Apr 29
Reading Time: 3 minutes

   How To Grow & Manage Customer Reviews - BMT Micro

Reviews are key for an online business. They are an essential part of branding and marketing and they help build customer trust. Reviews can help a business better understand their products and they contribute to search engine optimization. Also, highly-rated products often sell more in quantity and price. But accumulating reviews can be difficult, especially when you are just starting out. So how can your online business get more reviews? The following are a few ways to inspire customers to share their thoughts on the products or services you sell.

Email: Unfortunately, most customers are not going to be motivated enough to go out of their way to leave a review for your product or service. The best way to get customers to review items is to just reach out and ask them. Email typically yields the greatest return and is the most common method for asking for reviews. A business can send follow up emails to customers that have made a purchase (usually 10 to 14 days after) and provide them with a link to review the product or service. You can also ask if they are satisfied with their purchase and salvage a bad situation if the customer is not.

Incentivize (without bribing): Incentives are a great way to get people excited about sharing their reviews. But, it is important to note that you should never pay someone to write a review for you (this usually backfires and never ends well). Sometimes just offering a free sample or a discount for your product or service can be enough incentive for customers to write a review. Also, if you run a loyalty or rewards program, you can consider offering your customers points for reviews. If you do not offer a rewards program, there are plenty of other options including: contest entries, coupons, discounts, and gift certificates. Just be sure to clarify that you seek honest reviews so others won’t be under any impression that yours are purchased.

Pictures and/or Video: Customers who are active on social networks like Instagram or Pinterest are usually more inclined to share what they think if they can with more than just text. Allowing image and video uploads can increase your chances of getting customer reviews and it can also tell a better story than text-only. If your customers are not directly sharing photos to your business’ social pages, you can ask their permission to repurpose their post as a review with credit. This can also be a powerful form of social proof.

Additional Tips:

  • Always moderate customer reviews. An approval process is necessary to eliminate any spam. And, you will need to approve and reject submissions regularly.
  • You are going to have complaints. Unfortunately, you can’t stop someone from posting a bad review about your company online. Misunderstandings happen and opinions are subjective. But, businesses can turn instances like these into opportunities and show you are willing to fix what went wrong.
  • Responding in a timely manner is also important. Reviews that need attention, like one stating customer dissatisfaction, should be addressed quickly.
  • Thank customers for taking the time to leave feedback.
  • If a review is posted publicly somewhere online, even if you want to address the situation privately, still publish a response confirming that it was addressed and you have contacted the customer.
  • If you are going to use a review form, keep it as short as possible but ask the right questions so others have the vital information to make an educated buying decision.

Requesting and publishing customer reviews does not require any special tools or technology, just your commitment to see it through. Reviews are an essential, ongoing part of doing business online and can eliminate any purchasing doubts potential customers may have. Studies also show that customers are more likely to purchase from a site with reviews. In one study, 92% of consumers said they trust online reviews and 85% of consumers said they read 7-10 reviews before making a purchase. So, listen to what your customer have to stay and take action when necessary. Showing your customers that you are actually listening and responding to complaints or problems can go a long way. It is okay to have some negative reviews since it adds legitimacy to a business’ page and creates a conversation that raises brand awareness. But if you have negative reviews, do not ignore them.

Reputation is what establishes your brand and drives revenue growth. Word-of-mouth has gone global with online review sites, blogs, and social media. It is easier than ever for customers to learn about online businesses and what others think about them as well. Online reviews have a profound impact on consumers purchasing path and many brands still have no idea how it can impact business and sales. The key is to understand that effective brand reputation management is an ongoing relationship with your customers.

If you are a vendor of BMT Micro, an analysis of your digital reputation management is currently available with our Marketing Analysis. The Marketing Analysis also includes an analysis of your current website, SEO, social media performance, target market, competition, and advertising & branding. If you would like to learn more about the services we offer, place contact our Marketing Specialists via email at leah@bmtmicro.com for more information.

