Small business owners have had unique needs and have faced unique challenges since the beginning of time. What used to be bartering goods by the bank of the river has transformed into modern-day online payments. Small business owners in every industry need a way to balance the cost of doing business online with the ease, service, support, and security offered by payment processing companies.
Online payment processing is a complex ecosystem; trying to master it and make educated decisions often leaves many small business owners frustrated and exasperated. Like many of the worries that come with running a business, understanding the basics of payment processing frees you up to do what you do best: succeed at your core business.
What you need
To accept online payments, you need to integrate with a payment service provider (PSP) that offers payment processing services. The PSP is responsible for managing your online payment activity, including approving or declining transactions, fraud and risk services, providing multiple payment options, and more. The PSP also opens a merchant account in an acquiring bank (or several acquirers, if needed) for you and is responsible for transferring data and funds between the buyer’s bank and yours.
Whether you are in the garment industry, the electronics business, or need a payment processor for a travel business, the first choice you need to make is which PSP to choose.
What to consider
When selecting an online payment processing solution, there are four factors that small businesses should consider:
Carefully consider your needs when looking for an online payment processor that can serve them. Make sure the processor you select accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express, as well as debit and prepaid cards and PayPal.
Understand how the processing system will be integrated onto your site and make sure your platform and shopping cart are supported. If a hosted payment page is used, make sure that it can be customized with your own look and feel.
Consider contacting processors’ customers or reading published reviews to understand the pros and cons of each provider.
Weigh the speed of processing and the availability of multiple gateways, as well as technical requirements like APIs and site testing options.
If you sell internationally, consider your global customers’ needs and preferences, like processing in multiple currencies and local debit and prepaid cards. Always test the process from a customer’s perspective. The payment process should be smooth, easy, and seamless.
Make sure you select a PSP that boasts the highest safety and security standards. Look for compliance with the Payment Card Industry’s Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), VeriSign SSL certificates, AVS, and CVV2 verification. You should inquire about the processor’s risk management offering, to find out how safe your business will be from fraudulent transactions and chargebacks if you work with them.
Plan for the unpredictable. Choose a provider that offers 24/7 support because your online business is a 24/7 operation.
Providers might structure their costs differently from one another, and it can sometimes be hard to compare. Consider setup fees and monthly fees as well as transaction fees like authorization fees, address verification (AVS) fees, and gateway fees.
Make sure to also consider irregular fees like bounced payment fees, chargeback fees, or cancellation fees for terminating a contract early. Also, some processors have different rates for “qualified” and “non-qualified” transactions and for international transactions.
Choosing the right Online Payment Processor
The rule of thumb is this: small businesses should find a PSP that works well with their kind of business. If you sell internationally, make sure the PSP can handle international payments. If you use a shopping cart, make sure it is supported. If your customers prefer to pay with PayPal, choose a PSP that supports that, too.
Always make sure that security is a priority and do not bind yourself to prolonged contracts.
This chart is an excellent side-by-side comparison of some of the leading providers.
Small Biz, Big Name: The 5 Most Effective Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses in 2019
Running a local business is tough. So tough, in fact, that 50% of small businesses fail within five years of startup.
With such a competitive marketplace and with so many challenges, it has never been a better time to think about your marketing strategy.
Having effective marketing strategies will help your business stand out from the crowd and set you ahead of your competitors.
However, marketing techniques change all the time, and it’s possible there are new techniques that could help your business reach out to even more customers. So, check out these effective marketing strategies to make sure your business stays ahead in 2019.
1. Facebook Ads
If your small business does not advertise on Facebook, you should reconsider. In fact, two million businesses advertise on Facebook, so there must be something in it!
Facebook ads are an inexpensive way to reach a wide audience. They also have the added bonus of targeting to your chosen audience demographics and location.
Creating a Facebook ad is also pretty quick and easy and does not require specific skills. All you have to do is create a regular Facebook post with images or video to upload, and away you go.
