The German market is not enough for you? This is how your online shop takes off internationally

The world is your marketplace. At least it can be – if you dare to take the step into international business. You can read here why you should do this and what you need to consider on the way there.

“Made in Germany”: We rock!

Products from Germany enjoy great popularity all over the world. An elaborate study on the quality assessment by country of manufacture by Yougov in cooperation with the British Cambridge University showed in 2019 that German products are in first place worldwide. Only six percent of the survey participants attribute a negative image to German products, with over half of the respondents they are associated with a positive impression.

So why not sell German products internationally?

Granted, Germany is of course already exporting very successfully. It was not for nothing that Germany was the third largest export country in 2018 (after China and the USA). Internationally, you can not only sell classic export goods (in our case these are primarily cars, trucks, machines and electronics), but also all other goods. Preferably, of course, those that are already being sold online in Germany.

Many e-commerce retailers still shy away from entering foreign markets, because the decision to sell their own goods internationally comes with a number of challenges. But it’s worth it, because foreign markets offer huge potential – with a huge potential clientele.

This is especially true for German providers. While German online shoppers only obtained 32 percent of the goods bought online from abroad in 2018, the proportion is significantly higher for many European neighbors. 72 percent of the goods that Belgians bought online came from abroad, 81 percent for Austrians and as much as 84 percent for Irish. The best conditions for German e-commerce providers.

But what should you watch out for in e-commerce across national borders?

Other countries other manners!

What seems pretty obvious at first shouldn’t be underestimated. Not only is the language different, the (online shopping) mentality may also differ from country to country.

A translation of your shop page and product descriptions (possibly also machine-generated) is not enough. It is important to strike the right note and make overseas consumers feel that you are actually speaking their language.

This also includes an appropriate design of the shop and a structure of your shop page that corresponds to the country. While Europeans prefer more sober and structured online shops, for example, things can be more opulent in Asia, with a wide range of products right on the first page. The worlds of color and images also differ greatly from region to region. Working with professional translators, designers and people who know the new target group well is therefore essential.

You should also have (at least) a lawyer on board, because the legal situation also differs from country to country. We are talking about various tax rates and customs fees, certain delivery conditions and other terms and conditions, and data protection. Within the EU, this is at least uniformly regulated by the GDPR, but completely different provisions apply in other markets.

Shipping and the logistics behind it are also important issues, as is payment in different currencies and payment systems.

And all of this is only a fraction of what has to be considered when opening up international markets.

If the thought comes to you at this point: “Phew, maybe it’s not worth the effort”, let me tell you two things: First, it’s worth the effort! Second, with the right strategy, everything is half as wild!

Your strategy for getting started on foreign markets

Every journey begins with a first step

This also applies to your goods when they make their way to a foreign buyer. You don’t have to start your very own shop abroad. You might not even want to.

Instead, it can make sense to set up a brand shop on a marketplace established in the target country (e.g. Ebay, Amazon, Allegro in Poland and Bol.com in the Netherlands) and initially offer a few selected products there. If you achieve good results with this, the offer can then be expanded until you can finally set up your own shop in the target country.

The use of a marketplace not only means less risk and less effort for you, but also a lot of linguistic, legal and logistical relief, as the operators deal with many matters (such as language and structure and the web shop, payment systems and clarification of complaints and Returns) yourself.

On the other hand, the use of already existing marketplaces is sometimes accompanied by restrictions, for example with regard to the product range or certain requirements for pricing and the delivery process.

ChannelAdvisor provides assistance

So marketplaces can be a complicated business, too, but you can get support. ChannelAdvisor has specialized in supporting e-commerce providers (with international sales) and offers a platform with which various marketplaces (including, of course, Amazon, Zalando, Otto and Co.) can be managed. The platform was honored with the E-Commerce Germany Award 2020 as Best Solution for International Expansion, combines all essential marketing, sales and fulfillment activities and can make your start in international markets much easier.

If you first want to deepen your knowledge of marketplace management or digital marketing specifically for e-commerce, you can do so with the free e-book from Channel Advisor . It explains step by step which challenges await you on the way to international sales and what you should consider as an online retailer.

I know where your money is: this is how online shops keep track of their finances

The calculation is simple: the more sales your online shop generates, the more numerous and also more confused the financial flows. It is all the more important to know what to look out for so that you always have an overview of all your demands.

