15 business strategies you can learn from your neighborhood shopkeeper

Have you ever taken your neighborhood shopkeeper as a serious business strategist?

Most probably not!

Well, most of you may be well-acquainted with some of your friendly neighborhood shopkeepers who have been there, most times, from the times when you were in the kindergarten. And they have been there all the time you rushed there for some of your daily needs, be it some stationery like some cheap pens, or others like eggs or bread.

They may have in their shops most of the things that you need on a daily basis. You can buy from them in the least quantities, or in bulk sometimes. Though most of you might not have spared a minute to think about their utility, or business strategy, sometimes you wonder that this guy had started in a very small scale, requiring replenishing his stock on a daily basis. And he had very limited range of things to offer for sale a few years back. And now it seems he has grown big enough to store most things any household may want to shop for, and he has very good sales too.

And probably, over the years, he has amassed a good amount of money, as you can make out from the way his shop looks now, compared to what it was when you started going there for the first time. And look at the car that he drives around, one of the costliest and trendiest in the neighborhood.

All these tell you that his business has grown by leaps and bounds.

And you look at your monthly paycheck, if you are the kind of person who is bound to the office-hour routine. It is hardly enough to pay the bills.

Or, if you are an online marketer who could not make it big, you confess that it would have been better to own a shop like this, instead of wasting time learning from various so-called professional marketers ‘the tricks of making big money online’ or ‘selling it big’ to laugh all your way to the bank just after finishing the marketing online course that you singed up recently.

Nice thoughts. But what pays well to make your own business, online or offline, is to analyze how this neighborhood shopkeeper made it big in a very limited sphere of his business.

The simplest marketing strategies and business success secrets that you can learn from your neighborhood shopkeeper are as follows:

  1. He carefully notes down what the customer wants but he could not supply, and makes sure that never a customer goes back because he does not have the stocks.
  2. His prices are lower than the shops at trendy upscale markets because he does not have to pay high rents, pay hefty paychecks to marketing staff, and similar expenses, as mostly the work is done by himself or assisted by his family.
  3. As he carefully follows what sells the most, he does not overstock his inventories, and reduces the unproductive investments on slow moving inventories.
  4. He does not pay for advertisements and other marketing expenses and the savings on such expenses are either passed on to his customers as gifts, discounts, reduced prices, etc. This in turn increases his sales and profits.
  5. His satisfied customers do all the advertising for him by word-of-mouth advertising. Though he never learned any marketing tricks, experience has taught him that a satisfied customer sends to him more new customers, and unsatisfied customers turn away hundreds of other customers.
  6. He welcomes his customers with a smile on his face, and promises to supply what the customer wants next time, if he goes out of stock, or does not stock what the customer wants. That is the essence of good customer care that brings in more sales, and thereby big profits.
  7. He targets repeat sales, and never aims at one-time sales at killer prices that can kill his business itself.
  8. He listens to customer complaints patiently, apologizes for the customers’ inconvenience, and promptly offers a refund, or replacement.
  9. He stops selling products that have brought in repeated complaints on account of quality, or any other aspect, and he finds better products as replacements.
  10. His shop will be open all the time the customers are expected to come, or the fixed timings he has announced as his business hours. If he cannot be personally present, he makes sure that an equally responsible person takes care of his shop.
  11. He does not give false promises, misrepresent the facts about the quality, quantity and other aspects of the items that he sells.
  12. He carefully watches the new trends in his customers’ choices and looks for such products of high quality that he can sell at affordable prices. This makes the customers stay with him as they always get things of the latest trends, technology, fashion, etc. (Customer loyalty!)
  13. If there is any decline in his sales, he analyses the reason by himself, and ask the customers what their choices are and what they would like to have from his shop (customer surveys). Based on such facts, he makes changes in his inventories and business strategies (self-taught).
  14. Knowingly or unknowingly he builds his own brand, like ‘Smith’s Groceries’, or similar names (brand building).
  15. By practice, and learning over the years, he learns good accounting practices and keeps a healthy balance of his figures (like purchases, sales, profits, etc.)

Well, these are randomly noted aspects of a neighborhood business from my own perspective. I think these very aspects are relevant in online businesses too, if applied with slight modification wherever required. Look for more points from your own perspective. All these business and marketing strategies can be useful not only for neighborhood shops, but also for small businesses (online or otherwise), home-based businesses, and online businesses.

Beginners’ Guide to Landing Pages

What is a landing page? Typically it is any page on your site to which you want to drive traffic to. It can be your first page or index page or any other page.

You do so because if you are running an e-commerce site, or selling any products or services from your site, you want your visitors to sign up for the products that you sell.

