3 Steps to Apply Lead Management in Small Businesses

3 Steps to Apply Lead Management in Small Businesses

How Small Business Owners Can Best Manage Online Leads

Leads are gold for any online business and it is imperative to know how to manage them. Why? Leads are the equivalent of someone peeking through the window at any physical store. When a new lead comes in, you can’t just ignore it. As a business owner, you need to make sure there is a process in place to get these leads through the front door.

Although it is very common for small businesses to let those opportunities slide for various reasons, from not understanding their value to not knowing how to deal with them.  The bottom line is that there needs to be some sort of action so that those leads are effectively managed, eventually turning into actual customers. The process doesn’t need to be complicated. Here are 3 simple steps that help you start managing leads:

Make Time to Respond

Leads can turn into customers, if and only if you take advantage of the chance they’re giving you. If they have somehow expressed their interest in your business, the least you can do is respond. Keep in mind this is the very first impression they’re going to have of your business, so you want to make sure you send out the right message by responding.

Provide a Prompt Response

Making a mental note that you’re eventually going to respond is not enough. You need to act and you need to act fast. Customers always have needs, and whoever responds to those needs first, is likely to win them over. You want that to be you. Don’t stall, make sure you get in touch with your potential customer quickly.

It’s not about being pushy, it’s about providing top quality customer service from the get-go, and listening to your customer’s needs so you can assess how to best address them.

How Small Business Owners Can Best Manage Online Leads
Managing leads can result in increased sales

Acknowledge Not Every Lead Will Become a Sale Opportunity

Yes, it’s important to follow up with your leads as each of them represents a sales opportunity, which leads to growth. However, not everyone who contacts you is ready to take the next step. Be patient and don’t get frustrated if you hit a wall sometimes. Just make sure your lead management process is consistent, regardless of the outcome, and continue to put your best foot forward. Slowly but surely, it will pay off.

 

Your website can help you be more efficient in managing leads.  One example is by enabling web forms to collect important data from your visitors. At Impressions Agency, we will help you improve your visitor’s experience by enhancing your website and making it more dynamic. Request a quote or contact us to find out more about how we can help you grow.

HTTPS vs HTTP – How Does It Affects My Website?

HTTPS vs HTTP and How It Affects My Website

HTTPS is a ranking signal, meaning that if your website is not HTTPS, your online ranking will take a hit that will affect your traffic and possibly, your business. But what exactly is HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure) and how it is different from HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol)?

What Is the Difference Between HTTP and HTTPS?

In the beginning, all websites were just HTTP. At some point, we saw how certain sites, particularly ecommerce sites, were now HTTPS. But why did it suddenly become so important to make the switch from the former to the latter?

Why Should I Use HTTPS?
HTTPS builds trust

Let’s start with the basics. Both HTTP and HTTPS are data transfer protocols that make communication between two systems possible. At plain site you can see the main difference is that one has an “S” at the end but there’s more to it. That extra letter stands for secure. HTTPS is basically, the same as HTTP, except it allows for secure communication to happen over a network. That extra “S” also implies that an SSL certificate is being used, which enables a secure and encrypted connection between the browser and the server.

Why Should I Use HTTPS?

For sites that manage a lot of sensitive data, being without HTTPS is very risky, as any data that navigate across the networks are insecure. If your site is done through a content management system, like WordPress, having HTTPS is the least you can do to offer security to your visitors.

Using HTTPS improves trust. GlobalSign did some research on this and found that over 80 percent of website users would leave a website or not complete their purchase after finding out there is no HTTPS on that site. Eventually, every site is going to have to make the switch. Why not do it now?

 

Your website is an important part of your digital marketing strategy. If you need help building it and managing it the right way, Impressions Agency can help. Get a free quote today.

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Free Vs Paid SSL Certificates: Which Should I Get?

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If you have an online business, getting an SSL certificate is a must. When you’re faced with the decision of going for a free or paid certificate, do you know which is truly the best option for you?

Deciding Between Free and Paid SSL Certificates

Security has always been a major concern of the online community. Given that hacking attempts or attacks and other illegal activities have affected even those considered secure platforms, security has become a legitimate concern for both website owners and users.

SSL certificates exist as a way to manage online security, and it doesn’t hurt that they help with the rankings on search engines. If you’ve heard or read about SSL certificates before, you know there are two categories: free and paid —also known as commercial SSLs. So, which is better? If you’re in the market for an SSL certificate and are unsure which kind would serve you the best, we’ll break it down for you and hopefully, this will help you make a better-informed decision.