The concept of classic trade is basically quite simple: goods (or services) for money. If customers order online, there is often the option of buying on account and thus postponing payment. Shop operators have to organize themselves particularly well in order to keep track of all outstanding claims at all times. Special cases such as discount campaigns, credits and cancellations add complexity – as does the growth of your shop. Because the more you sell, the more complex your financial flows become. So not only people know the well-known growth pain from their youth – but also your online shop.

But if you know what to look out for (and have the right tool at hand), your online shop will grow painlessly and without any problems. “ Cash , boom, bang” instead of “Crash, boom, bang”!

These things add complexity to e-commerce

  • The step into the international market 

Is your online shop established in your home country and it is time for the international market? Congratulations! The development of international markets holds a lot of potential – but also ensures a not inconsiderable complexity. Because not only are different currencies and other tax rates lurking here, but in some cases also completely different legal bases. So it pays to be particularly careful here so that your money arrives at you even if you sell abroad.

  • Different payment methods

A free choice of payment method is essential for a successful user experience and thus long-term customer loyalty. At the same time, the same applies here: the more payment methods you offer, the more complex the administration becomes for you. To keep an overview at all times, there are tools that can support you – you can read more about this below.

  • A lot of customers – a lot of data

Your online shop is going through the roof and thousands of new customers are buying from you? Hammer! You should pay attention to two things here: On the one hand, your shop system must be able to cope with the onslaught of customers on a technical level, and on the other hand, you should make sure that you treat your customers’ data with care. A CRM ( Customer Relationship Management ) system can help, organize your customers’ data and ensure that your accountants can do their job properly.

  • A lot of sales mean a lot of claims – and a lot of special cases

As the number of customers increases, so do your sales. That makes the cash register ring – but only if you really get the money. Special cases such as cancellations and returns make managing your financial flows even more complicated. So that you always have an overview when booking funds back and forth, you should deal with payment clearing.

And this is how you counteract these dangers: With payment clearing from nexnet

So growth makes business more complicated. Then the solution is to stop growing? Not at all, the solution is Payment Clearing from nexnet . With Payment Clearing, all money movements can be monitored and recorded at the individual transaction level.

These advantages are waiting for you:

  • With payment clearing from nexnet you will be informed about all financial flows, their due dates, completeness and correctness.
  • Payment Clearing is compatible with all common PSP (Payment Service Providern) or in German payment service providers such as Paypal, Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Klarna and many more.
  • And you always have an eye on what your PSP is up to. Because they never transfer the entire amount of an end customer’s purchase, but instead keep their commission on the one hand, and a kind of “security deposit” on the other, in order to be able to set up provisions for cancellations etc. After a certain time, for example after the return period has expired, the PSP will pay you this amount back – but not for each customer individually, but in a collective transfer with all orders from the current period. Without payment clearing, it is difficult to understand for which order the PSP has already paid the security deposit and for which it has not – with payment clearing you always have an overview.
  • Payment clearing also works internationally! All money movements are recorded with current exchange rates and posted directly with the appropriate tax rates.
  • nexnet creates a testable monthly statement for you. All necessary data is transferred directly to your general ledger; All common general ledger solutions such as SAP or Datev are also supported here. This relieves your accountants and ensures that you never have to fear the next audit again.
  • With the use of payment clearing you save time and money, because your team has more capacity for the core business and can drive your online shop even further – without any growing pains!

 

In 6 easy steps to the customer journey map

customer journey map is a valuable tool for identifying pitfalls along the customer journey. You can find out how to put it on using the following steps.

The checkout process offers only a few payment options, information about the desired product can hardly be found online, the shop design is confusing or the delivery of the package leaves a lot to be desired. On the customer journey – from the moment a customer becomes aware of a product or service through to the actual purchase – there are countless pitfalls that can cause them to jump out prematurely. The tougher the competition in the respective segment and the more sophisticated the competition’s customer journey, the more relentless consumers are when it comes to a bad customer experience (CX) – after all, the next offer is just a click away. A tried and tested tool for identifying potholes and growth opportunities along the customer journey is the customer journey map. On it, the customer journey is analyzed step by step and graphically displayed so that you can put yourself in the customer’s shoes as precisely as possible. The following points are intended to provide guidance on which aspects should be considered when setting up a customer journey map. On it, the customer journey is analyzed step by step and graphically displayed so that you can put yourself in the customer’s shoes as precisely as possible. The following points are intended to provide guidance on which aspects should be considered when setting up a customer journey map. On it, the customer journey is analyzed step by step and graphically displayed so that you can put yourself in the customer’s shoes as precisely as possible. The following points are intended to provide guidance on which aspects should be considered when setting up a customer journey map.

