Apr 27
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Ecommerce companies are always on the lookout for new ways to promote their businesses and get the word out about products. One method of advertising that is rapidly gaining popularity is affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is both simple and effective. There are two basic ways to make money online: Sell your own products or make commission helping someone else sell their products. Affiliate marketing falls under the second category.

How does affiliate marketing work? Affiliate marking is fairly simple. If you have a website that sells a product, you can have affiliates team up with you to spread the word and help promote your product. An easy way to get started with the process is to set up a page on your website for people who are interested in becoming affiliates to contact you. You can also reach out to people who you think would be a good fit to work with your company. These people are usually bloggers or social media influences who already have an audience that you think would be a good target audience for your company. When starting an affiliate program, it is helpful to make an announcement on the home page of your website, as well as social media accounts such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Make sure your contact information is clear and easy to access.

What does an affiliate do? Affiliates are responsible for promoting products or services on their personal channels. Successful affiliates already have a large following on their own social media accounts. Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook, are all especially popular platforms for affiliates. Many affiliate marketing programs will give affiliates a code to pass along to their followers for some kind of discount (for example, free shipping for 10% off). The affiliates will then get a percentage of the sale. Having affiliate codes is also a good way for companies to keep track of how many sales each affiliate is driving. One of the best things about this method is that often the affiliate can show their followers how they incorporate the product into their daily lives. For example, BarkBox has an affiliate program that allows people with popular pet blogs or Instagram accounts to share pictures of their dogs with the toys and treats they’ve gotten from BarkBox. The affiliate’s followers see the fun other dogs are having with BarkBox, and think of how it would be a fun present to get their own dogs. The affiliates include a BarkBox link on their profiles to earn commission off of followers who sign up through them.

Bloggers also make great affiliates. Companies will send the blogger a product they would like them to review. The affiliate will then test it out and write a review about the product, posted on their personal blog. Blogs are often written in a casual tone, making them easy to read and more persuasive than a traditional marketing campaign. Affiliates will discuss what they like about the product and encourage their readers to try it out for themselves. Non-physical products can use affiliates as well. Informational products and service products often have affiliates programs. Informational products are websites that help customers learn new skills, such as ebooks, online courses, or webinars. Service products are services you can offer to customers, such as business plans, or public relation strategies.

With any kind of affiliate marketing, it is important to make sure that the affiliate lets their audience know they are making commission off of the sales make through their links. Don’t forget to include a call to action as well.

How can I tell if affiliate marketing is right for my company?

Keep in mind that while affiliates do help drive traffic and sales, they also take commission from what they help you sell. If you are a new business that is just starting up, affiliate marketing might not be very beneficial for your company just yet. However, if you are an established company looking to expand your audience, teaming up with affiliates could be valuable. A good way to tell if affiliate programs are useful in your market is to run a quick search to see if your competitors offer them. If they are running affiliate programs and they seem to be working, it is worth looking further into. If your competitors do not appear to have affiliate programs, then it might be best to not use this method.

Although affiliates do take a commission of your sales, having them team up with you can open up your business to a whole new audience. Many social media influences have loyal followers who trust them as experts, so having them spread a positive word about your product can be beneficial to both you and them. BMT Micro has an affiliate program available to our vendors. For more information please contact vendors@bmtmicro.com and to sign up please visit our new affiliate page

Apr 20

3 Steps To Build A Buyer Persona

Posted by BMT Micro

Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

One of the easiest (and biggest) mistakes a company can make is to dive into selling without figuring out exactly who they are selling to. Although it may seem like an unnecessary step, creating a buyer persona is key to helping you maximize sales and promote your company’s product or service. Here are 3 steps to help you understand how to create and define a buyer persona.

What is a buyer persona? A buyer persona is the ideal customer for your business. Creating a buyer persona allows to you customize your advertising and marketing efforts to target the customers most likely to purchase your products. You can have several buyer personas, but make sure to keep the number small (preferably under 5) so you keep your marketing more personalized. The amount of information you collect about your buyer persona varies from company to company. For example, some companies want to know things such as a buyer personas hobbies, relationship status, and personal goals, while others are more focused on just the basics such as income, gender, and career field.