2. Instagram Stories
Instagram marketing is a great way for small businesses to showcase their products and services. Your business may already be using it as a social media tool, but Instagram is always adding features that you might not be aware of.
Instagram stories are a particularly good way of taking your customers “behind the scenes” of your business and building up a real rapport with your followers.
There are lots of fun features in the stories platform that can make your posts really eye-catching, and it is a great way to live-blog events and product launches.
3. Video Marketing
By 2020 video will account for 79% of all internet traffic. So if your business does not have video marketing strategies, you could be missing out.
YouTube is an excellent platform for product demonstrations, “how to” videos, and even holding Q&A sessions. They can increase brand awareness, and help customers get to know the story behind your business.
4. Email Marketing
Using emails for marketing is not a new idea. However, if you have been using the same old templates for a while, it could be time for your small business to upgrade its email marketing strategy.
Modernize your email content can be a really effective marketing strategy, and demonstrate to your customers that you are a forward-thinking business.
Keep the written content short and snappy, and always include images and videos.
5. Optimize For Mobile
People spend a lot of time looking at their phones. If your small business website is not optimized for mobile, you are putting yourself at an immediate disadvantage.
Always double check all pages of your website to make sure they look as good as they can on all devices. Make sure that your site loads quickly too, as users are less likely to hang around waiting for it if they are on a mobile device.
Tips On Effective Marketing Strategies And So Much More
So those are five tips on effective marketing strategies for small businesses in 2019.
If you found this useful, then why not check out some more of our marketing guides right here.
Things to Consider Before Measuring Digital ROI
Measuring digital ROI can often prove confusing if you don’t know what you are looking for. You can use soft metrics like social media impressions, email engagement, and website visitors which are essential for shaping your digital marketing strategy.
Or you could focus on hard metrics, like spend and revenue. Both hard and soft metrics feed into calculating digital ROI. This confusion often leads to businesses all over the world outsourcing their digital workloads to a digital marketing agency.
First of all, lets lay out some of the types of key performance indicators that can help you determine your ROI –
- Overall digital performance: Traffic, sales leads and user reach.
- Channel: social media platforms, search engines, websites
- Performance based on source: Pay-per-click, sales emails, direct website traffic and organic search.
- Performance based on digital campaign: Conversion rates, lead generation and click-throughs to your website.
Once you have decided which key performance indicators are the most applicable to you and your business, you can then start to measure them to determine your ROI. However, do be aware that measuring ROI does have some disadvantages. It all depends on what type of business you are and what constitutes the return. At the same time, it also depends on what the original investment was. Your company need to determine and agree on both of these factors before measuring ROI.
6 Metrics to Help You Determine Your ROI
Once you gain an understanding of what your ROI objectives are, you need to consider the following metrics, and these are what will ultimately help you determine whether a campaign has been successful or not.
Cost Per Lead. This is the amount that you spend on a campaign which is then divided by the number of new leads you get.
Cost Per Acquisition. This is very similar to cost per lead. The difference is that its an actual transaction.
Click-Through Rate. This metric depends on whether a customer clicks through to your website as a result of digital marketing activity. When calculating click-through rates, make sure that the clicks are directly linked to the campaign you are running. For example, if you are running a paid campaign on Facebook, then any clicks you get from Twitter do not apply to the ROI.
Unique Monthly Visitors. This metric will tell you how visitors are coming to your website every month. However, do be aware that this is a very broad metric to measure and needs more investigating to determine which visitors are a direct result of a marketing campaign. Our tip would be to segment this metric by “paid, organic and social.”
Understand Your Customers and Their Consumer Habits
With digital marketing, it’s important to recognise the fact that not all customers can be regarded as equal. This is because not all of them will return to spend money with your business on a regular basis. On the flipside of that, some will consume a lot more of your digital marketing efforts but never convert into a paying customer. With this being said, marketing teams need to understand that it’s not about the number of online users reached, but the type of user reached.
