Oct 31
Reading Time: 2 minutes

In Business, it is important to set benchmarks and continue to strive to do better than prior years. Most companies look at their stock value and profit for the year. However, with the important presence of social media and target marketing, how do you benchmark your success in your Marketing efforts? Are you doing research and analyzing your Marketing efforts? This is important to evaluate and to continue to evaluate year over year. It is crucial to figure out what is working, what is not working, and adjust accordingly.

Analyzing your Marketing efforts may be difficult for a company to do internally because you are either lacking the resources or are unsure where to start. A solution would be to outsource the analysis and other Marketing services. BMT Micro has recently begun offering some Marketing services for our vendors. This would typically involve us starting with a Marketing Analysis to get an overview of your current Marketing efforts and where you could improve. It will include the following and more: your current website and ways to improve it, SEO and Social Media performance, Digital Reputation Management results, Target Market, what your competitors are doing, and ways to improve Advertising and Branding. After the analysis we could offer different services, where we will participate in the promotion of your product, based on what areas the Marketing Analysis says needs improvement.

There are definite benefits to conducting a Marketing analysis. One benefit is that it can help you identify opportunities in your marketplace. Through the research done, an untapped product or market may be evident. It also helps you minimize your risk by gathering information that will aid in your future business decisions. The analysis can also be used to measure your reputation among consumers. It is always good to know what your customers are saying about you and what they are saying about your competition. If you are able to contact and change a customer’s perception, who has posted negatively about you, then you will most likely gain a loyal, life-long customer. The analysis could also uncover any problems you are having with your current Marketing plan. For example, you are targeting men, ages 45-40, but the analysis shows a high demand for your product among men, ages 22-30. This information can help you adjust which consumers you are targeting through your Advertising campaigns. Lastly, it will help you plan for the future. By identifying current opportunities and problems and reviewing your past sales performance, you will be armed with the information needed to put together a successful business plan to improve your bottom line.

The Marketing Analysis and other Marketing services are currently available for our vendors. If you would like to learn more, please contact our Marketing Specialist via e-mail at katie@bmtmicro.com for more information. marketing-vector-444008

Oct 24
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Game launches, if executed well, can make your game a huge selling success. Whether it is your first game launch or your hundredth, there are certain steps that need to be taken to execute the launch. With the online gaming world becoming more competitive by the day, you want to have something that makes you stand apart. It’s not easy though, thousands of games fail and not always because they aren’t great games.

The key to a successful launch is proper planning. The overall goal is to make it as easy as possible for buyers to make a purchase. The right strategy will help you entice customers to purchase right away. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your game launch.

First thing is to plan your product strategy and roll out. This includes the beta testing, pre-release, original version, and any other versions being released(e.g. limited edition, special edition). This plan will help build momentum prior to the launch, and allow some of your strongest followers the ability to try the game first and promote the game for you. A new, big thing is allowing players to test the game during a trial period before the launch in order to build momentum. The trial users will typically do most of the promoting for you, and feel a stronger sense of loyalty towards you for letting them try the game first. Plan your product strategy in advance and map out all of the details regarding the time line of releases. You also want to differentiate your offer and promotions around release time. The goal is to increase the number of pre-orders before the launch date.

The next thing to ensure a successful launch is to make sure the customer experience when purchasing the game is ideal. You want to put yourself in your customers’ shoes. What would make them purchase now? Is the site easy to use? You want to make sure the shopping cart and purchase button are visible and easy to navigate. BMT Micro has helped many customers with their shopping carts to ensure that is easy to use and flows well to increase purchases. Also, give your customers incentives or create a sense of urgency to make them purchase now. Set a firm launch date and offer and offer customers a pre-launch price that is less than the launch day price. Make the checkout button the most prominent element on the page, and tie purchases back to promotions, if they act now.

Next, you want to make sure you are driving traffic to your site. Maximizing your web traffic is important as your launch date approaches. If you typically advertise to drive site traffic this is good to continue doing. Many people create their advertising campaigns around the launch and may increase advertising spending a few months before the launch, to make consumers aware of the new game. A good idea is to create targeted purchase pages that provide customers with buying steps to make purchasing the product easy. It is also necessary in today’s world to include email and social media outreach to increase awareness of the launch. Being involved in affiliate networks can also be another avenue to promote your launch through banner ads and promotions. BMT Micro has an extensive affiliate network that could help with the promotion of your launch. Continue to use social media throughout the launch, but make sure to not overdo it.

