How to Generate B2B Leads Using Social Media

We are in an era where almost everyone and everything is on social media. Savvy marketers are taking note of this and are doing their best to connect with their target market on every social media platform that they are in. They accomplish this either through implementing their strategies as part of their in-house initiatives, or partnering with a social media outsourcing company to conceptualize and put those ideas into action.


Social media is no longer limited to B2C companies, as B2B companies have become aware of the many possibilities that social media can do to their marketing strategies. They have recognized that having an identity on social media platforms increases brand awareness, boosts company website traffic, and generate leads. Whether you are a B2B marketer who is struggling to persuade your decision-makers to get into social media or a marketer who wants to make the most out of using social platforms to generate more leads, this comprehensive guide comprised of articles will surely help you out.

Social Media for B2B Marketing

It’s hard to think of a company that has yet to have a social media account. But, there is still a sizeable percentage of B2B companies who won’t consider social media as part of their marketing tactic.

The following are useful resources for pitching the idea to your higher ups.

  1. Who says social media isn’t for B2B marketing?
    Coming from the marketing director of Hootsuite, a widely used social media monitoring tool, this article convinces B2B companies who have yet to take the plunge in social media marketing.The author explained how B2Bs can take advantage of social media and leverage it for their businesses. She also cited examples from big companies such as Dell and Volvo on how they used the data gathered from social media to connect with their customers, as well as improve their services.
  1. 24% of Top B2B Brands Lack Social Media Presence
    Here, you’ll discover that some of the big brands have not included social media as part of their marketing strategy.The author reiterates the importance of a brand’s presence on social media, and how B2Bs should consider that tactic to improve their audience reach.
  1. Study: Nearly All B2B Marketers Consider Social Media Critical to Campaigns
    This study highlights the importance of using social media as part of the communication campaign of B2B companies.It revealed that LinkedIn and Twitter are the two most popular social media platforms that marketers use to reach out and engage with their customers online.
  1. Social Media: New Solution for Your Business Growth
    This article discusses the role of social media for business growth. It indicated that B2Bs can use social media for social servicing, lead generation, and social analytics.
  1. How Social Media-Wary B2B Brands Can Take on the Medium
    This article explained how social media can be integrated into a B2B marketing plan such as by listening to what your customers say about your brand on Twitter, LinkedIn, Quora, and even Reddit.According to the author, B2B companies must first take part in the ongoing conversation to identify the needs and pain points, which is better than barging in and going all out in selling.
  1. 10 B2B Brands That Are Killing It on Social Media
    This is the best source of inspiration for coming up with a viable social media strategy for your B2B company.Take the cue from the big brands mentioned and get ready to raise awareness for your brand on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
  2. Yes, Social Media Works for B2B Lead Generation
    Using social media for lead generation in B2B may be challenging but not impossible. This article illustrates the importance of social media to inbound marketers and its effectivity.It also presents the reality that social media is considered as the most difficult tactic to execute, and that there’s a struggle to measure the social media ROI.
  3. 5 Ridiculous B2B Social Media Marketing Myths
    This article debunks the popular myths associated with the use of social media for B2B marketing. Most notable of the myths is the one that assumed social media has no clear return on revenue.As indicated in the previous resource, social media ROI may be difficult to gauge but it is indeed measurable.
  1. 5 Ways to Prove the Value of B2B Social Media
    Written by the co-founder of Oktopost, a leading provider of social media solutions for B2B companies, this guide will help marketers persuade the top management to incorporate social media into their marketing strategies.The author presents detailed explanation on how social media will aid in lead generation, customer acquisition, community growth, engagement, and web traffic.
  2. Does social media work for B2B companies?
    Should you need more tips on how to get the decision-makers in your company allow you to integrate social media in your marketing strategy, this article will help you gain their approval.The article reiterates that B2B is still people marketing and that it requires engagement with the same way a B2C campaign does. It also specified techniques on how a B2B social media marketing plan may be executed on Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.
  3. The Potential Of #SocialMedia For B2B In 2015 – #infographic
    This infographic illustrates how B2B companies can benefit from social media, the top social media platforms, and the types of social media content among others.Statistics from credible sources backs this infographic. Check it out to get quick social media tips that you may use now for your B2B marketing initiatives.
  1. The Changing Face of B2B Marketing
    B2B marketing has evolved and has gone beyond launching Twitter and Facebook campaigns. To know how the disruption in B2B marketing can help your brand, read this article.
  1. How to Grow Your B2B Network via Social Media
    Growing your brand’s network on the social media will help a lot in getting valuable and qualified community members whom you can later on translate to leads.Read this article from Oktopost to know how you can expand your brand’s reach and establish meaningful connections with your community.
  2. B2B Social Media Sales Facts and Figures
    This is a big infographic that gives a summary of the many reasons that a B2B company must take on social media as part of their marketing strategy. It also presents an interesting history of the early social networks.This infographic was published in 2010, but back then, the average social media activity of a Fortune 100 company consisted of posting 27 tweets and 3.6 Facebook updates per week, and 7 blog posts and 10 videos per month.