In addition to buyer personas, it is good to create negative personas. A negative persona is the opposite of a buyer persona. The negative persona is the type of customer that represents the type of customer you do not want, likely someone who will take your time but not purchase your product. By identifying these customers, your sales and marketing team will be able to work to ensure they are spending their budget in the best way they can, and have a basis for what to be cautious of in a customer. Some signs of a negative persona are customers whose income bracket is lower than what they would need to afford your product, someone who is an avid fan of a competitor and is already using their product, or someone who is outside of your geographic region. However, some of these negative personas will still want to interact with your social media accounts, and can become big advocates for your brand, even if they themselves do not purchase from you. This will also give you more access to their followers, as customers tend to trust the opinion of people they know over a marketing campaign.

How to create a buyer persona: To create the persona of your ideal customer, start with broad topics and narrow them down. If you have an established company, researching your existing customer base is a good place to start. Since these are all people who have already interacted with and purchased from your company, there is a good chance that some of them exemplify traits of your ideal customer. Send them an email asking them to complete a short survey to evaluate what they enjoyed about shopping with you, as well as what they think could use some improvement.

If you do not have an established company, you will need to do a little more research while creating your buyer persona. It is important to take into consideration the buyer persona’s age, gender, psychographics, location, income, education level, buying motivations, and buying concerns. Visiting a competitor’s website and seeing what is and is not working for them is another good trick to help you create your ideal customer. Also keep in mind communication preferences and give them options if possible- for example, some customers might prefer a short text message with a link rather than an email.

It is important to remember that your buyer persona is not set in stone. Especially for newer companies, the buyer personas will be based largely on research and guesses. The more developed your company becomes, the more you can evolve your ideal customer. Don’t be afraid to continue updating as you learn more to make sure that you are targeting the best potential customer.

How to use a buyer persona: Many websites have templates to help you create a buyer persona. You can use silly names such as Marketing Millie, Sample Sally or College Student Calvin to get started pinpointing your ideal customer. Then you will add all of their information you wish you take into consideration into the template. For example, say you were trying to promote a new energy drink. You know college students love drinking energy drinks to help them stay alert while studying and participating in extracurricular activities, so you decide to target that demographic. You use College Student Calvin as your buyer persona. College Student Calvin is between the ages of 18-25. He lives in the United States and loves being active, as well as keeping up good grades. He works a part time job when he is not in class so his income level is fairly low. His buying motivation would be getting some extra energy without a crash, having an energy drink that is tasty, and ingredients that are natural and will not be harmful to his body. His buying concerns would be the price and accessibility of finding the drink. With this information, you would be able to create and ad that would let him know your drink has all of the qualities he is looking for while addressing his concerns.

While it might seem like a lot of work to create a buyer persona, it will make your targeted marketing campaign much more effective and save you time and money in the long run. Remember to continue to evaluate and update your buyer persona and your customer base grows and your company continues to develop. By following these steps, you will have excellent targeting content to increase ROI and engagement in no time.

Apr 13
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

One of the best things about living in the digital age is being able to expand your ecommerce business beyond what traditional storefronts allow. Not only can you sell products beyond your local area, but national and international ecommerce is becoming increasingly common. When selling internationally, it is important to keep the laws of all of the countries you are selling to in mind. The EU General Data Protection Regulation (or GDPR) was established in 2016 but will take effect May 25th, when all affected companies must be in compliance. This will affect any companies in Europe, or any companies that have customers in Europe.

What is the GDPR? The General Data Protection Regulation, as the name suggests, is to protect the data of customers in Europe. The GDPR is used to regulate how companies handle and collect personal data and information, to make sure that customers stay protected and their data is not being distributed without their knowledge or permission.

Customers will have the right to access, correct, delete, and restrict processing of their data. There are also strict rules on how companies can get customers to agree to use their data. If you only use your customers data for filling orders, this is not a big deal. However, many companies like to take their customers data and use it for marketing and advertising without their express consent. The GDPR also makes it the company’s responsibility to protect the information, even if they are using a payment processor (such as BMT Micro) or a website platform.

