Until recently, CRM software was something only the larger enterprise market would typically invest in. Most CRM systems you read about are enterprise applications – e.g., a platform that is just too large and complex for individual or small business use.
Now, a new breed of CRM software and solutions are available to small business owners. These CRM solutions are designed for small business and provide only the features that are most relevant to SMB owners, such as calendar and event notifications, contact management, lead management, email marketing and similar options.
On E-commerce Guide I take a look at three hosted (SaaS) small business CRM applications ecommerce site owner can use to better manage its customer relations.
3 Small Business CRM Apps for Ecommerce
By Vangie Beal, October 29, 2010
Twitter is both a fun and useful small business marketing tool. The best way to get the most out of Twitter is to incorporate the service into your current marketing strategies, but keep in mind that Twitter is only helpful tool — not a small business marketing solution on its own.
In this Twitter tips article we take you step-by-step through the process of maximizing your 140-charcter small business marketing messages on Twitter.
Read the Full “Twitter Tips to Boost Small Business Marketing” Story on EcommerceGuide.com
By Vangie Beal, June 24, 2010
When it comes to ecommerce marketing, etailers may find it difficult to create marketing materials without being too “sales-pitchy” in the content. Good ecommerce marketing contains a healthy mix of knowledge and promotion, which makes eBooks — books that are published in an electronic format — a low-cost marketing tool that you can use to promote your expertise in your given niche or product category.
EBooks can be articles, reference materials or even fiction, and the marketing benefit is that you can include images and hyperlinks to your website in the eBook. Online merchants can create eBooks as a part of their marketing effort and then distribute them freely to customers and website visitors.
When writing an ecommerce marketing eBook, there are a number of considerations; who will write the eBook, what software will you use to create it, and how will you distribute it to consumers?
By Vangie Beal, June 2, 2010
Looking to expand your self-promotion strategies? Here are some excellent small business marketing tips for writing and distributing your own press release.
“When it comes to small business marketing, one way to self-promote your business is through increased media exposure. To do this you need what’s called a press release or a news release.
“A press release is basically a statement that is written for news media; newspapers, magazines, television networks, radio stations, or online news outlets and trade publications. As the phrase suggests, the written statement is a news article.
“For example, an announcement of a new product, results of a survey you ran on your website, a new service you offer, or big client acquisition is all examples of a newsworthy statement — an overview of your company or the latest tips you offered in your e-mail newsletter is not.”
Small Business Marketing Tips: Writing a Press Release
By Vangie Beal, May 12, 2010
Customer service is an important part of any business; regardless of how big or small your operation is. Smaller home-based businesses and entrepreneurs may have less of a budget than bigger Web-based stores, but you can practice good customer service tactics on a shoestring budget.
“Live customer support technology (also called live chat or live help), lets a business offer immediate, real-time assistance to website visitors through text-based chat. There are a number of vendors that offer live chat solutions, and while exact features of each solution will vary, the end result is similar. When you use Live Chat, your website visitors can click a ‘Live Chat’ button if they need assistance. You would receive a notification of a customer inquiry and could begin an online chat session to provide assistance. Some solutions may also let you track your customers and initiate the chat conversation if you see they may be having a problem on your site. These solutions are a good choice for SOHOs and entrepreneurs as you can ‘hide’ the chat button on the site if you are not available.”
Customer Service Options for Small Web Shops
By Vangie Beal, May 19, 2010
From growing your e-mail list to creating an online community, a contest can be a valuable small business marketing tool. Strutta CEO, Ben Pickering, offers Web shop owners’ tips for running online contests.
Before you can plan a contest, you have to set your marketing objectives and goals. If, for example, your goal is to increase your e-mail subscriber list, then a basic online contest entry form asking people to submit their details and click a box to join your mailing list would suffice.
Sometimes an online contest can promote a special feature or product-line launch. Using Crate and Barrel as an example, Pickering said the company is running a large contest that encourages newly married or soon-to-be married couples to create a gift registry on the site. ‘This type of marketing objective’, he added, ‘is designed to collect relevant marketing data that translates directly into sales.’
Contests as E-commerce Marketing Tools
By Vangie Beal, March 31, 2010