Some of the tips mentioned above are geared towards large companies that have released games before, but what if it is your first game and you are on a tight budget? Then you need to follow the tips below to help you to prepare you to launch your game on a budget.

Use your website to generate awareness about your game. You can write blog posts talking about the development of the game all the way to the launch. If you have a website, you can essentially blog for free and create awareness amongst your followers. The more content you have on your website, means the more you have to talk about and promote on your social media sites. Just ensure that the content is quality content. You do not want to flood your social media sites with a ton of unimportant information or you will lose followers.

Obviously, social media sites are a free and easy way to reach hundreds to thousands of people. What is great about having all of these different social sites is that you can promote your content to different demographics of people and change your promotions based on the type of people that follow you on each different social media channel. There are so many social media sites out there and if you are on a few you should cross promote between all of the sites to maximize your reach.

Through all of the planning, make sure not to forget to measure your results and be able to adjust your promotions on the fly, if necessary. The goal is to keep the momentum going, so sometimes quick changes are necessary. Launching your game is not as simple as just telling your close followers about the game, launching it, and hoping it will do well. With the competition out there today, it will most likely not do well without proper planning. It takes time to build the awareness and excitement for the game, so when launch time comes, the purchases will be flowing in. Keep these simple tips in mind in order to increase your chances of having a successful game launch!

Rocket_Launch

Oct 17
Reading Time: 4 minutes

payment methods

Businesses can accept payment from customers in many different ways. From credit cards to Paypal for online purchases, the different methods offer advantages and disadvantages for both you and for your customers. If you decline to accept a particular payment method, it could cost you customers. However, you want to make sure the payment methods you choose make sense for your business as well. By carefully weighing the pros and cons of different payment types, you will be better able to make the right decision. In a recent blog post, we discussed the benefits of offering multiple payments. In this post, we hope to give more detail into the advantages and disadvantages of these different payment methods and which ones we offer here at BMT Micro.

BMT Micro accepts and processes many different payment types that include: Visa, MasterCard, Discover, Eurocard, American Express, Diner’s Club, Carte Blanche, Novus, JCB, Switch/Solo, Maestro and Optima. Customers are given the option of ordering through PayPal™, Amazon Payments™, Money Orders/Cashier Checks (US Funds only), Visa/MC Debit Card (UK Debit Cards), paysafecard, or wire transfer in Euros directly on the BMT Micro order form. Now we will discuss a few of these and talk about a new payment method we recently began using.

Credit Cards/Debit Cards are the most popular form of online payment. They are very popular among the younger generations. It is a lot easier to carry around a credit card compared to cash and it is convenient for online purchases. Most people these days have a credit card as well. It is very important for businesses to offer credit cards as a form of payment in the eCommerce world to avoid having consumers go elsewhere. One downside from a business perspective is that credit card companies do charge a percentage of sales for a company to be able to perform transactions with the credit card. Another thing to worry about with credit cards is fraud. For small businesses, accepting credit cards can become more a burden than a benefit. Companies like BMT Micro make it to where you do not have to worry about the risk of accepting credit cards because we do all the work for you.

Money orders/Checks are also a convenient way with which older generations or people without bank accounts choose to pay. Banks do not charge extra to process these payments. There is risk with accepting checks because if the product is delivered before the check clears, and the check bounces, you may not get paid. Some businesses just forgo accepting checks. A solution if you are concerned about checks bouncing is to hold delivery of the product until the check clears.

In the ecommerce industry there are no brick and mortar stores for customers to walk into and purchase your product; however, sometimes people prefer to speak with a human. In this case they may prefer to speak to someone on the phone to make the transaction. Being able to take money over the phone can be very useful for taking payments, helping customers troubleshoot, and listening to their needs. Answering phones is typically something small companies outsource because they do not have the time or resources to have a call center. BMT Micro has a professional, knowledgeable staff that can handle all of your phone orders for you.

