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Buying a Website is Like Buying a Car and Going Racing

Buying a Website is Like Buying a Car and Going Racing

Buying a Website is Like Buying a Car and Going Racing, well, kind of….

Many customers we speak with are looking to work with a website provider of some sort, but they really don’t know what they need. This is where the car analogy comes in. Think of your website researching and planning process like shopping for a car.

Lets say, rather than running a business, you run an auto racing team. When you first form that team, you need to select a car to race with. Sounds easy right? There is more to it. There are multiple types and levels of car racing. First we need to choose something to compete in that fits our goals and budget.

The high-school kid just starting out may take his Ford Focus, slap a wing on the back himself and roll on down to the local drag strip on Friday nights.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is your Formula One (F1) race team. This team of hardened racing professionals will select a custom built one-off race car made of carbon fiber and unobtanium. It is incredibly expensive not only to buy the car, but the cost to maintain your car and team, hire top drivers, and compete at the top world level is astronomical.

In between these two levels is a whole range of car types and racing leagues which fit almost any level of competition and budget.

In the world of e-commerce, think of the guy with no business plan starting out of his garage as the Friday Night Ford Focus. Amazon.com is the Formula One Racing Team.

Friday Night Ford Focus went online and slapped a few products on his facebook page, bought a 1.99 godaddy page, and is throwing a few bucks against the wall hoping for fame and glory. We hope it works out, and you have to start somewhere. In the world of race cars, he doesn’t stand a chance though.

The Formula One Racing team is bleeding money out of its ears. They are spending millions of dollars. They are looking for every conceivable edge. They are hiring the best and the brightest in their industry to come work for them at top pay levels. They have purchased the best available technology and continually modify it for better performance. They will probably make it onto ESPN and go down in the record books.

If you are reading this, you likely fall somewhere in between these two extremes. You either have a solid business already which you are looking to expand, or you have a business/marketing plan you spent some time putting together and you are ready to implement it. Now you just need the right ecommerce “engine” that will allow you to compete at your level and budget, so you can someday move up on the ladder. You are researching and learning as much as you can, but you still don’t know exactly what to do, and that is OK.

Everyone wants a race car. Everyone wants to be the next Amazon.com, Ebay, Best Buy, or Cabelas. They want flashy features. They want custom lightweight parts and powerful engines. But most, when presented with the price to build a custom race car, along with the accompanying costs of a pit crew, professional driver, fresh sets of tires, racing fuel, and semi truck to haul it all around in, balk at the cost. Not to mention the marketing team required to get the fans to cheer for you and make your sponsors happy. If you are getting squeamish and gripping your wallet tighter after reading this, you may have to rethink your plan of attack.

You don’t have to race at the highest level to be a winner. There is plenty of lower level cherry picking to be had for an enterprising ecommerce entrepreneur or race car driver. You can have lots of fun and great competition driving a Spec Miata race car around the track, at a price a normal human being can afford. Maybe you will win some prize money and then can afford to jump into the Corvette class, or Baha offroad trucks, or whatever.

The key to success in your “racing” is to select the vehicle you can afford to purchase or build, something you can maintain yourself or afford to pay someone to maintain, and something you can drive yourself or afford to pay someone to drive for you. If you blow your wad on the car and forget about the oil changes and tires, you aren’t going to perform very well on Sunday. You will probably go home a loser. However, if you plan properly, select the right vehicle, budget for the whole year, and spend time tuning and practicing, its more than likely you will finish at the top of the pack and just might win a championship. As they say, winning on Sunday, means selling on Monday.

Outdoor Business Network Adds New Supplier

We here at OBN are proud to welcome our newest supplier to our system.  We have completed the integration with their ERP and warehouse management system, so retailers using our eCommerce platform now have the ability to get updated product information, inventory status, order status, as well as utilize our One-Click-to-Ship feature.

