Jul 25

Benefits of using subscriptions

Posted by BMT Micro

Reading Time: 3 minutes

When selling a product or service, using subscriptions or recurring payments is a great way to plan for the future and to build a strong customer base. Having a better idea of what your revenue stream will look like next month will allow you to plan for enhancements, new projects, advertising, etc. Subscription services are becoming more and more popular. Today, we will discuss the benefits of using subscriptions for your business.

When you use subscriptions or recurring payments, your customers can purchase automatically recurring subscriptions from your website. They are very easy to implement online and with automatic billing, you save time by not having to send invoices or keep track of who has paid. All you need to use a subscription service is a website and the means to process payments.

A subscription or recurring payment model allows you to have a much deeper connection with your customers. They are entering in a relationship with you that extends much further than a one time transaction. This is a big thing from the business point of view. It offers a business a continuous stream of revenue from each subscriber. The only thing to account for is the potential cancellation from customers. However, it is much easier to retain your customers than to attract new ones.

A subscription model helps with business planning. The model allows you to plan for the future by knowing what your future revenue stream will look like. You can plan by determining the lifetime value of a customer and what your turnover rate of customers typically looks like. It will not be exact, but you will have a better idea of what your cash flow will be in order to plan ahead and strategically plan for enhancements and expansions.

When your customers are subscribers, it allows you to get to know them better. It also makes them feel a part of your business and want to provide feedback. By learning more about them and receiving feedback, you can enhance their customer experience. You want to enhance the customer experience because happy customers become repeat customers. Your loyal customers are also your cheapest and most effective form of advertising. If they are enjoying the service you provide, they are more likely to tell their friends, which will increase your profit.

The subscription model is sustainable and beneficial if it is done correctly. We have written a few tips on ways to make your subscription model a success. Many startups focus entirely on new revenue and forget about their ongoing revenue. It requires less effort to keep your current customers. This means that you need to continually enhance what you currently have and listen to their feedback. Deliver exceptional value and you will create a lasting business. You should also experiment with different membership options to find what works best for your company and for your customers. Another important thing to do is to avoid contracts. People tend to gravitate towards services that are easy to sign up for and are free to cancel. Contracts scare people. Lastly, do not be afraid to sell single products in addition to subscription services. It allows for diversification because not every consumer is looking for the same thing. The subscription model is a business model that has historically worked and can work now if done correctly. If you focus on providing an exceptional service at a reasonable price, a loyal customer base will follow.

BMT Micro has all the tools you need to run a successful subscription program.  Customers can sign up for your subscription using credit card or PayPal and BMT Micro will take care of rebilling customers when necessary so you can concentrate on providing the best subscription services possible.

recurring payments

Jul 17
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Banner Ads have been very popular ever since the Internet has become a household staple. They are a image-based form of advertising that are strategically places on different sites. The purpose of banner advertising is to promote a brand and to drive traffic to the advertiser’s site. Due to their popularity, a lot of companies have tried banner ads at one point or another. However, they may not be the best option for everyone. There are many different types of online advertisements and we have discussed the benefits of some in a past post. Today we will focus on the different approaches to starting a banner ad campaign and their pros and cons.

 

banner

There are a few options when it comes to implementing a banner ad strategy. You can either enter into an agreement to display other sites’ ads on your site in exchange for them displaying your ad, pay other sites to display your ad, or join a banner network. You would pay the banner network to put your ad on multiple other sites, as well as host ads. We will discuss the different options and their pros and cons.

If you have a lot of friends with businesses or have a good amount of business connections, an exchange with some of them may be ideal. The upside to the exchange is that there is little to no cost to it, which is beneficial if you do not have much capital to put into your banner strategy. You also have full control over where your ad is placed, which ad is on your site and when you want to place the ad. The downside is the amount of work you have to put into making this strategy effective. You need to communicate with every site that your ad is on. You typically will not end up reaching as many people unless you have a large number of exchanges.

The second option is to reach out to other sites and pay them to display your ads. If you have more capital and you are aware of your target market, this may be the best option. This allows you to have control and choose the exact sites that you want your ad to display. If you have a specific target market and you know which sites they visit most often, this would be an effective strategy for your money. The more people in your target market that see your ad, the higher conversion rate you will most likely have. However, this can get very time consuming and costly. Depending on the size of the sites in which you would like to display your ad on, the pricing can be vastly different. This also involves a lot of time and research to ensure that the strategy is working.