Making Social Media Work for B2B

Now that you have persuaded your top management to venture into social media, it’s time that you prove its worth to the business—that social media marketing is not a nice-to-have but a must-have for your B2B organization.

The following articles will help you select the social media platform that applies to your marketing goals and how to use them to obtain your desired conversion.

  1. Four Powerful Tips for a Highly Effective B2B Social Media Strategy
    Getting the approval of your company’s decision-makers to tap social media for B2B marketing can be tough. This article gives marketers powerful tips on how to devise an effective social media marketing strategy. Read on to learn more about engagement, lead generation, and the right social media management tool that will help you execute your plans.
  1. 5 Ways to Woo Your B2B Social Media Audience & 3 Brands That Are Doing it Well
    Find out how your company can thrive in social media, and be as successful as HP, FedEx, and GE.Learn the importance of choosing the right platform for your marketing content and how to take engagement to the next level.
  1. 5 Inspiring B2B Social Media Pages and What Makes Them Great
    According to the author, it is imperative that B2B marketers integrate creative thinking with content marketing to develop a winning social media strategy. Companies like Hootsuite, IBM, and Intel were cited as examples.
  1. Q&A: How Maersk Line Created a Brilliant B2B Social Media Strategy
    Success does not happen overnight, and Maersk Line knows that very well. In this article, its social media manager generously shared how she spearheaded concrete strategies that made the company thrive on social media.
  1. 5 Tips to Make B2B Social Media Content Interesting
    B2B social media content need not be boring. The author of this article offers creative techniques on how to make your content more engaging to generate leads, eventually.He puts emphasis on humanizing your company, adding humor and visuals, and providing statistics on your B2B social media content.
  1. B2B Marketing On Social Media: The Dos & Don’ts
    Utilizing social media for B2B marketing is trickier than using it for B2C. Find out how what marketers should do and avoid when creating social media strategies.
  1. 25 B2B Social Media Statistics About Platform Usage
    Here is a comprehensive report of how marketers make use and value the different social media platforms for B2B marketing. This report reveals that LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter remain as the top platforms that marketers use.
  1. The Untapped B2B Marketing Resource: Social Media Data
    Marketers are using social media to advance the business of their respective companies. Some of them may have overlooked the wealth of information stored in the acquired social media data.Read this article to find out how you can use social data to improve or create a new social media plan.
  1. 7 Best Practices for B2B Social Media Marketing
    To ensure the effectiveness of your social media strategies, follow the best practices indicated in this article.A great takeaway from this is to enforce a 30/60/10 rule in creating content for the social media platforms that you use for the business. Your content plan must have 30% original content, 60% curated, and 10% promotional.
  2. 5 Tips to Increase Engagement on B2B Social Media Sites
    Engagement on B2B social media does not come easy the way it may seem on B2C.Here, the author gives easy-to-follow and applicable solutions on how to increase engagement on your company’s B2B page. A notable tip is to have industry celebrities take over one of the company’s social media accounts for a specific period.
  1. The 5 “Must-Do’s” For A Profitable B2B Social Media Strategy
    In devising social media marketing strategies, marketers aim to drive site traffic, generate leads, and ultimately, convert them into sales.In this article, learn the significance of researching your buyer persona, optimizing your company profile, building reach, customizing content, and analyzing data to improve strategies.
  1. 5 Statistics About B2B Demand Generation with Social Media That You Need to Know
    The author presents five relevant statistics that will help B2B marketers implement social media marketing strategies. The statistics revealed that LinkedIn remains as the top platform for generating leads, followed by Facebook and Twitter.
  1. B2B Social Media Marketing Tips
    This article offers tips on how B2B marketers can integrate social media with their SEO and content marketing strategies. It puts emphasis on adding call-to-action and unique tracking codes on your content to measure the impact of that strategy on the business.
  2. Planning Your B2B Marketing Approach to Social Media: 3 Key Angles
    This is a very helpful guide in executing social media strategies for B2B. The author provides justifications on the importance of building brand awareness, showcasing expertise, and generating leads.He also offered simple steps in executing each approach on Twitter and LinkedIn.
  1. How to Drive Leads with Smart B2B Social Media Marketing
    This is an excellent resource for B2B marketers who are just starting to incorporate social media into their marketing strategies.In this article, a seasoned B2B social media marketing professional shared the techniques that would ensure that marketers are doing the right thing. Read on to learn more about planning, defining social media roles, and setting a budget for this online initiative.
  1. What To Post: 15 Creative Ideas For B2B Social Media Content
    Here are creative ideas that will make your company page anything but boring. Though some may not be applicable for some businesses, the ideas presented in this article will definitely boost engagement in your social media platforms.
  1. 5 Tips to Consider When Listening for B2B Sales Opportunities on Social Media
    This short but very informative article defines social listening and its importance to social selling. It also reveals how social “stalking” can help marketers engage prospects in the buyer’s journey.
  2. How Social Media Can Affect Your B2B Lead Generation [INFOGRAPHIC]
    This article presents a case study of social media demographics and helps marketers find their target audience. Read this article to learn more about identifying the right platform for your B2B social media strategy.
  3. Make Social Media Part of Your B2B Lead Management Program
    Social media is not just for customer service, as it can also be a valuable tool for generating leads. This article will help you make the most out of your company’s online presence in social media.
  4. Why LinkedIn is Still the Social Media Leader for B2B Marketers
    Facebook may have evolved to include features for business purposes. However, LinkedIn remains to be the undisputed social media platform of choice for many B2B marketers over time.As LinkedIn is focused on serving professionals, it makes it easier for marketers to narrow their target audience. Read more about how LinkedIn can help you with your social media marketing strategy.
  5. How to Get Started with Instagram for B2B Social Media Marketing
    Yes, Instagram can also cater to B2B! Instagram offers marketers the capability to present their organization in a way that’s more visually appealing.Read this article to find out how you can integrate Instagram into your social media marketing plan.
  6. How to Make a Plan for B2B Social Selling
    This article gives emphasis on the need to devise an actionable plan for social selling. It also furthered that upon identifying your target audience in social media, a compelling content must be created to capture the attention of that market.
  7. Best Practices for Nurturing B2B Leads Captured via Social Media
    Now that you have managed to get leads through social media marketing, the next step is to nurture these.Learn the best practices from this article and go beyond converting captured leads into sales to forming trusting relationships that will translate into brand loyalty.
  8. The Best Social Media Platform for Generating B2B Leads [Infographic]
    LinkedIn is the most valuable social media platform that B2B marketers depend on for generating leads. Read this article to find out why and how your company can benefit from it as well.