Moteng is familiar with online fulfillment and drop shipping.  They even have a program dedicated to it.  If you are a current Moteng customer, or an outdoor retailer looking to expand its offerings, it is worth a look.   Moteng’s product section includes knives & tools, public safety equipment, lights, apparel, outdoor equipment, kitchen cutlery, and more.  To find out more about our new integration, give us a call at 1-800-699-0820 ext. 1, one of our team members would be glad to answer your questions.

More about Moteng:

Moteng was founded in 1980 in Los Angeles as a supplier of knives and imported African artifacts. Fine wall hangings hand woven by the Moteng Mountain tribesman in the Kingdom of Lesotho gave the company its name.

Moteng has continually enhanced both its products and services. Our website has been rated as having the most information and easiest to use by our customers.

In 1987 the company relocated to San Diego, California. In 2011 the company moved it’s warehouse into it’s present location in Phoenix, Arizona. In 2011, Black Orchid Equity, LLC, a private equity firm, purchased Moteng NA, LLC and gave the company capital to operate and grow in the space for another 30 years.

Thanks to the incredible support of our very loyal customers and vendors, Moteng has grown to become one of the leading wholesale distributors and drop-shippers in our industry. Moteng now offers over 100,000 items from over 250 best selling brands.
Look through our product range or contact us for a catalog. We look forward to doing business with you soon

Branding: Growing Companies from the Ground Up

The early branding of a small or developing company is vital to its business success.  Doing this expresses what exactly your company has to offer. The inaccurate branding of a new business can increase the difficulty for the people to understand why the business exists in the first place. Companies that are just starting out along with small businesses tend to put branding in the backseat to the other aspects of a company such as funding and product development. Doing this is a mistake because a company’s brand is one of the key factors to its success. Dollar for dollar, it is just as crucial compared to any other beginning steps of a new or small business.

The brand your company creates in its face to the world. branding starts with the company name and how that name is expressed visually through a logo that portrays what the company is/does. A brand is also how your demographic customers look at your company then they associate an amount of inherent value on your business. A company’s brand is sort of like a secret promise. It is part of the fundamental principles that can be understood by any individual or company that comes into contact with your business.

Some people may ask “where” I put my brand out there or “how”. The secret is wherever you believe your company can portray themselves accurately. Small or startup businesses that have Social Medias need to also keep in mind that the brand of your business is everywhere. The importance of branding cannot be overlooked and has been proven time again that the success of a small or startup business can rely on its branding to help mature them. A business must stand behind while protecting your brand from outside sources or other companies.

Are you Mobile for 2014?

In today’s society people are always on the go, but having the technology at hand allows them to access the internet by their mobile device. The ability to access the internet with their mobile device has create a new platform for marketers and retail stores to accustom to. It is crucial for your retail store to have your website become mobile device friendly. Did you know that 46% of all online sales come from a mobile device? If your company is not mobile device friendly in 2014 you, could potentially be missing out on almost half of your online sales.

Customers reaching out to your website through their mobile device want to be able to access and navigate your mobile friendly site with ease. Therefore, it is important for your website to display only the necessary information that you want them to see that they can view on their mobile device. Doing this directs the customers to the products or categories that you want to sell the most. On top of having an easily navigable mobile device site, you must incorporate a simple check out system so your customers can buy their products in a minimal amount of time.

Other than making your website mobile device compatible, you must consider other areas where you solicit your company such as email and newsletters. In 2013 65% of all email and newsletters were opened through a mobile device and has been predicted to increase in 2014. Therefore when sending out company newsletters with your coupons, deals, or anything else you must consider making them mobile friendly as well. This way you can get a higher opening percent rate and potentially drive more customers to your online or into your store.

Following those simple guidelines your company could see an increase in sale during 2014.

Websites for Beginners: Planting the Seed

Lately, we’ve been blogging about subjects that are for businesses that already have developed a website and a web presence, but today we want to reach out to those who may not have a website for their business and are looking for tips on how to get started. Realistically, if you want to be successful in this day and age, you need to have a website. This is common knowledge for a lot of people, but there are those who may not be tech savvy and don’t understand the vital importance of having a strong web presence.