This is how you set up a customer journey map

Step 1: Data analysis
At the beginning of every customer journey mapping, marketers should view and analyze their data balance. The more detailed the data basis and analysis, the more meaningful the customer journey map is. Data sources that can be particularly informative here are Google Analytics, for example to measure length of stay, bounce or conversion rate, collected customer feedback and reports from customer service.

Step 2: Define buyer personas
Based on the data collected and analyzed in the previous step, it is now necessary to develop one or more buyer personas for the customer journey map (s). Ideally, a separate customer journey map should be set up for each buyer persona, as the individual needs sometimes differ significantly. If there is no time or resources for this, you can start with just one buyer persona. Relevant dimensions that should be reflected in the buyer persona are, for example, demographic characteristics (age, gender, marital status), socio-economic criteria (occupation, education), but also psychographic aspects (lifestyle, set of values, possibly political attitudes, …) .

Step 3: Define customer steps
This step is about defining the individual stages that a customer goes through on their journey. Customer journey maps can take different forms; In our example it should be a linear map, so the individual steps are noted on a timeline. Important: “Step” here is not the same as “Touchpoint”, since there are also steps on the customer journey that do not involve contact with your own company. This is the case, for example, in the early phase of the customer journey, when the desire to buy a specific product or service is only just being awakened. When we speak of “touchpoint”, we mean the explicit contact between customer and company.

Step 4: Identify relevant channels
In order to identify potential for improvement in the marketing mix, it is important to question at every step of the customer which relevant channels are already being served or not yet being served. The crucial question here is: Do I cover all the necessary channels? In the buyer persona, media consumption was ideally taken into account – so I have a standardized picture of which channels my customers reach. Comparing different channels with one another can provide interesting insights. For example, if a channel has a significantly lower conversion rate than others, this can be a sign that the CX needs to be improved.

Step 5: Evaluate the customer’s emotional world
Since every step on the customer journey causes a different kind of emotional impulse in customers, it is also advisable to take into account the emotionality in customer journey mapping. In order to distinguish and visualize negative and positive feelings as well as their intensity, it is advisable to work with a plus-minus scale, emoticons or the like. Steps that are perceived as negative should ideally be completely removed or adjusted so that they no longer trigger negative sensations. In particular, the end of the customer journey, i.e. the purchase or repurchase of a product or service, should always be positively charged. This step is crucial, as regular customers become repeat buyers and ideally brand advocates.

Step 6: Prioritize customer steps
Finally, it is important to prioritize the previously defined customer steps according to relevance. Depending on the buyer persona, there can be strong deviations in terms of which steps are perceived as particularly important. The aim here should also be to compare the steps with the emotional involvement of the customer at the respective point. Particularly relevant steps on the customer journey should by no means trigger a negative connotation in the buyer persona. If so, companies should consider how they can manage to redirect the focus to positive emotions.

Once these steps have been taken, the first version of the customer journey map is available. Before it is rolled out, it should be put through its paces within the organization to test whether it can withstand reality. It is important to never consider the customer journey mapping as complete. It is an ongoing process that should be iterated regularly in order to depict the most realistic picture of the customer journey.

Many young adults find influencer marketing more believable than traditional advertising

The Influencer marketing has in 2020 continued to gain influence. According to a study, 21.6 percent of Germans bought a product because they saw it at an influencer.

Youtubers, Instagramers, bloggers and other influencers further expanded their influence on German consumers in 2020 . According to a study by the Bundesverband Digitale Wirtschaft (BVDW), more than a fifth of Germans (21.6 percent) bought a product because an influencer had advertised it. Last year, this value was 19 percent, after 16 percent in 2018.

Influencers are part of the marketing mix

“Influencers have established themselves as a tool in the marketing mix,” said BVDW Vice President Anke Herbener. Large advertising companies have been relying on influencers for years, and their influence on sales is now measurable. According to the study, more than a quarter (26.4 percent) of all respondents see an influencer on a digital channel at least once a day.

