How to Boost Sales When Consumers are Spending Less

How to Boost Sales When Consumers are Spending Less

July 2, 2020 5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Know me before selling me; that’s what Americans expect from sales reps. 
In a recession, it’s critical to align with customer preferences to avoid losing sales to rivals. Competition is stiff, as people have less disposable incomes. A 2018 study by the Federal Reserve found that 40 percent of Americans can’t come up with $400 to pay for an emergency. And that’s before 40 million people were out of work virtually overnight.
Here are tips to increase sales, even when the economy is in flux.
A business must do whatever it takes to serve customers well
Buyers are weary. They’ve been locked down, and many have to fight for jobs before unemployment benefits run out. Not to mention 27 million have recently lost employer-based health insurance, according to Kaiser Family Foundation. Post-pandemic consumers, therefore, are thrifty and budget-conscious. 
Salesy employees seem indifferent to customer needs. Businesses must encourage reps to truly listen to what customers want, even if they don’t articulate their needs and desires clearly. A helpful salesman should read between the lines and notice what isn’t being said. Moreover, he should act more like a product consultant than a commission-chasing machine.
“Our startup scaled significantly in our third year when we excelled at customizing apparel and giving customers a very personalized service,” says Michael Nemeroff, CEO of Rush Order Tees. The Philadelphia-based ecommerce brand grew from $30,000 a month in sales to $200,000 a month during that transition period. 
Nemeroff credits his company’s extreme growth to streamlining of processes, expanding Rush Order Tees’ customer base and catering to orders of all sizes. “The real key was doing whatever it took to deliver any size order with any design for clients on extremely short deadlines,” he adds. “We earned a great reputation, and we have now reached a point where more than 40 percent of revenue is reorder business.”
Related: How Your Attitude Can Win You Sales
Think long-term value
Any entrepreneur would pick recurring revenue over one-off transactions. So why should sales mentality be any different? A 2019 survey by Gartner found that millennials are generally skeptical of sales reps. 
One sales expert believes that current events can be leveraged to create favorable impressions with prospective buyers. “Design your pitch to take advantage of everything that’s currently going on,” advises Temple Naylor, an influencer in high-ticket sales, in a recent call. “The recession can be utilized to help design the pitch. Do research and create data points that inform your pitch because prospects will be inclined to trust you as an authority.”
Trustworthiness and accurate product information are extremely important in the purchase decision. In other words, prospects are more likely to purchase from a rep with a solid reputation. “Everyone is scrambled in fear because of the downturn,” says Naylor. “So get your facts and data from very credible sources such as new studies from global consulting firms or large universities. It’s hard for prospects to argue with great information.” 
Skepticism of a salesperson’s claims reduces a customer’s chance of buying by half, according to a 2020 survey by Gartner. There’s real risk of losing a customer by being inauthentic. They won’t feel special and appreciated, and lack of customer loyalty means they can easily switch over to a competitor.
Therefore agents, shopkeepers and anyone else who rings the cash register must earn trust by helping customers find what they need. Aside from getting word-of-mouth business, influencers may promote your brand on social media after you establish a solid reputation for helping customers. The sales commission should be a byproduct of great service rendered, not the goal in itself.
Related: How to Find New Customers for an Old Product
Be persistent with contacts
Finally, there’s nothing like good old follow-up. Prospects don’t buy at the present time for many reasons, even though they’re interested in a good or service. They may currently be busy, lack time, need a boss’s approval, lack money or have other priorities. However, a good salesperson will reconnect with a prospect when the timing is right and secure the transaction. 
Only 2 percent of sales occur at a first meeting, according to Marketing Donut, a sales-resource website. And prospects say “no” four times before buying a product or service. Persistence matters. Many rejections are soft rebuffs — they don’t really mean it. And many are presently unsure of what they want until they see more information. A “no” often brings you one step closer to “yes,” especially for would-be customers who are teetering on the edge of purchasing.
“Have an emotionally intelligent dialogue and not a sales script,” suggests Naylor. “Talk like a normal human. You don’t have to be perfectly polished. Instead, lead people through self-doubt and resistance at the end of an offer.”
To underscore his point, according to HubSpot research, buyers want reps to listen to needs (69 percent); to not be pushy (61 percent); and to provide relevant information (61 percent). Is your staff properly trained and inspired to sell in the new economy?