What counts as personal information? The Information Commissioner’s Office of the UK defines personal information as follows:

Personal data means data which relate to a living individual who can be identified:

(a) from those data, or

(b) from those data and other information which is in the possession of, or is likely to come into the possession of, the data controller,

and includes any expression of opinion about the individual and any indication of the intentions of the data controller or any other person in respect of the individual.”

Basically, what that means is any information used to identify a customer is counted as personal information. This includes their name, email address,
IP address, what they purchased, etc. It even goes so far as to include indirect information, such as what area the customer is located, or what career field they work in.

What do I need to do to be GDPR compliant? Please visit the GDPR website to make sure that your company is following all of the guidelines the European Union has set. You might need to update your website’s privacy policy and make sure any third party apps you use also comply with GDPR. Overall, GDPR is not a huge change from privacy policies of the past if you were using your customer’s information safely and responsibility. It is always important to make sure you are following the law and putting your customer’s privacy and safety first, and GDPR helps achieve that.

BMT Micro is GDPR compliant, and continues to be a secure and reliable payment platform. For more information please contact vendors@bmtmicro.com.

Apr 6
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

 

 

When it comes to selling products and services, businesses want to make as much profit as they can while still offering customers the best deal possible. Two of the most common methods to decide a price are cost based and value based. Cost based pricing decides the worth of the product by competitive market prices, while value based pricing is based on how much the product or service is perceived to be worth. There are pros and cons to both methods. Here is more in-depth information to help you decide which is best for your company.

Cost based pricing is the more traditional method of the two. One of the reasons it has remained popular is because it so simple to use. How it works is by adding a fixed margin to the cost of production. Finding the exact selling point starts with the base price, which is determined by the fixed cost to the business. Then, find the floor price (the lowest you can go without losing money) and the ceiling price (the highest price the market will allow). Usually, your selling point will be somewhere between the floor price and ceiling price.

With this method comes some obvious pros. First of all, it is very simple to calculate. It does not take much market research, and it remains consistent. This means that businesses can simply add a margin on top of their calculated costs, and they will usually get a positive rate of return. You do not have to have a deep knowledge of the market or competitors when pricing this way. Cost based pricing is an easy way for small businesses or start up companies to begin learning how to price their products.

While this might sound appealing because of its simplicity, there are some major cons. By using this method, you could be undercharging or overcharging customers. It also does not take into account how much your customers are willing to pay for the product. They do not care how much it cost to make, they only care about your selling price vs their need or want. Cost based pricing discourages you from keeping up with market research. By only basing your markup off of how much money you paid, it is easy to forget to keep track of market trends. Bottom line, cost based pricing is not the best method for the majority of companies.

Value based pricing is another popular method. As the name suggests, value based pricing is based on how much the item is perceived to be worth, rather than a fixed margin. Although it takes more work to determine the value of a product and how much you can sell it for, it typically yields better results.

A good first step to take when using this method is to create a buyer persona. A buyer persona is the ideal customer for your market. To find your ideal buyer persona, start out broad and narrow it down as needed. Take into account things such as age, gender, location, income, buying motivations. The next step is to conduct research to find out how to best market to your ideal customer. You can send short surveys to your customers to get feedback from their perspective. This also helps you gauge what they think is a good balance between quality and price. If you think your prices are too high, try lowering them. Alternatively, if you think you can make more profit by raising prices, make it clear to customers why your product is worth more.

After completing your research, you can set a price for your product or service. Although this method may seem more in-depth and complicated than cost based pricing, it will better serve you and your customers in the end. Some examples of companies that have excelled in value based marketing are Rolex, Apple, and Coach. All of these companies have set a price, explained to consumers why their product adds value to your life, and are now viewed as status symbols.

Although either method will allow you to price and sell products, value based tends to work to get you and your customers the best price possible. Make sure to keep in communication with your customers and create value for them, and your business will thrive. And no matter which method you choose, BMT Micro can provide you with a safe, reliable payment platform.