Apr 22

Fraud Goes Social

Posted by BMT Micro

Reading Time: 4 minutes

    Fraud Goes Social - BMT Micro

Today in our always-connected digital age, cyber criminals are gaining more and more potential victims to target. How? With the growing popularity of social networks, guess where cyber attackers are now waiting? Fraudsters have taken to social media, showing up on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and even dating apps like Tinder. Seemingly harmless social posts now could be just one click away from infecting you with some nasty malware.

Scammers usually have one goal in mind when they attack: money. They will trick you to click on an infected link, download or install something, like or follow a social profile, and even share something to your profile or send it to your friends. Unfortunately, they will do almost anything to monetize your online actions and social networks are giving them another outlet to do so.

The tricky thing about social media is that it typically attracts users that are more inclined to click on ads or links. This is what makes social networks so attractive and appealing for cybercriminals to target. Scammers’ social posts are becoming more malicious and are filled with links built to steal personal information (like your passwords), track your browsing activity and even activate your computer’s webcam or microphone. There is also a growing trend of scammers stealing login credentials and also asking for payment information. The following are a few ways scammers are attacking on social:

Like-farming: Like-farming is when a scammer posts an attention-grabbing story for the sole purpose of cultivating likes and shares. For example, based on the way Facebook works, the more likes and shares a post has, the more likely it is to show up in others News Feeds. Like-farming gives scammers access to a much larger audience to trick for personal information or to send to a malicious link or download.

Clickjacking: According to Google, Clickjacking refers to the practice in which threat actors modify the appearance of a Web page, or part of a Web page, to trick users into clicking on something different from what they assume they are clicking on. In such attacks, also referred to as user-interface redress attacks, users are presented with a web page, ad or other content that conceals underlying content that the attacker actually wants the user to click on.

Phishing: Phishing is when cybercriminals attempt to trick you into giving them sensitive information or even money. For example, some scammers use phishing attacks on social media by pretending to be a representative of that network. They contact you and then try to trick you to click on a link to: reset your password, reconfirm your account, etc. Their goal is to lead you to a site that appears to be legit, where you will be prompted to enter sensitive information. From your name to email address, phone number, credit card details, passwords, and so on; this information can be used to access your account and to further spread malicious links by sending messages to your friends.

Malware: Malware is malicious software that is designed to disrupt or damage your data, software or hardware. Cybercriminals can spread malicious software on social media through adware (forced advertising), spyware (steals your sensitive information), or ransomware (software that encrypts your content, blocks access to your system and demands payment in return to gain access back). In conjunction with clickjacking, scammers can create a fake “like” button that is actually a malicious link that sends you to a page with a lot of spam & popups or to a page that’s infected with malware. IM worms are also being dispersed on Facebook Messenger and used to spread links to malware.

Protect Yourself & Your Business
Even if you’re not being directly targeted, experts say that you should always be mindful of how much information you are sharing on a social network. It’s important to note that the nature of Social Media scams is also changing. Social media scams are being used to gain access into online businesses and organizations. Scammers are seeing this as a new opportunity and targeted attacks appear to be on the rise. Although employees are often aware of the dangers of clicking links and opening documents that arrive via email, usually they are less wary of links on social media. This makes businessmen and women that share their employment information on social networks, like Facebook, a prime target. The amount of information about us is growing online and it’s important to start taking more control of privacy and security to avoid attacks.

Here are a few Basic Security Tips:

  • Don’t click on suspicious links or attachments
  • Keep your software up to date (including browsers, add-ons, plugins, desktop apps, etc.)
  • Install a trustworthy antivirus and keep it up to date.
  • Be skeptical. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Unfortunately, fraud and cyber criminals are not going to disappear anytime soon and they are attacking on all networks. Even e-commerce platforms are a hot target for hackers. Gaining access to credit card information, contact numbers and other valuable information is like a gold mine to cyber criminals.