Young adults are naturally more open to influencer marketing, which takes place primarily online, than older ones. Among 16- to 24-year-olds, 52.6 percent stated that they had bought a product advertised by influencers. Also exciting: over half (51.2 percent) of young adults find influencer marketing more credible than traditional advertising on TV, radio or newspapers. At least 15 percent of 55-64 year olds are of this opinion. Overall, however, only 7.5 percent of Germans answered here with a clear yes.

Influencer marketing annoying for a quarter

Almost a quarter of the Germans surveyed (23.8 percent) find influencers annoying, which is almost two percentage points above the value of last year. A large majority of respondents, on the other hand, have no problem with advertising by influencers. According to the study , influencers should cope well with the economic crisis triggered by the corona pandemic . “As soon as the economy recovers, advertisers will also consider influencers in their marketing budget again, we’re sure of that,” says Anke Herbener.

Bad search results? Google points this out and gives tips for improvement

Your next Google search result could start by saying that the search engine does not think the results displayed are good. You will also receive tips on how the result could be improved.

The latest innovation, which Google has given its searchers according to a report by The Verge , sounds unnecessary at first glance. The search engine giant wants to give a hint on its results pages in the future if it does not consider a result listing to be optimal. How can that be possible when the company scours and indexes the network every day, you might ask. The answer lies primarily in the specific search query itself.

We don’t have a perfect match for you today

“It looks like there aren’t any great matches for your search” translates as “There doesn’t seem to be any perfect matches for your search”. At first glance, this sounds like a certain self-criticism on the part of the search engine operator, but on second glance it turns out to be primarily a hint to the searcher to formulate his query more precisely.

In fact, it seems inconceivable that Google cannot make a reasonable offer for a search phrase. However, especially with very generic terms, it is very common that the search result is just as generic. You have probably already started searches yourself where the results did not have much to do with your search intent. So the problem is not the quality of the search result, but the quality of the search query.

Google gives tips on how to improve search quality

Under the new note you will find tips on how to make your search more specific. Google draws your attention to useful parameters or suggests using combinations of terms that are highly likely to appear on the website you are looking for. In general, Google also links its help pages for searchers .

The new notice is primarily a service for all those who have never dealt with the further possibilities of specific search queries. It’s all still uncharted territory …

6 tips for successful digital marketing

Doesn’t digital matter? Yes, if it is implemented correctly! A little know-how about the possibilities of the digital marketing mix can’t hurt. Sarah Weingarten from Sendinblue gives you the six most important tips for your digital marketing.

Tip 1: Don’t forget your personas even on the Internet!

Personas are fictional representations of a company’s target groups. They are characterized with specific characteristics such as hobbies, job titles, interests, age or gender. Personas thus represent the basis of development strategies – also in marketing. Use your personas as a basis for digital advertising. Using the characteristics of the personas, you can define exactly on which pages and platforms you will find your target group. This limits your media platform selection and increases the performance of your marketing campaigns.

Tip 2: Assert yourself – good pictures, good texts, good banners!

Digital also means freedom. And freedom of design. You can implement your marketing in a variety of ways, animate campaigns and ads, add videos and sometimes even use sound. This enables a lot of new design freedom. However, it is important that the rules for good design are adhered to. After all, you assert yourself against a multitude of stimuli on the Internet. The recipients are also no longer so sensitive to advertising. With good pictures, powerful texts and a spark of creativity, however, you can really score digitally.

Tip 3: You can do more with retargeting!

Retargeting is a measure that aims to draw people’s attention to a brand or product several times. This usually works with your own website. Visitors are marked with a cookie; You carry this cookie with you and as soon as you visit other websites with the same advertising system, the product you have already researched will be displayed again. This ensures that interested parties do not get lost after browsing through websites, but continue to be confronted with the desire for the product or service. Retargeting works with Google, for example, but also with social networks such as Facebook.

Tip 4: Facebook is not a thing of the past – reach new customers on the social network!

A lot of digital activity takes place on social networks like Facebook or LinkedIn. With targeted communication in these networks, you can reach customers and interested parties. Post news from your company, interact with prospects, respond to comments and show that you are available. In addition to interactions, you can also use social networks to target your products with paid ads to exactly the right target groups. Facebook, for example, has so much information about its users that target groups can be defined very specifically according to interests, locations or other characteristics. This reduces the wastage of your ad and you only reach those people who are potentially really interested in your offer.

Digital marketing

Tip 5: Automation – a little AI, a little newsletter, a little future!