What is ecommerce marketing?

Ecommerce marketing is the process of driving sales by raising awareness about an online store’s brand and product offerings. Digital marketing for ecommerce applies traditional marketing principles to a multichannel, data-driven environment.

Ecommerce marketing can be divided into two general actions: driving website traffic and optimizing the user experience for conversion. Both are critical components to growing an online business — failure in one is all but sure to undermine any success in the other. Seasoned marketers can thrive in a digital landscape, starting with a solid foundation of common terms.

Ecommerce Marketing Channels:

  • Pay-per-click Advertising (PPC): Effective PPC campaigns drive users with intent to purchase, making it more efficient than many traditional advertising platforms. Businesses bid on impressions for paid listings at the top of search engine results, paying on a per-click basis. Impressions are determined by user search query, with strategy revolving around which keyword bids yield the highest ROI.
  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM): Sometimes used a synonym for PPC, referring to paid advertising campaigns. SEM is often used to describe efforts on Google’s AdWords platform and paid platforms on other search engines, such as Bing. This multifaceted term is also used by many marketers to describe all paid and organic efforts.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Unlike the paid media opportunities described above, SEO traffic comes from unpaid “organic” results on search engines such as Google and Yahoo. Successful SEO requires adherence to best practices on a product page level in tandem with content creation, inbound links, social media engagement, and many other factors that search engine algorithms take into consideration.
  • Display Advertising: Banners, sidebars and other predominantly-visual advertisements that appear on other websites. Display ads are facilitated by ad networks such as Google Display Network.
  • Affiliate Marketing: Referrals from other websites with industry or product-focused content such as reviews, comparisons, and testimonials. Successful affiliates have a loyal following or receive traffic from some of the above channels. They typically receive a set commission of referred sales, often determined on a case-by-case basis.
  • Email Marketing: Newsletters, abandoned cart notifications and remarketing all use email to target past and potential customers.

