAT), which the government applies to the product as well as to services for your country.

We’ve certainly seen importers run out of budget and run out of sanity and patience where they have tried to commit to a very complex product at the start. Over a series of months and thousands of emails often they just run out of patience and time and re-sampling. We see a lot of importers who say “I’ve got a fantastic idea, I’m going to run with it”. But once they actually test it with customers, that product can be a dramatically different from the one they first envisioned. So sampling is a process that you’ve got to be prepared to do a couple of times.

dramatically changing their process to improve their quality? Craig: Yes, absolutely. The rule of thumb that we tell clients is if you get samples that have very poor craftsmanship, there’s not a lot that you can do about that. You’re best advised to move to a new supplier because it’s not your business to improve the skills of the factory.

We provide tools for people to quickly evaluate how much it’s going to be to bring a 20-foot container to your local port. Sometimes it is better to stay away from bigger product items initially and import small products that can use air-freight in smaller regular volumes. Greg: I’d imagine you’d also be able to get the products quicker if it’s going via plane than via a ship as well?

Craig: Absolutely. It arrives in 3 to 7 days as opposed to with a ship where you’ve got a few days either side in port, and it can take 20 to 30 days from China to Australia, Europe or the States. So What about things like tariffs add in a bit of time for trucking to and taxes and how long it actu- and from the port as well, and all ally takes containers to get from of a sudden it can blow out to 1 to one country to another if it goes 2 months on top of the production via ship - What are some of the time. common mistakes you see there? If, however, you find that it is good craftsmanship but the materials are poor, then that’s relatively easy to negotiate improvements.

Very often the first load of samples you get are poor quality. Certainly sampling can be very frustrating, but having a process in place whereby you can negotiate improvements to the product is the big difference. Craig: It’s actually a lot simpler than it used to be. Import duGreg: I guess sometimes you get ties and tariffs have been brought to the point where you’re better down. In the 1980s, they were just off just to change the supplier. If ridiculous. They could range anythe quality is just really not there, where from 5% to 150%. Now as a then what’s the likelihood of them general rule they are in the 5% to

What can you tell us about MyimportLabel.com.au? Who is it for, and what can they expect to learn in that online coaching environment? Is it just for Aussies, or is it for globally based marketers and business owners? internet marketing magazine july 2013

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MyImportLabel.com.au

Craig: Certainly we started in Australia, but we have many clients from around the world in the program as well. It’s a digital learning resource for startups in the importing community that are looking to import and launch their own labeled products to market. The majority of the platform is e-learning where we get people up to speed of how to import from China like a Pro in as little as six weeks. There’s a large area that is about negotiating with overseas suppliers and getting that product back to market, but there is also a lot about launching it digitally online and also testing and evaluating products. There’s also a pricing tool for being able to forecast your profit margins. At the start of the business, people need to make decisions on products, your suppliers, and which sales channels or which markets you’re selling into. So it’s designed to get people to make those decisions, the best decisions they can as quickly as possible. Resources Mentioned in this Article: AliBaba.com MyImportLabel.com.au

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CONVERSIONS

HOW WE INCREASED CONVERSIONS BY 700% USING GIVEAWAYS TO CAPTURE LEADS By Adeel Vanthaliwala For years, online marketers have regularly used giveaway contests as a buzz-creating strategy. However, according to our research at Incentivibe, giveaway contests have another powerful benefit that marketers have rarely utilized: Giveaway contests have the ability to convert daily targeted visitors into email subscribers and leads.

Think about it, when was the last time you ran a contest on your regular landing pages to boost your lead conversions and build your email list? In this blog post, I’ll discuss our research results using giveaway contests as a lead conversion strategy, and the eight tests that we conducted to optimize this strategy. The Test: Before we delve into the details, here are some important points to help you understand our giveaway-as-a-conversion-strategy research: • Data: We analyzed 3 million visitors from 100 of our client websites between the period of March 15, 2013 and April 15, 2013. • No announcement: The giveaway contests ran only on individual client’s landing pages – they were not featured or announced elsewhere. This ensured that only the targeted organic/paid traffic saw and converted from these contests. • Call to action: Each contest asked visitors

for their name and email to either subscribe to their newsletter or stay in touch. • Shared Prize: These clients used our sharedcontest-prize service to offer a $500 contest prize for a minimal cost, and put our black contest widget with their name as the co-sponsor. The Result

Landing pages with a contest collect 700% more email subscribers.

The increase in email leads due to the contest was predictable, but the magnitude of the increase was astounding. We discovered that landing pages that ran a contest with a $500 prize collected 700% more email subscribers than landing pages with no contests. The 8 factors that increased conversions from 200% to 700% The most intriguing part of this research was not only the end result, but the journey. When we ran these contests for the first time, email subscriptions increased by 200%. How did we reach 700%? We tested and optimized eight different factors that bumped the average increase in email subscribers to 700%. Test 1: The Month Effect Have you ever come across a contest, only to question when it began and when it will end? It is one of the most common pieces of information that is left out of contests and one of the reasons why people won’t enter. The result in our research reinforced this point. When we specified the month of the contest on the widget, our conversion rate internet marketing magazine july 2013

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increased by an astounding 40%.