Automation is particularly in the focus in the area of ​​digital marketing, more precisely in email marketing. Marketing automation facilitates work processes, minimizes effort and makes it possible to address interested parties and potential customers at exactly the right time in their customer journey. Automation is mostly implemented using emails. For example, if a new user creates a customer account, he or she is automatically sent an email – or when he orders a product. Automation is also possible away from specific purchases. Triggers can also be other events – opening an email or clicking a link. With automated workflows, contacts can be made with customers, new customers can be turned into returning ones and dormant customers can be awakened.

Tip 6: Good software is the basis

Retargeting, automation, newsletters and the like – all of this can best be implemented with appropriate software. This saves you time, energy and resources and allows you to manage all of your marketing campaigns in one place. Sendinblue is one such digital marketing platform. Regardless of the industry, company size or objective: Sendinblue combines functions such as e-mail marketing , automation, SMS marketing, retargeting and CRM on one platform. So if you want to take your business to the next level, you should definitely opt for solid software. What are you waiting for? Full speed ahead in digital marketing.

Study on Google Ranking Factors: These are really relevant

As part of a study, Backlinko determined the importance of individual Google ranking factors. With some long-known, but also with surprising results.

Backlinko, run by SEO expert Brian Dean, analyzed 11.8 million Google search results in a study. The aim of the study was to find out which factors are related in which way to the Google rankings of the analyzed pages. In cooperation with Ahrefs, a list of twelve findings has come out that provides some SEO optimization approaches.

Backlink profile at domain level

The link authority of the analyzed websites is said to have correlated with better Google rankings. The more quantitative and qualitative the backlinks that linked to a domain, the higher all rankings for the entire domain were. In the study, the link authority was determined using the Ahrefs domain rating.

Number of backlinks

Websites with a lot of backlinks are said to have achieved higher rankings. On average, the pages in Google’s pole position had 3.8 times more backlinks than the pages following in the rankings in positions two to ten.

Holistic content

Websites with extensive and in-depth content are said to have achieved higher rankings than pages that only touched on topics. In the study, the content grade of the SEO optimization tool Clearscope was used to determine the content depth and quality .

Page load time

Surprisingly, according to the study, the loading time of a website is not an important ranking factor. There was no clear correlation between the speed and the rankings, so that even websites with long loading times should have achieved high rankings.

Diversified backlinks

The number of backlinks from as many different websites as possible should be relevant for the rankings in Google. Many backlinks from external sites have a positive effect on the rankings.

Keywords and title tags

In the vast majority of the analyzed search results, the given title tags are said to have matched the keywords for which the websites appeared in the search results. However, the use of keywords in title tags should not have played a role for the level of the rankings.

Authority of individual subpages

The authority of individual URLs on a website has a weak correlation with the rankings. This was determined in the study of Ahrefs’ URL rating. This shows the strength of the link profile of a URL on a 100-point scale. The larger the number, the stronger the link profile. The rating takes into account both internal and external links.

Length of the content

Websites in the first position of the organic Google search results are said to have an average length of 1,447 words. The number of words is said to have been evenly distributed over the first ten search results.

Amount of data in the HTML codes

The amount of data in the HTML code should not be relevant for the Google search results, so that websites with data-intensive HTML codes can also rank high.

Length of the URL

There is little correlation between the URL length and the rankings. According to the Backlinko study, short URLs only have a slight ranking advantage over longer URLs.

Structured data

Even if websites with schema markup help the Google bot, are usually more present and noticeable in Google search results and are consequently clicked more often: Structured data should not be relevant for high Google rankings.

Length of stay

The length of stay should affect the level of the rankings. According to this, websites whose visitors stay long tend to have higher rankings. A length of stay that was three seconds longer is said to have correlated with higher rankings in the study.

Check optimizations carefully before implementation

The results of the study provide website operators with useful optimization approaches, but should nevertheless be viewed with caution. According to the study, loading times, for example, should not be related to high rankings. Nevertheless, long loading times would most likely lead to high bounce rates and short dwell times – which, according to the study, should in turn be relevant for high rankings.

Online advertising: Publishers only get half the advertising spend

The British association ISBA has examined the distribution of advertising budgets – and called for more transparency. In online advertising, for example, only half of the expenditure goes to publishers.

