10 Reasons to have a Website!

By 2014 every business should have at least a website capable of informing customers what you have to offer, the time your store is open for business, and some contact information in case they needed to call. For retail stores, not having a fully functioning eCommerce website could be limiting the amount potential growth your company has. Think about it, in today’s world, when someone is looking for a retailer they go online and search for it. Unfortunately, the yellow pages are now considered to be practically stone aged but there is something you can do as a retailer to keep up with the times. Let us go through 10 reasons why your company needs to be on the web by 2014!

1. Promoting the Presence of your Brick-n-Mortar Store

Finding your store isn’t always the easiest thing to do, and can become quite frustrating. Having an online store you’re able to publish a virtual map on your website which can show directions and easy identifiable landmarks for customers to print out.

In case you’re business grows too large for your current store front, you may move to a large facility. Doing this you will be waiting on the phone company to come out and set up your connection, since a website is flexible you will be able to inform customers where you’re new shop.

2. Expanding the Market

The internet has allowed companies to offer their products to people all over the world, virtually in any country as long as they have internet service. This is huge for companies, being able to expand their businesses reach. On a smaller scale level, this helps small businesses become more competitive, you may not get that customer 1000 miles away, but you have the potential to grab that customer that may think it’s just a little far to drive to your store front.

3. 24/7/365

This is great for businesses, never having to close down ever again, make employees work endless hours! Ha! No, having a fully functioning website will allow you to step away from the shop on holidays and special occasions knowing that customers can still buy your product online. Having a website means your company will be able to stay open every hour of every day.

4. Advertising Goes Further

The internet is vastly different from print and media advertising. Print and media advertising can become quite costly not to mention frustrating, while having an online store companies can advertise online to customers for less while achieving more! With the technology today you are able to track each ads performance on a day to day basis.

5. Growth Opportunity

Having a website is a great place to refer potential investors and customers to, showing them what your company is about, what is stands for while having proof of what it has achieved and the potential is has to achieve in the future!

6. Standardize the Sales

Having the ability to study your website and looking at what sales approached worked and which have not. Studying this and taking notes will allow you to create the sale proof pitch using it on every customer to increase the amount of sales.

7. Adding Value and Satisfaction to the Customer

Your company website can add an invisible value to help your customers and visitors remember you better by adding general knowledge, advice, and featuring some tips. All of these things can not only improve the chance of your customers returning to your website but also help them remember what they’ve seen and read.

8. Credibility

A website provides the opportunity to inform potential customers what your company is     and why they can trust you and your products. Many people use the internet to                   reference ratings and reviews on products prior to purchasing a product. This also             allows a free marketing tool, where no longer do you have to spread the positive word       but your customers do some of the marketing for you by showing off where and how         they got their newest product.

9. Two-way Communicative Marketing

When a customer needs quick feedback on a product, they can easily refer to a                 website to find what they are looking for. Having a website that provides the feedback of     prior customers can ensure the newer customers that they are receiving what they are     paying for. They can also give your company the feedback on your products and the           marketing approach you may have took on that page.

10. Cheap Research

Having a website provides your business with the opportunity to show features, and           new products. But can also provide some market research to determine just how well       your business sizes up to the next by adding visitor polls, online surveys, and using           your web statistics.

This isn’t the Stone Age, store to store business may not be enough anymore. Make sure your business doesn’t suffer from the lack of knowledge available at hand. Take advantage of everything the web has to offer. Analyze the data and monitor your progress, to ensure the survival of your business. Don’t get left behind!

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“Not having a functioning website only limits your company’s success” – Korey P.

Small Incentives to Increase Customer Sales

Generally speaking any main online business objective is to sell more products to new and returning customers alike. When potential customers shop online they are always looking for the best deal around, whether it be free shipping, a percentage discount, or even a simple graphic that entices them to click. It’s difficult for businesses to try to win every online price war; but what if your potential customers know that every day or every week you have a different item on special or on sale? In this short blog, we’re going to cover 3 small incentives your business can do right now to generate and increase sales.