Contests that specify a month receive 40% more email subscribers. Test 2: The Promotion Labeling Effect Is “giveaway ” the same as a “sweepstake” in an online visitor’s mind? Do people respond more to “promotions”? In our research, the word “giveaway” was the winner. It resulted in 27% more conversions than the word “sweepstake” and 50% more conversions than the word “promotion.”

The A/B test found a 24% conversion lift when asking for an email. Read the full case study with Oli’s psychological conclusions here.

Facebook likes can decrease email subscribers significantly. Test 4: The Location Effect Do visitors focus more on the left or the right area of a website? We read from the left, but scroll and sign in from the right. This is one of the trickiest web behaviors, and results vary for different call to actions. In the case of a giveaway contest, when the contest widget was placed on the bottom-right, it increased email subscriptions by a whopping 125% than when the contest widget was placed on the bottom-left.

The word “giveaway” gets 27% more conversions than “sweepstakes.” Test 3: The “Like-gating” Effect Isn’t everyone logged onto their Facebook account pretty much all the time? Doesn’t it seem that getting a Facebook like would be a more frictionless action than requesting a visitor to type their email address? Not so fast… In our research, the contest widget that simply asked for a visitor’s email address, got 80% more email subscribers than the widget that asked visitors to like a Facebook page to access the contest (a.k.a. like-gating).

A contest placed on the bottom right increased email subscriptions by 125% Test 5: The Stating-The-obvious Effect This test reminded us of the importance of stating the obvious to remind online visitors that a specific action will in fact be very quick.

For the first few days, we used the words “Submit” or “Enter” as the button text for contest entry. We Granted, that a decrease in email subscribers makes assumed that visitors would look at the contest form sense for the like-gating widget since we erected a and understand that clicking “enter” will finish the like wall. However, the magnitude of the decrease entry process. However, when we changed the but was very surprising, given that the widget also gave ton text to “Enter in seconds”, the number of email subscribers increased by 33%. visitors a clear path to bypass the like wall. Unbounce saw a similar trend when they let people pay for their ebook with a tweet or with an email.

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This Unbounce post teaches you how to write effective CTA copy & increase conversions. In addition,


Unbounce always preaches that you should “Never Submit” when it comes to your CTA copy.

“Enter in seconds” gets 33% more email subscribers than “enter.” Test 6: The Image Effect Shouldn’t an image that fails to communicate the message of a $500 prize, lead to lower conversions than a message in big text that clearly conveys a chance to win a $500 prize? It turns out that this is not the case and that simply having an image, no matter how poor or irrelevant, leads to higher conversions. The contest widget that had the fuzzy image collected 22% more email subscribers than the widget that had big text and no image. When making snap judgements about “facts,” researchers have found that photos (even irrelevant photos) increase our likelihood to accept them as true. This study was featured in an Unbounce blog post teaching you how to use images to increase your conversions.

Including a company name increases contest conversions by 28%. Test 8: The not-so-dominant lightbox effect Is a lightbox as almighty as everyone claims it to be? The answer is yes, but with one key exception. Yes, the lightbox increased conversions by 62% overall, but it actually led to a decrease of 20% in businesses that were in the fashion/indie clothing industry. Again, many factors are at play here, but I think businesses in this industry tend to have more design-focused websites and a lightbox was probably unsettling to their design-centric audience.

Lightbox decreases conversions by 20% in fashion industry. What’s next? If your marketing team has not utilized the giveaway-as-a-conversion strategy, I strongly recommend that you try it out to see how it impacts your conversions.

Fuzzy images gets 22% more contest conversions than big font text.

This post was originally published by Adeel Vanthaliwala on Unbounce conversion blog.

Test 7: The branding effect Should you have your business name on a widget that has limited space for marketing copy? In our research, when the contest widget stated the name of the contest holder in the header, the conversion rate increased by 28%.

Adeel Vanthaliwala

is the Co-founder of Incentivibe a service that groups businesses together so they can offer big contest prizes ($500 visa) while sharing a fraction of the prize cost ($24.99) with other businesses. You can read Incentivibe’s other researches here.

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Make Your Website Easy to Read & Effective on all Mobile Phones

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CONTENT MARKETING

CONTENT MARKETING

THE ART OF DEVELOPING CONTENT THEY CAN’T RESIST By Tommy Walker

Content Marketing is one of those buzz phrases in the online marketing space that many use and few understand. Some people confuse “blogging” with content marketing, while others say they’re “content marketing”, when what they’re really doing is journaling. Content marketing as I see it, does two things.

So what they’ll do is create a piece of content, like a blog post, video, or any other form of media expecting it to do the work of generating leads, selling the service, raising awareness and starting a discussion. Of course, when content fails to do even one of these things over a long period of time, it causes you to spin out into a million different directions until eventually you say, “why bother” and quit.

Engages the reader & and compels them to take action. What Are Your Content Goals? In the real world, unless you’re a “business celebWhen your content doesn’t drive actions, it’s not re- rity” it’s rare that one piece of content achieves all ally marketing. It’s just content. four goals. Marketing is about using creative to drive viewers to a desired outcome. So if content doesn’t do that, it’s only a story or a set of instructions, and nothing more.

Instead, most online marketers take a more strategic and methodical approach to the content they create and the goals that it reaches.

