Megan O’Brien – The BigCommerce Blog Ecommerce Blog delivering news, strategy and success stories to power 2x growth for scaling brands. Sun, 18 Mar 2018 16:13:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Megan O’Brien – The BigCommerce Blog 32 32 Marketing Strategy: Tweet smarter with these tips from Twitter Tue, 23 Sep 2014 20:07:28 +0000 What is the value of Twitter to your small business? At last week’s Inbound Conference, I attended a session by…]]>

What is the value of Twitter to your small business? At last week’s Inbound Conference, I attended a session by Anne Mercogliano and Russ Laraway from Twitter Small Business. While most brands understand the steps necessary for executing on a social strategy—monitoring who’s talking about you, publishing content that resonates with your audience, and reporting on your results—it goes much deeper. Because Twitter is a great platform to connect immediately and personally with your customers, you can build personal relationships with people who are interested in your brand and your story.

The Twitter Small Biz team tossed out some very interesting facts on the value of Twitter:

  • 57% of Twitter users discovered a SMB on Twitter
  • 73% of people feel better about a SMB after following them on Twitter
  • 60% of people have purchased something from a SMB because of Twitter
  • 9 out of 10 Twitter users have actively engaged in a conversation with SMBs

twitter small business

Do I have your attention yet? Great, because I have four actionable tips from the folks at Twitter to help you enhance your social strategy:

1. Don’t overthink it

Sometimes its best to keep it simple, smarty. You only have 140 characters and the shorter the better. Twitter reports that tweets with less than 120 characters see on average an 8% engagement lift and tweets with less than 100 characters see a +18% engagement boost than those at 140 characters. Be concise and see results.

2. Make it visual

Adding an image or other rich media to your tweets can get you a 313% lift in engagement and a 52% increase in retweets. Even more impressive, tweets with Vine saw a 256% increase. In this case a picture really is worth (the engagement of) 1,000 words. We’ve seen great success with this at Bigcommerce.

visual twitter example

3. Be approachable and human

This was a huge overarching theme during #Inbound14. People are more likely to interact when they know they’re having a conversation with a human who has personality. Treat your social with a personable and somewhat humorous lens since personality helps people identify with a company.

4.  Extend the conversation

Don’t force yourself into the conversation work to keep it going. Twitter reported that people who responded @handles only 1x per week saw a 18% engagement above those who did not respond to their followers. How can you extend the conversation? Take advantage of trending hashtags. What are people talking about and how can you relate it back to your brand? When in doubt, ask a question.

Once you start implementing these tips, take some time to analyze how they changed your social engagement. Remember, your strategy should always involve monitoring, publishing and reporting. Once you figure out what works best for your brand, double down and continue to iterate.

I’ll leave you with this final thought: your voice on Twitter should be about connecting, not about convincing.

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Marketing Tips: How to tell a brand story people will love Fri, 19 Sep 2014 17:51:57 +0000 If you want people to really love your brand, they need to feel a connection. This connection is what creates…]]>

If you want people to really love your brand, they need to feel a connection. This connection is what creates a strong loyalty that ultimately grows into customers feeling invested in your brand. One way to build this connection is through a brand story.

At Hubspot’s Inbound14, Camille Ricketts, the Editor in Chief at First Round Capital, shared 5 actionable tactics every brand can implement to create a connection, a sense of emotion, and build loyalty that will surely lead people to actually love your brand.

Here’s what she said:

1. Know your audience

To tell your your brand story, first and foremost, you must know who your audience really is. The more detail you can get, the better.

Pretend you are having a conversation with your potential customer. What do you know about their daily lives? What are their hobbies? How do they consume media? What situations will they relate to?

Continue to ask these questions until you can envision your ideal customer in your mind. Be specific when it comes to describing this ideal person. Ultimately you want to know how your brand can be a solution to their problems or simplify their lives.

2. Positioning is everything

Once you have your ideal customer in mind, learn how to position your brand. Ricketts presented the following formula to help you construct a positioning statement that will be the heart of your brand story. Fill in the blanks to start your very own positioning statement:

  1. For (your target customer)
  2. Who (statement of their need or opportunity)
  3. (Your product name) is a (product category)
  4. That (statement of key benefit)
  5. Unlike (your competing alternative)
  6. (Your product name) (its primary differentiation)

Once you feel like you have a strong positioning statement, use it to create a mindmap. “Start with one word that represents your brand and freely associate the images and words that come to mind until you hit a word that conveys emotion and sentiment,” says Ricketts. Once you evoke that emotion that represents your brand you’ll know it and so will your customers.