Here at BMT Micro, we are continually adding new features and functionality so our vendors stay competitive in the world of ecommerce and their customers’ sensitive information is kept safe. Our main goal is to ensure the safety of all transactions between vendors and customers. We hear so much about people’s information being stolen or hacked today. BMT Micro strives to be an e-commerce company where customers can rest assured that their information is and will always be protected. We also want our vendors confident in the knowledge that with the right level of fraud protection, it will decrease the likelihood that their product will be taken advantage of or fraudulently used.

We continually make sure that online security measures remain a priority. If you have questions or concerns about your current fraud prevention or if you are interested in learning more about BMT Micro’s offerings please contact our vendor services at vendors@bmtmicro.com.

Apr 15
Reading Time: 2 minutes

    Why You Should Explore Live Video Streaming - BMT Micro

You have probably heard of live video streaming before, it’s not really a new concept. However, what is new is the technology available to make live video streaming more accessible to everyone. Businesses no longer need to invest in expensive hardware and software that only big brands can afford to take on and explore video marketing. Better yet, smaller businesses and consumers have been getting more involved with video marketing since early last year, and live video streaming is expected to explode this year.

Background on Live-Streaming
Video streaming is real-time content that is sent online in a compressed format to the end viewer. It involves a source media, encoding and publishing solutions, as well as, a content delivery network to distribute the content to viewers. The earliest of live video streaming occurred in the mid-1990’s, and one of the most notable events was a 1992 Major League Baseball game that was streamed for the playoffs.

Today, live video streaming is cheap, highly engaging and easy to pull off. It has become key to marketing and communications to help reach online audiences and much more. And, as we mentioned before, businesses do not need to put up a significant investment to try live video streaming with the growing availability of inexpensive and free applications.

The following are the current top three video streaming applications:

Periscope: We have written about Periscope in one of our previous blogs, click here to check it out and learn more about the app. Recently, Twitter also announced an update to its iOS app that allows users to feature live Periscope broadcasts directly in the Twitter timeline.

Blab: Blab promotes more interaction between users and multiple broadcasters. However, at the moment, the app is only available for iOS users and desktop browsers. With Blab, users can create their own talk shows and place two to four people “on air” at one time. Hosts also have the option to record the whole session or just a portion and repost it so viewers missed the live stream can watch later.

Facebook Live: Facebook Live is available to brands and verified Page owners. After broadcasting, Page owners can save the videos to their Page Timeline and embed them onto websites. Page owners also have the option to select the audience they would like to see the video before going live.

Today, becoming a live-streaming content producer is easy as owning a mobile device or laptop with a decent microphone and strong internet connection. And, if you do it well, you could potentially reach a very large audience with your live broadcasts. For example, last Friday Buzzfeed started a Facebook Live video broadcast that featured two employees testing out how many rubberbands it would take to explode a watermelon. At the end of the 44-minute broadcast, the watermelon video had attracted more than 800,000 viewers and made “watermelon” a trending topic on Facebook and even Twitter. What’s more, over 10 million people have watched the exploding watermelon video since the initial broadcast five days ago.

It is important to do some research and look into the variety of applications available to see which one connects with your audience the best. If you have a large Facebook following, Facebook Live may be where you want to start. Whereas if more of your audience is on Twitter, Periscope may be a better option for your business. Take some time to explore this growing trend and take advantage of everything that live video has to offer.

Apr 8
Reading Time: 2 minutes

   Utilize Data To Better Segment & Target Your Audience - BMT Micro

Data has become one of the most important marketing tools for an online business today. It is conveniently right at your fingertips and gaining access to it has never been easier. What’s more, it allows your business to get to know who your customers are on a more personal level, gain insight into their activities, find out more about your product based on their use, and learn more about their online browsing activity. All of this information can help your business deliver better, more targeted campaigns and define what a qualified audience looks like for your brand. Data helps to determine who your audience is, what they value, and how they use each channel at the various stages of their purchasing journey.