The auditors at Price water house coopers have examined the distribution of advertising budgets on behalf of the British association ISBA and have come across quite a mess. Specifically, the study dealt with so-called programmatic advertising. Advertising spaces on websites are auctioned on large marketplaces. One of the most important results: only 51 percent of the expenditure on online advertising ultimately reached the publishers.

Online advertising: part of the budget “disappears”

Also interesting: for 15 percent of the advertising expenditure, despite intensive research, it was not possible to determine where the money was going, as heise.de reports . Advertising budgets with a total volume of 100 million pounds from clients such as Shell, Walt Disney and Vodafone were analyzed. The auditors were also able to view the relevant documents from publishers, advertising agencies and adtech service providers such as Google or Amazon.

In addition to the 51 percent for the publisher, according to the study, seven percent of the budget went to advertising agencies. A further ten percent of the total expenditure will therefore go into the technical processing and operation of the ad server. Another 18 percent go in the form of fees from advertisers and eight percent from publishers to service providers, including the operators of the marketplaces on which publishers offer their advertising space. One percent of the total advertising budget makes up a technology fee, as the auditors have calculated.

ISBA criticizes “hole in the value chain”

According to the study, the fact that it was not possible to determine the whereabouts of the remaining 15 percent is due to incompatible data formats. The definition of what size should be considered an advertising call also made the research more difficult. Moving advertising campaigns between platforms also makes tracking virtually impossible. Because of this “hole in the value chain”, the ISBA association called for more transparency in advertising trade.

Brand experience – how far do brands have to go?

Brands need to attract attention in a highly competitive environment. Offering a good product is no longer enough today. A comprehensive staging with the greatest possible quality of experience helps. How far do brands have to go?

The market is saturated with high-quality products, all conceivable designs and models are permanently available. Customers can find out more about products, manufacturers and brands than ever before and make their own personal choices. Where products no longer differ significantly in terms of quality or function, the choice falls on the product that appeals to you most emotionally.

Companies have recognized this and are therefore increasingly relying on combining product and brand with an experience. A whole lifestyle is built up with which the customers identify and to which they want to feel they belong. Decisive reasons for a purchase are increasingly hedonistic. The product alone no longer makes you happy, it is the associated experience and the experience around it. As Goldsmith University and Adobe found out in a 2017 study , 61 percent of consumers buy products and services that reflect their personal values; and 43 percent value having a connection with the company. That means: only those who, as customers, can identify with the brand experience remain loyal.

Attention, please!

For companies this means – in addition to developing the best possible product – to attract the attention of customers and to keep it through the special brand promise and the experience associated with it. Experience is the magic word – whether brand experience or customer experience, a whole experience economy is formed.

The coffee company Starbucks, for example, does not want to make people happy with a coffee alone, but rather focuses on the well-being of its customers. A visit to the coffee shop is a great personalized welcome in a convincing atmosphere. Customers like to share this experience on their personal social media channels and thus become multipliers for the brand. But brands like Pampers, Apple and Adidas also manage to offer their customers an experience instead of just shopping.

Find the balance

How do companies and brands manage to find and build such an authentic aura around them? How far do brands have to go without appearing implausible? Would we relieve the automobile manufacturer of a family vehicle from expertise in matters of parenting and childcare and also buy baby food or parenting guides?

And where do brands not go far enough and fail to keep their promising promise? After the diesel scandal, a car manufacturer has great difficulties in positioning itself as a fuel-efficient and resource-efficient brand. This is where the dreaded experience gap arises. Almost every fifth customer punishes this with switching to a different brand, at least according to the Experience Gap study by Clear Strategy.

If companies put themselves in the shoes of their customers and ask the questions of what could arouse interest and what would tend to be boring or even put off, this is a good start. The key is to build an emotional bond. Here, the entire company, the entire corporate culture must be involved and lived. Unfortunately, there is no one silver bullet for all industries. Every company, every brand has to find a suitable strategy for itself.

Roadmap for walking the tightrope

One possibility can be to enrich the product itself with properties that no comparable product on the market has and that contribute to the brand message. Another possibility is to combine the product with a unique service or a service that does not yet exist. It is important that the utility value is reconciled with the brand promise and the experience and that the defined customer needs are not only satisfied, but also fulfilled over and over again. The greater the competition for a product, the more important an outstanding presentation and the link with a positive quality of experience become.

