May 27
Reading Time: 3 minutes

   Don't Neglect Your Meta Descriptions - BMT Micro

Meta descriptions are one of the most overlooked aspects of an online business. What many fail to realize is the significant role they play in search engine results and attracting consumers to websites. This means an online business could be losing a great amount of traffic, sales, new leads, and customers by neglecting them.

What is a meta description?
If you are not familiar with the term, a meta description is the snippet of text displayed in search engine results below the link. The purpose of a meta description is to describe what the page is about and ultimately convince the searcher to click through to the site. Meta descriptions greatly influence click-through rates, but it is important to note that they do not impact search engine rankings.

Google made this very clear in a 2007 post on the Google Webmaster central blog stating “It’s worth noting that while accurate meta descriptions can improve clickthrough, they won’t affect your ranking within search results.” They also reiterated this again in 2009 by stating, “Even though we sometimes use the description meta tag for the snippets we show, we still don’t use the description meta tag in our ranking.”

So, the content in meta descriptions may not factor into the search ranking algorithm. However, don’t forget that Google analyzes user behavior on a site as part of their ongoing ranking process. Google considers the click-through rate user behavior, which factors into search results. And, meta descriptions are the most important feature for improving click-through rates.

What, then, is secret to writing meta descriptions that encourage click-throughs?

Be Descriptive.
As we stated earlier, a meta description should introduce what a page is about. It should tell the searcher exactly what they should expect if they click through on a link. It should be descriptive and not deceive searchers with content that is irrelevant or spammed with keyword-stuffing. The last thing an online business should want is to have searchers click the ‘Back’ button because the site did not meet what they expected or wanted. This also plays a significant role in a site’s bounce rate.

Use Persuasion & Curiosity.
Great meta descriptions involve a touch of persuasion and curiosity. Meta descriptions are a chance for online businesses to sell searchers on what they have to offer. They can also be used as an opportunity to spark curiosity, which is one of the most persuasive things an online business can do. Meta descriptions should provide just enough information to describe what the page is about, but not too much, in order to also incite curiosity about what the page will say.

The right words matter.
In order for searchers to be compelled to click through to your site, they need to see relevant words. The rights words in your meta description make the difference between a search engine result that gets overlooked and one that gets a click. It is a good idea to include relevant keywords or keyword phrases to help search engines understand what the page is about and index your page accordingly. This will also attract searchers eyes to your result in the search engine results page because Google displays the keyword in bold.

Make them the correct length & avoid non-alphanumeric characters
Do not use non-alphanumeric characters like quotation marks, hyphens, and plus signs. Google will either cut off the description or identify the non-alphanumeric characters as HTML code. Meta descriptions can also be any length, but search engines will cut off snippets longer than 160 characters. Generally, it is best to keep meta descriptions between 150 and 160 characters.

Even though meta descriptions do not affect the search ranking algorithm, high-quality descriptions have been proven to increase click-through rates and even time spent on a webpage. And, these metrics do play an important part in the algorithmic rankings. Meta descriptions are a chance to win over prospects and can go a long way in improving the quality and quantity of search traffic. So, don’t neglect or overlook the opportunities great meta descriptions can bring to an online business.

May 20
Reading Time: 2 minutes

   Amplify Engagement With Interactive Content - BMT Micro

Getting and keeping consumers’ attention is a challenging task for an online business. People are constantly searching and browsing the web, but only give their full attention to a few sites. What’s more, according to a Nielsen study, 84% of people watch TV while using at least one internet-connected device simultaneously. So how can an online business capture consumers’ attention and entice even the most distracted minds?

Successful online marketing is achieved when an audience not only consumes content but also enjoys and acts upon it. More and more online businesses are understanding this principle and are ramping up their marketing by creating content with which consumers can interact. Interactive content engages consumers by answering questions, making choices, and exploring scenarios. Plus, it’s a great way a business can grab attention right from the start.

Calculators & Configurators
Calculators are one of the easiest, most transparent ways to interact with an audience and show the impact a solution will have. Calculators help consumers make better purchasing decisions and show what an audience will gain by using a product or service (or what they lose if they don’t). Giving consumers data that is specific to them paves the way for a positive experience and puts a business in a great position to provide the right solution.

Interactive Infographics
Infographics are already one of the most shareable types of content a business can create. But businesses are now taking it a step further by creating animated, navigable infographics or other dynamic visualizations. These can help position data in a context that is easier for consumers to understand and internalize. Interactive infographics are visually stunning and increase engagement beyond scrolling by encouraging kinetic learning (even if the activity is only a click).

Quizzes
Quizzes are amazingly popular and while many focus on delivering a fun distraction, businesses often utilize them for educational purposes. One benefit of quizzes is that they can help a business gather new persona insight over time by asking questions related to your audience’s needs, desires, and challenges. Like infographics, quizzes increase engagement and generate leads by encouraging kinetic learning.

Interactive eBooks & Whitepapers
If you publish long-form content (like white papers or eBooks), creating a navigable version can help readers locate relevant sections more quickly. Instead of giving consumers a PDF to read through, add gamification to make eBooks or whitepapers more interactive and engaging. A business can also add multimedia elements like checkboxes and videos to challenge consumers to take action as they read.

Interactive content offers an opportunity to differentiate your brand and engage consumers. It is a powerful, versatile way an online business can enhance their content’s reach, impact, and performance. Additionally, you will see improved conversions and better persona data to fuel marketing.

