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How to Connect with People Through Social Media

unzeenu connect with people through social media

This post is sponsored by UnzeenU, an innovative new communications tool to connect with friends, family and the general public. Learn more at UnzeenU.com

Networking and Building Friendships on Social Media

If you meet someone and you want to get in touch with them later or learn more about them, a great way to do it is to get connected on social media platforms. Here are the most common social media platforms and how to find people on them.

Facebook—You can look up Facebook users by entering their first and last name, their phone number, their school name and graduation year, their company, or their email address into the search bar. Another way, if you have mutual friends, is to go to your mutual friend’s page and search through their friends list until you find the person you’re looking for.

Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat—You can try searching their name in the search bar, though this doesn’t always work because people don’t always have their real names attached to these accounts. If the person was in the same location or at the same event as you, you could try searching through location tags. Searching location tags can be tedious, but you might find them if they happened to post something tagged with the location or event where you met them.

How Can I Connect with People Through Social Media If I Don’t Know Their Name, Number, or Username?

Have you ever met someone, forgot to ask them for their name or phone number, and later wished you knew how to get into contact with them?

Maybe a stranger helped you chase after your dog through the park when he escaped from his leash, and you want to thank them. Perhaps someone “paid it forward” and bought your coffee as a random gesture of kindness. Or you struck up a conversation with someone at an event, but then they got swept into the crowd before you could exchange contact information or finish your conversation.

Technology makes it easier to connect with people. But traditional methods have their limitations. To call or text someone, you need to know their phone number. To add them as a friend on Facebook, you need to know their name. To add them on Snapchat, Twitter, or Instagram, you need to know their handle or username—which might have their name attached to it, but it might be totally different.

To get around this confusion and find people more easily, you need a new social media platform. Don’t get us wrong—there’s nothing wrong with the existing formats! Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram all have a place. And, brand-new social media platforms are sure to appear as time goes on, maybe even dethroning the social media giants. Keep your favorite social media platform around—just keep an open mind to the new ones!

UnzeenU: Expanding the Possibilities for Networking and Connecting

UnzeenU gives you the power to reconnect with people, develop friendships, and send people messages without even knowing their phone number or name. Through “message tagging” technology, you can send messages to any other UnzeenU user.

With this new communications platform, you don’t have to know your recipient’s name, phone number, or personal details—though, you can send messages based on name or phone number. You can send messages based on the person’s location, timestamps, events attended, vehicle registration number, and more. Visit UnzeenU.com to learn more.

 

 

How to Avoid Plagiarism When Writing for the Web

avoid plagiarism - strong estate marketingIn school, students are taught to avoid plagiarism from day one. Every high school and college has an academic dishonesty policy, and every professor makes sure to include it in his or her syllabus. The consequences of plagiarism are serious: failing papers, flunking classes, and even getting kicked out of school. But after you graduate, the plagiarism is still serious—and the consequences can be even greater.

Why is plagiarism such a big deal?

You can get fired or discredited

If you plagiarize in the workplace, there’s a good chance you’ll get fired, especially if writing is a major part of your job. Plagiarizing erodes trust and damages reputations—not only for you personally, but also for your business. Customers may no longer trust you, and they may stop giving you business if they find out you have stolen someone else’s work.

People can find you out

There are a vast number of plagiarism-checkers available online. If you are plagiarizing from anyone notable—or simply anyone who cares about getting attributed—they will be checking to see who has been using your content. Copyscape is what we use at Strong Estate. It is one of many online tools that checks to see where your original words have appeared online. Editors and project managers often use these tools to make sure their writers are not stealing other peoples’ work. If a writer finds that you have been using their content, they most likely will ask you to take it down and could easily get you into trouble.

Plagiarism makes you look bad

When you plagiarize, you send two messages: laziness and lack of intelligence. Plagiarizing is lazy. Proper citing and original writing take time and hard work. If you’re not doing either, it shows people that you don’t care about doing your job correctly. Plagiarism can also make you look unintelligent. It shows that you didn’t have anything original to say.

How to Avoid Plagiarism

Quote

Quoting is probably the easiest, safest way to incorporate another author’s ideas into your writing with plagiarizing. Keep in mind that you can overuse quotations. Your writing needs to be your own; you shouldn’t stuff it full of exact quotations from other writers, even if you do attribute them to the author.

Side note: With the internet, you have the ability to hyperlink directly to the original author’s website, which is a super-easy way to cite. Far easier than making an MLA bibliography!

