Archives 2021

9 Tips to take your Marketing to the next level

You’re ready to take your marketing to the next level? Here are a few tips to help you reach your goals. 

1. Set and Post Goals 

Marketing goals are critical and will help you to define what you need to focus on and achieve. Your goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based and POSTED for all to see. 

You will also need to allocate a budget to your marketing activities. Your marketing budget will need to include elements such as:

  • Website development and maintenance
  • Website search engine optimization (SEO) & Keywords
  • Design of branding
  • Printing of promotional material (business cards, brochures, signage, etc)
  • Advertising (google, social media, email marketing)
  • Donations and sponsorships
  • Employing staff or hiring an agency to undertake marketing activities

Click Here for a Marketing Plan Template

2. Market Research

Market research is a key part of developing your market strategy. It is about collecting information that provides an insight into your customers’ thinking, buying patterns, and location. In addition, market research can also assist you to undertake an initial sales forecast, monitor market trends and keep an eye on what your competition is doing.

3. Profile your Target Markets

Trying to promote your product or service to everyone can be costly and ineffective. Grouping or segmenting your potential customers based on certain characteristics will help to focus your marketing efforts.

Generally segmentation is based on factors such as:

  • geography – location
  • demographics – age, gender, education level, income, occupation
  • behaviour – loyalty, attitude, readiness to buy, usage rates
  • lifestyle – social class, personality, personal values.

Your target market should have a need for your product or service and be willing to pay for your offer.

4. Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

A USP is the unique reason your customers buy from you and not your competitors – it’s what makes your business stand out from the crowd. It is important to define what you do differently and be able to convey that to potential customers.

Your USP may be having a new or unique offering or providing exceptional service. Start developing your USP by answering the following questions:

  • What do you love most about your products and services?
  • What special skills or knowledge do you have?
  • What makes your customers come to you instead of your competitors?
  • How do your customers benefit by purchasing your products or services?
  • Which aspects do you generally highlight when you describe your business to strangers?

5. Choose Marketing Avenues

Use a CRM. Customer relationship management (CRM) is a technology for managing all your company’s relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers. The goal is simple: Improve business relationships to grow your business. A CRM system helps companies stay connected to customers, streamline processes, and improve profitability.

Your website and CRM should be working seamlessly together. Your website collects data and your CRM for managing and reaching your customers. The most popular CRMs on our websites at Reach are Constant Contact and Keap. 

6. Nurture your Customers

Your customers are the key to your success so it is important to look after them. Providing exceptional customer service can keep people coming back and set you apart from your competitors.

Strategies to build loyalty in customers include:

  • communicating regularly with customers
  • providing after-sale automated and personal follow ups
  • delivering on your promises
  • go the ‘extra mile’ and exceed initial expectations
  • using feedback and complaints as an opportunity to improve services
  • listening to customers
  • training staff in customer service and basic sales processes. 

Read more on providing effective customer service

7. Optimize your Website

Your website should be a fine oiled machine working 24hrs a day bringing in $ and saving you time. Your website should be glamorous on the front end and a work horse behind the scenes (SEO, Keywords, Meta Tags, Backlinks, etc…). Websites should inform of your services, give testimonials, show your products/services, introduce yourself and your mission, allow purchasing and booking options, and provide valuable insights and best practices. If you need a personalized website audit click here or use a generic service here

8. Content is King

Quality social media and website content is essential to bringing in and maintaining clients. Content helps people find you, builds trust, and keeps customers coming back. Be sure to frame your content in a positive light. Example, if you’re selling ground beef, is it better to focus on 25% fat or 75% lean beef? Also, do a google search for ground beef, scroll to the bottom to find other related search terms that should be included in your content. 

Use tools like Hemingway to grade your text on readability and grammarly to further edit your writing. Or Canva to make eye-catching graphics.

9. Monitor and Review

It is important to regularly monitor and review your marketing activities to determine whether they are achieving the desired outcome, such as increased sales. Initially you should review your marketing plan every three months to ensure your activities are supporting your strategy. Your website should provide plenty of analytics for this process. What products did your customers buy, how did they find you, what aren’t they buying, what content gained a lot of traffic? 

Be sure to also evaluate your website, CRM and social media analytic tools to determine the effectiveness of your campaigns.

Need help with an effective website, creating content, managing your social media or CRM? Reach is a website and marketing agency on a mission to help businesses reach their goals. Check out our range of blog posts, our talk to an expert advisor

Tops Tips for Maximizing Customer Service

Your company’s most vital asset is its customers and employees, so be sure to support them properly. In terms of customers, without them, you would not, and could not, exist in business. Sure, you can attract new customers, but if you’re not creating relationships with them, they’re not going to return or recommend you. In this day and age, reviews and referrals are critical to the success of your business. 

