Blogs are a great marketing tool. If you provide solid information that is fair and as unbiased as possible, customers perceive you to be a trusted source. And so it follows that they are willing to purchase products and services from you. To make that happen, you will need to accept online payments through your blog in order to capture sales that are generated from this affordable online marketing program.
Here are some benefits to owning a blog that accepts credit cards online — and a few tips on getting started.
Despite the costs of credit card processing, businesses that accept credit card payments online find that sales conversion is higher than when a customer has to then go to a brick-and-mortar location or mail a check.
With your dazzling writing fresh in their minds, consumers are ready to purchase then and there, without interruption to the sales process or consultation with an advisor. Your blogging does not have to be a sales pitch, but it can lead the reader directly to a shopping cart in an unobtrusive way just as casually as telling a friend about a great deal or new product. It should be natural extension of your writing, not spam.
Even for customers who are already buying your products, your blog can sell accessories and other related products more easily if you take credit cards online. A blog entry talking about other customers and their unique and unusual uses of a main product that is customized with some add-ons is sure to spur increased interest in these additional items.
Blogs can also include photos that speak 1,000 words and almost sell products themselves!
- Improved Cash Flow
Most credit card processing companies deposit funds from purchases into your account right away. You don’t have to wait for checks to clear or to go to the bank to make a deposit. With good terms of Net 30 from your own suppliers, your business’s cash flow will improve and allow you to cover inventory with less stress.
Image courtesy of scottchan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
- Easier Accounting
Many credit card processing programs now integrate with accounting software such as QuickBooks. Accuracy is improved and data entry time is saved since all entries are automated. You’ll also have superior financial management information with reports that are pulled from your credit card records.
You will also have the peace of mind that comes with security that is almost guaranteed. Credit card processing systems are sophisticated and can reduce your risk exposure from taking credit cards. Security is on everyone’s mind these days, and it’s important to have a strong program behind you.
Tips to Get Started Taking Credit Card Payments on Your Blog
- Review pricing
There are a wide range of pricing options for credit card processing, thanks to a myriad of start-ups challenging the old banking stronghold on the industry. Even the stand-by PayPal is feeling competition and has to offer increased value to merchants.
These services offer more competitive pricing but also tend to have fewer hoops for a business owner to jump through in order to be accepted, and other benefits. Although many are new, their customer bases are large and growing, especially among young people.
Check which credit cards are accepted
For many businesses, Visa and MasterCard are sufficient to satisfy the needs of most of their customers. However, in specific markets, American Express and Diner’s Club, for example, are the standard. This includes travel and luxury goods. If you fit into these market segments, it may make sense to pay the higher fees for these services and improve your competitive advantage with customers.
- Ensure compatibility with your accounting software
QuickBooks is the industry leader in accounting software for small businesses, so the chances are you and your accountant use it as well. Ensure that the credit card processing service is compatible with QuickBooks for faster, more efficient and accurate posting. Many programs see the value of the link, but not all have the seamless integration that makes your life easy.
- Be sure it includes a mobile reader
While your blog is your primary point of sale, there may be times when you will have the opportunity to take cards in person at remote locations. When your blog gets sufficient attention, you’ll be at book signings, speaking engagements, and various live events where you can sell your products and services. Don’t let sales slip away because a customer had to return home to get online and buy.
You may not use the mobile reader all the time, but in most cases, they are free, so there is no associated cost to worry about.
- Technical Support
With the competitive landscape heating up, free technical support is more readily available than ever before. Compare programs to see what fits your own skill level. Technology is not perfect, so don’t be afraid to enlist as much help as possible.
- Take advantage of free trials
Free trials are now the norm, so test-drive a few merchant services to see which ones you like. Each will have a slightly different look and feel, and only trying a program will let you experience the program.
With the wide range of ways to accept online payments through your blog, there’s sure to be one that is right for you and your business.
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