  1. Specials – One of the most important tools that online business owners tend to forget is having some sort of special on one or more of their products. A special on a product could be something small but entices the potential buyer to follow through and purchase the product. A quality place to put a specials is anywhere on the home page that directs the potential customers’ eyes towards it.
  2. Shipping – Online buyers search multiple websites before they find the product they’ve been searching for at the amount they were looking to spend, but when they get to the end shipping costs could be the only difference between a customer buying a product from your and a competitor. Offering customers different shipping costs depending on the size of their shopping cart could entice customers to not only buy their product from you but also spend more money on your website to get the better shipping costs.
  3. Time and time again I’ve shopped online looking for good deals for the products I want to buy. After finding multiple options around the same price I often look to see what incentives or free items I may get with the purchase. For instance, if I’m deciding between two companies; If “Company A” offers me a free small item like a key-chain, where “Company B” doesn’t offer me anything, you better believe that “Company A” is going to get my business. Even if I know I’m not going to use the key-chain, the thought of receiving something for free always is more enticing. So in theory sometimes offering customers a small item that doesn’t cost much more than a few pennies could result in more business for your company.

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“lower prices don’t always mean higher sales” – Korey Pavlika

Green Supply: Newest Addition of Distributors!

Since 2006, Outdoor Business Network has worked effortlessly to bring their retailers industry leading distributors and we are proud to announce the addition of Green Supply. Green Supply offers wholesale hunting, outdoors and sporting goods products with over 35 thousand products ranging from over 260 manufacturers. The partnership will allow Green Supply products to be distributed through the e-Commerce platform provided by Outdoor Business Network. The OBN team is excited to work with Green Supply and help build the image of the Outdoor industry.

 

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Using Analytics to Refine your Website

Ever wonder where the majority of your website’s visitors travel on your site? What they click on? How long their on there? It’s called analytics, companies use this to track their visitor’s behavior. It allows companies to keep track of specific data about items that are purchased, you learn how visitor’s navigate the site, and allows you to focus on particular ways to increase the sales for your company. For example, if you’ve noticed that many potential customers are leaving their shopping carts, you can back track their navigated pages to find what pages may need to be overhauled or slight changes to increase the amount of online sales. For the best online results, consistently checking of the websites page traffic and the popularity of specific items will allow your company to stay one step ahead of your competition.

Here are five tools to help get your company use analytics:

1. Demographics: This tool allows you to understand the characteristics of your customers like their age, and sex so you can adapt your website as necessary.

2. Geographical location: Allows you to understand where your visitor’s are coming from, and their language.

3. Behavior: this tool is great to understand how many unique visitor’s you are receiving on a monthly basis, and also allows you to see the amount of time spent on your website to help you narrow down any issues you may be having.

4. Device: this feature is very important to understand how your visitor’s are reaching your website, either by a desktop, mobile device, or a tablet, understanding this will allow you to cater to your largest group of visitor’s and potentially increase sales.

5. Visitor Flow: this is the feature where you get to see where your visitors are going every time they are on your website. This will allow you to track what pages you may need to upgrade to increase the longevity of potential customers on that page.

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“Improving your website is understanding your visitors” – OBN team

Hillsdale College Wins 2nd National Championship!

Over the weekend Hillsdale College achieved it’s 2nd ACUI Collegiate Clay Target Championship. The team finished with a combined score of 1497/1650 beating Schreiner University by just 20! Two of Outdoor Business Network Staff are Hillsdale College Alumni, Kyle Jazwiecki, a former Trap and Skeet shooter for Hillsdale college said:

“glad to see the college on the right path towards success and hope the best                        for them with years to come”.

Outdoor Business Network Congratulates Hillsdale College with their 2nd ACUI National Championship.

Jordan Hintz, Kyle Luttig, Joe Kain, Casey Inks, Kie Kababik,

Jordan Hintz, Kyle Luttig, Joe Kain, Casey Inks, Kie Kababik, Anna Pfaff, Mike Carl, Adam Burlew

Products: Improving, Promoting, Updating

When companies develop an e-Commerce website, the most important factor is displaying the products in a detail orientated manor while positively presenting them. No two products are the exact same, and correctly categorizing your products to ensure your specific customers are finding the products they are searching your website for. Including important product information is key, companies should focus on updated and including as much information as possible of each product they intend to sell. If a customer comes to a product page and has little to no information regarding the product itself they are three times more likely to travel to another website and buy the same product from a company that includes a lot of information.