3. Find your brand hero

Every brand story needs a brand hero. Ricketts feels, “people will take action when they feel a unique connection with a person.” Your brand hero should prove that your product works. Turn to your current customer base and see if they can tell your story alongside you.

4. Be authentic

“People hate being manipulated,” said Rickett “if you’re not authentic people won’t buy what you’re selling them.”

Rickett suggests doing a brand audit by asking yourself what message you are sending through “the words you are using, the images, even the color palette and aesthetic.” For each of these questions, then further ask yourself, “What could we be doing that is a little different? Very different? Are they part of our identity?”

5. Design it to be shared

For any brand story to be loveable it also has to be shared.

“Everything you put out is an opportunity for commonality among people.” Ricketts explained there are three reasons why people share content:

  1. To make people think, feel or smile: Does it provide a fuzzy or warm thought that make people rethink what they know about your brand or enhance their love for you?
  2. To define ourselves to others – what we put out on social represents our own personal brand and we share what will make others view us the way we want?
  3. Positive validation: Does your brand to empower your customers to tell a story they already want to tell?

“Come up with a brand and story your customers will love, so they can relate to you, and empower your brand,” suggests Ricketts. Once you’ve created a brand your customers love they will look forward to what you will do next.

How do you tell your brand story? Let us know in the comments!

Photo by Paul’s Imaging used under Creative Commons.

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10 inspirational quotes to motivate entrepreneurs for greatness Fri, 18 Jul 2014 21:24:44 +0000 Feel like you’re stuck in the midsummer slump? Does the nice weather have you longing to be outdoors? No matter…]]>

Feel like you’re stuck in the midsummer slump? Does the nice weather have you longing to be outdoors? No matter what challenges you’re facing, chances are you could use a little inspiration to get you pumped to tackle the day.

For all the business owners who feel like they’re hitting the “wall”, we’ve compiled these 10 motivational quotes from some of our favorite creatives, entrepreneurs and leaders to help inspire you. Remember, it’s all about perspective.

Are we missing any inspirational quotes that have motivated you to entrepreneurial greatness? Leave them in the comments below and we’ll add them on our next update.

1. Abraham Lincoln: “Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”

motivational quotes for entrepreneurs

2. Jim Rohn: “Either you run the day, or the day runs you.”

inspirational quotes for entrepreneurs

3. Karen Lamb: “A year from now you will wish you had started today.”

motivational and inspirational quotes for business owners

4. Rand Fishkin, Moz: “Don’t build links. Build relationships.”

Rand_Fishkin quote

5. M. Scott Peck: “Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.”

M_Scott_Peck quote

6. Scott Belsky, Behance: “It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.”

Scott_Belsky quote

7. Vivienne Harr, Make A Stand: “Stick with it, even on the bad days.”

Vivienne_Harr quote

8. Albert Schweitzer: “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”

Albert_Schweitzer quote

9. Simon Sinek: “Dream big. Start small. But most of all, start.”

Simon_Sinek quote

10. Tim Ferris: “Think big and don’t listen to people who tell you it can’t be done. Life’s too short to think small.”

Tim_Ferriss quote

Looking for even more inspiration? Check out our 10 motivational quotes to help you reach new heights in fall 2017.

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Summer shopping picks: Have fun in the sun with the products from Bigcommerce stores Sun, 13 Jul 2014 18:30:33 +0000 For those in the Northern Hemisphere, summer has hit. To help you make the most of the warm months, we’ve…]]>

For those in the Northern Hemisphere, summer has hit. To help you make the most of the warm months, we’ve curated our Sizzling Summer Picks Pinterest board from some of our favorite Bigcommerce stores. Whether you’re spending it by the pool or hosting a BBQ get-together with friends, these handpicked products will help you have fun in the sun and still keep it cool!

Sizzling Summer Pics from Big Commerce Stores

From breezy summer dresses to blinged out bike helmets and rugged coolers, these stores have the perfect products to help you celebrate this summer in style. For more shopping inspiration follow us on Pinterest.

BlogCTA summer images

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Register for the Bigcommerce #SXSMB Garden Party Tue, 18 Feb 2014 21:04:08 +0000 Heading to Austin for SXSW this year? Join us Friday, March 7, for a high-tech garden party. We’ll be celebrating…]]>

Heading to Austin for SXSW this year? Join us Friday, March 7, for a high-tech garden party. We’ll be celebrating Garden Genie, winners of the Global Startup Battle E-commerce Circle, at Startup Oasis on 6th St.