Paraphrase

Paraphrasing is another way to use another author’s words without plagiarizing.  Paraphrases also require proper attribution. They don’t require quotation marks, but once again, linking to the original author’s website might be a good idea. When you paraphrase, make sure you have a good understanding of the original author’s intent in context. When you misunderstand the meaning of a piece of writing and inaccurately paraphrase it, you are committing another form of plagiarism. Once again, when you paraphrase, hyperlink to the webpage where you found the information.

Plan ahead

You should have the idea for your writing and an outline before you begin your research. You may get more ideas through your research, but if you don’t have some kind of outline beforehand, you may be tempted to take the entire outline from another piece of writing on the same topic. This will also help you narrow down your research and make the writing process quicker and more efficient.

Take good notes

Make sure you’re not writing in a hurry when you begin. Good writing takes time. If you’re in a hurry or disorganized, you may end up forgetting to attribute one of your notes or mixing up your sources. You may also forget what notes are exact quotes, which are paraphrases, and which are original ideas. When you return to your notes, you most likely won’t remember these details and won’t appropriately attribute. Don’t ever make the mistake of copying and pasting directly from a website into your notes. Just like they teach in school, figure out how to take notes in your own words. Ultimately, what you write will be better and you will have a greater understanding of your topic.

Plagiarism is very serious and you shouldn’t take it lightly, whether you’re in school or in the business world. But if you consciously think about how to avoid plagiarism, it’s really not hard at all!

If you’ve found a piece of content you would like to have on your website, but are concerned about plagiarizing, take advantage of Strong Estate’s rewriting service. With this service, our professional writers will take the content you want to use and completely rewrite it into something original. Here’s our process:

  • We open up a brand-new document next to the content that you want us to rewrite.
  • We never touch the copy/paste buttons.
  • Using original vocabulary, sentence structure, and organization, we create a brand-new piece of writing that will pass Copyscape and other plagiarism checkers, while still retaining the basic information that you want to portray.

If you’re ready to get started, use the contact form below to get ahold of us immediately, or Order Your Writing today!

How to Be a Better Writer

be a better writer - strong estate marketing

Do you want to be a better writer? It’s not as intimidating as you might think! Honestly, anyone can learn to write, even if you don’t think it comes naturally to you.

Here’s why it’s important to be a better writer: Writing skills are some of the most important in the workplace, regardless of your field of profession. Between emails and memos, reports, and proposals, writing is an essential form of communication. Well-written content is also important for any business’s website and social media accounts.

Here are some tips to get your writing in the right direction!

First, Plan What You Want to Say

At times, it can be helpful to just start writing and let your words flow. But in our experience, writing is much more complex than that. It helps to at least have an outline of the main points you’re going to say before you start writing. Not only will this make the process easier for you as the writer, but it will also help your readers. Your audience will see some structure to your writing and feel that you put some thought into it. Your words will flow better, making it easier for your readers to understand.

Think About Who You’re Saying It To

This is one of the biggest mistakes people make when writing! Always consider your readers. Are they professors? Are they plumbers? Are they children, teens, adults, or all of the above? Think about this before you start writing, and then write with the audience in mind. This may change things like how formal you are, how persuasive you need to be, and what information you include or leave out. If you are thinking about how a specific group of readers will perceive your writing, it will be far more effective.

Think About Where It’s Going to Be

Writing is not the same across all media. The content on a web page will be written much differently from a memo, which will be written differently from a news article, and so on. This can also affect your piece’s length and structure.

 Think About How It’s Going to Look

Although design may sound like an unrelated topic, most writing requires at least some design elements. In our experience, readers are more likely to keep reading if they see some visual contrast in your writing, as opposed to the same monotone black Times New Roman 12-point font typed over and over again. Choices like fonts and colors should not be made lightly.

When used thoughtfully, these choices can enhance the message you’re trying to convey to readers. Also, be sure to give your readers’ eyes a break from dense blocks of words by having white space between different points or sections in your writing.

Edit What You Wrote

Editing is vital to good writing. Nothing should be published without being thoroughly edited! This means more than just proofreading for spelling and grammar errors. Think about the structure of your sentences and your word choices. Cut unnecessary words or sections and expand on confusing or important points. It often helps if you read your work aloud and consult others for their opinions.