For example, you need to consider what a customer’s transaction value is. You need to identify if they are spending money with you for smaller purchases on an ad-hoc basis or you’ve have found that they are a consistent buyer and have a loyal relationship with your business. There is another factor that can be taken into consideration and that can be the number of years that a customer has been using your business for. By looking at this will allow you to determine their loyalty.
The best course of action for your digital marketing efforts would be to identify who your most profitable customers are, and where they are coming from in terms of your digital marketing efforts. Did they see a social media post? Or, did they receive a product newsletter from you via email? Returning customers are the ones to have the most positive impact on your business, resulting in repeat transactions and higher profits.
Know Where You Are Spending Your Money
If your digital marketing campaign has been strategically planned and implemented in the right way by creating achievable objectives, then this can be a great way to generate promising results and provide you with data to support any future campaigns. Failing to keep track of how much money has been invested in a digital campaign will cause you nothing but problems and your ROI calculations will be wrong.
Building An Anthill: How to Market Your Pest Control Business
People have had problems with pest infestations for as long as civilization has existed. Because of this, you can rest assured that your pest control company will always be in demand.
And, because you know that your customers are already around, the only thing you must worry about is letting them know how to find you.
So, how do you spread the work and track down new customers?
Here’s everything you need to know about marketing your pest control business.
Create a Website
As we said before, the internet is the most powerful tool available to small business owners nowadays. And, the easiest way to take advantage of it is by creating a website.
A website will allow customers and clients to get a taste of the services you have to offer, get an idea of how much you charge, and get in contact with you.
While getting any old website up is a good first step, you may want to check out a few other pest control company’s sites to get an idea of what you should include.
Check Your Local Listings
Phone books are officially antiquated. These days, if you want to track down a specific service in your area, you turn to something like Google Maps.
If you’ve been open for a while, there’s a good chance you already have an online listing. But that doesn’t mean you’re in control of the information on it.
You need to claim all your online listings and make sure they include up-to-date contact information and a link to your company’s website.
Start a Blog
Once you have your website up and running, you’ll need to start generating a little traffic to it. And, one of the most surefire ways to help give your site the SEO boost it may need is by publishing content on it regularly.
A blog will give you an easy way to keep your site’s search engine rankings high. While also educating potential clients on pest control issues they may be having.
For example, by publishing an article on what bed bug bites look like, you could alert a new customer to bed bugs in their home and inspire them to hire you.
Having a website is an excellent start. But, one of the best ways to build an online presence and track down new customers is setting your business up with a few social media accounts.
Social media can put you in direct contact with your current and potential customers. It also allows you to keep customers up to date on any special deals your offering.
By keeping up with your social media, you can also use it to take control of your online reputation.
Marketing Your Pest Control Business
The internet can make marketing your company a breeze, but only if you know how to harness it. By following these tips, you’ll be able to market your pest control business and find dozens of new clients in no time.
Are you looking for a few more tips and tricks to help you take your business to the next level? We can help.
We have dozens of articles to help you start a new business or help you grow your existing company. Check them out today.
- Social Media8 months ago
Top 5 Advantages and Disadvantages of Social Media Marketing
- Management10 months ago
7 Essential Tips For Opening a Mechanic Shop
- Marketing19 hours ago
Small Biz, Big Name: The 5 Most Effective Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses in 2019
- Management6 years ago
The man who destroyed his multimillion dollar company in 10 seconds
- Sales3 months ago
3 Motivational Sales Meeting Ideas That Will Transform Sales Performance
- Content Marketing2 months ago
5 Reasons Content Is Essential to Digital Marketing
- Innovation2 years ago
5 Ways How Globalization Impacts Small Businesses
- Management7 months ago
The Importance of Presentation Skills in Business
- Marketing2 months ago
How to Grow Your E-Commerce Business with Instagram
- Management1 year ago
The Five Common Materials Used to Manufacture Reusable Grocery Bags
- Accounting & Finance8 years ago
Advantages and Disadvantages of Taking Small Business Loans from Banks
- Management1 year ago
Pros and Cons of Offshoring