Jabtac - Magpul Magazine

www.jabtac.com

Doing this not only increases the potential for a customer to buy from you but also increase the organic search results in search engines. Improving your search results on your own website from your products alone increases your SEO ranking within the top search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo. In order to achieve optimal search results within your own website each product must have an abundance of relatable content filled with quality keywords. Keywords are very important to a websites success and could be the difference between selling products to a potential customer.

Now, when selling online products another important aspect to look at is how the product is represented on the page. Yes filing in the price, quantity, size, specifications is good; but why would you want to be like every other e-Commerce page? Taking the time to create off the wall, creative content for each product will only help your business succeed in the future. An example a company that creates quality content for their products is BEAMSHOT. Beamshot took the time to create videos for their products to show the customer how their product works while how well it performs. Doing this gives their customers the assurance of receiving a good product and helps ease the decision on buying that product.

Now there are other ways to generate quality content to show your customers that whenever they visit your website they know they are going to find what they are looking for. If your company is primarily a clothing company, a good way to market your clothes is to actually take pictures of them on a person or on a manikin. Doing this provides the customer with enough visual information of how the product will look on themselves or on another human being. If your company sells specific products that only pertain to your company it is important to display each of those products with as much information as you possibly could create. Doing this leaves every question a customer could have with an answer rather than traveling to another webpage that has their answer for them. No product should have little or no information.

Some necessary steps in order to improve online products:
1. Figure out what product(s) are lacking in content
2. Enhance those product(s) by creative content and include details
3. REPEAT!

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“quality content = better success” – Korey Pavlika

Demographics: How to Increase Customer Numbers

While operating a business in the outdoor industry it is crucial to understand the demographic of your current and potential customers. A demographic is the way companies understand what “type” of customers they can expect to sell their products or services to. To a marketer, demographics can be found by these 5 factors: Age, Gender, Income Level, Race and Ethnicity. These are the factors that a business owner has to take into account when marketing their business so they aren’t wasting their money on groups of people that typically wouldn’t be interested in their products or services.3d business merge concept

Now in the outdoor industry, businesses instantly think their only demographic are the Robin Hood or Wild West sort of people. Companies have to realize that there are other demographic they can appeal themselves to. This takes time and is not as easy as just throwing marketing efforts towards something just because it sounds good! You have to do your research and take notes to ensure your efforts aren’t going to waste.

Recently, we launched a website for a company called “Grasmeyer Guns“. The first word you notice in the store’s name is the word “gun”. Most people would think of the usual gun enthusiast stereotypes, like Wild West gun slingers or tactical gun stockpilers, but, you may be surprised to find out that their target demographic was families. The owner of Grasmeyer Guns successfully created a family environment where the average customer can feel comfortable, and know you’re going to get an honest opinion on their products. The website has an inclusive feel, that gun ownership is for everyone and families can feel comfortable and save around firearms.
Doing this opening up an entirely new demographic of people to visit their business. Not every business is going to have the same demographic, there are outside factors to look at as well such as location, and competition. Standing out in your community can benefit the business in a number of ways. Consistent efforts towards multiple demographics help keep your business name and reputation stay fresh inside the minds.

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No two companies are the exact same, while they may have similar standard demographics including a new demographic groups can expand the reach of your business. For instance, in the outdoor industry, firearms and archery are main topics to discuss. While most are held by men, businesses that offer opportunities and appeal to women and children have the upper hand when selling their products or services. In the last few years the sector for selling women firearms has grown exponentially while children have become more in tune with archery. As a business owner you must take advantage of these opportunities where 1 sale could become a lifelong customer.

Building an inclusive atmosphere for your customers is a key aspect of business because creating a good experience for the customer the first time potentially means more products/services to be sold to not only that customer but his friends and family in the future. Creating good experiences take time and effort to become an expert at. Companies want to create a unique experience that the customer can only get at their store.