Stuck? Read What Others Have Written

If you find yourself really struggling with writing well, try reading the writers of others. Pay attention to the above points. Think about the choices the author may have made given the intended readers, the medium, etc. Did the writer choose to directly address their readers? How did the writer use design elements? How much time did the writer spend on each main point?

If you’re still struggling with finding just the right words—or the time to say them—Strong Estate’s team of professional writers can help! Contact us using the form below to get started.

Academic Versus SEO Writing

academic vs seo writing - strong estate marketingAre you graduating soon? Or, are you simply new to the idea of SEO writing? Academic vs. SEO writing is currently one of the biggest challenges writers face, so if you’re feeling a bit unsure of how to proceed, you’re not alone!

Students right out of college, as well as many people who haven’t written a lot of online content, are used to academic writing. This is the formal, impersonal writing that teachers and professors expect in the context of their classrooms from middle school all the way up through university.

But if you get a job writing online content, like websites or blog posts, you’ll have to learn a new style of writing that is very different from academic writing: SEO (search engine optimization) content. When writing for the internet, you have to keep in mind that in order for people to read your web page, it is going to have to be a top search result (because let’s face it, most people don’t go to page 2 of Google, let alone page 50!) and you’ll have to make your writing choices accordingly.

Search engine optimization or SEO = making your webpage appear higher on search engine results

The higher your website ranks on search results, the more people will visit your website. With SEO, rather than impressing a professor, you’re aiming to impress a search engine. Here are some basic tips that will make it easier to write SEO-style!

Writing SEO Content: Tips & Tricks

Use a Casual Tone and Easy-to-Understand Style

The tone of SEO content should be casual and conversational. The vocabulary should be easier to understand and appeal to a wider range of readers than academic content. Do not try to impress your audience with big words or fancy language!

If you’re writing to a more specific audience, you might need to make it more formal – but if you are writing towards the general public, keep in mind that not everyone is a great reader, a college graduate, or a native English speaker. Keep it simple so that your whole audience can read and understand it.

Here’s how to accomplish this:

  • Use common words
  • Write similarly to the way you would speak in a casual, friendly conversation
  • Try to keep the majority of your words 3 syllables or less
  • Break it up with headings and bullet points
  • Keep your sentences relatively short and simple
  • Sprinkle in some contractions here and there (example: “you’ll” instead of “you will”)
  • Try reading it out loud – if it sounds stiff or formal, make adjustments.

Use Keywords – Just Enough, Not Too Many

Keyword usage is the #1 thing to remember when it comes to SEO! Here’s how to get started using SEO keywords.

First, find other web content with the same type of information and see what keywords are being repeated.  Come up with two or three specific keywords that someone will search for. Use these keywords in your title, your headings, and two or three times in variation in the body of your text. (NOTE: keywords are often phrases of 2-5 words, not just single words).

Keep in mind, it is possible to over-saturate your SEO content with keywords. If you use the same couple of keywords tons of times in the same piece, it’s called “keyword stuffing” and it’s a bad SEO technique that can actually get you in trouble. Google penalizes any website that it suspects of keyword stuffing. That means that if you get caught by Google’s algorithms, your webpage will be knocked off the search results. Yes, Google can – and will – do that!

Your keywords/keyphrases need to be specific. If they are too general, people will have a more difficult time finding your web page because there will be too much competition for the keyword. In other words, if 5,000 different blog posts are all trying to rank for a super-general keyword, you don’t have much of a shot for ranking on the first page! The competition is too steep. But if you choose something less-common that only, say, 50 people are using, then you have a shot.

It is possible to sound robotic while trying to use keywords/keyphrases on your webpage. Make sure you use your keywords naturally to the best of your abilities. Sound human! Google isn’t fond of websites that are written by robots, and readers don’t appreciate it, either.

Balance Concise Language with In-Depth Content

Search engines also prioritize by length. When it comes to academic writing, a student expects that their professor will read their entire essay religiously. Internet users rarely read the same way. They would rather skim your content, and, thus, concise sentences and paragraphs that are easy to understand are important. However, search engines will prioritize content that appears to be more in-depth based on its longer length. Aim for writing at least 600 words.

The structure of a webpage is also very different from academic writing. Because people browsing the web want to easily understand and skim through your text, you should emphasize important parts of your text and break it up into sections. There are several ways you can do this, including:

  • Headings
  • Bullet points
  • Numbered lists
  • Bold words

Stay Engaged with Your Guests

Another way search engines prioritize information is based on how many people are interacting with your site. This means you should be constantly checking your own content to reply to users’ comments and interacting with guests online. You should also link to your own related content so that once a person finds your website, they are more likely to look at additional web pages.

