The distracted customer: how to keep their attention?

DistractedThe hardest part about selling online today is keeping the attention of a potential customer. There are so many distractions nowadays! We’ve got Facebook, and Twitter and Netflix and a few hundred thousand other nifty apps and games we can all access on our tablets and mobile devices 24-hours-a-day.When you think about it, we should all be exhausted from all of these distractions. But we’re not. We’re constantly finding ways to just keep lumping on new distractions; which just makes us more unfocused.

So how do you keep the attention of a potential customer? Your job is to get your customer to take an action. Whether that is to download something, or sign up with their email, or buy something, or whatever. If they pay attention, and then do something, you convert. And conversions mean success.

Why you should care about PPC advertising

This post is by Simone Schuurer of Bing Ads, our Search Channel sponsor.

For quite some years I helped large retailers advertise their products in our paid search results. As a customer of many small businesses I can’t help but think about how ideally suited paid search would be for those running a company smaller than a national chain store. I know I’m not an independent advisor – working for Bing – but knowing search and knowing personally people behind many a small business I’d simply like to tell you why I believe pay per click advertising may benefit you.

‘If only they’d start a PPC campaign I could read my book without a worry’

‘If only they’d start a PPC campaign I could read my book without a worry’

Channel Sponsors

Small business owners shift attention from acquisition to retention

Bia Kelsey Retention ReportMore than half of small businesses get more than half of their annual revenue from repeat customers. So while it’s true that all businesses need to continuously find new customers, keeping the ones you have is becoming even more important.

According to a new report by Manta and BIA/Kelsey called “Achieving Big Customer Loyalty in a Small Business World“, a large number of small businesses are now spending half of their time and budget on their current customers. This represents a big shift in thinking but it’s a logical step in this tightfisted economy.

It can cost ten times more to find a new customer than keep a current one engaged. It’s also easier. . . if you make good use of available tools. Simply communicating with customers on a regular basis by email or through social media is a good start.

FTC cracks down on Pinterest contest rules with warning to Cole Haan

Cole Haan ContestThe world is a dangerous place for sure, but never once have I ever felt the need to be protected from Pinterest. But the FTC says brands on Pinterest are doing us wrong and they want to put a stop to it.

The current lamb to the slaughter is luxury shoes and accessories brand Cole Haan. They ran a Pinterest contest where they asked fans to create a Wandering Sole board featuring several images of products from their line. They were told to put #wanderingsole on the photos so they could be easily searched. (Also, it’s pretty much the only way to pick a winner.)

Google Plus adds view counter to profile pages. What’s your number?

Cynthia Googleplus viewsGoogle+ added a view counter to everyone’s profile page this week and I’m just catching up. Here’s mine.

I was actually quite surprised to see that I had more than 16,000 views. I rarely ever post to my account but YouTube has been doing some posting for me. Still. . . a lot of views for so few followers.

Google says the number equals the number of times your content has been seen by other people, including your photos, posts, and profile page. (Give or take)

Wil Wheaton has 73,452,925. Our own Andy Beal has 178,045 views. How many views do you have?

Clearly Google+ is trying to make a point about how active the site is but it’s depressing if your numbers don’t add up. And views are public by default so you might want to switch them off if yours are lacking.

Eat24 versus Facebook: You get what you (don’t) pay for

broken heartBy now you’ve probably heard about Eat24′s humorous but dead-on break-up letter to Facebook. “We’d love to say “It’s not you, it’s us” but it’s totally you. Not to be rude, but you aren’t the smart, funny social network we fell in love with several years back. You’ve changed. A lot.”

So true.

But to be fair, we’ve all changed. Back in the day, we had to pay to mail letters to potential customers, pay for ads in the telephone book and pay a kid to stick flyers on windshields. A lot of time, money and effort and still you’d only ever reach a small segment of the local population.

Mobile phones and tablets chip away at desktop ecommerce

This past February, US retail sales were up 1.5% over last year. Big deal, right? How about this: US ecommerce sales were up 10% year-over-year. Let’s go one better:  mobile ecommerce was up 45% compared to the same period in 2013. Amazing.

Custora Pulse did the calculations and look what’s happening here. Smartphone sales are up from 5% to 9%. Tablets are up from 8% to 10%. But look at Desktop! Sales dropped from 87% to 81%.

The overwhelming majority of sales are coming in on an iOS platform (78%) but Android is up over last year 22% vs 17%. Android isn’t taking over the lead any time soon but this is a good indicator of how many new smartphones are landing in the hands of shoppers.

Custora Feb 2014