Category Archives: Articles

What You Need To Accept Credit Cards Checklist

The main appeal of credit and debit cards is their accessibility. Rather than having to carry a wad of cash that might not cover your purchases, a card allows you to carry a single piece of plastic — or numerous, depending on your shopping habits. Indeed, the number of people in the United States who primarily use cash for their everyday purchases has dropped to under 25 percent of the population, and that number continues to decline. Using a card to make purchases is simply more convenient for the consumer. Unfortunately, however, that comes at the merchant’s expense.

Retailers and other merchants need to know how to navigate the often-confusing ecosystem of accepting credit and debit cards. Otherwise, they stand to miss out on the business of customers who exclusively carry cards or have a small amount of cash on hand. At the same time, those merchants need to be aware of their security and legal requirements that are part and parcel of accepting card payments. As if all of that weren’t complicated enough, the advents of online and mobile payment options have their own individual requirements and infrastructures. Whether you’re a small business or a large one, accepting credit and debit card payments is nowhere near as simple as it is for a customer to make them.

Yet, accepting credit and debit card payments is a requirement for business of any type today. Businesses that don’t accept these types of payments run the risk of distancing customers who will feel inconvenienced. Any type of inconvenience has the potential to push consumers into finding other options, so there’s no excuse for businesses to avoid accepting credit and debit card payments. Even though the process of setting up the infrastructure necessary to accept these payments can be troublesome and complicated, some preparation can make all the difference.

Making processes simpler for your customers often means making things a little more difficult for yourself, but isn’t that what customer service is all about? By following the checklist from BluePay below, businesses can prepare themselves to accept credit and debit card payments if they don’t already. The advice covered in this guide can help businesses avoid many of the most common frustrations that come with establishing the framework needed to become part of the credit and debit card ecosystem.

Checklist Source: credit card processing company Bluepay

Ideas For Employee Recognition

Sales organizations use a lot of tricks to motivate their sales professionals. However, although most companies have employee recognition programs in place, too many of them are simply based on tenure. That means, even the most successful salesperson only receives kudos from the company whenever the calendar shows another five or 10 years has passed. This approach can work, but it’s also not the most effective way to show appreciation for a high-performing sales professional. Building an employee recognition program that responds to the significant contributions salespeople make on a regular basis has been shown to be much more successful at motivating employees and keeping them engaged. By praising the individual’s performance rather than marking milestones, employees feel as though the company truly pays attention to what they do and appreciates their efforts. Naturally, a salesperson who has been with the company for 20 years is an obvious asset. Though by honoring that employee only every five years, the company misses the opportunity to reward and motivate that salesperson more frequently.

Although many companies might think about implementing a more active employee recognition program and reel at the potential costs, the truth is such a program can be easier and cheaper to implement than they may believe. There are many techniques companies can use for employee recognition programs that don’t have to cost a lot of money or require significant efforts. Even these small gestures, when properly applied, can have a substantial impact on an employee’s engagement; communicating to that employee that his or her contributions to the company’s success have not gone unnoticed.

For example, a basic “wall of fame” concept enables managers to applaud individual performances in a public setting. A points-based system allows employees to cash in points they earn for perks such as time off or gift cards. Even something as simple as a “thank you” note left at an employee’s workstation can be a powerful reminder that what he or she does every day matters to the organization. There are countless other ideas that can be used to build a successful employee recognition program. The following guide lists many of them. Take a look and see if any of these ideas might work well for your employees.

20 Creative (And Affordable) Ideas For Employee Recognition created by Point Recognition

Articles by Brian Farrell

Brian Farrell previously wrote for Search Engine People’s blog. Topics range from social selling and marketing to lead generation, SEO and more. The complete list of published articles are listed below.

1/1/16
How To Use Social Selling In Each Stage Of The Buying Process
http://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/16015-social-selling-stages.html

9/21/15
4 Steps To Effective Social Selling On Linkedin
http://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/15091-social-selling.html

5/15/2015
How To Get Marketing And Sales Funnels To Work Together
http://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/150550955-marketing-sales-funnel.html

2/3/2015
How To Tailor Copy To Customers In Different Stages Of The Buying Cycle
http://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/150221142-buying-cycle-content.html

12/24/2014
How to Feed Your Sales Funnel with Social Media
http://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/14123925-social-feed-sales-funnel.html

7/23/2014
Content Marketing as a Key Element of Consultative Selling
http://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/925-content-consultative-selling.html

5/23/2014
7 Ways To Use Social Media In The Selling Process
http://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/125-social-media-selling-process.html

3/21/2014
The 5 Core Steps to Consultative Selling
http://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/125-consultative-selling-core-steps.html

2/17/2014
Where and How to Keep Relationship Data
http://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/125-relationship-data.html

11/21/2013
SEO Advice from Questionable Blog Comments
http://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/seo-advice-from-questionable-blog-comments.html

7/31/2013
How Consultative Selling And Inbound Marketing Work Great Together
http://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/how-consultative-selling-and-inbound-marketing-work-great-together.html

6/3/2013
5 Ways to Develop Leads Beyond the eBook
http://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/5-ways-to-develop-leads-beyond-the-ebook.html

5/7/2013
How To Manage Your Sales Funnel With Twitter
http://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/how-to-manage-your-sales-funnel-with-twitter.html

3/5/2013
How To Apply One Of The Most Popular Selling Techniques Online: Consultative Selling
http://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/consultative-selling.html

1/9/2013
Common Name Personal Branding
http://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/common-name-personal-branding.html

10/30/2012
How to set-up your Google+ Local page
http://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/common-name-personal-branding.html