Learn what’s important to your audience
You can learn a lot about purchasing patterns just from the data of your existing customers. This data can help you better identify high-revenue customers to your business, which of your products sell best, traits of your long-term or returning customers and much more. By understanding the types of customers your business attracts, especially ones that are most likely to generate the most revenue for your business, you will be able to focus on making your marketing strategy and efforts more relevant. A successful marketing strategy relies heavily on smart segmentation and taking advantage of data enables better customer segmentation. Smart segmentation also makes every area of your marketing more relevant to prospective customers, which ultimately will increase conversions and sales.

By identifying patterns and trends in your customer data, you’ll be able to uncover insights that will make your audience targeting and your marketing efforts far more effective. To start, you can analyze your existing customers based on the following data points:

  • Number of Purchases
  • Average Purchase Amount
  • Time Between Purchases
  • Category of Item Purchased
  • Location
  • Device Used for Purchase
  • Source

Other Helpful & Useful Data
Additional tools like Google Analytics and Search Console can tell you how customers find your website and what they do on your site when they arrive. Facebook Insights and Ad Manager can tell the age, location, relationship status, interests and behaviors of your fans and customers. Your business can also stay informed on what customers think about your company and products with social media listening tools.

By utilizing the data available for your business, you will be able to gain a deep understanding of who your customers are and what motivates them. Data is proving to be an immensely useful tool in online marketing with almost no risk involved. The key is to use quality data for better segmentation so it will lead to driving higher quality traffic, improving on-site engagement and, most importantly, increasing conversions and sales.

Apr 1

Recurring Billing

Posted by BMT Micro

Reading Time: 2 minutes

  Recurring Billing - BMT Micro

Recurring billing has become one of the hottest strategies in digital marketing since consumer buying habits are now trending more toward simple and hassle-free shopping experiences. When businesses set up products or services as recurring billing/subscriptions they are able to have a continuing relationship with consumers since the business-customer relationship does not end with the swipe of a credit card. But this business strategy is also fairly new to many consumers. So before a business jumps into using a subscription business model, a thorough explanation may be needed since some consumers may not be familiar with how recurring billing works.

Let’s Start With the Basics
Recurring billing, or also known as the subscription business model, is a payment strategy that is used to regularly charge or bill customers a recurring fee for services rendered or products sold based on the frequency set (monthly, quarterly etc.). This strategy helps online businesses attract more customers, retain them for a longer period of time, and ensures they get billed regularly which leads to a more consistent cash flow for a business.

Will this work for my business?
Recurring billing has been proven to work for both physical and digital products, so there is no need to worry about the ability to adapt this billing method for your business. But to be realistic, there is always a chance a subscription model is not going to work in some businesses. It is also important to note that to successfully launch a subscription business model, you most likely aren’t going to be able to do it all on your own. It is not easy to start your own subscription service due to the complexity in recurring billing development. It is best to find a subscription-solution service or e-commerce platform that can help your business. When seeking a subscription solution, the following are a few basic features you should expect:

1. Easy to manage
2. Allows credit cards to be charged, re-charged or refunded
3. Ability to safely store credit card data and customers sensitive information on secure servers
4. Ability to handle both recurring and one-time transactions

Other services or platforms may offer advanced features like additional payment options and customer service. It is important to do thorough research beforehand to determine what your business will need when searching for a solution. There are a variety of subscription solutions and e-commerce providers for your business to choose from, so find one that meets all of your business needs.

Here at BMT Micro, our system allows products to be set up as recurring billing/subscriptions where our system rebills the customer automatically based on the frequency set in the product (monthly, quarterly, etc.). Subscription products can also be set up to allow for discounted subsequent billings, credits towards other products and/or reduced-price purchasing of other products. We are a full-service e-commerce provider and aim to be more accessible & dependable than the average e-commerce platform. Here at BMT Micro we have all the tools your business will need to run a successful subscription program and more. Get started with BMT Micro today and we’ll take care of rebilling your customers when necessary so you can concentrate on growing your business. To learn more please contact our vendor services at vendors@bmtmicro.com for additional information.

Overall recurring billing is an excellent business model for both the business and the consumer. It makes your customers’ lives easier by providing them with a hassle-free payment method and it ensures they get billed regularly, which increases your revenue.