Ecommerce Marketing terms:

  • Google AdWords: Google’s advertising platform pioneered the PPC model and capitalizes on the company’s majority share of the search market.
  • Search Engine Results Page (SERP): The cumulative results from users executing a search engine query, comprising organic and paid listings. Having results on the first page of SERPs is critical to acquiring new customers.
  • Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO): The process of improving every aspect of a website so that more visitors purchase. Faster load times, fewer clicks to purchase and more enticing product descriptions/images make it easier for user’s to evaluate your products and follow through to The most common metric for evaluating CRO efforts is conversion rate.
  • Conversion Funnel: The steps taken by a prospect to become a customer, beginning with awareness and ending with a purchase. Higher-priced items generally have a longer sales cycle, while low-cost items can convert in a much shorter period of time.

Keeping up with ecommerce marketing trends

All industries evolve, but online marketing tends to mature at warp speed. Search engines and advertising platforms are constantly changing their requirements, rules, and algorithms that determine results. As such, it’s very important to stay abreast of major changes. Some extremely successful SEO tactics, for example, can become liabilities overnight. As Google and other search engines refine their algorithms to deliver the highest-quality results, it’s critical to monitor these developments and make sure your store is compliant.

Conversely, algorithm updates can also offer opportunities. Hummingbird increased the importance of semantic search, allowing SEOs to rely less on exact-match keywords. Less stringent keyword requirements leads to more creativity, and high-ranking product results today are not as reliant on inclusion of precise product keywords. Other updates have favored websites with quality informational content, increasing the importance — and opportunity — of utilizing blogs, buying guides, and other forms of content.

Staying plugged into the community and getting the scoop on the latest ecommerce marketing tips is a great idea for online business owners who want to find out proven tactics and implement them for short and long-term results.



The Best Ways to Sell Digital Goods

After researching for weeks and selecting the top 10 solutions, we’ve tested them in the last 5 days and here are our findings: We believe that Easy Digital Downloads (EDD) continues to be the best tool for people interested in selling digital goods online. This is followed closely by SendOwl and Gumroad, both of which stand strong for selling products online, particularly in the digital goods sector.

Blogs and online stores often require the functionality to sell digital goods online. This demands an entirely different software that’s simpler and accommodating for sending links to customers with the digital content downloads.

Compared to physical products, these digital items aren’t tangible in nature; therefore, you’ll host them on your site and then notify the customer with some sort of file.

For example, some commonly sold digital goods include:

  • eBooks
  • Music tracks
  • Photographs
  • Exclusive podcasts
  • Webinars
  • Video training courses
  • Software
  • Web services
  • Templates for things like emails and websites
  • Web graphics and vectors

This decision comes from the fact that EDD remains free (besides any extensions and payment provider fees,) you can integrate it with just about any site, the reports deliver spot-on metrics for evaluating the health of your store, and the user interface makes things simple for both you and the user (products show up clean on your site, and the customer receives an instant email with a link after they purchase your digital product).

As for the other digital selling solutions, they range in purpose. For example, some of them integrate with current websites, while others are more pre-built solutions where you must pay a monthly fee for a complete online store system. Some of the plugins and software provide support for physical items, while others don’t. One of the main attributes we looked at was flexibility, AKA the overall ability to expand your site, sell on other platforms, customize your own website.

Author: Joe Warnimont

6 Factors Defining The Future Of B2B E-Commerce

The innovations born-in-the-cloud platforms enable are defining the future of e-commerce today. Instead of requiring intensive levels of customization, these cloud platforms are configurable, support multi-tenancy and can scale to support innovative new business models including CPQ and pricing.  Born-in-the-cloud e-commerce platforms also support more complex selling workflows including order orchestration, fulfillment through multiple channels and the ability to manage multiple fulfillment systems concurrently. The following six factors are defining the future of B2B e-Commerce.


  1. B2B buyers expect a consistently high-quality customer experience across all channels and are loyal to companies who deliver excellence daily.