Free SSL Certificates

Deciding Between Free and Paid SSL Certificates
Paid SSL certificate provide better services than the free option

As you can imagine by the name, Free SSL certificates are free of cost. They provide HTTPS access and can be self-signed —signed by the issuer, or signed by a Certificate Authority (CA). The level of encryption is the same as the paid certificates. The difference lies in other details.

Type

Domain Validated, which is a rather basic level of authentication.

Level of Validation

Before issuing a certificate, the CA only validates the identity of the website owner.

Expiration

Certificates are valid for 30 to 90 days and must be renewed after that.

Support

None. Since the certificates are free, certificate authorities can’t afford to provide quality support.

Paid SSL Certificates

To get a Paid SSL certificate, you need to purchase it from a trust-worthy certification authority or from 3rd party companies, known as resellers. From an encryption standpoint, paid certificates offer the same as the free ones plus many other services that the free ones don’t.

Type

Offer all three certificate options: Domain Validation (DV), Extended Validation (EV), and Organization Validation (OV).

Level of Validation

Before issuing a certificate, the CA carries out a more detailed verification of the business.

Expiration

Paid certificates are issued for 1 to 2 years.

Support

Certification authorities and resellers offer support 24/7 to their paying customers, via phone, email or chat.

Impressions Agency recognizes the importance of keeping your site secure. We recommend that our clients choose a paid SSL certificate, as it doesn’t have to be renewed as often and provides many other valuable benefits.

 

Different Types of SSL Certificates

Is WordPress Secure?

Online frauds are a reality to watch out for. Keeping your site safe with an SSL Certificate benefits your users and your company. When you’re in the market for SSL certificates, do you know which best suits your needs?

Types of SSL Certificates

SSL certificates are necessary to keep data secure online, otherwise, every bit of data —yours or your customers, will navigate through the internet unencrypted. It’s a matter of waiting before someone gets their hands on that data.

There are different types of SSL certificates and different ways to classify them. When you group them by validation level, there are 3 types of SSL certificates:

Domain Validated

This gives the lowest level of validation. The Certificate Authority, also called CA, makes sure the organization controls the domain in question. This is usually verified by email. Once you demonstrate control over the domain, you get the SSL certificate and the process takes from minutes to hours. As an indication that you’ve been validated, the browser will show that it has made a secured HTTPS connection when your site is loaded. Its validity goes from 1 to 3 years.

Types of SSL CertificatesOrganization Validated

For medium validation, this is the one you need. In this case, the CA will confirm that the organization is authenticated and then validate the ownership of the domain and information like the name, city, and country, which is included in the certificate. This process takes a few days and as an indication that it has been validated, the company information will be included in the certificate details. Its validity goes from 1 to 3 years.

Extended Validation

This provides the most strict level validation. The CA validates the same as the Organization Validated certificate plus physical location, confirms that the company’s existence is legal and also makes sure the organization is aware that an SSL certificate has been requested before approving. Verification is done through plenty of documentation and checks, and it takes a few weeks. The browser will have a green address bar with the company’s name as an indication that it’s been validated. Its validity goes from 1 to 2 years.

SSL certificates are key to keep your data secure, particularly when you run an eCommerce business that will have access to a lot of sensitive data on a daily basis. Take time to go over the differences of each type of certificate and decide what is best for your business.

SSL Certificates: What Are They For?

Internet without security would be a crazy place. To have a pleasant online experience, it is necessary to have that added layer of security that provides privacy and data integrity for both the websites you visit and yourself.

The Importance of SSL Certificates

To this day, the concept of SSL certificates is not clear to many. Have you ever asked yourself why you need an SSL certificate for your website, or if you even need one at all? Let’s start by defining what it is before addressing those questions.

What Are SSL Certificates?

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. An SSL certificate is a small data file with a digital restraint on an organization’s details via a cryptographic key. SSL certificates are commonly used to keep certain information and online transactions secure, such as credit card transactions, logins, data transfers, and even browsing social media sites.

The Importance of SSL Certificates

Do I Need One for My Website?