If companies can combine expanding their demographic to reach a higher audience while creating a unique experience, you can expect to see a higher percent in sales and returning customers. Yet it is important to understand what your demographic is and the potential demographic so your efforts are not a waste of time and money. In other words, tap into the resources that make the most sense, do your research, and execute to the best of your ability.

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“Expand your business by creating unique experiences through multiple demographic channels” – Korey Pavlika

Importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

We have discussed Search Engine Optimization (SEO) a few times before but at Outdoor Business network we cannot express enough as to how important this is for any company that is online. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is extremely important, especially as customer habits and search-engine algorithms change. Customers are becoming less likely to directly engage with a business when searching for information. Most of the customers are starting their discovery process with a search which makes search the largest digital marketing channel today.

The main goal of SEO is to ensure that the content on your web pages are easily understood by the people and the search engine algorithms; so in turn can be discovered by potential customers when they search for products or services that your company offers. The search engine algorithms are extremely complex and are hard to understand, SEOthey don’t take information in the same way a person that is searching. By consistently enhancing your companies SEO, you’re ensuring that the algorithms in place

No matter how advanced your SEO program is, if customers aren’t able to find the value in the content on your web pages, then your marketing efforts are a waste. It is crucial that marketers dedicate time and effort to creating content that is useful and engaging towards their demographic. If it is possible, a company should dedicate time weekly to create content. Keywords are able to easily determine what each page is about and how the content is useful for potential customers that are looking for answers. SEO is not a one-time action; it requires constant maintenance because search algorithms constantly change and update.

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Branding: Growing Companies from the Ground Up

The early branding of a small or developing company is vital to its business success.  Doing this expresses what exactly your company has to offer. The inaccurate branding of a new business can increase the difficulty for the people to understand why the business exists in the first place. Companies that are just starting out along with small businesses tend to put branding in the backseat to the other aspects of a company such as funding and product development. Doing this is a mistake because a company’s brand is one of the key factors to its success. Dollar for dollar, it is just as crucial compared to any other beginning steps of a new or small business.Comany-Branding2

The brand your company creates in its face to the world. branding starts with the company name and how that name is expressed visually through a logo that portrays what the company is/does. A brand is also how your demographic customers look at your company then they associate an amount of inherent value on your business. A company’s brand is sort of like a secret promise. It is part of the fundamental principles that can be understood by any individual or company that comes into contact with your business.

Some people may ask “where” I put my brand out there or “how”. The secret is wherever you believe your company can portray themselves accurately. Small or startup businesses that have Social Medias need to also keep in mind that the brand of your business is everywhere. The importance of branding cannot be overlooked and has been proven time again that the success of a small or startup business can rely on its branding to help mature them. A business must stand behind while protecting your brand from outside sources or other companies.

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Are you Mobile for 2014?

In today’s society people are always on the go, but having the technology at hand allows them to access the internet by their mobile device. The ability to access the internet with their mobile device has create a new platform for marketers and retail stores to accustom to. It is crucial for your retail store to have your website become mobile device friendly. Did you know that 46% of all online sales come from a mobile device? If your company is not mobile device friendly in 2014 you, could potentially be missing out on almost half of your online sales.

Customers reaching out to your website through their mobile device want to be able to access and navigate your mobile friendly site with ease. Therefore, it is important for your website to display only the necessary information that you want them to see that they can mobile-site-comparisonview on their mobile device. Doing this directs the customers to the products or categories that you want to sell the most. On top of having an easily navigable mobile device site, you must incorporate a simple check out system so your customers can buy their products in a minimal amount of time.

Other than making your website mobile device compatible, you must consider other areas where you solicit your company such as email and newsletters. In 2013 65% of all email and newsletters were opened through a mobile device and has been predicted to increase in 2014. Therefore when sending out company newsletters with your coupons, deals, or anything else you must consider making them mobile friendly as well. This way you can get a higher opening percent rate and potentially drive more customers to your online or into your store.

Following those simple guidelines your company could see an increase in sale during 2014.