How Your Business Can Make Professional-Grade Videos on a Bootstrapped Budget

How Your Business Can Make Professional-Grade Videos on a Bootstrapped Budget

July 2, 2020 5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
The importance of video in today’s marketing world is no secret. According to research from HubSpot, 88 percent of marketers state that video generates a positive return on investment for their brand — a huge increase from the 33 percent who felt this way in 2015.
Online viewing trends are a big part of this shift in marketers’ attitudes. A report from MediaPost estimates that the average internet user will watch 100 minutes of online video per day by 2021, resulting in growing online video budgets that offset a decline in TV advertising.
All of this sounds great if you have a big film budget or a full-service marketing agency on your side. But what if you don’t have these resources? The good news is that even on a bootstrapped budget, your startup can produce professional-grade videos.
Give the planning stage the attention it deserves
Planning is an essential part of any marketing campaign, and this is especially true of something as involved as video. Extensive creative planning will help you figure out how to work within your budget and cut costs while still creating something of quality.
Start by identifying your video’s purpose and primary call to action. This will help you home in on your target audience, as well as the type of video you should create, be it an explainer or “standard” advertisement.
Write your script and storyboards while keeping any production limitations in mind. You might not be able to hire actors, so who on your team will be most comfortable in front of a camera? Would it be easier to apply your Photoshop skills to editing an animated video, rather than filming a live-action video? Addressing these important issues in advance will help the rest of the filming and editing process go much easier.
Invest in basic video gear and tools
Before you can start filming, you need to have some equipment to make sure everything turns out well. The good news is that you don’t need to invest in an expensive camera. Today’s smartphones take clear, crisp video that will look great for your needs — especially after editing.
Beyond your smartphone, you’ll want to purchase a tripod and a basic lighting kit. A smartphone tripod will stabilize your camera. This is especially helpful for longer shots, as you won’t have to worry about your hand wobbling and messing up the image.
Proper lighting will dramatically affect how the video looks. As the Sheffield Institute for the Recording Arts explains, “Pinpointing lighting directly on specific objects or people helps persuade the viewers to direct their eyes to the intended spot, which ensures that important aspects of the video are not missed. Lighting can also be used to add color and texture to otherwise bland environments and scenes.”
Once you’ve filmed video and recorded audio, you’ll need to bring everything together using an editing program, and low-cost tools like Videoleap even allow you to edit directly on your phone. Sound mixing, stock footage and film filters are just a few of the features available to help your video look its best.
Related: Here’s How to Make Stunning Social Media Videos (Without Being a Tech Wiz)
Keep it short and simple
When making your first “bootstrapped” video, you’ll likely want to keep things short. But as your confidence in your video capabilities grows, you might be tempted to make longer and longer videos.
Don’t make this mistake! Shorter videos don’t just consume less of your time and budget — they are also more likely to make a strong impression with your customers. This is especially true of those who are simply browsing through social media. Survey data from TechSmith found that 41 percent of online users preferred under four minutes in length, with engagement generally declining as videos grew longer.
In addition, platforms like Twitter and Instagram have set limits regarding length. Using these parameters as a guideline will allow you to more easily share your videos across multiple platforms.
This is a key part of what has helped six-second ads rise to prominence — the short length delivers a clear, memorable, bite-sized message. According to a report from DigiDay, this short-form content can be “40 percent more emotionally engaging for digital natives.”
While longer-form content may be appropriate for webinars or detailed explainer videos, it’s generally best reserved for consumers farther along in the sales funnel. Even then, you want to keep things as concise as possible for greater engagement and less work on your end.
Related: What All High-Performing Social Media Posts Have in Common
Tackling your business’s videos on a bootstrapped budget may seem intimidating, but it’s far from impossible. By following these simple steps, even teams with almost no marketing budget can produce videos that look and sound great, and getting this distinct content out there will make all the difference in leaving your target audience with a positive first impression.