    There’s a lot to be learned from Alibaba and Amazon when it comes to delivering an excellent customer experience. Both have set the bar very high, and today the same is expected from B2B vendors. This is especially the case for manufacturers who rely on multiple e-commerce legacy systems that weren’t designed to be integrated. B2B buyers expect an experience comparable to shopping on Alibaba or Amazon. Cloud-based B2B e-Commerce platforms have the potential to deliver omnichannel performance and online experiences close to Amazon across every device and channel, yet few are investing enough in personnel and expertise to get to this level of performance. This factor is so significant that Gartner predicts that by 2018, 70% of e-Commerce will move from B2C and B2B models to models that focus on the individual customer experience.

  1. The number of capabilities in e-commerce technology stacks is increasing Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), making companies consider a unified cloud platform more than before. 

    Driven by the need to add improved catalog management, storefronts, partner portals, CPQ and payment gateways, organizations have created e-Ccmmerce technology stacks that are expensive to maintain and have a high TCO. Many are now moving to born-in-the-cloud e-Commerce platforms that provide a unified, global view of all channel selling activity and replace the functionality of previous-generation legacy systems while reducing costs. The result is lower TCO and a more streamlined e-Commerce technology stack easier to modify in response to changing customer demands.

  1. The need for greater price optimization and Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) flexibility across every selling channel.

    These factors are primarily the reason traditional B2C vendors can’t make the transition to selling B2B. SAP Hybris is a case in point, which is largely B2C focused. Despite this limitation, SAP Hybris is known for its ability to support unique localization requirements at the currency and language level, complex product lines, multisite requirements, and globally-based business models. Selling decisions made at the beginning of a given quarter are going to be different than those made at the end, as sales managers often choose to accelerate deals into the closing quarter with special pricing options. Today many selling teams do this for just their direct channel or at most three different channels at once. Enabling dynamic pricing and approvals – even when selling through multi-tiered channels dramatically increases the deal velocity without losing control. Many manufacturers are also adding in CPQ to provide customers with a personalized experience and the opportunity to get solutions configured for their unique needs. Catalog-based solutions can be commodified on the Internet very easily by search crawlers – and then vendors are left to compete on price. CPQ-based selling across all channels are enabling enterprises to sell based on unique differentiators and value.

  1. Order management integrated at the platform level to enable greater synchronized order processing across every channel.

    Often e-commerce systems are developed completely independent of existing, and often legacy order management systems. The disconnect between these two systems leads to order errors and gets in the way of delivering an excellent customer experience. Born-in-the-cloud B2B e-commerce platforms have order management designed in from the very beginning, making it possible to synchronize order processing across all channels. Order management systems designed in at the platform level are also capable of scaling to support Just-in-Time (JIT) availability with automated replenishment, customized and complex purchasing workflows, and JIT with automatic replenishment. It is common to see wholesalers specify partial delivery, multi-warehouse shipping, and returns management for their e-commerce cloud platforms as well.

  1. Increasing interest on the part of manufacturers for their e-commerce platform to support complex configuration and pricing workflows.

    From unique, negotiated price lists with major accounts to supporting complex product configurations, manufacturers are looking to their e-commerce platforms to bring greater speed and simplicity to these complex processes. It’s not enough to just add in a price management or CPQ module; these workflows need to be systemic to the platform itself and contribute to a true 360-degree view of omnichannel selling results.

  1. Being able to deliver unique e-commerce buying experiences for multi-tier distribution channels including partners, distributors, dealers, resellers, service providers and OEMs is in high demand today and is driving the future of B2B e-Commerce.

    Multi-tier distribution networks thrive on partner commerce apps and the functionality and information they provide. Given the complexity of these distribution networks’ requirements, it’s unlikely that general or B2C platforms including Alibaba or Amazon will be able to expand their scope to support multi-tier distribution networks’ needs. However, Alibaba or Amazon are more likely to provide a base set of capabilities for B2B use cases that businesses would be limited to – and not able to leverage their unique differentiation and innovation now. Getting a partner commerce app to scale across a multi-tier distribution network and provide a unique buying experience is a challenge. Cloud-based B2B e-commerce platforms are making progress in this area. Manufacturers I’ve spoken with are looking for a cloud-based B2B e-Commerce platform capable of managing incentives, promotions, rebates and across all channels so they can better motivate channel partners to sell their most profitable products.


Why E-Commerce Websites Need a Blog

It is no secret that blogs do a lot for increasing online traffic to standard website platforms, but they also have several other benefits that specifically benefit ecommerce sites

ecommerce solution,ecommerce blog

It may come as a surprise to you that the majority of e-commerce websites do not have a business blog. While there are a lot of sources that speak to why general businesses should have a blog, very little has been targeted at e-commerce sites. What is the point of having a blog when your primary objective is to set up shop online?