It’s is fine creating content for content’s sake, that’s art. Just don’t fool yourself into thinking you’re “marketing” or “building trust” when nobody interacts with or shares your stuff. The Purpose of Content Marketing To understand the purpose of content marketing, and the role it plays in online marketing, you must first understand the marketing funnel. Many people start blogging with the intent of selling products or services, however when asked what the overall strategy is, they say “create awesome content and people will want to buy my stuff.” While that’s at the surface of content marketing, and is most often pushed by “experts”, what most people don’t realize is that content is supposed to take their reader through a journey over a longer period of time. internet marketing magazine july 2013

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Those content types and goals are: 1. Viral – Content that is designed to spread organically through a specific community. Usually, the content is at the extreme end of a spectrum: It could be hilarious, cute, heartwarming, controversial, disgusting, or downright scary. Usually, it has little substance beyond the initial spark that makes viral content unique; thus has a fairly short shelf life.

Viral content’s main goal is to get your prospect to click a social share button and forward to as many people as possible in order to raise awareness. 2. Discussion – Once awareness has been raised, it’s time to take that relationship to the next level. Discussion content is designed to spark conversation within a community. Like Viral content, it could also be hilarious, cute, heartwarming. etc.; but, unlike viral, its shelf life is much longer. The content can play on the same extremes as viral, but it’s more thoughtprovoking and deeper in nature. The main goal with discussion content is to get its consumer to leave comments and interact with other readers. In the marketing funnel, that’s giving consideration to a problem

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that needs to be solved. 3. Lead – This content is designed to draw people into some sort of opt-in. Generally speaking, the goal of this content is to expose a gap between where the consumer is, and where they would like to be and hints at a possible solution in exchange for an email address or other personal information on a lead form. The ideal lead conversion outline takes the viewer on a journey, at the end of which he realizes what can be summed up in three words: “I need help.” 4. Sales – Sales content is similar to lead content, but with one major difference. Instead of getting the consumer to say “I need help,” this content convinces him into making a decision to alleviate their problem. Sales content leads the buyer to believe that making an exchange of dollars will alleviate that problem and solve the problem.

While this is true, what few people really emphasize enough is the amount of market research skill level to realistically create “engaging” or “compelling” content. In my opinion, creating web content shares many characteristics with long running television shows,critically acclaimed films, and best selling novels. What matters the most is the art of story telling, compelling characters, story structure, and style. Let’s get an overview what these mean in terms of content marketing: Story telling In order for story to work well in content marketing, you need to understand your customers in intimate detail. To start, think about your ideal customer’s current situation. What stresses them out? What makes them happy? What are their goals, desires and dreams?

As an exercise, try writing about When you create a piece of a day in your customer’s life. content with only one of these goals in mind, the intention Maybe they’re struggling to keep flows through the entire piece, their position at work and need a from opening headline to final big win. call to action. Their last few ideas were shot Where “Content” Gets Tricky down by the boss, and that’s What’s interesting about con- starting to take a toll on their tent marketing is just how tricky confidence. Of course, this spills it really is to develop something into their marriage because their unique. spouse thinks they’ve bet on the This is where the big guys say you wrong horse. If they don’t have a need to have your unique selling big change, and fast, they could proposition and develop your own lose everything. voice and brand character and blah blah blah. All they need now is a friend to


to help them get back on track. Or perhaps… They’ve just gotten a promotion after years of hard work, and that comes with an extra $30,000 bonus. Through their career, they’ve had a great relationship with the family and kids, and because of that everyone was willing to sacrifice knowing this day would come.

With content marketing, the main character has to be your reader. And you have to understand them well enough to guide them through a story that takes them from where they are to where they want to be.

Now, it’s time for them to indulge. Maybe it’s a new car, maybe it’s breaking ground on a new house, maybe it’s an in ground pool; whatever it is, it’s big, and everyone is excited for them to have reached this new chapter in their lives. Even though these stories are very different, they’re very human and relatable. According to Edgar Roberts in ‘Writing Themes About Literature’ you define character by: 1) What a person says (and thinks, and shares in the third-person omniscient point of view). RANDY KEPPLE: 2) What the character does. ”Sitting here after an early rising due 3) What others characters say about him. to insomnia… this article really hit 4) What the author (market research/demohome for me. I think you just described graphic data) says about him, speaking as either me to a fault.” the story-teller or an observer of the action. With this understanding, the stories you take their life story into account, and drawing responses like:

Comment from 5 Silly Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Blog on BoostBlogTraffic.com

Of course, telling these stories without any frame of reference is hit or miss. Which is where the next section comes into play. Character Study Great stories are driven by great characters. Great main characters almost always the reflection of who the viewer is or who they would like to be like to be.

Fortunately, you can gather all of this information by studying social media, blog comments, demographic reports etc. to learn about your customer’s profile. It’s a lot of work, and if you’re impatient, you’re going to hate it. But it’s the only advantage you have to creating content that actually does something.

Structure If content were a product you bought at the store, Tyler Durden for example is the embodiment of structure would be the product’s packaging. rebellion and the human id. Empire magazine describes him as “effortlessly stylish, unshakably How you structure your content is going to probcool, and dangerously charismatic…he is a mon- ably one of the most important aspects to what ster, he is the very image of modern man (or at kind of audience you’re going to build over a lonleast how modern man would like to see himself).” ger period of time. What could you do if you made your readers feel like Tyler Durden?