Hyperlinking additional web pages can also help SEO. This is similar to citing your sources in an academic paper, but instead of using a formal bibliography, you directly link to the source you’re talking about. Not only does it show that you as a content writer value integrity, but it actually strengthens your SEO, because Google’s algorithms favor web pages that have links in them.

If you follow these SEO guidelines, your website should be much easier to find! It’s hard to get away from academic writing right out of college, but with practice, you’ll learn how to make your content succeed on the internet.

How to Write the Best Realtor Bio

Your real estate biography on your website gives you a great opportunity! It can help put your best foot forward for potential clients, allowing them to instantly form a positive impression of you and your work. As you know, real estate is very personal. You need to help potential clients trust you and feel connected to you before they hire you, and to do that, you need the best realtor bio.

Here are 5 examples of realtors who wrote great bios.

Haley Anderson Bio

Haley’s bio is a prime example of making a bio personal, but not too personal. While Haley shares her background and a little about her current personal life, she also tells us about her skillset. In covering all these areas, Haley appeals to potential clients both emotionally and logically. Haley’s bio is also written in the first person, which makes a potential client feel more strongly connected to her than they would had she used the third person. She speaks directly to potential clients, which effectively engages them.

Kami Kirkland Bio

Kami successfully gives details of her background and personal life, just like Haley. An added success of her bio is that it gives the audience an insight into her interest in real estate. Potential clients get to link her love of real estate to her grandfather, which helps readers feel a connection to her personally and professionally.

Levi Moore Bio

Levi shares his unique expertise with home inspections. A real estate bio is, in a way, a    product description—in this case, the product is the realtor. Thus, it helps to share a unique selling point (USP). For Levi, his expertise in home inspections is his USP. Once again, with Levi’s bio, potential clients get to hear about his background and personal life.

Megan Hill Mitchum Bio

With Megan’s bio, clients get to hear about her accomplishments and awards. If you have these, they are important to list. However, like with Megan’s bio, they are important to be mentioned in a way that does not come across as arrogant. These accomplishments are also not the only things mentioned in Megan’s bio. Potential clients still get to hear a little about her personal life, giving them a reason to connect with her on a personal level. At the end of her bio, Megan issues a call to action to get potential clients to contact her. She even speaks specifically to new home buyers as well as veteran homeowners.

Matt Mauro Bio

Matt’s bio covers all the bases. He explains his background in real estate. He also gives information on his specialty, which shows potential clients he is an expert and someone they can trust. Rather than simply stating his specialty is with estate sales and classic style homes, he explains to potential clients why they want someone who specializes in those things. This is another sales tactic to utilize when selling yourself as the product. Matt points out how overwhelming and emotional estate sales can be and says he can be the one to help clients through those challenging times.

Your realtor bio should be short and to the point. Make sure to include the following elements:

  • Some personal information
  • Your background in real estate
  • Your specialty
  • Notable accomplishments, if any
  • A call to action (including where/how to contact you)

Do you still need help writing a successful bio that brings in clients? Strong Estate’s professional writers can help you!

 

What’s the Best Length for a Blog Post?

best length blog post - strong estate marketingWhat is the best length for a blog post? If you think about the blogs you read, there are very successful posts of many different lengths, but that doesn’t mean you can just write a blog post with zero regard to word count. It’s also highly possible to sabotage your post by making it too long or too short for the intended audience and purpose.

Basically, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. There are pros and cons to each length. Anything from 200 words to over 5000 is acceptable, but only if you consider the full situation. Is that a little too confusing? Let’s dig in a little further and learn more about the proper blog post length!

When to Write Short Blog Posts

The Pros

Perhaps the most obvious pro of a shorter blog post is that it’s good for readers with a short attention span. Long blog posts may scare off some readers before they even get a chance to start reading. With a short post, readers are more likely to stay on your site and read your post.

If you have a short and simple question you’re trying to answer with your blog, there is no need to write a lengthy blog post. A lower word count, like 300 words, may be perfect! Likewise, another reason to write short posts is to start a discussion. Short blog posts tend to get more comments than longer posts. So, if that is your end goal, keep things around 500 words or less.

Google also pays attention to the average word count of blog posts that have the same topic as yours. You don’t want to stray too far from this average word count. If the average word count for blog posts with the same topic as yours is 300, there’s no reason to write 1000. You can write more than 300, but you shouldn’t write significantly more.

