LinkedIn can help you grow your business

LinkedIn is a powerful social networking tool that lets you drill down to target specific groups and individuals. If you use LinkedIn correctly, it can help you expand your network and connect with people who might be interested in your product or services.

According to the Huffington Post, nearly 3100 consultants and business owners participated in the 2013 Sales and LinkedIn Study. The study found that many use LinkedIn free of charge as a tool for strategic prospecting. A full 84 percent of LinkedIn users claim they have generated multiple business opportunities through using LinkedIn. 79 percent were small-business owners. LinkedIn’s most successful users are active in sharing relevant content, presenting themselves as trusted resources and spending six hours or more per week on the site. Some survey participants claim it’s their best source of new business leads.

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The Huffington Post suggests five things you can do now to increase your visibility on LinkedIn:

  1. Join groups.You can join up 50 LinkedIn groups with a free account. To get started, sign up for at most 10 groups. Make sure you research the groups in order to find active ones with your target customers.
  2. LinkedIn Profile EnhancementGet rid of the traditional resume format. Your profile should be customer-centric and results-oriented. LinkedIn is a two-way road. LinkedIn is a two-way street. Just as you use LinkedIn to find potential clients, they will also use LinkedIn for you to verify your information.
  3. Get in touch with your colleagues.LinkedIn can be your personal rolodex. Get connected with all your business contacts and everyone you do business.
  4. Recommendations for leverage.Your happy customers can be unpaid salespeople. Ask your customers to recommend you on LinkedIn within five to ten days of any service or sale. You won’t need to discuss availability or budget with your customers if you use your recommendations properly.
  5. Research opportunitiesLinkedIn is a great way to gain insight into potential customers. It is a great way for you to make connections.

More than 2.6 Million businesses have LinkedIn Pages. If you are willing to put in the effort, LinkedIn’s 200 million members can help you leverage its power. LinkedIn is a great resource for sales growth.

Six Ways to Make Your Website a Shopper Magnet

Your sales competitors are just clicks away in the online world. Worse, your shopper may be impatient and will only give you seven seconds to convince them that your website is better than all the rest. These challenges aside, there are simple ways to communicate your brand and draw customers. These six strategies will ensure that your website appeals to customers.

1. Describe your unique selling proposition. You probably did this when you created your business plan. Your unique selling proposition (or “USP”) is a brief description of what makes your store different. Your USP is the essence of your brand and will help you build your audience. Knowing your audience will also help you decide the design of your website and its content. Your USP will determine whether your website displays your store’s phone number and fax numbers or its Facebook page. Your USP will help you win half the battle for branding your website.

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2 Optimize your navigation. Your site’s navigation tells a lot about you. Limit the number of items in your navigation to between three and seven. Your visitors will lose interest if you have more than that. Anything less and your visitors will lose interest in the items. Your most popular pages should be higher up in the navigation bar. This information can be found in your website’s analytics reports.

3: Use a consistent name for your navigation elements. However, other pieces of copy like the prompt to sign-up for your email list can be personal. Your brand will dictate whether the wording is playful, serious, or simple. Don’t get too creative. People won’t be able to understand your site and may find it difficult.

4) Avoid using stock photography or generic images. It’s simple to find public domain photos and post them on your website. No matter how beautiful the models may be, photos of your employees and store will make a stronger connection with visitors than pictures of perfect models.

5) Upload a video. A picture is worth a thousand words. A video could be worth a million. Videos don’t have to be broadcast-quality. In fact, a lack of polish can make them seem more credible. You can take videos with an iPhone. You can test different backgrounds and different lighting in your store. You only need a few bright floor lamps, which can be strategically placed and mixed with natural light. You can take several shots and choose the best. As if you were speaking to a customer, talk to the camera. A script is not necessary. You will be able to share the knowledge you have gained from all your hours spent helping customers. Include customer testimonials if you can.

6) Don’t write long content. Internet shoppers know exactly what they want and don’t want lengthy paragraphs. Keep it short and simple. It is crucial to write good website copy. Your copywriter should be able to write persuasive copy and not be pushy. Your branding must be consistent. All the marketing materials that you have created for social media, direct mail, and other channels can be used. It’s a good idea to think about other channels when branding your website. This will help you maintain a consistent brand image and save time.

These six points will help you create a website that is unique and stands out from your competition. A website for an Internet retailer is a major branding opportunity. By incorporating these best practices, you can be sure of a successful outcome.

Pam Neely works as a content strategist and copywriter for Internet retailers. She loves email and split-tests everything. You can learn more about Pam at PamNely.com or follow her Twitter @pamellaneely.

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