On a post by post level structure is about the over all elements that make up a post; headers, subinternet marketing magazine july 2013

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headers, paragraph length, multimedia usage, etc. Consistency to the way your content is presented establishes a familiarity over time with an audience. An example structure for a post might be Long Posts, paragraphs 3-4 lines, New Subhead every 3-4 paragraphs

us that we’re not so alone in our own weirdness and we appreciate the hell out of you putting your weirdness on display so we know you’re just like the us we keep private. Style makes you attractive. The only way to develop it is to repeatedly take risks.

Structure also applies to the overall publishing of content to You Will Have Content That the blog. Flops, It’s Not The End Of The World Are you more likely to write detailed series of posts to thor- Everyone, and I mean everyone oughly flesh out a subject or are who puts themselves out there creating smaller posts to cover and does creative work has a wider range of subjects within failed. a category? How you structure your content creation is widely Yeah, I know its cliche, but it’s dependent on how you want true, and you have nothing to your blog to be perceived. worry about if it doesn’t work. Style Style may seem obvious, but the truth is, it’s an incredibly difficult thing to master. Mostly because developing your own style requires vulnerability and demands you do and say things that you’ve been trained to keep private. Fear of developing a unique style is the #1 reason most bloggers succumb to that generic borg voice, which is why 99% of the blogs out there sound like they were written by the same person. But nobody cares about that voice. What we do care about is your honest, and unique perspective. So what if it’s weird? People get weird. We like weird. It reminds

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I mean, think about this for a second… if you have no visitors now, who’s going to know you’re doing something new, or different, or even ::gasp:: weird. So what if it’s scary? Who’s going to know right now anyways? And besides, they’ve already heard that other guy, and the 10,000 people who try to emulate him. Don’t you owe it to them to give them something new? I think so.

Tommy Walker is an Online Marketing Strategist and Host of two Youtube shows, Inside The Mind & The Mindfire Chats. Tommy’s main mission is to make the concepts of online marketing fun and interesting to learn.


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GOOGLE

GOOGLE

IS THE ONLINE VERSION OF THE MAFIA By Christopher Morley in waste management – he was also able to link and connect other businesses – occasionally cutting in the other Families. Google has been able to do a similar thing by having their search engine link to their maps, their mail, their shopping, their payment, and any other business that Google invests in. The greatest similarity that may exist between Google and the modern mafia representation is that of expanding into other industries and being able to do so under the guise of waste management. Google has continued to The Sopranos is one of my all time online is a crucial aspect to mod- expand their offerings on Adverfavorite TV shows; Mafia movies ern life yet it is amazing to think tising (their largest revenue earnand TV shows have always been a that nearly all who use it on a er), travel, maps, eCommerce genre I have absolutely enjoyed to daily basis don’t understand how and mobile platform all whilst the watch – the action, the drama and it works, and what can affect the public largely thinks of Google as the personalities – what is not to results that are presented. Google a search engine and necessity of like? One of my much loved aspects who are a market leader in online modern life. As Google expands of The Sopranos is the profession search marketing appear to prefer by purchasing existing compathey are apparently in – ‘waste the mystery and misunderstand- nies, changing search algorithms, management’. This is brilliant ings that exist on search market- purchasing patents and creating as it is an employment catergory ing – using it to their advantage. new product offerings – the busithat can connect to multiple in- Very much like The Sopranos did ness seems to get further from its dustries, it can be a front for oth- in the TV show; waste manage- status of being a search engine. er businesses, it’s a job that needs ment is not an industry that most Having all the data conducted to be done that no one knows a lot people know a lot about – so when from online search queries allows about it and it does allow you the its brought up in a conversation – Google to look at areas of growth ability to get rid of waste such as there aren’t many follow up ques- – is it little wonder why travel bodies. And these reasons are why tions that can occur – similar to companies such as Froomer are I think Google is an online version search marketing. purchased when a company can of The Sopranos’ – except for the see search volumes and number dead bodies aspect. Waste management can connect a of players in the market? Google few different industries together will maintain their status as being Search Marketing is a curious busi- – not only the number of business- a search engine much the same ness – many – even some within es who use the service – but also way that Tony Soprano maintained eCommerce don’t completely those that may be linked. As So- that his business was Waste Manunderstand it. Searching items prano continued his involvement agement; despite the numerous internet marketing magazine july 2013

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other business and activities Soprano was involved in. And with the recent change in Google’s policy for trademark and brand monitoring in Australia – Google who call themselves a search engine – although according to their figure 96% of their revenue is from advertising – are they then a media company that has to play by the same rules as TV, Radio and Print? Trademark laws exist to stop other businesses copying brand names, looks and defaming a brand. If a business was to be accused of defaming or misleading the public over an abuse of a registered trademark – the business who ran the advertisement along with associated agency and even the TV station that ran the ad can have copyright infringements breeches leveled at them. How this scenario plays out is with businesses, agencies and media playing the ‘I didn’t notice card’ and all the lawyers get rich. So how would this then play out on Google? I make an ad using a registered brand or trademark term of a competitor – place my Google paid ad at the top of all search enquiries – my creative is suggested as misleading by my competitor – I will have to fight this claim and Google would wash their hands of involvement under their updated policy. How can that be? Given they are in advertising – the same as other media groups – yet because they are a search engine; they will play they Soprano’s card and claim innocence. Another similarity that exists between the Sopranos and Google is that off using their power to in-