Sometimes it can be challenging to build those relationships. The questions you get asked in a customer facing role can be in equal parts interesting, monotonous, crazy and challenging. The key is to make each customer feel welcome and supported.

Here are 10 (or 11) tips for dealing with customers and delivering excellent customer service:

0. Don’t Take it Personally – This is ground zero of customer support. Customers request a change or don’t like the product/service. Instead of asking for more info and gaining more insight, people tend to take it personally. It’s not about you, it’s about them. Seek to understand and adjust your service or support accordingly. Think about it from their perspective, this could be their “baby”, their dream, or they are simply having a bad day, so be willing to take a little criticism or backlash. If you can get over the hurdle, they may be customers for life. 

1. Truly Listen – Sometimes, customers just need to know that you’re listening. If they’re confused or have a problem, by lending a listening ear, you’re showing that you care and that you’re not dismissing them. You would be surprised how most people simply don’t listen. If you do, you may even discover how you can best support them. Studies show 91% of customers will remain with a provider after a good customer service contact. Read more here

2. Apologize – When something goes wrong, apologize. It’s amazing how calming the words “I’m sorry” can be. Don’t engage in fault-finding or laying blame, but let them know you’re sorry they had a problem. Deal with the problem immediately and let the customer know what you have done. Also, do it immediately. Don’t wait a day or week, do it asap, or at least tell them you are working to resolve the issue. 

3. Take Them Seriously – Make customers feel important and appreciated. No matter how ridiculous a question may sound to you; it’s important to the customer. If they feel like they’re being laughed at, or spoken down to, they will not purchase anything. Customers can be very sensitive and will know whether or not you really care about them.

4. Stay Calm – Difficult as it is sometimes, it is important to stay calm. Your calming approach will help your customer stay calm too. They will feel like you’re in control of the situation and that you can help solve their problem. You may even need to tell them, I understand and will support any way I can. From experience, I’ve had some crazy customer interactions, but most of them have remained customers for many years. Don’t write off someone from one bad experience, they may have been upset for an entirely different reason out of your control. We all have our moments and the view from higher ground is always better. 

5. Identify and Anticipate Needs – Most customer needs are emotional rather than logical. The more you know your customers, the better you become at anticipating their needs. Communicate regularly so that you’re aware of problems or upcoming needs. For example, we are a website agency and are quick to provide monthly insights and possible areas of growth. More than anything we are providing them with support by taking a proactive approach. The best customers you have are your current customers. Take care of them! 

6. Suggest Solutions – Have a menu of calming remedies which you and your employees can use. Whether it’s purely a refund or return, or if it’s coupons or a free service. By agreeing in advance the scenarios where you will provide these remedies, and how much you’re willing to spend, you will be able to speak calmer and more confidently when offering the solution. 

Always look for ways to help your customers. When they have a request (as long as it is reasonable) tell them that you can do it. Figure out how afterwards. Look for ways to make doing business with you easy. Always do what you say you’re going to do and keep the customer updated in the process. You may be working hard behind the scenes, but do they know that? 

8. Acknowledge Your Limits – Yes is a powerful word but if you’re unable to fulfill a request: know your limits. You can’t be everything to everyone. If you don’t think you can fulfill the request, help them find an alternate remedy. Whether that remedy is your business or another, they will appreciate the extra mile you went to help them, and will recommend your business to their network.

9. Be Available – Customer service is no longer just about face-to-face contact and telephone. If you’re working in an industry or marketplace where customers are constantly online, you need to amend your service delivery to incorporate that. It does not need to be a dedicated helpdesk Twitter handle, simply make sure you respond promptly and informatively to clients on your main business Facebook page or to your Twitter account. The websites we design for customers always have phone numbers, email addresses, contact forms, and chat availability (even if they simply link to an email address). Customers prefer various modes of communication. 

10. Get Regular Feedback – Feedback is a great way to grow both your business and your skills. Provide ways for customers to give feedback, whether it’s a follow up email or phone call, google form, a suggestions box or something more fun and innovative.

Here to Help

No matter what stage of your business journey you’re at, Reach Website & Marketing Agency has the experience and resources you need to succeed. Check out our range of blog posts, our Talk to an Expert Advisories

Stripe vs. Square vs. PayPal

Understanding your business payment collection options can get complicated. Once you’re familiar with all of the names you should know, you’ve got to turn around and choose one of them for your business. So, how does a business owner distinguish between Stripe vs. PayPal vs. Square? Even more, which payment companies is best suited for your business?

Here is your ultimate guide to understanding whether Square, PayPal, or Square offers up the best payment processing solutions possible for your business’s payments needs.

Stripe vs. PayPal vs. Square: The Basics

Understanding whether Stripe, Square, or PayPal is the best option for your business will require you to be familiar with the fundamental products that each option offers.