Tips on Designing a Cross-Platform Mobile App

These days, the mobile app market is expanding very quickly. And, mobile marketing has become quite competitive. In this scenario, if you want to make sure about the visibility of your app, you need to be precise about the practice followed for the development of your mobile app.
Your app is expected to give a rich user experience, beautiful design, and a great UI. To address different challenges of the cross-platform app development and throw some light on certain things to avoid, here are some important things you should consider. This way, you can develop those apps with the least hassle.
Make use of a platform-independent method
It is very common for developers to design an app based on one platform, which is either Android or iOS. And, there is no surprise that they tend to test their app using the same platform that they use most frequently. To help avoid the situation, cross-platform mobile developments should try to create an app in the same way as a web service. This way, it provides a better structure for all the platforms when the designer makes use of an independent program module to set up that specific app. Also, it helps to give results in the performance of both engines.
Make your app an interesting one
Because the app is intended for users to buy and experience it, everything should feel and look pleasing and engaging. It should be one-of-a-kind type of app and consistent across different platforms. It is important for the app and for its brand success. This way, it guarantees that the app is designed perfectly for each platform, and retains recognition.
Have close relations with the designers
Establishing a healthy relationship with the design team is the only way to make sure that all the researches have been duly conducted to make the app usable on different platforms. The combination of your knowledge and their designing skills helps you identify the merits and demerits of the app. This kind of teamwork is necessary to optimize the app. Cooperation of developers and designers work wonders for the app. The design plays an integral role for cross-platform usage.
Let UI guidelines happen for both platforms
While addressing the needs of different platforms, developers need to consider separate UI guidelines. The developer has to be familiar with the guidelines and requirements for different platforms before planning to build the app. After becoming familiar with how the app works, the developer has a deep understanding of how to navigate the cores of each platform and makes sure the app is handy for all engines. Many differences occur when developing an app for cross-platform. For example, the iOS platform has a tab system, which is not present on the Android engine.
Use reputed cross-platform app modules
Different types of modules help app development intended for cross-platform handling. As such, it reduces the time spent on developing the app for different engines. The app modules can bring much quality information in the entire process that can be utilized. Third-party modules help to mold amazing UX throughout several platforms. It saves you time if the modules consist of extensive toolsets. You can have plenty of flexibility when developing additional features.
Take the app to the test
The special kind of combination that developers need to make use so as to create a cross-platform app includes universal elements that are applied to the different engines and specific features present on each of them. This is what makes proctoring important for those apps. When the app is tested on all platforms it helps to estimate real progress and make further adjustments before it’s too late to return. There are a lot of areas where these apps might be utilized for such as in the field of e-learning.
Users are the core link
When developing an app, the user is the only link. There is no difference between designing a cross-platform application and one for a specific engine. This helps in understanding the experience better and what needs to be done so as to improve the functionality and usability of an app.
Conclusion
Apps aren’t universal as they are meant to be. The top platforms won’t work in the same formats. That has created problems for many developers who are creating cross-platform apps.

About the Author

Why parallax scrolling websites are still impressing their visitors

Why parallax scrolling websites are still impressing their visitors

If this is the first time you hear about a parallax-scrolling website, then you should check this article. Web-users need more and more a dynamic experience that offers a good content layout. One of the best solutions for this is to use a parallax scrolling effect.
Websites that have this effect increase their chances of getting more engagement and get the chance to tell their story. The effect has gained a lot of popularity on websites, and there are more and more that go for it.
What is a parallax scrolling website?

Parallax scrolling is a special type of scrolling technique where the background images move slower compared to the foreground images. This creates a sense of depth for any website. So it’s not complicated, especially when there are JS plugins you can use to get there. The motion is simple but brings a dynamic vibe.
The process of creating a parallax means that different layers of images need to be created at different speeds, especially when they are scrolled in a browser. The programmers can also design parts of an image that move in a particular order to bring more diversity.
Why has it grown in popularity?

One of the first websites that were done using this effect was the well-known brand Nike. They launched a website that was focused on athletes worldwide, and it got a lot of good feedbacks due to its parallax scrolling techniques. Besides that, another important thing is that you don’t need to be an expert to use it. Today Parallax is a widely-used design on websites.
What are the benefits of having a Parallax scrolling website?
A Practical Approach

When a new user comes to a website, they need to understand what the site is all about. Most of the time, they need to go through different pages, and this might not be the best way of exploring. Parallax sites let developers put the content in one place.
The secret behind making it look good is to also have a story, some structure, so people understand the subject.
The scrolling lets users move at their own pace. Even if a website has a lot of information, this doesn’t mean things are going to get overwhelming.
Increases Engagement

A Parallax scrolling website is going to engage users from the first second they enter. When they open the website, they feel that they are traveling through time as users scroll from one page to another.
This only encourages them to stay for a longer period of time, and this is harder and harder to do in a world full of captivating content.
Presentation

It’s a cool way of presenting products. Usually, brands go for static web content, but with this effect, people can explore products at their own initiative. It can be a real game-changer for your company.
Even if you’re fixated on using a dark color scheme, the parallax effect can turn your presentation to eleven. However, if you’re using a pastel color scheme would look even better.
Keeps the size small

Parallax websites have most of the information going on a single page. So you avoid having multiple ones, so there is no complicated navigation. People don’t have to jump to different sections of the site in order to see what they were looking for.
As more and more users are going mobile-only long-scrolling is one of the best options for them.
Tell a story

Parallax scrolling gives the ideal frame to tell a story. It does this engagingly and interactively, letting visitors take control and go through the story at their own pace. The layers that have a different response to scrolling offers visitors a sense of depth and makes room for multiple storylines.
Increases curiosity

One of the best things about a parallax scrolling website is that it makes every visitor think about what is coming next. The element of surprise is present all the time on such websites. This is done by using awesome graphics or simple text that keeps people on a hook.
Some WordPress themes use this by default in their pages. For a client and its visitors who aren’t necessarily used to this effect, it looks like it’s out of this world and makes them intrigued about the subject.
Trigger

One of the most important aspects of parallax scrolling is that you get instant feedback when interacting with the site. This makes us more alert and ready to go on because, after each scroll, something different happens.
This depends from website to website and how they were built. Still, a good concept is going to make people want to stay more and keep exploring all the content on a particular site.
Generate Backlinks

This effect promotes a bigger chance of backlinking as its innovative design improves the site desirability. Our own site is going to be a good starting point to generate natural backlinks through the web and by creating shares on social media platforms.
Call to action can be more direct.