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Google Logo

fluence and get their way. The Sopranos may have used a bunch of ‘heavies’ or stand over men occasionally combined with paper bags containing cash to get their way. The reputation of the Soprano’s family would often ensure they get their way without the ‘heavies’ needing to get violent – after all who wants to be swimming with the fishes. Whilst Google don’t have the same stand over men or have sent anyone to swim with the fishes – they do use their power and market dominance to get their way. Their market share in Australia is in excess of 90% of search market – meaning that advertising with Google can get you in front of 9 out of 10 internet users; this power can be used to ensure increased revenue from advertising; set minimum spends, even promoting their own brands and businesses ahead of competitors as desired. The mafia-helped shape America at certain times – think of Al Capone – the portrayal of these families on the silver screen has been popular amongst the masses. The Sopranos was a show that brilliantly connected stereotypical mob activities into modern living; highlighting issues such as depression. Google is in our lives

more and more – evolving and moving with the ever-changing online world – they have grown into a multi country multi industry giant – who is further and further away from being just a search engine every day. The rate of Google’s businesses growth and international expansion has made it hard for laws to keep up with it; potentially similar to how the feds caught Capone, on tax avoidance, it may be something that brings Google to answer for some of their mafia style activities. Christopher Morley

Chris Morley has been helping Australian businesses improve their online strategies, revenue and process for nearly 10 years; working with retailers and brands of all sizes to increase their online footprint and market share in a meaningful and manageable way. Chris has worked with Australia Post, Deals Direct, OO.com.au, Cadbury and others on various online projects; always bringing his passion and enthusiasm for eCommerce and digital marketing to each and every role. Chris holds the position of General Manager with Online Market Experts and also acts as senior consultant for the blueprint for success document that the business provides for numerous businesses.


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VIDEO STYLES

7 TYPES OF VIDEOS YOU CAN SWIPE + DEPLOY By Pete Williams

With so many different styles of video available, how do you choose which ones to use ?

and frame for the thing you are recommending to your audience.

It’s a question I get often and thought I’d answer in this (long) essay, by using a bunch of videos we’ve used in our various projects and businesses.

WHAT’s actually going on in this video? Well, face-to-camera stuff is very easy to do, once you get the confidence to put yourself on screen. It works extremely well if you are trying to relate a personal story and the audience can truly ‘see’ your expressions.

I’ve broken each down so you can see WHY we chose this style for the outcome desired, WHAT actually is happening in the video itself, and then some quick notes on HOW we actually put it all together. Example 1. Product Recommendations The video below is something you probably saw recently. It was shot on my iPhone 4S after I was recommended Jules Watkins’ iVideo Hero program. I was about to invest over $1,200 on a DSLR for faceto-camera stuff, when someone suggested I learn some amazing little hacks on the iPhone camera. Long story short, I invested the $97 in Jules’ training course, turned the iPhone on, quickly recorded my story, and recommend Jules’ program to the entire Preneur Community…

WHY would you want to use this style of video? I’ve found that using a face-to-camera stuff is not only super quick and easy, but it’s a great way to pre-sell a recommended product or service (ala affiliate product), as it allows you to set the context

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It also work well when you are trying to build trust with the viewer, like in a sales letter or testimonial. HOW do you actually make this happen? In this case, and as with most of my recent (and future) videos, I’ll be shooting them on the iPhone. Simple as that. Get yourself a cheap tripod and a iPhone camera mount, and you’re good to go. Example 2. Product Reviews The video below is something we do quite regularly for our e-comm projects such as SimplyHeadsets. com.au. They are very simple yet highly effective product reviews, so our online prospects can get as close to a tangible understanding/feel for the products usually only visible in a photograph.


WHY would you want to use this style of video? If you are selling a product or service that is “tangible” or “tactile”, a video showcasing that is much more impactful than any photo or textual description ever will. WHAT’s actually going on in this video? It’s just me sitting at a desk, talking about the headset infront of me with a few B-roll cutaways to make it a little more ‘active’ visually. HOW do you actually make this happen? Again, it’s just a matter of sitting down in front of a camera, having some notes for direction on a whiteboard or butcher paper behind your camera, and away you go. If you want to have B-roll footage for the cutaways, you might need a second camera. But that’s only really needed if you want to go that extra mile in production. Example 3. Live Event The video is a excerpt from one of the various live events I’ve spoken at. This one is from the first outsroucing workshop Dave Jenyns and I did together a year or so back.

quite easy as all you need to worry about is speaking and over-delivering to the live audience. As you will see from this excerpt, I completely ignore the camera and focus on the people in the room. (This also means the video viewers will be a little more forgiving of errors and stumbles you may have during your delivery.) HOW do you actually make this happen? The hardest part of this type of video is getting bums in the room for the live event. Beyond that, you just need to shell out some coin for the videographers who will record and edit everything up for you. Example 4. Green-Screen Video The video is a video from our Going Analogue course. The intros for each section were filmed just outside London while I was there speaking at an live event (which was also recorded). We very rarely use green screen for our videos as I don’t believe they give a great bang-for-buck. But like everything, there is a time and place for them.