PayPal can be a useful option for many small businesses. The downsides of this are that PayPal can stop payments, freeze your account, cancel your account or take money back from you if they feel that a customer might have a valid complaint against you. Even if the complaint is entirely untrue, it can be a long process to get access back to your account and funds while Paypal is investigating the claims. BMT Micro has a merchant account and does not require vendors to have their own account or deal with Paypal directly, so it makes these Paypal issues nonexistent. Paypal is widely popular, credible, and very secure, so a lot of customers prefer to use it over their credit cards.

New methods for payment processing are constantly emerging. We have recently added paysafecard as one of the payment methods BMT Micro accepts. Paysafecard is a prepaid payment method and it is incredibly popular in Europe. It allows you to easily pay online to thousands of online stores as if you were paying with cash. It is also incredibly safe because you do not have to put in any personal information when making the online transaction. Paysafecard is a great payment method because you can use it quickly at thousands of sites while keeping your privacy intact. If you have any questions about paysafecard feel free to contact us today!

One payment method that BMT has net yet adopted is Bitcoin. The reason why is due to the risks associated with Bitcoin. Dealing with Bitcoin currency is high-risk because you are not dealing with actual dollars and cents like most commonly used payment processors. Bitcoin may make sense for peer to peer transactions, but not for businesses. Bitcoin is very unpredictable because it is its own currency. It has to be converted into the recipients currency to be valuable for the purchase of everyday products. However, since it is unregulated, Bitcoin lacks a reliable exchange rate. In the past, Bitcoins have been known to disappear over night as well. Beyond being unreliable, Bitcoin is vulnerable to hackers and due to it being unregulated, it would not be easy, if possible, to get your Bitcoin back. When somebody steals your Bitcoins, you will most likely not get them back.

Here at BMT Micro our number one focus is on our vendors and their customers being satisfied. We strive to continue to protect you against any threat, as well as be innovative to keep you ahead of your competition. Please continue to visit our blog to learn more about how BMT Micro is continuously making improvements in offering the latest, up-to-date, and most secure options for all your business transactions.

Oct 10
Reading Time: 3 minutes

crowdfunding (1)

Crowdfunding is a relatively new practice of funding a campaign or venture by raising money from a large number of people, typically through the Internet. There isn’t a set amount of money each person is asked to donate. Each person could donate anywhere from $1 to $100,000 and beyond if they would like. Crowdfunding efforts are typically promoted through social media. Mediums such as Facebook and Twitter are very popular sites for promoting crowdfunding efforts. A lot of them are around personal fundraising, for things such as medical costs. However, a new trend has been to use crowdfunding for startup companies. Companies set a target monetary goal that they believe will help them get their company off of the ground. Usually they give donors gifts if they donate a certain amount of money. There have been many success stories for aspiring entrepreneurs out there, but it isn’t always as easy as it looks.

As you see more and more small companies successfully reach their funding goal, you may start to consider using crowdfunding to fund your startup, but before you jump in, we have some advice on how to make your campaign successful. Whether you are looking to raise a small or large amount for your business, a strong support system is necessary to be successful. We will discuss some challenges you may face when using a crowdfunding campaign.

All of the crowdfunding sites essentially serve the same purpose, a platform for raising money from multiple donors, but not all of them are best for any scenario. There are platforms like gofundme.com or Kickstarter.com that are great for individuals raising small amounts of money for personal needs. However, for startup businesses, there are sites that are solely dedicated to equity crowdfunding which would be best for entrepreneurs looking for large amounts of money. For new entrepreneurs, the biggest challenge is finding investors to fund you; however, there are a large amount of investors who are looking to invest in startup companies like yours and using the right site will allow you to reach them. It is important to do research on the different crowdfunding sites and make an educated decision to choose the one that makes the most sense for your fundraising needs.

After seeing many others succeed in their fundraising efforts, many entrepreneurs tend to think that it will be an easy task. This is not always the case as some do not meet their fundraising goal, but it is possible with planning! There is typically a time limit set on the fundraising efforts, so it is important to make a plan and decide how long it will take to raise an exact amount of money. You need to first determine how much capital you will need to raise for your business goal. You need to establish what the end goal of your crowdfunding venture will be and tie a monetary target to that goal. Also, you need to be prepared to extend your fundraising efforts beyond the site to an event or meetings with investors. This will create momentum for your business.