You don’t have to wait until the bottom of a page in order to showcase a compelling call to action. Parallax scrolling can add direct calls to action in different stages. The more a visitor is exposed to join a newsletter or become a member, the more likely they are going to take action.
Tips on creating a Parallax Scrolling Website

Don’t use it too much; you don’t want to make your site too complicated
Take advantage of it and build up a story
Try to make it engaging by using depth layering
Put in focus calls to action that direct the visitor through the site
Make sure it works on an older browser
Understand how it works with SEO, you always need to take this into consideration
If it’s the first time you are using it, search for in-depth guidance or tutorials, many online resources can help
Conclusion
In conclusion, having a parallax scrolling website sounds like it is a good deal for anybody. If you check the tips that we just analyzed, you will understand what the main reasons for doing this are. Maybe you are building a new website or want to make a change to an existing one. Parallax scrolling can do a good job for you and your business.
Still, while parallax is something that looks great and can generate some buzz, don’t use it on any kind of website. If you’re working on a website for a practical tool, let’s say a scheduling app, or whatever SaaS tool, you can’t embezzle it with parallax.
With that type of website, you need to be on point and deliver to the visitor quickly what he is looking for.

About the Author

Bogdan Sandu
Bogdan is a designer and editor at DesignYourWay. He’s reading design books the same way a hamster eats carrots, and talks all the time about trends, best practices and design principles.

A Designer’s Guide to Protecting Your Eyes at Work

A Designer’s Guide to Protecting Your Eyes at Work

When one thinks of occupational hazards, the work that is undertaken by graphic designers rarely comes to mind. It might be a fairly sedentary job, but that doesn’t mean that it comes without risk. The vast majority of designers spend almost the entirety of our working day staring at screens, often having to look closely at the most minute details.
The side effects of this can be devastating. Studies have shown how long stretches of screen-time can cause serious, lasting, and potentially debilitating eye damage in workers. With graphic design being one of the most screen-intensive industries in the world, it is vital that you take the appropriate steps to protect yourself and maintain good eye health. Here’s what you can do today. 
Source: Unsplash
Monitor Positioning Matters
The first step you should take to protect your eyes is to adjust your computer monitors so that they are positioned in a way that reduces the need for your eyes to strain themselves. Your monitor should be at least an arm’s length away from your eyes, ideally with the top of the screen being perfectly level with your eyes. You should be looking down slightly to see the center of the screen, but only just. You can also consult the professionals over at Ergotron to find out exactly how you should be arranging your desk space.
Invest in the Right Glasses
It is absolutely crucial that you invest in the right eyeglasses and actually use them while you are working. Even if you don’t think you need to wear them all the time, you probably do. You can buy virtually any and all types of glasses online from Glasses USA, so there is no excuse at all for not using the correct eyewear. 285 million people worldwide are visually impaired, so you’re not alone by any stretch. When you know what your correct prescription and preferred style are, you can also go down the money-saving route by buying cheap glasses from eyewear discounters.
Source: Unsplash
Adjust Your Settings
Your screen setting will play a significant role in the level of damage your eyes receive during your working day. There are many adjustments you can make to ensure that your monitor is as eye-friendly as it can possibly be. There are a few simple, golden rules you can follow, to begin with. First, opt for dark backgrounds with large, bright text wherever possible (you can easily add this setting to your Windows computer). You should also reduce screen glare by switching to Night Mode or Sleepy Mode. Free programs such as F.Lux will also automatically adjust your screen settings to the safest mode for you.
Break and Blink
It is also crucial that you remember to give your eyes some much-needed downtime through the working day. You should be blinking as much as possible to prevent your eyes from drying out and deteriorating. For breaks, a popular method to follow is the so-called ‘20-20-20 rule‘. This states that every 20 minutes, you should step away from your monitors and look at something that is 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds. This will help you to rest and readjust your eyes.
With these simple tips, you will be able to maintain good eye health in the workplace. Remember, your eyes deserve as much care and attention as any other part of your body.

About the Author

Online Conversation Tips

Online Conversation Tips

The COREageous need to be good conversational partners in person and online. Since we are having more online conversations, make note of these suggestions to present your best self: 1) Look straight at the camera, not yourself, when speaking to your conversational partner. Once that camera is on, it’s too late to primp. Check your […]
The post Online Conversation Tips appeared first on Mindful Communication.

Call Now!