If you do not have any commercial activity on your site, still you want your visitors come to this page to sign up for your newsletters, or anything that you think are important for your site.

Simple Steps to Drive Traffic to a Landing Page

There are several ways to drive traffic to your landing page. The first step is to optimize your landing page for your niche keywords and phrases.

You must also make the page more important by getting your landing page linked by various other sites through inbound links, using onsite SEO by most other pages or posts in your site linking to your landing page.

Then you shall be targeting this page in your email marketing campaigns or newsletters, PPC programs like Google AdWords and other advertising campaigns so that every dollar spent on ads bring the maximum return on investment (ROI) and conversion.

You shall also be asking your affiliate marketers, link partners and business associates to link to your landing page.

Yet another relatively easy and no-cost means of promoting your landing page is to ask your friends and followers on social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, etc. to link to your landing page from their accounts on such networks.

Untargeted or Organically Resulting Landing Pages

These types of landing pages are naturally resulting landing pages from organic searches and links from other sites. This kind of pages are usually observed in the case of sites like blogs, recreational or networking sites, etc. in which the site owners do not have any business interests.

Organically evolving landing pages are an important indication of what your visitors and readers like the most in your site.

If you use this information effectively to create more content on the topics of these top-level organic landing pages (example: as indicated by Google Analytics), the results will be highly encouraging and your traffic will increase many fold within a few days or weeks.

This type of your organic landing pages can be a surprise to you because these sometimes are the least important to you as you may have one or two random articles, not even related to what your site or bog is all about.

Multiple Landing Pages

Though most experts emphasize on single landing pages, practically you will have many more landing pages ranking next to your main landing page.

If they are a reality as your statistics show, the best thing is to make them more optimized and make them as effective as your single, most important landing page. This strategy is especially recommended if you have many products to sell, or you have multiple choices for your visitors.

Also, you can redirect your visitors from these pages by just providing links to your main landing page or just adding a phrase or sentence to prompt your visitors to ‘READ MORE’, ‘LEARN MORE’, etc. at the end, and linking them to your main landing page.

Make Your Landing Page Clutter-Free

Usually seasoned, successful marketers remove all distracting links, and even menu links to other pages and sidebars to make the visitors concentrate on the contents of the landing page and prompt them to “action”, or “buy” “or signup”. That is the very purpose of your site or blog.

So, remove all other ads, links, etc. to other sites and your own pages from the main landing page. The visitor can return to other pages after signup, or a single link saying “No Thanks”, “Later”, “Not Now”, etc. will take the reader to your other pages.

Testing the Effectiveness of Your Landing Page

The highly paid content writers, successful marketing professionals, etc. use a Split Test (also called A/B test) or Google’s Webpage Optimizer, to determine which the most effective landing page is. You too can use such tests to enhance the conversion rates of your landing page. (Conversion rate is the percentage of buyers or signups at your landing page.)

Dilute the Ad Concentration of Your Other Posts and Pages

As most of you have observed, some bogs and sites, especially those created by non-professionals, startups or beginners, are heavily and irritatingly loaded with several banner ads, links to other sites, etc.

These are usually seen at sites that want to earn from affiliate marketing or selling ads. My intention is not to discourage earning, but to encourage you to earn wisely and smartly at higher rates, and more.

How do you earn more with lesser number of ads? The logic is very simple.

Just check which affiliate banners and links paid you in the last weeks or months. You will be surprised to see many of the ads did not produce any results, while one or two brought to you some revenue.

Just remove the unproductive ads and watch how the total earnings are influenced. The results can be a huge surprise for you because the few remaining ads will bring you much more income than before, as they have lesser competition from unproductive ads and links.

Plus, with lesser number of ads and banners, your page loads faster, create the lesser user-distraction, become user-friendly and helps you earn more income. Additionally uncluttered pages and posts greatly increase the overall performance of your entire site and your landing page will start producing more revenue than before.

A new insight on email marketing

Watch this highly informative YouTube video on email marketing that shows you how you can use email marketing campaigns a powerful tool and bring high returns on your every marketing campaign spend.

When social media marketing was picking up momentum with the advent of services like Facebook, Twitter, etc. there were intense debates going on in marketing discussion forums and all sorts of media in general. There were even marketing pundits predicting the death of email marketing for websites. But time and again they were proved wrong. Email marketing continues to be backbone of any successful marketing campaign.

There are many advantages and disadvantages to email marketing. But the disadvantages outweigh the advantages and almost all disadvantages and stumbling blocks can be overcome by strategically planning your marketing campaigns. Come back for more highly useful email marketing tips and suggestions to improve your return on investments (ROI) to a very higher level.