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2019

The mobile revolution has radically transformed shopping and selling. The statistics are staggering:

 

  • During the 2018 holiday season, almost 40% of all sales were made on a smartphone.
  • Eighty percent of all shoppers use their smartphone inside a store to comparison shop, get reviews or price items.
  • Mobile shoppers browse 61% more, making 106% more orders, and spending 121% more money.

 

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Several trends are affecting this sea-change and it would behoove you to know them so you can use them to your advantage this holiday season.

 

1. Delivery times are getting much shorter: Amazon Prime has made next day delivery a standard in the industry and as such, given Amazon’s deep reach, this has become what consumers expect.

 

Your delivery must be free and quick if you are to compete. Indeed, for the small business that wants to sell more this holiday season, offering mobile shoppers same-day delivery (in the store) or at least next day delivery, is essential.

 

Option: UPS’ new program Ware2Go offers small business the chance to have UPS store and ship orders directly, and practically immediately.

 

2. Last minute shopping is booming: With the rise of overnight and same-day delivery, consumers feel safe shopping at the last minute. The key then is to cater to these procrastinators.

 

Remember, the two most powerful words in all of marketing are:

 

    • Sale! and Free!

 

Use that.

 

Strategy: Have a sale. Offer free shipping. Give a discount to last-minute shoppers. Here where I live, every year, a local outdoor marketplace has a “Festival of the Last-Minute.” That’s the ticket.

 

3. Delayed products sell. Last year, “We saw electronics purchases spike at midnight on both Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday, and toy purchases spike on Cyber Monday. Consumers clearly began browsing and shopping for toys after getting those electronics deals and continued throughout the holiday season.”

 

Idea: Put expensive grown-up items on sale early and offer less expensive kid items on sale later.

 

“The on-the-go nature of mobile purchasing enables these spur-of-the-moment decisions,” According to TotalRetail.

 

4. Power users are your magic 20%: The 80-20 Rule says that 80% of your sales come from your top 20% of customers.

 

Something similar is occurring in online and mobile shopping. One-third of new cyber shoppers last year came back to shop again after Cyber Monday ended. Moreover, they:

 

    • Accounted for 22% of sales generated over the holiday period, and
    • Completed purchases twice as often as average shoppers

 

Secret: Incentivize power users so that they make your online store their desired spot for late-in-the-game shopping. Market to them, give them deals, make them feel special.

 

Because they are special.

 

5. Hop on board early: Last year, top retailers like Walmart, Best Buy, Target and Kohl’s started offering holiday deals as early as November 1, according to PYMNTS.com.

 

Learn from the pros. Do what they do. No need to reinvent the wheel.

 

Bottom line: Work to capture and convert those late-buying, procrastinating, power shoppers and you will have a very Merry Christmas indeed.

 

About Steve Strauss

 

Steve Strauss Headshot New.pngSteven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business SuccessSteven D. Strauss

 

Web: www.theselfemployed.com or Twitter: @SteveStrauss

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Steve Strauss is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Steve Strauss. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice. Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2019 Bank of America Corporation

Some business owners live for the sale. They spend months designing sales funnels, testing offers, and reviewing conversion rates to maximize their efforts and ensure that every dollar they pour into advertising comes back with friends.

 

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For other business owners, time spent marketing is time they would rather spend developing their product line or handcrafting their goods. They know marketing is a vital part of building a business but they see it as a chore. They would rather do anything—even clean the office—than chase those conversions.

 

But there is a solution. Marketing doesn’t have to be about spreadsheets and copywriting and sales software. It can be about customer engagement.

 

Or to put it another way, sales can happen when you talk to people with the same interests and tastes as you. That doesn’t feel like work. It certainly doesn’t feel like marketing. It feels like fun!

 

There are three ways to engage with leads and customers.

 

1. Let Your Fingers Do the Talking

 

The simplest way is to join online groups and forums where people discuss products like yours. Every interest is represented online from beauty tips to garden gnomes so whatever you’re selling, you can find your community. Look for them in forums and discussion threads. Follow people discussing your topics on Twitter, and collecting images on Pinterest. Search for Facebook groups that are filled with people who might love your goods.

 

Join those groups but don’t sell in those groups. Instead of marketing, just take part in the conversations. Talk about a subject you love, and do it regularly. Mention that your expertise comes from making or selling related products but don’t push for the sales. Trust the sales to come to you as people get to know you, and see your expertise and passion for an interest that they share. As they recognize your knowledge, they’ll come to trust you. Once they trust you, they’ll want to buy from you. You won’t have to persuade them. The sales will come naturally.

 

2. Create Your Own Shopping Channel

 

You can also broadcast live videos.

 

While forum and Facebook group discussions will let you take part in discussions about your industry, a live video will let you show people how to use your products. Sellers of beauty products, for example, have used live videos on Facebook to demonstrate make-up techniques—and offered ways for viewers to buy the products they’re demonstrating.

 

Promote the broadcast details before it takes place so that people know when to watch, and make use of the ability to see comments as they come in. Live video is interactive. You’ll be able to answer your viewers’ questions on the fly and you’ll be able to talk with audience members while you’re demonstrating.