The last option would be to join a banner network. Banner network programs will do the work for you when it comes to exchanging banner ads. They will put your ads on other sites in the network and you will also host ads. The advantage of joining a banner exchange program is that it is a free way to get other sites to post your banner ads and it is not nearly as time consuming as the other options. The disadvantage is that you give up a lot of control over where your ads are posted and what ads are posted on your site.

There are distinct differences in the options discussed to help determine which banner strategy would be best for your type of business. There are some additional overarching pros and cons to banner ads no matter which approach you take that we will discuss over the next few paragraphs.

The great thing about banner ads is their visibility. The images or videos embedded in the ads are often eye catching and noticeable. These are especially effective if your brand can be advertised best through images.

The simplicity of setting up banner ads, makes it easy to use trial and error to determine which ads are working best. By using analytic tools, you can see which ads are effective and which ones are not. Also, since it is relatively simple to switch out your banner ads, this gives you the ability to test new ads and alter the messages in them to make your campaign as effective as possible.

Lastly, these ads will help the branding of your product. People are constantly being exposed to the ad and it will only increase their awareness of your product. Even though they may not go to your site at the time they see the ad, they may visit the next time they are in need of a product like yours. The exposure from the banner ads will create brand recognition.

There are a few downsides to using banner ads as well. First off, it is difficult to measure the true number of impressions. The impressions are based on the number of people that visit the site and scroll past your ad. This does not mean they actually read the ad or even give it any of their attention. You can measure the number of click-throughs, but ultimately you are paying for the impressions.

Sometimes there are multiple ads on each page, especially if you are in a banner network, which can cause clutter. Clutter can cause people to lose interest. You are only trying to get them to your site. This can be done simply by explaining your offerings, which can be difficult to convey in banner ads.

The goal of all advertisements is to get consumer attention. However, with the amount of ads consumers are exposed to on a daily basis, there is too much information for them to absorb most of it. There is an advertisement overload, so you need to have a unique enough ad to stand out.

Banner ads may be a perfect solution for you and your business. The first step is to determine which approach would work best for you and your business. After you decide in which direction you want to go, implement a strategy and make sure to benchmark your success.

Jul 10

Keeping your customers safe

Posted by BMT Micro

Reading Time: 3 minutes

no-fraud (1)

Fraud seems to be everywhere these days. With any eCommerce business, making sure your customers are protected against fraud is key. If not, it could end up costing both your business and your customers a high price. Customers will have to deal with the stealing of confidential information and you will have to deal with the loss of customers. So, how are you making sure your customers are safe? We will discuss some of the top ways to protect your site and customers in this post.

Properly securing your site and ensuring customer safety can be very costly. The first decision to make is to choose a secure eCommerce platform. You want to make sure any page requesting customer information is secure. Most importantly, you want to have a secure connection for your customer checkout page. The checkout page needs to be PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant. You also need to use strong SSL (Secure Socket Layer) for authentication for your shopping cart. SSL certificates are important to have and display on your site so that your customers know your site is safe and that their secure information is protected. BMT Micro utilizes the highest encryption method available, Extended Validation SSL. EV SSL certificates provide 256 bit encryption and enable the most visible security indicator: the green address bar in high-security browsers, assuring users that the shopping cart is secure and our identity has been authenticated to the industry’s highest standard. When customers see the green address bar, they gain the confidence to complete their transaction.

If you are a merchant that accepts credit cards, you need to make sure that you are compliant with PCI standards, which can change regularly. PCI scans are a way to ensure that you are compliant. PCI scanning is when an authorized scanning vendor scans your website to look for any vulnerabilities. BMT Micro has PCI scanning done quarterly to ensure that there are no vulnerabilities. These scans are very important because if there is a break in any part of your transaction process and someone gets a hold of your customers’ information, you will be held responsible. It is a good idea to perform quarterly PCI scans yourself or make sure your payment processor is doing them in order to lessen the risk of hacking to your site.

If you have an overwhelming amount of information stored, you are a target. There is no reason to store a lot of information about your customers or their credit card information. PCI standards have rules around how much information you can keep. It is a good habit to habitually purge old records from your database. You would like to keep enough though in case of charge-backs or refunds. It is a risk to keep too much confidential information in your database because that is exactly what hackers are looking to steal.

Another way to reduce fraud is to use a card verification system, which will help to ensure that the person using the card is in fact the owner of the card and that the card is not fraudulent. Using a AVS (address verification system) and requiring the CVV (card verification value) for credit cards will reduce fraudulent charges. Making sure that the address and the CVV match the customer’s credit card will help to lower fraud.