So, check out the competition by Googling your main keyword and checking out the length of the top results. If your topic is a low-word-count topic, write a short blog post.

The Cons

The problem with short posts is that SEO often favors longer posts. It used to be that word counts of 200-300 words were considered the best length for a blog post, but that is no longer the case.

When to Write Long Blog Posts

The Pros

Long blog posts are perfect for complicated subjects. You have more room to explore and explain something that might be difficult for readers to understand.

If your post is thorough and in-depth on its topic, readers don’t need to check other sites besides yours for information. You will make your reader’s research process easier and drum up your readership and SEO ranking in turn!

If you write more words, Google can easily narrow down what your post is about. You have the opportunity to include more links, more headings, and more content. Google also assumes that longer length means more detail, which means higher quality content. All of this results in a higher ranked site.

Long blog posts are great for SEO, because you are able to naturally include many keywords. At the same time, you have more content in which to disperse these keywords. Keyword stuffing is unnecessary.

Longer posts are likely to get shares on social media. These shares can mean more visitors, which will get you a higher SEO ranking.

The Cons

The problem with writing so many words is that it can also get harder for your audience to read it. Sometimes things that are longer are harder to focus on and comprehend. However, if you are writing well, more words can also make the topic easier to understand.

If you’re writing a post that is extremely long—think upward of 2000 words—you need to think about making it less intimidating to readers. Include an index and some links. Don’t forget lots of subheadings, bullet points, and images to break up the text! Headings and subheadings also allow readers to skim over the content for the parts that they’re most interested in.

Consider The Future of SEO

It’s important to keep in mind that SEO changes frequently. The thing that makes your blog rank highly today may make it rank lower in the future. Google uses over 200 ranking factors, and their algorithm is changing all the time.  One change that will be happening in the near future is that Google is switching to a mobile-first index that favors mobile-friendly sites. This means that shorter blogs may be the best length for a blog post in the near future.

In short, write a short blog post to

  • Answer a simple question
  • Start a discussion
  • Emulate other short blog posts

And write a long blog post to

  • Raise your SEO ranking
  • Write about a complex topic
  • Get shares on social media

And Finally, Consider Your Unique Audience When Deciding the Best Length for a Blog Post

There is one reason why you might want to break these rules: pay attention to your audience. If your following favors short, 200-400 word blog posts, then the best length for a blog post is obviously short. If they seem to prefer in-depth blogs of 2000 words or more, then that’s what you should be posting. Give your readers what you know they will want to read!

If you’re trying to keep your business blog consistently up to date, Strong Estate’s expert blog writers can help! Just contact us using the form below, or click on “SEO BLOG POST” on our Order Your Writing page.

Why Your Product Listing Needs Amazon Lifestyle Photography

Images might be the most important part of your product listing if you’re an ecommerce seller. After all, it will likely be a customer’s first impression of your product after a quick search on Amazon or the Internet. It will also be the most memorable part of your product listing. According to AmeriCommerce, people remember 80% of what they see, but only 20% of what they read.

One important photography decision you have to make as an ecommerce seller is what type of photography to use with your listing. There are two types: pure white background and lifestyle photography. On Amazon, sellers are required to use at least one white background image in their product listing. But adding Amazon lifestyle photography enhances your product listing.

The Perks of Lifestyle Photography

Amazon lifestyle photography has several benefits, including:

  • Storytelling
  • Inspiring
  • Explaining

Storytelling—Lifestyle photography tells a potential customer a story about the product. It’s hard to connect with a product against a white background. Customers can more easily connect with a model who is gleefully interacting with the product. These kinds of lifestyle images help customers to picture their lives with the product. A variety of pictures can show different features and uses of a product. Make sure to showcase the different colors and styles of the product as well.

Inspiring—Lifestyle photography can spur the inspiration of your customers. This is an especially great asset for clothing, accessories, cosmetics, and furniture. Pure white backgrounds are boring; they don’t help cultivate creativity. But with Amazon lifestyle photography, a customer gets a chance to see the possibilities of a product—how a shirt looks paired with dark wash jeans, how a sofa looks against a gray wall, etc. Even if a customer isn’t looking for your specific product, they could still come across your product listing. An inspirational lifestyle image might be enough to convince them they want your product. Lifestyle photography is also perfect inspiration for Instagram and Pinterest lovers.