Let’s lay out the details on what Stripe, Square, and PayPal:

Stripe Overview

The core product that Stripe offers is an online payment API for businesses’ websites and apps. Stripe is an extremely developer-centric online payments option that offers customized payment styles like billing and platform payments. 

Stripe offers payments APIs through the Integrated and Customized versions of their product. Overall, Stripe is so developer-friendly that their integrations into websites are seamless: It’s hard to tell when you’re using a Stripe payment API to checkout. But odds are, you probably have. Stripe automates online payments for some of the biggest brands out there. 

PayPal Overview

Compared to Stripe, PayPal’s offerings are much broader. That said, because of how many products PayPal has begun to offer, trying to understand PayPal’s payment options can be a bit overwhelming. Let’s break them down to make PayPal’s payments suite easier to wrap your head around.

First, PayPal’s core product is the checkout experiences they offer. There are three options for this product. PayPal Checkout is simply a plugin “Pay With PayPal” button that you can integrate into a pre-existing checkout. In contrast, PayPal Payments Standard offers a full, generic, and free checkout experience for your business’s website. Finally, PayPal Payments Pro is a customizable payments API, much like Stripe’s basic product.

Second, PayPal also offers online invoicing. Creating and sending invoices through PayPal is free, though you will have to pay a transaction fee once your customer fulfills the invoice with a credit or debit card, which we’ll cover later.

Finally, PayPal also offers in-person payments through their app PayPal Here and mobile card readers that turn smart devices into functioning POS systems.

Square Overview

Let’s take a look at what payment solutions Square can offer your business. Just as PayPal’s payments solutions were broader—and therefore more complicated—than Stripe’s offerings, so too are Square’s when compared to PayPal’s.

That’s right—Square offers up even more payment solutions than PayPal and Stripe. But that also means they will be even tougher to understand. Let’s carefully pore over all of the payments solutions Square offers:

Square’s first and core product is their in-person POS system. These started as the quintessential smart device POS systems that Square is known for. Their card readers—the headphone jack magstripe reader, their headphone jack chip reader, and their Bluetooth contactless and chip reader—allow your smart device to read card and contactless payments. And their free Square POS app turns your smart device into a powerful point of sale system. Their Square Stand, meanwhile, can turn an iPad into a countertop POS system. Finally, the Square Terminal and Square Register are both fully self-sufficient POS systems that respectively offer mobile and countertop solutions.

Square also offers ecommerce solutions for businesses that want to set up online shopping for their customers. These solutions include Weebly ecommerce stores fully equipped with a built-in Square checkout experience. If you already have your own online store set up, then you can simply set up Square checkout or a custom Square payments API, as well.

Last but not least, Square also offers an invoicing platform. Through Square Invoices, you’ll be able to send free invoices to your customers. You can set up invoices for one-time payments, repeat customers, and even recurring billing.

Stripe vs. Square vs. PayPal: The Costs

Now that you’ve got an overview of Stripe vs. Square vs. PayPal, it’s time to start digging into the details. Beyond the products that these three payments options offer, another main criteria you’ll need to consider is the fees associated with Stripe vs. Square vs. PayPal.

Please note fees are constantly changing (so we may be off by a hair), but they all have a very similar fee structure: 

Stripe Costs

Transaction fees: 2.9% + $0.30

Because the payments API that Stripe offers is so straightforward, Stripe fees will also be just as easy to understand. If you choose to go with their Integrated payments API, then you’ll only have to pay for successful transactions—Stripe charges no monthly fees or setup fees whatsoever. For each payment that your Square API processes, you’ll simply have to pay 2.9% of the transaction value, plus $0.30 per transaction.

Alternatively, if you opt for their Customized API for your business because of your high transaction volume or unique business model, you’ll be able to access customizable rates, as well. You’ll just need to contact Stripe to request a quote to get an idea of what these customizable rates might look like.

PayPal Costs

Hardware cost: $29.99 – 79.00

Transaction fees: 2.7% to 3.5% + $0.15

Now, let’s see how PayPal costs stack up. Most payments processed through a PayPal product will cost your business 2.9% of the transaction value, plus $0.30 per transaction. However, there are some notable exceptions.

While PayPal Checkout and PayPal Payments Standard will simply carry that default payment processing fee, PayPal Payments Pro will cost you $30 a month along with that same 2.9% + $0.30 transaction fee.

Additionally, payments processed with a card reader through PayPal Here will only cost 2.7% of the transaction value. Card readers retail from $14.99 to $99.99, depending on which reader you get. However, if you process a keyed-in payment through PayPal Here, it will cost your business 3.5% of the transaction value, plus $0.15 per transaction.

Finally, invoicing through PayPal will simply cost your business that 2.9% + $0.30 payment processing fee when your customer fulfills the invoice with a card payment.