WHY would you want to use this style of video? To be honest, I find it very, very hard to justify the effort and expense of green screen — so unless you have a mate with a studio and some spare time. For the wider Preneur Community, I wouldn’t actually WHY would you want to use this style of video? recommend you use this style of video in your busiUsing live events as the source material for videos ness. (and training programs) is a fantastic positive constraint, which I’ve spoken previously on the Pre- WHAT’s actually going on in this video? neurCast podcast. If it wasn’t for the pressure of This was a really fun (yet, over-the-top) way of dohaving people attending a live event, there would ing intro videos. The way we recorded these was by be a tonne of content I would have never gotten having me stand in a full green-screen room with around to having recorded. a teleprompter. The production team then went about creating the sweet backdrops and slides in WHAT’s actually going on in this video? post-production. From a video production standpoint, this is really internet marketing magazine july 2013

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HOW do you actually make this happen? I don’t want to get too technical here (for obvious reasons), but you need an extremely well-lit studio with a green screen and some really good software for the editing process.

programs use this style as well. The example below is a keynote-style video that’s been applied to a PreneurCast podcast episode, where funnily enough, Dom and I talk about all this video marketing.

Example 5. Screen-Capture Training Hopefully, this style of video isn’t overly new to anyone here in the Preneur Community. It’s something we use a lot in all projects — from demonstrating marketing tools like SendOutCards below, to doing demo and training videos on the software that comes with the phones systems we sell thru Infiniti Telecommunications.

WHY would you want to use this style of video? I personally believe this is not only the easiest but the best way to communicate and teach anything that doesn’t need a live demonstration. The ability to support the stuff you are saying with bullets and graphs really helps the understanding and consumption for your audience.

WHY would you want to use this style of video? This is one of the easiest and most effective style of videos you will ever do. If you’re trying to document a process to your virtual assistant, train your clients on a tool, or just want to demonstrate a product you’re trying to promote, screen-capture video is the closest thing you’ll ever get to sitting down with them side by side. WHAT’s actually going on in this video? Well not a whole lot technically. I am just using the tool I’m trying to demonstrate and just commentating the process through a headset. HOW do you actually make this happen? All you need is a headset (or machine with inbuilt mic), and then some screen-capture software like ScreenFlow or Camtasia. Example 6. Keynote-Style Video Boy do we use this style of video A LOT. Every single one of our podcast episodes get this treatment, plus most of the strategy videos we produce for training

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WHAT’s actually going on in this video? Like I mentioned above, the visuals in this style of video is primarily there to support the audio track by emphasizing the key points through graphs, bullet points, and key pieces of text. HOW do you actually make this happen? The way we produce this style of videos is probably a little different to what you may have heard before (unless you played along with the Profit Hacks launch), but I find it the most productive for myself personally. The short ‘how to’ is: I record the audiotrack by itself, and then let my team put the slides together after the fact. This way, I am not distracted with choosing fonts, slide transitions, or other non-essential elements so many people get bogged down with. Example 7. Concept Demonstration / Pre-Education The video here is another one from our telco business. Like a lot of products and services, the workings of a phone system can be quite complicated and confusing for prospects; so we put together this video to easily break down how a phone system


works. By pre-educating our leads, it makes it so much easier for our sales staff to speak with and convert prospects through selling, not basic education.

put together. We shot it in the video studio we have at the office, with me and my iPad. I am simply talking the viewer through the basics of telephone systems whilst using the graphics to support it visually. HOW do you actually make this happen? While we have the face-to-camera side of things recording, we used a really cool app called Reflector to stream my iPad screen to the MacBook, which was getting recorded via ScreenFlow, then just merged the two recordings in post-production. So please feel free to swipe and deploy these into your own projects, and then let us know below how you’re using video.

WHY would you want to use this style of video? If you are selling a solution that is even remotely technical, being able to pre-educate and thus prequalify prospects online via video, prior to them spending time with your sales team, is a huge ROI increaser. (You can see one from our headset business here too.) WHAT’s actually going on in this video? This was a really fun (and relatively easy) video to

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Pete Williams

is an entrepreneur, author and marketer; an expert in many forms of online marketing, including both eCommerce and direct response. Pete has a highly successful track record in many traditional businesses as well as several pure play online businesses. Many people know Pete Williams for his expertise in systemisation and efficiency profit hacks. Check out The PreneurCast Podcast and his website PreneurMarketing.com

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MANAGEMENT

7 TRAITS OF

INEFFECTIVE LEADERS By Joanna Martin As a lifestyle business owner, you are likely to become a leader at some stage in your business. You may not yet be at the stage of employing staff, but even outsourcers require leadership… and the outcome of these relationships depends on your effective leadership.

I want you to have the support of a great team around you too… but to nurture your team to operate effectively, you need to be an effective leader.

I’m 37 weeks gone now, so officially “full term” which is extremely exciting. But as I’m now officially on maternity leave, I am relying on the support of my team more than ever before.

#1: Being too busy! No leader should ever be ‘too busy’ to offer support and direction. When you admit you are too busy, you show up as inefficient… so definitely avoid the “I’m too busy” attitude.