Explaining—Lifestyle photography can also help a customer understand a product. If a product is uncommon or unconventional, customers may need help understanding how it is used. Lifestyle images give you an opportunity to show product assembly and take pictures up close or from different angles. Lifestyle images can also give customers more tangible context for dimensions.

Combining White Background and Lifestyle Photographyfrench press strong estate marketing

Above, you can see a French press (the product) against a pure white background. This is helpful because it’s clean and simple; there’s nothing distracting you from the French press itself. Below, you get a feel for the product in its intended context: on a customer’s kitchen counter, alongside a mug and some coffee grounds.

french press 2 strong estate marketing

Here’s another example: With the first image, you can clearly see the details of the packaging. In the second image, customers get to see the coffee creamer on the counter like it would be in their home. The customer can connect to the smiling model as she pours herself her morning coffee with the creamer.

coffee lifestyle photography strong estate marketingHigh-quality Amazon lifestyle photography is invaluable. You can order your own unique Amazon product images from Strong Estate here! 

 

The #1 Thing You Need On Your New Business’s Website

Chances are, if you’ve just created a website for your business, you already have the basics in place: your business’s name, what you do, and your contact information. There’s one more thing that’s incredibly important, though: customer testimonials! The simple concept of customers sharing their opinions can be surprisingly effective.

What’s the Difference Between a Testimonial and a Review?

People like businesses they can trust. One of the best ways a business can earn someone’s trust is to show that they’ve already gained the support of loyal customers. While reviews and testimonials are both statements from customers, there’s a difference between a customer review and a customer testimonial. A review is merely a customer evaluating a business or product. While those can also be effective in gaining business, customer testimonials are often more so. Customer testimonials are the very best reviews, often requested by the company itself.

Good customer testimonials are important for several reasons. The strongest customer testimonials are persuasive—they convince people to surrender their trust and their money to a business. Seeing a face and/or a name alongside a few details about a person’s experience with a certain brand or product makes a potential customer feel like they can relate to that person. They feel engaged with them. If a potential customer is on the fence about using your product, a customer review or testimonial may be exactly what they need to make that purchase. Even if the customer testimonials are written by complete strangers, the testimonial is a piece of evidence that shows your product or business is worth the money.

Good customer reviews establish a business’s credibility, and that can sometimes make or break a company. In the age of social media, it’s becoming easier than ever for people to feel a connection with complete strangers. Customer testimonials capitalize on that artificial connection. People are used to asking for recommendations. Interactions on social media between a business and customers are key.

Types of Customer Testimonials

There are different types of testimonials that can cater to different outlets, audiences, etc. These types include:

  • Social media interactions
  • Industry insiders
  • Satisfied customers
  • Video testimonial

The social media interaction—This is extremely common in our social media-driven world. These customer testimonials are often come straight from a customer’s social media—usually Facebook or Twitter—and are shared or retweeted by a business’s account. Whenever you use a social media interaction as a customer testimonial, it should focus on a specific product and be short and to the point.

The industry insider—This type of testimonial establishes credibility better than the others. With this type of testimonial, a respected authority in a certain field gives their opinion about your business or product. Not only does this type of testimonial show that you can satisfy customers, but it also shows that even industry experts recommend your business.

The satisfied customer—This is probably the most common type of testimonial. These are often displayed on a business’s website. They feature a quote from a satisfied customer alongside their name and photo. Sometimes these testimonials will also mention how long the person has been using your product or frequenting your business. The customer photo is a key part of what makes this type of testimonial so successful. It helps potential customers connect with strangers.

The video testimonial—This last option is obviously pricier than the above-mentioned. But these can be well worth the money, as they are the most engaging of all the options and give the audience the greatest possible connection with the customer. With a video, there are also more creative opportunities. However, keep in mind that even if you use a video, the testimonial should still be short and simple.

Where Can I Use Customer Testimonials?

Use customer testimonials in a variety of places. Don’t just limit them to one section of your website! Use them on your homepage and about pages and in a sidebar on your blog. Some customer testimonials might be better suited to some areas than others. You might even consider consulting your web designer (if you have one) about what method would be best for adding customer testimonials to your website. Another consideration would be a web application that allows you to set up a testimonial page or a plugin that allows you to post different testimonials on each page of your site. There are a number of possibilities here, so determine what works best for you and incorporate testimonials all over your site!

In fact, you don’t have to limit customer testimonials to your website. Put them on social media and email. Don’t forget print marketing!