It is no secret that business blogs do a lot for increasing online traffic to standard website platforms, but they also have several other benefits that specifically benefit e-commerce sites. What is even better is the fact that because many e-commerce sites are not taking advantage of having a business blog, this can be the one aspect that sets your site away from the rest.

If you’re not convinced and don’t know if the work is worth it, consider some of the following reasons a blog would be beneficial for an e-commerce company:

Blogs are important for SEO to get your content crawled.

To start with a very basic understanding of SEO and why it is so important, search engine bots ultimately have two functions–crawling content & building an index. This allows them to provide answers to Internet users by determining relevancy and providing results. It is the goal of an e-commerce site to rank highly on search engines so that when Internet users are searching for a product, your site is one of the first options in front of the eyes of shoppers.

 Google bot,crawler,bbuddy,marconix

Blogs are essential in the process of getting content crawled by search engines because through links and content, search engine “crawlers” or “spiders” can reach the many billions of interconnected documents. Because blogs often contain links, specific phrasing, and content related to your e-commerce site, this can actually aid in getting your online content crawled more effectively. Your blog posts will help drive traffic to your site because every time you write a post it is an additional indexed page that search engines associate with your business. If your content is valuable (which we will discuss next),than this can help you climb the SEO Google ranks.

Inform (and VALUE) your reader.

If you are convinced that to help business boom it is a good idea to have a blog (and arguably necessary), then the next step is to put your readers at the center of your purpose.

In order to gain a following for your blog, you need to be sure you are producing content that is not only enjoyable to read, but also offers information that will keep your readers returning for more. Most people will decide whether they want to continue reading by the first line of your post, while others may skim and find that your overall organization doesn’t seem worth their time to delve into. If you are a little stuck with how to get started, or even contemplating what your e-commerce site may want to blog about think about the following…

Address a problem or task readers may have.

Try to empathize with a task or problem your reader may be facing. I do this all of the time when I try to create blog posts; it is a great starting point to address an issue and share your experience dealing with it.

Product pages are oftentimes to the point because they have to be, so that is why blogs are your space to really address different problems and questions. He said, “you only have a particular amount of space and you need to be as clear as possible. A blog allows you to be more creative and give your brand a voice.” Couldn’t agree more.

Answer or start a discussion about a popular question.

When trying to craft a post, it is nice to look at previous comments on other posts or look to social media accounts to try an answer a question that a follower or customer is having. Ultimately answering a question demonstrates that you actually care about your readers, and that asking questions is a good way to create an ongoing dialogue. It also shows that what you are writing about is something that is purposeful to help your reader and is emerging from his/her own struggles and interests.

This directly relates to the customer/seller experience and people usually feel more inclined to shop and purchase goods from a merchant that connects with and makes their customers a priority.

Share an experience or a relatable story.

One thing that often separates an enjoyable post to read from one without much pizzazz is the ability for the writer to tell a story or share an experience. If you are writing a post and have a personal anecdote, customer story, or other experience to share make it your opening paragraph.

Again, this draws readers into what you have to say and demonstrates that not only are you the expert writing about this particular topic, but you have first-hand experience with it.

Without structure, you might come crumbling down!

Lastly, structure can make or break a post. Do your best to use headings, bullet points, or begin new paragraphs when appropriate. People like being able to skim an article and decide whether or not it has what they are looking for. Don’t make it a guessing game. You should be in the game of spoon-feeding your reader to some extent. Make in known that you have a clear organization for addressing the topic.

And most importantly, what you are writing about, the opening of a blog post seals the deal for your readership. As I mentioned in the beginning, most of your readers decide if it is worth their time by the first line. This is even more reason to start it with a punch! If there is anything to reevaluate after finishing a blog post, go back and look at your opening sentence. Would it hook you into reading more?

Getting Started: 5 Topic ideas to get you up and running

Of course coming up with topic ideas for an e-commerce website is the hardest part, and probably has a lot to do with why so many of these sites are ignoring blogs. Below explains a few different topic ideas that might help you get started:

  1. Hidden Secrets of Your Industry. Research and discuss some hidden secrets of your industry. Readers like having an edge on information they are getting.
  2. Why Choose Us. You don’t need to knock other businesses to explain why to choose you. Highlight all of your best features and make it clear why you are the obvious choice for business.
  3. Your Business History. Write up your founding story and how your business got its start.
  4. Developments in the Industry. Have the first word with your clients about what is new or developing in your industry–don’t wait for them to hear it through the grape vine.
  5. Advice on Products (and not just your own)! Offer advice on using industry related products and tools that your readers might find helpful. This does not need to just be your own; it can extend to similar products and services.