Get free food, free drinks, free swag and possibly free advice from a special guest who got America online. This event is perfect for clients, partners, entrepreneurs or anyone interested in tech and commerce. Entry is not guaranteed, so please RSVP and arrive early!

We’ll share more details closer to the event. And if you can’t join us in Texas, make sure you follow along with #SXSMB for SXSW news with a small business twist.

What: #SXSMB Garden Party, powered by Bigcommerce
When: 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, March 7
Where: Startup Oasis at Old School Bar & Grill, 401 E. 6th St., Austin, TX 78701
Why: Free food, drinks, swag, startup advice, e-commerce networking and more
How: Register to attend on Eventbrite

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10 ways to increase and improve your customer reviews Mon, 17 Feb 2014 18:36:07 +0000 Testimonials  and product reviews can be one of your greatest sales tools. Over 70% of consumers say they look at product…]]>

Testimonials  and product reviews can be one of your greatest sales tools. Over 70% of consumers say they look at product reviews before making a purchase and nearly 63% indicate they are more likely to buy from a site that has product ratings and reviews. Social proof can reassure hesitant shoppers, provide additional context and reduce returns by ensuring buyers are satisfied with their purchase.

Ready to instill trust in your business, create meaningful social proof and build your brand love? Here are 10 tips to help you go above and beyond with product reviews and customer testimonials.

  1. Put your reviews front and center. Consider placing a couple reviews right on your homepage. If you have reviews for specific items, publish them on each product page. You can even add an entirely new page dedicated to housing awesome testimonials with a link in your top nav. Just make sure you get them on your site in a way that works for your product. We love how Primal Pit Paste shows off their raving fans on a special section of their website.

    primal pit paste review

  2. Get on the same sites as your customers. Being social and accessible is the best way to get honest feedback. Make your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts easily accessible from your store so customers can reach out with comments and questions. If you have a brick-and-mortar business, like Milk + Honey Spa, you’ll also want to have a profile on Yelp and Google Places.

    milk honey spa yelp

  3. Follow up with buyers. Consider sending an email to customers after they make a purchase. You’re most likely to get a review when the purchase is still top of mind. Check out Bigcommerce app partner Yotpo to automate this process, which makes it easy for you but more importantly makes it easy for your customers. Remove as much friction as possible between your request and their ability to submit a review.

  4. Ask the right questions. To do this, you need to know the type of answers you want before you start asking for them. What is your target audience interested in? What are their biggest concerns when making a purchase? What are pain points in your industry? Aligning with these questions will help you get meaningful and relevant testimonials.

  5. Contact those who leave you glowing reviews. If you notice a glowing review on Yelp or a pretty tagged pic on Instagram, say thanks! Man Crates does a great job of following up and socializing their positive reviews. You can also ask for permission to share their shoutout on your site or social media channels.

    man crates valentines share

  6. Contact those who leave you negative reviews. Ignoring these won’t make them go away. Try to respond to negative reviews, especially if you think the reviewer is justified in their complaint or other customers have complained about the same issue. Take this opportunity to learn from your clients and improve your business.

  7. Run a contest. This is an effective way to market your business with a little help from your current customers. We shared some social contest ideas in our recent post on social promotions that can impact your bottom line, but keeping things simple is always a good idea. Ask customers to add a hashtag on Instagram or post a quick note on your Facebook page. Lensbaby regularly runs Facebook contests asking fans to submit photos, like the heart bokeh image at the top of this post, that show off what their unique lenses can do.

    lensbaby valentine contest

  8. Reward those who review. For example, you could provide every client who gives you a review a 10% off coupon. And you don’t even need to let them know this is coming their way. The surprise factor will add an extra bit of “wow” to their experience.

  9. Include the customer’s name and picture when you post the testimonial. This can be a nice way to thank your customers, and it also adds a level of credibility to their review. Consider adding the source of the review, like Yelp, to encourage other customers to send in their own feedback.

  10. Give your customers a reason to review you. It may be something as simple as writing a personalized thank you note, but that gesture will go a long way in making your customers feel warm and fuzzy. Delush Polish does such a great job at going the extra mile that customers actually share the packaging on Instagram.

delush polish review 1

Do you have your own tips for improving and increasing customer testimonials? Share your advice in the comments, we’d love to hear about it!

Feature image by Mark Mathosian on Flickr

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