Firewalls are a great way to protect your site as well. Firewalls are a necessary aspect to stopping hackers before they can breach your network. This will stop them from getting a hold of critical information and firewalls can also protect you from certain viruses. It will alert you when there is suspicious activity. To avoid more skilled attacks, having extra layers of security will help. Examples of extra layers include a login page and contact forms on your site. Another simple way to reduce your fraud is to monitor your site regularly. This can be done by using one of the many analytics tools available on the Internet. This will help you spot suspicious activity quickly. The analytics will offer you real time data. You can also have alerts set up with the parameters you want in order to detect suspicious activity. Alerts can be set for multiple transactions coming from the same IP address or by the same person with different credit cards. For example, a person can use multiple credit cards, multiple addresses, but keep the same name. You would want to flag that as suspicious activity to avoid fraudulent charges.

If you maintain a customer database you should require your customer to have strong passwords. You can help your customers by requiring a minimum number of characters, requiring them to use one special character, or make them change their password frequently. While the customer is responsible for their password, setting requirements will ensure that they choose a password that is difficult to hack.

It is essential for eCommerce companies to protect their site, and more importantly, their customers sensitive information. Payment processors, such as BMT Micro, can save you the time and expense necessary to keep fraud to a minimum and your customers information safe. BMT has a very robust security system to minimize fraud. We maintain PCI compliance, and are scanned quarterly for both PCI compliance and network security. Feel free to continue checking in with our blog to learn more!

Jul 3
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Know your customers

Many successful companies have one thing in common, they know and understand their target audience. In a previous blog, we discussed getting to know your millennial customers as a special audience due to their unique characteristics. In this posting, we will speak on a different aspect of knowing your customers. It is very important for companies to understand the wants, needs, and behaviors of their buyers. This is not always easy to uncover nor is it an exact science. However, the more you focus on knowing your customer, the more likely you are to continue your success.

The first way to begin learning about your customers is to decide who comprises your target market. Not only do you need to know about your current customers, but also your potential customers. In order to understand your potential customer, you need to know your market. There are many things that you can learn about your customers, but we will discuss the most important things to know in the next paragraph.

The most important pieces of information to know about your customers includes who they are, such as their name, age, gender, address, marital status, children, hobbies, education, etc. It is also good to know what they do as far as their profession, why they buy, what time of day do they buy, why they like to buy from you, their expectations of your business, and what they think of your business. Knowing your customers in depth is key in order to be a highly successful business. You should be paying attention to visitor profiles as well. It is important to know your audience and know who is looking at your site. There are programs, such as Google Analytics, that can help you monitor information like who is visiting your site, who is buying your products, their location, how long they visit, and which pages they visit. This information can help you tailor or construct marketing strategies in order to reach your target audience. This will also help you plan your advertising campaigns and track how effective they are at reaching your consumers.

In order to attract your customer, you need to have a Unique Sales Proposition (USP). It is important for you to know why they buy from you. What is it that sets you apart? For example, BMT Micro sets itself a part with our customer service and our advanced automated fraud screening services. We take great care to ensure the safety of all transactions through our system. Our vendors set themselves apart from their competition by offering multiple payment options to their customers for convenience and providing safe and secure transactions, as well as having a full time customer service center through BMT Micro. Your USPs are very important to your customers and you need to be aware of them in order to retain these customers. It is also good to leverage your USPs when promoting your brand. However, keep in mind that you need to constantly check up on your competition to ensure that your USPs are still uniquely yours. If the USP does not set you apart from the competition, then you need to find a new USP to promote. The more your know about your customer, the better strategy you will be able to put together for your marketing and sales efforts. These strategies should be driven by emphasizing your USPs.

Something that very successful companies forget to do at times is to keep the future in mind. Consumers’ interests and your market are constantly evolving and changing. It is important to keep up with trends that may influence your customers and plan to offer the latest innovations to your customers ahead of your competitors. You never want to become complacent. You can conduct your own market research or purchase industry reports to help determine where your customers’ markets are going.

The more you know about your customers and the more you use this knowledge to your advantage, the more successful your company will be. Knowing specifically what your customers wants and needs are, and delivering products to fill these voids can have a large impact on your business. You should also offer your products at the right locations and at the right price. Lastly, make their experience enjoyable. When you treat each of your customers as though they are your most important customer, they will keep coming back!