If you handle sensitive information like credit card information, usernames and their passwords on your site, then it is in your best interest to have an SSL certificate to keep this information safe. In addition to that, having an SSL certificate can improve your Google Rankings, keep data secure at all times, even between servers, generate trusting relationships with your customers, and positively impacts your conversion rates. SSL certificates are especially important when you run an ecommerce website.

How Do I Get an SSL Certificate?

There are different types of SSL certificates you can get. Some are free and some you have to pay for. Impressions Agency recommends that you buy one, eliminating the need to authorize it every few months. When you’re ready to buy your SSL certificate, make sure you go with a trusted Certificate Authority such as GlobalSign. Your website is a very important part of your online marketing strategy. Protect it and make sure it’s safe for visitors to use.

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The Harm in Buying Reviews

The Harm in Buying Reviews

As online marketing gained strength, the importance of online reviews increased, as they are the digital equivalent of word-of-mouth marketing. The impact of positive reviews is quite significant when it comes to promoting your business online but they are not always easy to get. Buying fake reviews might be tempting but it can backfire and put you at a disadvantage.

Why You Should Steer Clear of Buying Fake Reviews

When you think of valuable online reviews, honest reviews is what you need. Those reviews that are a true testament to your customers’ satisfaction are what truly make an impact. Building a strong review portfolio can take time but in some cases, business owners might be tempted to go after a “quick-fix” and pay people to leave positive reviews, fake reviews. How? One way, for example, is to offer free products and services to certain customers —like influencers who people trust, then give them an “extra incentive” in exchange for a positive review. There’s more harm than benefit in doing this.

You’ll Get Caught

Fake reviews are quite obvious. Everything, from the user to the comment is often suspicious. Plus, they’re usually posted in bulk in a matter of minutes, which completely gives away the fact that they are not natural.

The consequences of buying reviews
Buying reviews can cause more harm than good

It Will Take a Toll on Your Reputation

You want to build a trust-based relationship with your customers so that it will stand the test of time. The minute you start lying to your customers, you’ll start losing credibility and losing customers, all at once. Additionally, you can expect that lack of honesty to be promoted online, as customers discover there’s something wrong, in an attempt to warn others. It all just comes spiraling down from there.

It’s Illegal

Just because many people do it, it doesn’t mean it’s legal. When you pay someone to provide their opinions in a public manner, that person is obligated to state in their review that they are a paid endorser. The guidelines are set by the FTC. In 2011, a case became very popular when the FTC fined a company called Legacy Learning Systems for hiring people to provide fake reviews. The fine was for $250,000.

It might be tempting but Impressions Agency doesn’t recommend buying fake reviews. Instead, look for ways to encourage your customers to leave a positive review whenever they feel you did something right. Slowly building a strong, legitimate review portfolio is far more effective.

Online review infographic by websitebuilder.org

Is PPC Right for Your Business?

Is PPC Right for Your Business?

If you’ve been wondering if Pay-Per-Click advertising is worth a try, here’s what you need to know to make a decision.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising: The Pros and Cons

Little by little PPC advertising made its way into the marketing world, especially since search engine marketing started becoming more and more popular. You might be wondering —who is benefited by using PPC ads? The answer: anyone could.

Organic search results can take a while to kick into gear and start rendering the results you’re after, and this is where PPC advertising comes in handy.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising: The Pros and ConsThe Pros

It is a Targeted Way to Advertise

Unlike newspaper ads, your PPC ads will not go out to just anyone. They will go out to a targeted audience, people who might actually turn into potential customers. Your ads will only be shown to those searching for your keywords, which means they are actually going to be seen by people who are interested in the products and services you offer.

It Renders Results Quickly

You can add your business address and number right into the ad, if you want to promote being contacted directly, even if they haven’t clicked on the ad yet. You can pause your ads which comes in very handy when you realize you haven’t received the kind of response expected. This allows you to experiment with your ads until you get a better response.

It is Cost Effective

You would be paying per click, unlike a space in the newspaper that you have to pay just for it to be there, even if no one ever reads it.

The Cons

You Have to Pay for It

Getting to the top of the search results doesn’t happen overnight. PPC puts you at the top of the list but it is not free.

The Cons of PPC

Testing Your Ads Requires Extra Money

Nothing comes out perfect after the very first try. Testing your ads is important to get the results you want but to do so effectively, you need to allocate some of your budget toward that purpose.