I realise how blessed I am… but every now and then it occurs to me how much harder this time in my life would be without these guys around me.

And that means NOT making any of these common leadership mistakes…

#2: Unwilling to “muck in” To be a great leader, you have to get your hands dirty sometimes! For a great example of this in practice, you only need to think of Gandhi. His leadership style was so effective because he wasn’t above his followers, he was one of them. #3: You fear competition! Don’t focus on others, focus on what you are doing and how you can do it better. The best leaders in the world train their team members to take over. #4: You want all the glory! If you’re the kind of leader who claims all the credit, then this will cause resentment to build within your team.

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The most powerful leaders actually give all the credit to their team, because it’s a fact that people work harder for commendation and recognition than they ever will for money alone. Love your team and they will love you! Avoid selfishness. #5: Lack of loyalty Any leader who is not loyal to his/ her team will not be their leader for long. #6: Authority If you’re trying to lead through the “authority” of your role, you’re trying to lead by force. Real leaders lead through encouragement. In the wise words of Motzu,“People only become unmanageable when one tries to lead them with a violent love. But if one approaches them with trust and takes them by the hand…. there will not be a single one will not adapt himself to the rule.” #7: You assume a fancy title will gain respect! Great leaders don’t need fancy job titles to gain respect. A true leadership style is one through his/her actions not by the words on their business card – their offices are free of ostentation and open to anyone to enter.


The first step to being an effective leader is to become a LEADER!

certainly start changes now.

to

implement

I invite you to look at the list and And… the first step to becoming ask yourself honestly which of a leader is DELEGATION! these mistakes you are making… and which of these you could You have to be prepared to let go change within yourself. of the things you are not so good at… and delegate them to oth- Make a commitment to change ers. But not abdicate responsibil- one thing today and take a step ity for them. forwards towards becoming a great leader and nurturing a Good delegation is: strong team around you that you 1. Ask someone to achieve an can depend on. outcome 2. Ask if they accept respon- Joanna Martin is an internationally sibility for it 3. Give them authority to acclaimed speaker and complete it (or outline what sought-after educator who has taught over you want to be consulted 55,000 people on about) three continents. She 4. Schedule to review prog- is one of the world’s ress on estimated completion most successful and inspirational speakers having taken date. Ineffective delegators just hand tasks over like a parcel and never check in. A strong leadership style is not achieved overnight, but you can

her own business from stand still to 7 figures, and two countries, in 12 months. She is widely regarded as a Lifestyle Design Specialist. She started her working life as a medical doctor, then an actor before launching her career as a speaker. She now runs what she calls “The Ultimate Lifestyle Business”.

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EBAY VS AMAZON

TERAPEAK HOW-TO:

KEY DIFFERENCES BETWEEN EBAY & AMAZON FOR EBAY SELLERS By Aron Hsiao Many Terapeak users sell regularly both on eBay and on Amazon.com, and Terapeak’s new Terapeak for Amazon.com product makes it easier than ever before to compete and succeed in both channels. If you’re an eBay seller that has long considered adding an Amazon.com presence to your selling strategy, there’s never been a better time to take the plunge—but getting started on Amazon.com can be a daunting task due to the differences between the two selling platforms. Here are some of the most important ways in which the practice of selling on eBay differs from the practice of selling on Amazon.com. Differences in Listing Inventory Available for Sale The most obvious differences between selling on eBay and selling on Amazon.com have to do with the ways in which products are listed for sale, found by buyers, and cataloged on Amazon.com: • There are no auctions on Amazon.com. If you’re an Amazon.com shopper, you likely already understood this to be the case, but it bears repeating that auction-style selling simply does not exist on Amazon.com. • You’ll spend less time creating listings on Amazon.com. Many common products are already included in the Amazon.com catalog. For these kinds of items, you won’t spend time creating photos, listing titles, or descriptions. Instead, you’ll locate the existing listing and add yourself as a seller with inventory of the item in question available, at a price that you set. In fact, it’s against Amazon.com selling policies to add a listing of your own for an item when a catalog entry for it already exists. • Even when you do create your own listings, the process is less open. In the unusual case that a product isn’t yet in the Amazon.com catalog, you may be given the option to create a listing for the product. This process isn’t available to all sellers

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(Amazon.com decides who will have access to it) and requires details that aren’t needed on eBay, including the UPC or EAN code from the product packaging. Product testimonials, customized themes, and many other kinds of information common in eBay listings are prohibited, as are watermarked product images. Most importantly, once you’ve created a listing, other sellers will also use it to list their stock of the same item, meaning that clever listing tactics provide very little competitive advantage on Amazon.com, a major difference from the world of eBay selling. • You’ll spend less time maintaining listings on Amazon.com. If you’re accustomed to sellOn Amazon.com, you’ll ing on eBay, the Amazon.com add an item to your list- experience will be different—but ed inventory once; it will not so different as to cause most sellers to feel lost. remain there until sold out or until you remove it. There is no need to constantly relist or update listings. You can adjust your product pricing as many times as you like before the sale, in response to competitor pricing or other factors, without otherwise having to alter or change your listing— and there are a number of third-party services to help you to do this automatically.