The next thing you need to do is gauge how much interest there is in your business venture. This should go beyond your family and friends. If you are looking for a large amount of capital, you need to have a strong following and interest from potential investors. This needs to happen before you even start promoting your campaign. It is a process that requires time and planning but it will make the campaign run a lot more smoothly. You will want to reach out to your personal network of friends, family, acquaintances, etc. to ask for assistance in spreading the word. There also needs to be a specific call to action for whomever you are reaching out to. If there is not a specific request, people will be less likely to follow through with their donation.

When you initially launch your campaign a problem you may face is the inability to get your first big donation. You may have dozens of large donors expressing interest to you, but no one has actually come through donating funds. They are usually waiting for someone else to be the initial large donor. This reduces their risk. They feel more comfortable donating after they see that other reputable donors have already committed. This is where choosing the right platform is important. A reputable equity platform will help ease investors’ minds. Also, continuing to build interest and spread the word will be very important to continue the projects momentum.

Crowdfunding has gained a lot of popularity in the past few years and the best is yet to come. We have yet to see very much from equity fundraising, which is starting to grow. Even if you aren’t launching a crowdfunding campaign at this time, it is something to consider for the future if you need to raise capital. It is the future of fundraising and it could potentially make or break your startup business.

Oct 3
Reading Time: 3 minutes

                             bookskindle

As the world continues to move further away from concrete products and more towards virtual products, there are some things that we need to educate ourselves on. Virtual products typically refer to software products. Examples of this would be downloadable games, phone applications, software upgrades, virtual game tokens, etc. Concrete products are the products we can buy in store and physically touch and see. Examples of this would be an actual disc video game, a phone, a computer, etc. One way to illustrate the difference between the two would be to discuss purchasing a book on your kindle vs. going to your local book store and purchasing a book. They may both give you the end result of reading the story, but the way they are delivered and stored are completely different and not interchangeable; however, they hold the same value. This means that they are both of value even though one is virtual. People tend to associate more value with concrete products because they can touch and feel it. Virtual products are also a newer concept; therefore, making it more difficult to comprehend. We will further explain the differences between software and physical products.

Although it is difficult for consumers to tie a cost to each individual software download, it does not mean there is not cost associated with the software. You see a lot more theft and illegal downloads with software because it is easier to do and people do not see it as stealing. For example, people download illegal music everyday. However, these same people would not walk into Walmart and steal a CD. They are both wrong though. Developing a software product requires a lot of upfront time and money to design, develop, and test the product. In many cases to break even on the initial investment, the software product must be sold to a large amount of consumers. The software needs to be operational to provide value to the end-user, delivering the product to the first end-user is very expensive. It is hard for people to tie a cost to something that they can not physically hold.

You cannot see the physical wear on software as you can on a physical products. This is an advantage of downloading music as opposed to buying a CD. The software cannot be damaged like a CD can be. Therefore, software lasts longer, meaning less purchases. They do require maintenance on the back end, which can cost the developer a significant amount of money and time in responding to customer e-mails, providing bug fixes, aiding with issues related to downloading, etc. While there are many advantages to purchasing software and more things will continue to become virtual, it is important to recognize that virtual games and online music are still products.

Lastly, many of the intangible products are somewhat perceived as temporary, in comparison to paper books or CDs which will not disappear if your computer crashes. They can be seen as temporary because after you use something like tokens in an online game, they are gone. However, it is similar to purchasing a consumable such as food. Just because the token is used and you haven’t been able to physically touch it or see it or keep a record of it (save it) on your computer for future use, does not mean that it did not exist or there is no significance or cost tied to it. It is comparable to eating a hamburger at Wendy’s: after you’ve bought it and eaten it (consumed the product), it is not there anymore, but that does not mean that it did not exist or that you did not receive a real product. After consuming it, you cannot save it for later, nor would Wendy’s be inclined to give you a refund, since you already ate it (used the product to its full extent). As technology continues to advance, we will see more and more products move to become virtual products. It is important to understand the value of virtual products and that they are real products even though they cannot be held or touched.