 

The aim should be to make sales, but it should also be to enjoy yourself. When you’re demonstrating the benefits of a product you love, you should be having fun. That pleasure will be infectious. Your audience will feel it and they’ll want more of it. They’ll sense that by buying the products you’re demonstrating in your live video, they’ll have access to that fun whenever they want.

 

 

3. Set up Your Booth

 

A live video will put you in front of lots of people at the same time but there will still be a distance. There will always be a screen between you and them.

 

That’s why another great way to market (without feeling like you’re marketing) is to take part in your industry’s fairs and conferences. These are opportunities to meet your most dedicated customers and leads in person. Again, you won’t be pitching here. Your booth might be decorated with all sorts of marketing material but the aim will be to talk to people like you, to listen to their preferences, and hear their needs. Those conversations will bring sales too. The discussions will open new networks. The knowledge you share and receive will deepen customer loyalty and make you the first choice when those people want the products you sell.

 

None of this feels like marketing. Why?

 

    • Joining discussions on Facebook groups will feel like procrastination. It’s the sort of thing you do when you don’t feel like working.
    • A live video will feel like showing friends something really cool—and being appreciated when you do.
    • A fair or a conference is a chance to meet old friends and have a coffee with the people you’ve met online.

 

It’s fun—and that’s when the marketing magic really happens.

 

About Joel Comm

 

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As an Internet pioneer, Joel has been creating profitable websites, software, products and helping entrepreneurs succeed since 1995. He has been at the frontlines of live video online since 2008 and has a deep expertise in using tools such as Facebook Live, Periscope, Instagram or Snapchat to broadcast a clearly defined message to a receptive audience or leveraging the power of webinar and meeting technologies.

 

Joel is a New York Times best-selling author of 15 books, including “The AdSense Code,” “Click Here to Order: Stories from the World’s Most Successful Entrepreneurs,” “KaChing: How to Run an Online Business that Pays and Pays and Twitter Power 3.0.” He is Co-Host of The Bad Crypto Podcast one of the top crypto-related shows in the world and has spoken before thousands of people around the world and seeks to inspire, equip and entertain.

 

Web: https://joelcomm.com/ or Twitter: @JoelComm

Read more from Joel Comm

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Joel Comm to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Joel Comm is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Joel Comm. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

Authenticity is key in marketing to women. Look at how your brand or product can genuinely help and/or empower women while tapping into what they find valuable. And, what women value is pretty much everything from work and growth, to autonomy and family.

 

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Gloria Moss, author of Gender, Design and Marketing: How Gender Drives our Perception of Design and Marketing, points out that not only do women make up 80% of consumers’ buying decisions, women shop differently from men. Whereas men look at a product’s usefulness, women want to know what that product will do. Men want an overview, but women will not make a buying decision until they have all the information and are completely satisfied.

 

The other element of the equation is emotion. Women are different from men, so marketing to them the same way will not work. Years of history in advertising is proof of that.

 

Keep in mind, it’s not always about the product. If your brand stands for positive, life-affirming, or empowering attributes- if your brand is inclusive and diverse - that emotional connection may also help in aligning a consumer with your business.

 

Marketing to Women

While businesses are getting better at listening to consumers, there is still work to be done. So, how can your business better market to women?

 

  1. Study your ideal client. Who is your buyer and how can your product or service help them? Create buyer personas to help with your targeting.
  2. Ask what they want. Post on social media, asking your customers about their needs and wants. This can be features for product development or values-based content. You can also ask family members to chime in.
  3. Stand for what your customers value. If there is a cause that is near and dear to your ideal customers - or to you - shine a light on it to amplify awareness. Showing that you care triggers an emotional connection.
  4. Elevate your customer service. Women consumers want to know everything they can about a product or service before they consent to buy. Make sure you have customer service available on multiple platforms (phone, email, social media), and let prospects know how to reach you in your marketing.
  5. Hire real women. To get the voice and needs of your women customers, especially if you have products directly related to that demographic, have women on your team. Inside information on your client or customer is always an asset.

 

Messaging to Women

There are several tenets to embrace when cultivating your business’ marketing message, as it relates to women.

 

  1. Don’t stereotype. You want to find that balance of truth in advertising without going overboard - too feminine or too masculine - in either direction. Stereotyping is a sure-fire way to alienate your customers.
  2. Follow the leaders. If there are brands you admire, keep an eye on what they are doing. For instance, Microsoft, HBO, and Nike regularly do women-focused campaigns. Then see how you can use their examples as a barometer for your own unique marketing.
  3. Use real people. Women like to see themselves using and embracing your products. Whatever the medium - social media, TV, video - use people your prospects and customers can relate to. User-generated content is another option for this strategy.
  4. Create great content. No matter what you put out in your messaging, it should be high quality. Use all the senses, education, and humor whenever possible.
  5. Jump on trends. #InternationalWomensDay, #STEM, #LeanIn. Look at the events and research the hashtags that empower women. Then see how your business can support and promote them, as appropriate.

 

No matter how you approach marketing to women, keep one thing in mind. Be true to your brand. Your company’s mission and values are what humanizes you. And it’s that human, authentic touch that is most important when presenting and marketing your brand.

 

About Mari Smith

 

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Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith  or Twitter: @MariSmith

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Mari Smith is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

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