The internet is daunting to people who haven’t been immersed in it since they were in grade school. It has this dark side that people assume is scary and full of spam and a lot of times it can intimidate people. While there is a lot of time and effort that goes into developing software and websites, and there are certainly measures that need to be taken to make your website safe, don’t shy away from the idea if you are interested in starting a website for your business. Here are three quick tips to getting started on a website for your business:

  1. Think about what you need your website to do for you. Are you looking to sell products on your site or do you just need an information page? What different sections and pages do you want on your site? Some people prefer to have different pages with information about the business; others have testimonials or pages about specific services. These are all things you need to keep in mind when you start developing a plan for your new website.
  2. Think about the content that will be on your site. Who is going to be writing the content for your site? Are you going to do it yourself or hire a professional? Do you want to put pictures on your site? If your answer is yes, you should plan out what you want to put on the site, how often you’ll be updating that content, etc. It’s vital to keep your website current so make sure you have a plan of attack that you can fall back on when scheduling content updates. What sales do you want to run? Are you going to promote special events?
  3. Dedicate the time necessary to run the site. If you are serious about having an eCommerce site, it is vital to set aside the time you are going to need in order to update the site and monitor your orders. Once the shell of your site is built, you have to add to it. Look at a website as a virtual garden. It needs some sun, water and Scott’s Turf Builder every now and then. Rabbits (spam) will try to eat your vegetables. You need to protect your website from the dangers while maintaining relevant content. If you don’t have time to do all of this and more, don’t worry! That is what companies like us are for.

Building a Social Media Following

One of the biggest problems that many small businesses have with social media is gaining the loyalty of fans. “How do I get more likes on Facebook?” That’s a question we hear on a daily basis. There are plenty of intense conversations on the relationships built on social media networks and how people interact with businesses through them, but creating a fan base is easily done. We are going to break it up into two strategies: the conventional method and the unconventional method.

There are obviously tried and tested tricks that companies use every day to get themselves more friends.  Here are three basics that most people use when first trying to gain a bigger following:

  1. Put buttons on your website that link directly to your Facebook, Twitter, etc. pages. These will help guide customers who are already visiting your webpage to your social media pages. This is also an industry standard that most successful businesses are already utilizing, so you want to do this to keep yourself current.
  2. Another great tool is putting these buttons right into the signature on your e-mail, especially if your job title includes anything like the phrases “marketing” or “public relations.” This will give a direct link to people who you are in touch with on a regular basis, including current and prospective clients.
  3.  There is one tactic that is so simple, if you aren’t already using it you probably don’t even have a Facebook page. Get everyone in your office and five of their friends to like your page. It’s called a social network for a reason! This is a digital word-of-mouth that can result in business and financial growth. Everyone knows someone who knows someone who could benefit from using your products and/or services.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, here are some outside-the-box tips for the creative company that isn’t afraid to use new tactics to score new followers. We want to profile three tips that you can accomplish easily, not ways to go on extensive social media campaigns. These ideas are simple to implement but you’d be surprised at how many businesses don’t use them:

  1. Make an aesthetic presence with your social media pages. Use graphic design to create beautiful pages on Tiwtter, Facebook, YouTube etc. that match your brand and give fans something cool to look at. Update your cover photo on your Facebook timeline so that it is creative, interesting and will inspire people who visit your page to like it. This is a great way to be visually stimulating for your audience, and when your page looks unique, you have a better chance of capturing the attention of your clientele. Check out these creative timeline covers and these Twitter pages.
  2. Interact with people by having a contest or poll. Ask your followers questions and give them a forum to share a little bit of themselves. There is nothing more exciting for fans than the ability to have their 15 minutes of fame with one of their favorite brands.Look at the way Realtree Outdoors® uses their Facebook page and brand identity to excite fans and build a stronger following.
  3. Add a touch of personality to your pages by posting photos and videos of the staff or company events. It’s always a great way to increase your following and followers love when there is a way for them to directly relate to your brand. It also shows that you are interacting on a personal level, building the trust that a consumer will feel with your brand. We recently had a day when we brought our dogs to the office and we posted pictures that got a good response from our fans.