How Can I Get Good Customer Reviews?

Now that you know how important customer testimonials are, you need to know how to acquire high-quality ones. Think about some of the specific things you want to accomplish through your customer testimonials.  Do you want potential customers to know you’re trustworthy? Do you want them to know about a specific feature of your product? There are so many things you can accomplish with the right testimonials!

To get these testimonials, consider contacting customers directly and asking if they would be willing to provide you with a testimonial. Talk to your best, most loyal customers. You should also follow up by sending emails to them immediately after they agree. When you send these emails, ask the customers some specific questions to prompt their testimonials. Ask them why they chose your product and what they love about it; ask about the specific benefits of the product.

Interacting with customers on social media is another great way to acquire testimonials. Make sure you’re commenting on and liking your customers’ posts. This will help you build your reputation as a business.  Encourage the customers you interact with to provide testimonials.

Keep in mind that using genuine customer testimonials does not mean you can’t edit the testimonials at all. Make sure to edit spelling and grammar errors. If necessary, add parentheses to include extra, important details.

And if you don’t have any customers at all yet, you can consider fabricating customer testimonials to get you started while you wait for the real ones to come rolling in. This is also a good idea if you’re going to create video testimonials.

If you’re a brand-new business and need help writing customer testimonials, Strong Estate can help! You can order them here.

 

 

The Dos and Don’ts of Having a Chinese Supplier During the Chinese New Year

chinese new year strong estate marketingIf you sell online, the Chinese New Year may have a big impact on your small ecommerce or Amazon business. Read on to learn about the Chinese New Year and find out how to keep it from hurting your sales.

What is the Chinese New Year?

The Chinese New Year is the Chinese celebration of the new lunisolar year, aka the Lunar New Year. It can start anytime between January 21st and February 20th.This year, the holiday starts on February 16 and ends on March 2. During this holiday, Chinese people celebrate family and togetherness. It ushers in the new year while leaving the old one behind. Fireworks, food, and parades are all essential to the celebration.

Although the holiday itself lasts about ten days, its effects last longer.

Also, the Chinese New Year doesn’t just affect China! If you have a supplier in South Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, or Indonesia, the holiday will still affect your business, as these companies also celebrate the Lunar New Year.

Why Does It Affect Our Ecommerce Businesses So Much?

Factories Shut Down—In the 1970s, economic changes jumpstarted the growth of cities in China’s coastal regions. Many people who were looking for jobs had to move far away from their rural homes to the cities for work. During the Chinese New Year, hundreds of millions of factory workers travel back to their rural homes to celebrate. Because of this, every factory in China shuts down.

Then, They Have to Play Catch-Up—Even after factories reopen, their production will be in overdrive. They will be playing catch-up with all the orders from before the Chinese New Year that they still need to fill, not to mention all of the new orders. Slow manufacturing and shipping may persist until the end of April or even early May. This has a big impact on spring and summer products.

Job-Switching—The Chinese New Year is also a prime time to switch to another job. Oftentimes employees simply won’t return to work after the holiday is over and won’t warn their employers they are planning to do so ahead of time. This means extra delays in hiring and training those replacements. It can also mean poor-quality work.

How to Avoid the Negative Effects of the Chinese New Year

If you’re an Amazon seller, ecommerce business, or any retail business with a Chinese supplier, you’ll need to alter your habits to stay afloat during the celebration season. Here’s some tried-and-true advice:

Be Prepared for Your Manufacturer to Shut Down

Many companies don’t even announce that they’re shutting down—they just assume you know. Be prepared for total lack of communication for at least a week, even if they don’t warn you ahead of time. Also, expect that your supplier will give their employees extra time to travel back to the city to be with their families for the holiday itself. Often, they’ll shut down up to ten days before the holiday. Since the holiday starts on February 16th in 2018, your factory might shut down as early as February 6th.

Don’t Deposit

Don’t make the mistake of depositing a payment right before the Chinese New Year. During weeklong holidays, no payments can be processed to and from China or Hong Kong. Make sure you settle all your payments before the holiday. This way, you’ll avoid late fees.

Don’t Travel to China

Don’t plan a visit to your supplier right before the Chinese New Year. Every factory will be preparing for the pre-holiday rush, and travel will be inhibited by hundreds of millions of Chinese workers going home. If a trip is inevitable, the absolute closest to the holiday you should visit the country is a month before. You definitely shouldn’t visit during the holiday, because you won’t be able to see your supplier.