The Takeaway

When Internet users purchase goods or services online, they care about who they are buying from. A business blog helps to show that your e-commerce site actually values the needs and interests of their clients. In other words, it establishes credibility. Combined with providing valuable information and having your site rank higher to get more traffic, you actually make a presentation that keeps customers wanting to come back for more. Blogging will set your e-commerce site apart from your competitors and with time, building up content may help you advance in a way that serves both your business and customers.

By Adam Heitzman

Co-founder, HigherVisibility

How To Sell Online In India

Why you should sell online?
eCommerce in India is booming. According to a study conducted by Google India, there were 35 million online shoppers in India in 2014 Q1 and is expected to cross 100 million mark by end of year 2016. Broadband internet and explosive growth of mobile phones are fueling this growth further.

Companies like Flipkart have already crossed billion dollar valuation. If you have a product to sell, this is perhaps the best time to start selling it online. Here is an ultimate guide to teach you how to sell online in India.


Before You Start Selling Online

1) Calculate the costs involved in selling online

Selling online in India or in any country for that matter involves various costs. Its important to first find out if you can make good profits after considering all those costs. Lets look at some of the important costs:

Shipping Cost Visit your nearest courier or shipping company and find out how much it would cost to ship your product in various parts of India. Make a list of states and shipping fee. Normally this cost hovers between 5% to 15% of the product cost depending on the size and weight of the product.

Packaging Cost Depending on the type of product you are planning to sell, you will need to consider the packaging cost. Check the different packing material and calculate how much you will need for one product. Calculate the total cost per product accordingly. Normally its between 0.5% to 2% of the product cost.

Payment Gateway Cost If you planning to setup your own store, you will need a payment gateway. These sites normally charge between 1.5% to 5% of the total transaction. There could be one time setup fee and recurring annual maintenance fees. Last time when I checked, most payment gateway providers had waived off these fees. You can negotiate the transaction fee if you have higher volume.

Storage Cost Depending on the product, you might need to rent warehouse or some storage space for your products. Find out this cost as well. Some online marketplaces like Amazon let you use their warehouses at a small fee.

Marketing Cost Like any other business, you will have to tell the world that you have arrived. Surely, there are free ways to promote your business but at some point of time you will have invest in paid marketing channels. Google’s AdWords is a good platform to start with online ads and it also offers tools to calculate the costs.

2) Find out if its viable to sell online

Now that you have a fair idea of different costs involved in selling online, you can do quick math to find out the profitability of your venture. Here is a simple formula :

Profit Margin= Selling price – (Sourcing Cost + Packing & Shipping + Transaction Fees + Marketing Cost + Variable Costs)

If your profit margin is positive, you are good to go ahead and start selling online. If its very low or negative, you should think about minimising the costs.

3) Create digital catalogue of your products

Assuming you have passed the profit margin test, its time to take the next step. You will need to create a list of products in a spreadsheet. Later you will be able to import that list to eCommerce marketplaces or self hosted shopping cart. This list should contain Product Code (or SKU), Product Name, Description, Category, Selling Price, Discount (If any), Brand, Colour and other applicable attributes.

Once this is done, take 3-4 good quality photographs of the product from different angles, preferably in white background. Product images play a vital role in online selling, so its recommended to take help from a professional. In some case, you can get these photos from the manufacturer as well.

4) Setup End to End Process

Its better to get organised from the day one. Do you know how event management companies manage huge events without any goof up? Well, they play the entire event in their minds before they start working on it. You can do the same and lay out a process describing steps from getting an order to shipping the goods.

It could be a simple checklist for doing quality checks, packaging, invoicing, etc. This will help also help your staff when you are not around.

5) Use A Good Inventory Management Software

As you will be dealing with inventory everyday, it might become painful to manage inward and outward stock movement manually. Start using a good inventory management software to track your inventory. Some of the softwares even provide inventory sync option with your shopping cart or marketplace account.

6) Be discoverable online

Your customers are more likely to search for your business before they make any purchase. If they can’t find product reviews or any other information about your business, they might drop off. So, its important to have online presence in the form of company website, social media account or any other channel.


The Consumer Internet of Things is About to Explode

In industrial manufacturing, machine-to-machine communications allow sensors in one place to communicate with control systems for an automated response.