7/27/2012
Improve SERP Rankings with Long Tail Keywords
http://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/improve-serp-rankings-with-long-tail-keywords.html

5/30/2012
5 Reasons why you should outsource your PPC
http://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/why-outsource-ppc.html

4/16/2012
How To Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile
http://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/linkedin-optimization.html

1/25/2012
Social Media is Like Fly Fishing
http://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/social-media-fly-fishing.html

11/25/2011
Simple Steps To Improve Local Search Marketing
http://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/local-seo-steps.html

10/12/2011
Marketing your business during a prolonged economic decline
http://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/recession-marketing.html

8/9/2011
Pay to Play: Why PPC is Critical for SMB Marketing
http://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/pay-to-play.html

6/15/2011
Content Marketing Strategies: Comment or Create?
http://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/comment-or-blog.html

4/14/2011
Social referrals – the original inbound marketing strategy
http://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/social-wom.html

3/3/2011
The Emotional Use of Colors on Your Website
http://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/color-emotion-meaning.html

How professional service providers can use video to promote their business

In this article we are going to tell you how video can be used by businesses to promote their services more effectively and to add value to customer experience. We will offer video solutions to three core business goals.

There is a tendency for traditional business services to overlook the benefits of new media, either because they don’t think it is relevant to them or because they are afraid of the technology. In the same way that a website has become an essential business requirement, online video is also becoming a staple item in the marketing diet.

Video is now more accessible than ever – anyone can do it. There are also plenty of reasonably priced production companies out there who can fill any gaps in expertise.

Goal 1: Building trust

Video solutions:

a) Video FAQ’s

Create online videos out of the questions you get asked by your customers most frequently. Choose someone from your team who works well on camera to present these. It is important that they come across as approachable and that they represent what you want them to about your business.

It depends on your business, but video is a great opportunity to give visual explanations. If you have found that a significant proportion of your customers are struggling with one feature of a product in particular, you can use video to offer clear guidance on how to overcome the problem.

See this great example of a set of video FAQ’s from Amaysim.

b) Customer testimonials

Customer testimonial videos showcase the positive experiences of your former customers. Having others advocate your service is far more powerful than you saying it yourself. As said pointed out in the video below, your client is your best salesperson.

These videos don’t have to have extremely high production values. You can record testimonials on a good quality smart phone.

Both video FAQ’s and customer testimonials present you as transparent to your customers, building their trust of you in the process.

Goal 2: Converting customers

Video solution: Web presenters

Screenshot 1 - Web Presenter

Web presenters are an example of innovative technology that will wow your customers and have an impact on how they interact with your website.

A strategically placed web presenter, with a well-written script, will reduce your bounce rate and increase your online conversion rate. Web presenters are an opportunity to succinctly tell your customers what they need to know and where they need to click next.

We have found that it is possible to consistently improve the number of leads that a website receives through the use of a Web presenter. However – performance is dependent on choosing the right presenter for your business; one who is credible for you and your customers. Trust will be key for professional service providers so choose a web presenter that portrays a solid trustworthy image rather than a fun and jovial one.

MWP supported Virgin Holidays to do just this. They increased their sales of Upper Class seats by 30% with a web presenter on a single page of their website. See this web presenter video in action here.

You can also see My Web Presenters for a live demonstration of a web presenter on your own website.

Goal 3: Generating awareness of your brand

Video solution: Branded online video

Online video is a great way to raise awareness of your brand online. In order for this to be successful, you need to publish videos that people actually want to watch.

Identify a gap. Think of an area where your customers seek the most advice. Create a branded video that offers information and guidance on this particular topic.

Distribute your video online via your YouTube channel and through your social media networks (e.g. Facebook and Twitter). You should then maximise the potential of the video to be found online by following a few simple SEO tips:

1) Include keywords in the title of your video (say exactly what it is, don’t try to be clever!) e.g. ‘How to legally change your name’.
2) Write a thorough description for your video on YouTube. Include a link to your own website.
3) Write closed captions subtitles for your video. Search engines can read this text but they can’t read the audio or images in a video.

For more detailed information about video SEO, see MWP.

Creating a Seamless and Efficient System for Your Company’s Payroll System

Whether your business is big or small, every member of your staff must be paid – there is no question.  In order to make sure that your payroll runs without a hitch each month, there are necessary steps that must be taken, especially if you are new to owning your own business.  Let’s take a look at those key steps.

First of all, you must obtain what is referred to as an ‘EIN’, or Employer Identification Number.  This is sort of like a Social Security number, only for your business.  It’s used to report vital information to the IRS, and your employees must also use it at tax filing time.  Check with the IRS to be certain of what steps you’ll need to take to obtain your EIN, and also, check with your state or local government to see if you also need a state ID number for tax purposes as well.

Once you’ve obtained your EIN, you’ll need to ensure that all employees fill out and return to you the proper tax documents required by the IRS.  Form W-4 is your withholding form, which determines the amount of federal taxes to be withheld from each paycheck.

Choosing a  payroll system is also a very important decision.  There are large and small companies, some operate at only a local level, others are national.  Another option that is becoming increasingly popular is to implement a payroll software system that allows the business owner to handle payroll in-house.  However, be aware that if you choose this option, you’ll want to stay educated and on top of things.  As the business owner, you are responsible for reporting all payroll taxes and making sure they are paid.

However you decide to set up your payroll system, be sure to do your research and never rush into anything by way of impulsive decision making.  There are plenty of resources available both online and in hard-copy, as well as a huge number of experienced professionals who can give you tips for getting your business venture and it’s payroll system up and running!