Don’t Be in a Hurry

Don’t be surprised if there are shipping problems before the holiday. The demand to get on a cargo ship at this time is very high. This results in higher shipping fees and later shipping dates. In extreme cases, your cargo may be bumped from being shipped due to all the other shipments needing to get out before the holiday.

Having a Plan for the Chinese New Year

Perhaps the most crucial part of keeping your business afloat is having a plan.

Order Early

As a general rule, give your supplier plenty of time to complete your order before the end of December. They will also be experiencing an excessive rush before the holiday, so it’s good to give them a two-week buffer, just to be safe.

Make Sure You Won’t Run Out of Inventory

It’s also a good idea to have additional inventory on hand. Observe your sales trends of previous years to ensure you are ordering plenty from your supplier. If you’re an Amazon seller, check your historic Amazon sales report.  If you use an Amazon fulfillment service, check your inventory numbers through their interface.  Keep in mind factors such as seasonal variations and year-on-year increase in demand.

Communicate with Your Supplier

After you place your order, follow up with your supplier to make sure your order can be filled before the holiday. Also, if you have a strong quality manager and inspection plan, you won’t run the risk of receiving low-quality goods right before Chinese New Year. Increase monitoring and communication with your supplier in the months leading up to and after the holiday to minimize low-quality items or severe shipping delays.

Stay Busy

Although manufacturing will likely be shut down for a whole month, other departments within your supplier may be closed less time for the holiday. Take advantage of the services those departments can provide. Sales and engineering departments might be open; administrative functions often keep operating a week or two longer than others. This gives you a great opportunity to really focus on samples, research, and price and contract negotiations. It’s also the perfect time to work extra hard on new designs and marketing.

If you follow these steps, you should be able to succeed as an Amazon seller, ecommerce entrepreneur, or business operator in spite of the Chinese New Year. It will definitely take some extra work. But with each year, you’ll gain more experience and it will soon become second nature!

This is also a great time to improve your product listings with fresh new images or bullet points. Contact us today if you’re looking for a professional writer or photographer to help you spruce up your ecommerce listings!

 

 

 

 

5 Benefits of Social Media You Probably Don’t Know About

Social Media is so important to e-commerce today— for buyers and sellers alike. Businesses large and small have figured out the benefits of social media. It’s a great way to advertise to potential customers, but the benefits go way beyond product placement.

Small brands and large brands alike are using social media to promote themselves and get their name heard, to connect with their audience, and to improve their products for the benefit of the consumer. Here are some great benefits of social media that you might not know about.

1. Social Media Offers Personalized Marketing

Unlike algorithmic advertisements, business’s social media accounts are likely to reach the customers who actually want to buy from them. Businesses that use social media sites understand that the customer wants to feel recognized as a person first and the consumer second. They want to engage with their audience, and the service or product they’re providing is what the customer truly wants.

2. Social Media Leads to Customer Loyalty

Customers will find that they’re more loyal to the brands that they follow on social media. Because social media encourages two-way communication between the business and the consumer, the two parties can build relationships that benefit both. The customer feels that they can trust the business, and the business gets honest feedback from the customer.

3. Social Media Makes It Easy for Your Customer

It’s essential for online retail stores to use social media. Since their customers are already online, using online promotion means their stores are just a button away. This promotes traffic for the business, and it provides ease for the consumer. Instead of having to go out of your way to search for something, it’s right there when you log onto your preferred social media site. You can introduce deals and new products this way. This helps to keep the customer involved and excited about upcoming promotions.

4. Social Media Gives You More Customers

Using social media is proven to give businesses the ability to grow their customer base. With the benefits of social media, businesses have access to thousands of potential customers around the world. Even without using paid advertising, most social media sites have a sharing option. One customer can reach hundreds more with the click of a button, and so on.

5. Social Media Gives Unique Opportunities for Interacting with Customers

This advantage helps customers as well. As businesses grow, products and services generally improve. Even small businesses are able to devote more time, money, and energy to make sure they’re producing what the consumer is asking for with each additional view, share, and purchase.

With new customers comes more feedback, and this helps businesses produce the products that the consumer truly wants. Social media makes communication easy, so customers can comment directly on the shared post to let the business know what they’re doing well and what can be improved. This is a quick way for both business and consumer to truly feel involved in the buying experience and get the most out of online retail.

How do you use social media to market your business? Strong Estate Marketing has many SEO options for your business, check us out here.

 

 

 

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