For example, if the temperature in a commercial food processor reached a critical high, a sensor could send that information through a supervisory control and data acquisition system. In response, the control system could trigger a cooling system to bring the temperature down. No human interaction was necessary and plant operations sailed along without any downtime.

To allow these communications, devices had to be connected to each other and to larger systems using standard protocols like wifi, Bluetooth, and Zigbee. These systems are referred to as the industrial Internet of Things (IoT).

While the industrial IoT got an earlier start, the consumer IoT is not far behind and it is going to be big. Really big.

Reimagining the Point of Sale

Using many of the same underlying technologies, the consumer IoT gives merchandisers a whole new perception of what ‘place’ even means in the multi-channel universe. Coffee makers, laundry machines, fridges, stoves, cars, watches, smart home monitors and many other items will become customer touchpoints.

The consumer IoT ushers in an era of personal, contextualized selling opportunities, allowing companies to place purchases right into the context of when and where people use an Internet-connected device. Say for example your company manufactures refrigerators. When the milk runs out, people can simply push a button on the fridge to reorder more. The milk can be delivered alone, or along with other commonly ordered items on a standard grocery list – all sourced and delivered by your local grocery partner.

If you manufacture almost any product, now is the time your organization should consider supporting this kind of transaction – right from the product itself.

Manufacturers are Doing it Already:

Samsung’s new Family Hub refrigerator is one of the early entrants in the consumer IoT. The Family Hub comes with what looks like a tablet screen on its front door. Built-in apps connect to various services through the home WiFi network. To keep your fridge supplied, two apps let you order food directly from the screen. Instacart, a US national online grocery delivery service, will deliver to your front door in under an hour. Groceries by MasterCard lets you order online from leading retailers like Fresh Direct and ShopRite.

There are also three webcams inside the fridge. They take a photo of the contents when one of the doors closes. So if you’re at the store and can’t remember whether or not you have milk, you can look through the smartphone app to check.

GE has been adding functionality to get more out of their appliances, connecting their washers, dryers, and dishwashers to more than a hundred other applications including Facebook, Twitter, smart lighting, and various other smart home products

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Millions of New Customer Touchpoints:

Basically, appliances are going to be more software intensive and connected. Consumers will be able to buy “apps” for their washing machines, which means they could actually change the things it can perform. Building connectivity into products allows companies to communicate with customers in new, meaningful ways.

Send them alerts on their coffee maker each month reminding them they need to descale their machine. Provide the details of the procedure to make it easy. Send them discounts and coupons they can take advantage of right from the machine.

It’s not just appliances either. No matter the industry, businesses everywhere will need to adapt to the changing demands of consumers due to the consumer Internet of Things. Thinking about the extended ecosystem required to allow the consumer Internet of Things to flourish, there are a couple of classic technology pain points that companies are going to have to address.

Handling Multi-Channel Commerce:

From a brand and customer experience point of view, selling through multiple channels—in-store, online, through a mobile app, via Facebook—presents challenges enough. Now think about how your back-end commerce systems might handle the sale of food items from a local grocer via your refrigerator interface.

These kinds of transactions make commerce and transaction systems even more complex – and they must feed information to back-end systems of record like CRM and ERP. If you thought that the integration effort was ridiculous when there were only five channels, think about it when you add even just ten internet-connected products and thousands of people buy them. The challenge here is to ensure that the commerce system you choose moving forward is capable of adding new sales channels without the massive integration efforts of the past.

Buddy Up or Go Vertical:

From a partnership perspective, the consumer IoT opens massive new opportunities. Who are you going to partner with to sell coffee from your coffee maker? Which brands in which cities will you support? Or will the coffee arrive via UPS or Fedex from a central location?

If you are a car manufacturer and the tire tread detector senses they need replacement, do you recommend the factory choice? Or spread the love to other tire manufacturers? When the car alerts a driver to the fact that they need more gas and drivers search for a nearby station from their car interface, do you promote all brands equally?

Depending on how brands work together, the consumer IoT might be the driver for mergers due to attractive economies of scale resulting from vertical integration.

Get Connected:

More and more consumer devices are being connected. The IoT gives marketers a whole new perception of what ‘place’ even means in the multi-channel universe. Think about how your products might fulfill customer wishes to make their lives easier. Then build that service right into your products.

With the right underlying back-end commerce platform, adding new channels is easy, so the only limitation is your imagination and your ability to conceive of your products in a booming consumer IoT.