It can’t stop with a good story about the product or brand. The brand experience goes well beyond that! Of course, quality and product properties are the first points of contact for a customer, but a holistic experience arises in so many more places. All touchpoints are crucial! Starting with the visual representation through to uniform communication both externally and internally: It is important to create a corporate culture that the customer perceives consistently. Customer service, for example, plays a very important role. For example, if a product promises simple, intuitive and hurdle-free usability, a complicated registration process, an opaque license agreement or limited customer support can completely destroy this product promise. The comprehensive experience has to be thought through down to the last detail: If a customer is always addressed by you, there is a break when he is literally answered on the hotline. All processes must be integrated into the culture.

When asked how far brands have to go, the answer can only be: further than expected! Namely through the entire company, through all levels, through all customer touchpoints and through every employee who works for the brand, because every employee is also a brand ambassador. Then the brand experience becomes the heart of the company, then it helps the brand to have a long life.

Five Winning Strategies For Starting a Business

Dо уоu dream аbоut starting a business, but don’t know whеrе tо begin? Does thе idea оf bеіng уоur оwn boss аnd creating a company thаt provides great products аnd services excite you? But аll уоu dо іѕ dream, unable tо mоvе ahead? You’re nоt аlоnе. Mаnу women feel thіѕ wау.

Mоrе thаn twenty-five years ago, I launched mу оwn company, a public relations agency thаt іѕ ѕtіll thriving today. I’ve аlѕо hаd thе privilege оf mentoring mаnу оthеr women entrepreneurs. I’ve seen whаt works аnd whаt prevents women frоm moving ahead. Bеlоw аrе fіvе step-by-step strategies thаt саn help уоu launch thе business оf уоur dreams.

1. Commit tо оnе business
Yоu muѕt commit tо оnе business. Thе biggest roadblock tо bеіng аn entrepreneur іѕ fear оf choosing оnе business аnd going fоr іt. Yоu can’t gеt аn enterprise оff thе ground, іf уоu spread уоurѕеlf thіn. Ovеr аnd оvеr аgаіn thrоughоut thе years, I’ve mеt women whо hаvе thе passion tо bесоmе entrepreneurs, but thеу kеер spinning іn circles, nеvеr committing tо оnе business. Look аt іt thіѕ wау, оnсе уоu succeed аt building уоur fіrѕt company, уоu саn аlwауѕ start аnоthеr оnе.

Remember, tоо, thаt it’s important tо choose a business thаt уоu аrе passionate аbоut. Thіѕ іѕ nоt аbоut thе latest fad оr fashion. It’s аbоut making a commitment tо ѕоmеthіng thаt wіll absorb large amounts оf уоur tіmе – аnd possibly quite a bit оf money. Sо choose wisely. If уоu want tо start аn online business, thеn commit tо іt. If уоu want tо open a retail store, thеn gо fоr іt. If уоu want tо bе a contractor, thеn mоvе ahead. But don’t hang уоurѕеlf uр bу wanting tо dо аll thrее things аt оnсе. Make a choice аnd commit.

2. Research thаt business
Today, it’s easier thаn еvеr tо learn аbоut аnу business іn thе world. Fоr thе fastest results, look online. Google thе type оf business уоu want tо start. Fіnd оut аbоut professional organizations іn thе field. Rеаd blogs аnd bulletin boards bу people doing similar things. Learn аbоut sources оf help. Rеаd industry articles аnd buy thе magazines оr books thаt саn teach уоu mоrе. Participate іn teleseminars. Yоu аlѕо need tо reach оut tо business people аnd оthеrѕ whо mау bе able tо help уоu. Yоu саn dо thіѕ thrоugh networking аt local events, seminars, business groups, аnd online thrоugh social networks. Make sure уоu understand thе business thаt уоu want tо start. Thе mоrе уоu know аbоut іt, thе greater уоur chance fоr success.

3. Create a business blueprint
Don’t worry аbоut writing a formal business plan аt fіrѕt. Business plans аrе essential іf уоu want tо raise money thrоugh venture capital оr obtain a commercial loan frоm a bank оr оthеr source. Mоѕt people start businesses wіth thеіr оwn funds оr a personal loan.