• Key policies are set by Amazon.com. Amazon.com has a blanket 30-day return policy for most kinds of items, in contrast to the more flexible set of choices offered to sellers on eBay. Amazon.com provides a limited set of shipping time options and rates based on item category, weight, and service levels promised to buyers; you’ll have to work within these constraints to handle order fulfillment. You’ll sell through Amazon.com’s checkout and payments process; no other alternatives are available. On the upside, this will require no configuration or management from you. Differences in Business Strategy and Operations The differences between eBay and Amazon.com aren’t just skin deep; while the product listing differences are significant, differences related to the way that you fulfill orders, operate your business, get paid, and grow your business are just as important: • Proactive customer service is critical on Amazon.com. Amazon.com’s strategy is focused on providing a consistent service level to buyers, even if this means less selection or a limited ability to compete on price against other marketplaces. To succeed on Amazon.com, you’ll need to engage on a very timely basis with seller tools related to shipment confirmation, customer service inquiries, returns and refunds, and so on, and your ability to sell is not determined entirely by customers’ ratings of your business—Amazon.com monitors your performance closely as well. Failure or underperformance in these areas will limit your visibility to buyers and may even limit your ability to sell at all. On eBay it’s possible to operate a relatively lax, or even “hands off” business and still make regular sales if your products are unique or in demand. On Amazon.com, this is simply not the case. • Amazon.com offers a free fulfillment service to sellers. If you want to be free of the shipping hassle altogether, you can ship your inventory directly to Amazon.com before the sale, after which Amazon.com will handle the logistical details of packing, shipping, and returns for you. Using the Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) service also enables your items to be made available to Amazon Prime shoppers, who are often willing to spend more for item purchases. eBay does not generally offer a comparable service or program, and FBA can even be used to manage your fulfillments process for sales on other channels like eBay—often with

reduced shipping costs and much faster delivery times. • You’ll pursue “Featured Merchant” status rather than “Top Rated Seller” status. Like eBay, Amazon.com promotes its highest performing sellers. Unlike eBay, promotions on Amazon. com are not related to search or browse placement; instead, featured Amazon.com merchants appear more prominently than do other sellers on product detail pages, most notably in the “Buy Box” (through which buyers can make an immediate purchase) and “More Buying Choices” box (in which the top three “other” sellers of an item are foregrounded). • Your fees will be calculated differently. Amazon.com’s fee totals often work out to be similar to eBay’s in the end, but the fee structure is significantly different. While eBay charges a listing (“insertion”) fee, a final value fee, and PayPal fees, Amazon.com charges either a monthly subscription fee or a small per-item fee (depending on whether you’ve “subscribed” as an Amazon.com seller or not), a referral fee that varies by category, and a closing fee based in part on item weight in most non-media categories. For some transactions, Amazon.com fees are slightly higher than they would be on eBay and for other transactions they are slightly lower, but in most cases they work out to be within a few percentage points of one another. Before selling on Amazon.com, however, it’s a good idea to calculate fees for your products in advance, compare against your eBay fees, and price accordingly. • You’ll be paid differently. While eBay payments generally end up in your PayPal balance immediately, leaving you to transfer money to bank accounts or spend the balance down according Amazon Webstore powers the online to your needs and stores of many recognized brands. If eBay judgment, Ama- Stores isn’t right for your business, Amazon.com makes zon Webstore may fit the bill instead. (Image: Amazon Webstore) automatic biweekly transfers of your earnings balance into a payments bank account whose details you provide. In

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practice, this means that for many sellers, getting “paid” by Amazon.com will be a slower process than they have become accustomed to on eBay. • You’ll have different opportunities for branding and growth. While listing limitations make it more difficult to differentiate yourself as a brand on Amazon.com proper than on the eBay marketplace, sellers that are willing to open a web store through Amazon.com using the Amazon Webstore platform can achieve much clearer branding and separation than they can through eBay Stores. Amazon Webstore offers sellers complete branding control (including their own domain name) while integrating closely with Amazon.com and its general selling infrastructure, including the Fulfillment By Amazon program. Sellers that haven’t found eBay Stores to be a good match for their needs may prefer Amazon.com’s offering instead. Links to Detailed Information The discussion above illustrates the differences you’ll experience between the two marketplaces in general terms, but sellers thinking about adding Amazon.com as a selling channel should start with

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the links below for a more detailed understanding of the Amazon.com selling experience and how it compares to selling on eBay. While Amazon.com may not be an additional channel of choice for every eBay seller, for many it could be a step toward new growth and new opportunities—particularly with Terapeak for Amazon.com now a part of their toolkit. To see how Terapeak for eBay, Terapeak for Amazon.com, and Terapeak MySales can help you to start or grow your business, take advantage of Terapeak’s free trial membership today. Aron Hsiao

is a social research professional and a longtime writer and editor in the e-commerce and technology space. As the social media coordinator for Terapeak, Aron interacts regularly with sellers on leading marketplaces like eBay and Amazon.com, working to help them leverage Terapeak’s technology in order to seize e-commerce opportunities.


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Internet Marketing Magazine July 2013  

In this issue… Import From China Like A Pro Interview with Craig Ford, Secrets of a Content Customers Can't Resist, Increase Conversion Esse...

Internet Marketing Magazine July 2013  

In this issue… Import From China Like A Pro Interview with Craig Ford, Secrets of a Content Customers Can't Resist, Increase Conversion Esse...

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