The Learning Process Takes Time

When you’re setting your first campaign, you’ll find it a little confusing. There are many details you need to master before you can make the best out of each campaign, and that might take more time than you have. If you decide to do it, it will be worth it because, eventually, you will perfect your approach. But you must be willing to invest some time in it. The other alternative that can give you better results faster is to hire professionals who can help you with PPC.

At Impressions Agency, we can help you market your business with efficient PPC campaigns. Request a free quote today. 

Running an Effective Ecommerce Business

Running an Effective Ecommerce Business

Starting a business can be scary but sometimes, just the thought of starting an ecommerce business can be even scarier. The digital world is a mysterious place for some, but with certain guidelines, it can be easier than you’d ever imagined.

The Tricks to a Successful Ecommerce Business

Starting an ecommerce business can be a great investment when managed properly. E-commerce is rapidly growing these days. By the end of 2018, this industry is expected to reach $2.5 trillion, just in the US. So, if you’re thinking about starting a business, now is a good time to give the ecommerce business model a thought, because there are certainly a lot of benefits to it.

Now, when you think about starting an ecommerce business, do you know what you need to launch a successful one? Here are some guidelines that can help you get set up the right way:

A Stand-Alone Selling Proposition

How do the products or services you offer separate you from the competition? This is something to carefully think about since it’s your first approach towards customers. When you articulate this properly, it can really set you up for success, as it is the base of an effective marketing strategy.

The Tricks to a Successful Ecommerce BusinessGet a Killer Website

Just like having a nice store will draw people in and turn passersby into actual customers, having a solid, attractive website, that makes transactions easy, will be one of the top determining factors in allowing your business to grow.

Top Quality Customer Support

Customer questions can lead to higher sales or can bring your business down depending on how you answer them. Customer support for an ecommerce business in massively important when it comes to successfully running your business. There is no one-on-one with ecommerce businesses, so customers need an effective way to get answers to all their questions in order to build a trusting relationship before deciding to buy, or more importantly, during the sales process or after their purchases. This last part is essential to turn a one-time customer into a life-long one.

An Ecommerce Ally That Can Take You the Extra Mile

Having a partner that can guide you through the digital portion of the process of starting your own ecommerce business and then can help you grow, is really valuable when you’re trying to make a lasting investment. Impressions Agency can be that ally you need. Using WordPress and Woocommerce, we’ll set up more than just a website, a content hug that is dynamic and can help you reach your site performance and SEO goals, while also giving you all the great features that can take your ecommerce site to the next level. Let’s talk about how we can help you grow!

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From Old to New: Blog Refreshing

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From your wardrobe to your playlists, everything eventually needs an update. When it comes to digital marketing, updating your blogs is a good practice to keep getting the most out of those relevant pieces of content.

Give New Life to Outdated Blogs

Life moves at the speed of light and digital marketing does the same. Not everything stays relevant forever, but every now and then, we come across important content that is valuable to your audience but it might have been forgotten, because time pushed it out of sight. With a few tweaks here and there, you can bring those blogs back to life, much like a new coat of paint on that old piece of amazing furniture you forgot you had.

Why Not Just Write a New Blog?

Well, you could and you can, but a new blog doesn’t have the same SEO value than an older, more popular blog. You might have blog posts buried very deep down in your blog that still get a lot of visits. The thing is those visitors might be reading something that was super relevant some time ago, however, today it might not be as accurate as back when it was written. So, why not freshen it up a bit and put it front and center to generate more traffic to your website? More traffic, more conversations, everyone’s happy.

Which blogs should I republish
High-ranking blogs are good republishing material

Another reason blog refreshing is a good idea, is because you might have new readers now who didn’t get a chance to read those awesome older blogs, which just happen to be high-performing little jewels.

The Right Republishing Material

Ok, so, when we say that republishing is a good idea, it doesn’t mean you should apply this to all your old blogs. Republishing is a good practice that can save you some time during your content creation process, but it’s not to be abused. You can go over what you have and choose those blogs that truly have SEO value and that can still be relevant today. But you still should be creating fresh content.

Top Quality Blogs to Drive Attention to Your Business

Blogging can be a great digital marketing tool but it can be very time-consuming. When you’re busy running a business, making time for things like blogging is not always feasible. So, what do you do? You contact the pros to give you a hand. At Impressions Agency, we don’t just write blogs, we take the time to get to know our clients so we can develop great digital strategies that suit them best. Let’s talk! We’re happy to answer all your questions.

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