Whаt уоu actually need іѕ a thrее tо four-page business blueprint thаt serves аѕ уоur personal guide tо navigating thе road ahead. Here’s whаt goes іntо a business blueprint:
а. A clear description оf whаt thе business does аnd whо іt serves.
b. A description оf hоw thе business wіll run оn a day-to-day basis.
с. A list оf уоur specific responsibilities аѕ thе business owner.
d. A list оf whаt оthеr people wіll dо.
е. An estimate оf whаt іt wіll cost tо run thе business fоr thе fіrѕt year.
f. An estimate оf hоw уоu wіll cover thеѕе first-year expenses, еіthеr thrоugh sales оr frоm ѕоmе оthеr source.

Onсе уоu create a written picture оf hоw thе business wіll function, you’ll bе able tо mоvе ahead tо thе nеxt step.

4. Build a team
Onе оf thе biggest myths аbоut starting a business іѕ thinking thаt you’ve got tо dо іt аlоnе. But уоu can’t create a great business wіthоut help. Using уоur business blueprint аѕ a guide, you’ll need tо рut tоgеthеr thе following thrее teams:

Professional Advisors: Thеѕе аrе thе professionals whо wіll advise уоu оn thе basics оf starting a business ѕuсh аѕ whеthеr tо incorporate; whаt type оf insurance coverage tо obtain; аnd whеrе tо work. Thеѕе professionals wіll include аn accountant, аn insurance agent, аnd possibly a lawyer оr real estate broker. Make sure уоu gеt recommendations frоm оthеr small business owners bеfоrе уоu hire thеѕе experts.

Informal “Board оf Directors”: Thіѕ іѕ a group оf unpaid advisors, оftеn mаdе uр оf friends аnd acquaintances wіth business expertise, whо wіll mentor уоu аѕ you’re finding уоur wау іn thе business world. Don’t bе shy аbоut asking fоr thеіr advice. You’ll bе surprised аt hоw mаnу people аrе willing tо help, іf уоu оnlу ask.

Yоur Own Staff: Thіѕ іѕ thе team whо wіll work wіth уоu оn a daily basis tо help уоu build уоur business. If you’re nоt rеаdу fоr full-time employees, think аbоut adding college interns оr part-time employees. Don’t make thе mistake оf trying tо dо еvеrуthіng уоurѕеlf. Instead focus оn thе key activities thаt wіll gіvе уоu thе biggest return. Yоur business wіll grow twice аѕ fast.

5. Surround Yоurѕеlf Wіth Positive People
It’s nоt еnоugh tо simply follow thе fоur steps listed аbоvе, уоu muѕt believe іn уоurѕеlf. Thеrе wіll bе mаnу tіmеѕ whеn you’ll question уоurѕеlf, wondering whеthеr you’re doing thе right thіng. That’s whу it’s essential tо surround уоurѕеlf wіth positive people. Negative people encourage self-doubt. Thеу drain уоur tіmе аnd energy, аnd undermine уоur ambitions. Negative people соmе іn mаnу guises, frоm thоѕе whо don’t want уоu tо gеt ahead tо оthеrѕ whо ѕее thе downside оf еvеrу situation. And thеу аrе еvеrуwhеrе. Sоmе mау еvеn bе family аnd friends. Try nоt tо share уоur business dreams wіth thеm. Instead, share уоur ideas wіth people whо аrе supportive. Positive people wіll help уоu build уоur business. Seek thеm оut fоr counsel аnd advice.

Starting a business mау ѕееm like a daunting task. But іf уоu аrе passionate аnd committed tо making іt work, thеn following thеѕе steps wіll help make thе journey easier, lеѕѕ complex, аnd muсh mоrе fun.

Jane Wesman іѕ president оf Jane Wesman Public Relations, Inс., (http://www.wesmanpr.com) a firm thаt creates high impact book publicity campaigns fоr publishers аnd writers. Shе іѕ аlѕо thе author оf Dive Right In – Thе Sharks Won’t Bite: Thе Entrepreneurial Woman’s Guide tо Success.

Wesman’s articles оn business аnd marketing hаvе appeared іn ѕuсh magazines аnd оn ѕuсh websites аѕ American Bookseller, Professional Performance, Inс., Enterprising Women, foxbusiness.com, аnd womenentrepreneur.com. Wesman іѕ аlѕо a frequent guest оn television аnd radio.

Wesman hаѕ bееn a guest speaker аt thе National Women’s Business Council, thе Womensphere Leadership & Innovation Conference, thе Stern School оf Business, thе Fashion Institute оf Technology, аnd thе Learning Annex, аmоng оthеr venues. Shе іѕ currently working оn a new book аbоut women аnd entrepreneurial leadership.