Square Costs

Hardware cost: Free to $799

Transaction fees: 2.5% + $0.10 to 3.5% + $0.15

Because of their wide array of payment products, Square’s pricing system will be correspondingly complicated. How much you pay per transaction can vary widely based on which Square product and hardware you use, so pay close attention:

With Square POS systems, you’ll pay a range of transaction fees from 2.6% + $0.10 to 3.5% + $0.15, depending on which POS hardware you process it through.

If you process a card payment through a Square headphone jack or Bluetooth reader (which range in price from free to $49), then it will cost your business2.6% + $0.10 of the transaction value. The same transaction fee applies for payments through the Square Stand, which will cost $199, not including the cost of the iPad it needs to function.

For card payments you process through the Square Terminal, which retails at $299, you will also have to pay 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction. For card payments you process through the Square Register, which will cost $799, you will have to pay the same 2.6% + $0.10 fee.

Be sure to note: Any transaction that you process through any Square point of sale system by keying in the card information, you’ll pay 3.5% + $0.15.

The basic software that Square point of sale systems run on—the Square POS app—will be completely free. But the Square for Retail app will cost $0, $60, or $299+ per month depending on the plan you choose.

Alternatively, if you want to access a Weebly ecommerce store with a Square checkout experience, you’ll need to pay both Weebly and Square. A Weebly will start at $12 a month, but you’ll also get a year’s worth of free domain services and a $100 Google Ads credit. Meanwhile, the Square checkout experience for a Weebly store will cost the same as Square Checkout and the custom Square payments API:

In-person transactions: 2.6% + $0.10

In-app transactions: 2.9% + $0.30

Online transactions: 2.9% + $0.30

Finally, if you’re using Square’s new invoicing platform to invoice your customers, you’ll simply have to pay 2.9% of the invoice value, plus $0.30, if your customer pays with a card. However, if they pay with cash or check, the invoice will be completely free for you.

Stripe vs. Square vs. PayPal: Which Should You Choose?

Having familiarized yourself with the offerings and costs of Stripe, Square, PayPal, you’re ready to start thinking about which of these three options is right for your business. Don’t worry—to provide some guidance, we’ll delineate which types of businesses typically succeed with Stripe, Square, and PayPal, respectively. Let’s take a look:

Best for Larger B2C Ecommerce Companies: Stripe

Put simply, if you don’t have a web developer on your team, then Stripe is probably not your winner in Stripe vs. Square vs. PayPal. You’ll need a trained engineer to get Stripe up and running on your website. But, if you do have a developer on your team, then Stripe could very well be your best option. 

Also keep in mind that Stripe doesn’t offer an invoicing platform at the moment, so it won’t be a great choice for business-to-business companies that need to invoice their customers. If you’re working directly with customers, though, being able to invoice through Stripe won’t be necessary.

Best for Ecommerce Companies That Need Easy Online Payments: PayPal

On the other hand, if you’re running an ecommerce business without an engineer on your team, then PayPal is likely your best option of Stripe, PayPal, and Square. PayPal checkout experiences are easy to integrate into your ecommerce store, and they’ll be remarkably inexpensive.

Plus, by the off-chance that you need to run an in-person transaction, you’ll be able to do so with PayPal. That said, as you can read in our Square vs. PayPal Here comparison review, PayPal Here won’t offer a robust enough POS system to make it your go-to payments solution for a brick-and-mortar store.

Best for Primarily Brick-and Mortar-Businesses: Square

Finally, if you’re a running a brick-and-mortar business, then Square clearly beats out PayPal and Stripe for you. If you’re trying to choose between Stripe vs. PayPal vs. Square, recognize that Square offers up far-superior in-person POS solutions. And should you decide to expand into ecommerce, then Square can offer online solutions—like Weebly online store, Square Checkout, and custom APIs—that can help you with that. Nonetheless, if you’re primarily working face-to-face with customers, then Square should be your go-to, especially when measured against Stripe and PayPal.

Payment Recommendations

Understanding Stripe vs. Square vs. PayPal involves wrapping your head around a lot of information. But you’ve made it! Now that you’ve read through our guide to Stripe, Square, and PayPal—and how to choose which is best for your business—you’re equipped with the necessary information to move forward with your winner.

But be sure to know that there are options out there beyond Stripe, Square, and PayPal. Example, most of our website clients now use woocommerce payments as well for website transactions. 

Stripe is an online payment API that’s best fit for larger business-to-consumer 

PayPal offers online checkout experiences, invoicing, and in-person payments best fit for companies that need easy online payments.

Square offers POS systems, online checkout experiences, and invoicing best fit for brick-and-mortar businesses.

Bonus: Woocommece is a newer integrated payment option that’s a best fit for online businesses using wordpress. Talk to your web designer for integration.

Need further help with payment integration on your website? Reach is a website and marketing agency on a mission to help businesses reach their goals. Check out our range of blog posts, our talk to an expert advisor