You could be missing opportunities to save time and money by using the most obvious online resources at your disposal.
For example, you would hardly say that email is currently a groundbreaking invention.
But Pew Research Center did a study that found that, as of 2013, 61% of workers see email as the most important tool for doing their jobs. Email beat the internet, phones (both landline and cell), and social media.
Those surveyed said that all of those resources, to varying degrees, enable them to work longer. They can also communicate with more people and have more versatility for when they work.
These technologies have pervaded our society so thoroughly that it almost seems superfluous to mention them. But it is easy to be so comfortable using a particular tool that you overlook all of its potential advantages.
This pitfall is one that Tom Tarasiuk, president and owner of Discount Water Softeners, has avoided.
Instead, through hard work and creativity, he has figured out how to use the online tools he already had to his business’s greatest advantage. In doing so, he has maximized company time and kept overhead costs down.
Email has been around for a while, and it’s not as though Tarasiuk’s customer service reps weren’t using it to do their jobs.
There was a time when the reps were spending an average of 45 minutes resolving each customer issue. They spent 15 of those minutes communicating through email and 30 on the phone.
The business was growing, increasing the workload and causing the company to be shorthanded. But because Tarasiuk does his best to keep costs down, he was reluctant to hire more employees.
He then realized his reps could use email to save time when communicating with customers. Because many of the customers’ questions were similar, Tarasiuk organized the most common ones in a form that users could fill out before talking to a representative.
The company was able to considerably decrease the amount of time each call took, and they cut back on the volume of their calls by a fifth. And because of other information they added to the forms, they raised their conversion rate via the forms to 30%.
Granted, it was not through email alone that they accomplished these feats. The e-commerce platform Magento (which we’ll get to in a minute) and information provided by Crazy Egg were key factors.
But this illustrates an important lesson. [clickToTweet tweet=”Knowing how to use an old resource with new ones can increase productivity and reduce waste.” quote=”Knowing how to use an old resource with new ones can increase productivity and reduce waste.”]
According to Tarasiuk, Google Adwords has been “pivotal” in his business’s growth.
Discount Water Softeners has been using Google Adwords for over 10 years, but that doesn’t mean they were using it to its complete capacity for that entire time.
For a while, they were only spending an average of $20/day on it, and this strategy wasn’t doing much for them.
Recognizing they needed help, Tarasiuk went to an SEO forum looking for an advisor. There, he discovered Gail Gardner, who counseled him to spend at least $70-$80 per day on Adwords. That decision was critical in enabling the company to start being found by people online.
Tarasiuk says that after deciding to take that leap of faith, they never looked back. Working without an outside Adwords expert has been crucial, not only to help people find them in the first place but also to continue to increase their profits.
For a time, the company had to go without an Adwords advisor and instead worked with Google support.
Working with Google was better than no help at all. But Tarasiuk couldn’t tell if his company’s concerns were really Google’s top priority. He didn’t see a noticeable benefit to their campaigns during that time period.
According to Tarasiuk, knowing how to use Adwords is so important that,
If a small business cannot manage their own Google Adwords account to its fullest potential then I recommend hiring a trained and trusted Google Adwords management company.
Ecommerce Platform and Website
E-commerce is no longer a brand new industry. But again, that fact doesn’t mean you’re leveraging it in the most effective way you can.
For example, Tarasiuk was using Volusion as his company’s e-commerce platform, but decided to switch to Magento in 2013.
They were initially nervous about changing because of hearing Magento was more complicated to use than Volusion. But Tarasiuk says they ended up being extremely glad they did.
The main reason why they opted for a different solution was they were looking for one that was more customizable for their needs.
Their decision paid off. Once they went with Magento, they saw their organic SEO drastically improve and almost doubled their sales.
Not only did they pursue customization options for themselves but they also sought to give users more flexibility when visiting the website.
So they redesigned the site, making it easier for customers to consider add-ons to their orders. This decision raised the company’s margins by 15% without adding any shipping costs to the customers’ orders.
Even the most commonplace online tools you have can increase your efficiency dramatically. But if you are not being shrewd or gaining expertise in how you utilize them, your business will not be as successful as it could be.
There are several lessons we can learn from Tarasiuk’s experience. Look for areas of waste in your company. Focus on keeping your overhead costs down. Get outside advice in areas where you lack knowledge.
Also, prioritize customization, both for yourselves and your customers. The more flexibility you have, the more you’ll be able to tailor your product to your audience’s needs.
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