If you are a vendor with BMT Micro and you have questions or need help with your marketing, we may be able to help. A Marketing Analysis and other Marketing services are currently available for our vendors. If you would like to learn more about the services we offer, please contact our Marketing Specialist via email at leah@bmtmicro.com for more information.

May 13
Reading Time: 2 minutes

   Essential Metrics An Online Business Needs To Track - BMT Micro

It’s no secret that most successful online business owners often know exactly why they are successful. Usually their success comes from one major reason – they know how well their business is performing based on hard facts and data. But what exactly are these business owners doing so differently than any other online business? Well, to start, they know the right metrics to measure and track.

There are tons of metrics out there to use to evaluate an online business. Based on your business goals, some metrics may not hold as much importance as others. But, there are some essential metrics that are involved in data-driven decision making that every online business should have a solid understanding of.

Cost of Acquiring a Customer (CAC)
CAC tells you the average amount of money that you have to spend to get one customer. According to WorldWatch, a business should consider the following five factors when calculating CAC: marketing campaign expenses, sales/discounts, per transaction costs, cost of support and cost of tools. In general, a business will always want to lower acquisition costs as much as possible.

Conversion Rate (CR)
CR tells you the percentage of visitors who visit your site and actually make a purchase. Conversion rates can also be defined as the percentage of consumers who take a desired action like signing up for a newsletter. So, the higher the conversion rate, the better. It is very important for an online business to know what their CR is at all times, especially to understand how their site or advertising is performing.

Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate
Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate tells you the percentage of visitors who added your products to their shopping cart but didn’t complete the checkout process. Like CAC, the lower your cart abandonment rate, the better. For example, if an online business’ cart abandonment rate is 75% this means 75 out of 100 visitors with something in their cart leave without buying. Having a low cart abandonment rate is also a key to improving conversion rate.

Average Order Value (AOV)
AOV tells you the average amount that a customer spends when they make a purchase on your site within a given timeframe. By tracking AOV, an online business can figure out how much revenue can be generated from their current traffic and CR. This is also a metric that you will always want to increase because it increases profits.

Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV)
Customer Lifetime Value tells you the average amount that a customer is worth during their relationship with your business. Your cost of acquiring a customer should never be higher than your CLTV. And, the best way an online business can increase CLTV is to encourage repeat purchases.

Churn Rate
Churn rate tells you the percentage of your customers who do not come back to your site. If your CLTV is low, it could mean that many customers buy once and never return. For example, a churn rate of 80% means 80 out of 100 customers do not come back to buy from your store. So, the lower the churn rate, the better.

By utilizing and tracking these metrics, it can lead to driving higher quality traffic, improving on-site engagement and, most importantly, increasing conversions and sales. Make the most of your time and money and use metrics to drive your online business decisions and strategies.

May 6

Powering Through A Sales Slump

Posted by BMT Micro

Reading Time: 3 minutes

   Powering Through A Sales Slump - BMT Micro

When sales are great, an online business can make a lot of money through their site. However, some businesses may see certain periods throughout year where sales start to lull. When this happens, it can be difficult to figure out what and how to fix whatever is causing the slump. While some business owners choose to ride out seasonal slumps, slowdowns, and stalls, there are many ways an online business can reduce or eliminate the impact lulls can have on sales and profitability. In fact, solutions to some of the problems may be easier than you realize.

Here are 5 suggestions to help power through seasonal slumps, slowdowns, and stalls.

1. Know when a slump happens.
First and foremost, you need to be aware when a slump happens in order to take action. You will need to carefully analyze your year-to-year trends and pay special attention to revenue, conversions and traffic. Anywhere that dips on a consistent yearly basis is a slump, slowdown or stall.

2. Diagnose the reason for the slump.
Once you are able to identify when a slump happens, you can then begin to figure out and understand the causes. You will need to ask yourself questions like: why are customers interested in this product at this specific time of year as opposed to others? By doing this, you will be able to uncover some key points to overcome a slump.

3. Review Your Communication
Your customers are more likely to make another purchase if you stay in contact with them. Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to stay in touch. And, when it is done correctly, it can lead to an increase in sales and conversions. So, review your communication efforts to see whether any additions or expansions are needed, especially for your slower “slump” month(s).

4. Marketing is a high priority
Businesses often reduce or eliminate their marketing expenses when they see sales slow. But, increasing the intensity of your marketing could potentially recoup some of the lost revenue from a slump. While it may seem counter-intuitive, expanding targeted marketing efforts should be a high priority.

5. Your Digital Properties
New technologies and upgrades can also cause sales to slump. Best practices, search engine algorithms, social networks and consumers online behaviors are constantly changing. This is why it is vital for an online business to refresh their digital properties (website, blog, social networks, paid search, etc.) on a regular basis. Pay close attention to your market and make sure your site is continuously optimized. This is not only important when it comes to search engines, but it also plays a critical role in your customer’s experience.

Seasonal slumps, slowdowns, and stalls are a challenge to overcome. It’s frustrating for any business to see their sales begin to slowly drop over time. But, it’s important to address the issues quickly in order to be successful online. You may even find that the simplest solution is the one that works best to boost your income and power through a slump.

If you are looking for more ways to improve your online sales this year, BMT Micro is here to help too. We have a reliable, cost-effective solution that is flexible enough to meet your needs now and well into the future. We have several plans for you to choose from, or we can customize our plans to suit your needs. Signing up with BMT Micro does not cost you a penny and with the numerous functions in our Vendors Area, managing your online sales has never been easier! If you have any questions or if you are interested in learning more about our offerings please contact our vendor services at vendors@bmtmicro.com.