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OpiaTalk CEO talks hyper-conversions and making e-commerce lucrative for small businesses

E-commerce is a growing trend in the U.S. and internationally. Many consumers prefer to book and pay for a service online and to order products from a website. In 2013, e-commerce sales totaled $278 billion, up nearly 17 percent from the previous year. Founder and CEO of OpiaTalk, Tom Popomaronis, saw a space in the market to make a business’ online presence more lucrative, as 65 percent of shoppers abandon their carts before checkout. OpiaTalk is a Widget-as-a-Service, or WaaS, that leads to higher conversion rates from online campaigns. The OpiaTalk widget has a hyper-conversion rate up to 19 percent, or about four to five times the industry average.

This is how it works: When users browse your online store, a widget appears on the side of the page that tells them to click on it along with others to receive a 15-minute window to buy the product or service at a discount. This works by using social media networks like Facebook. You set the time for the campaign, the discount, and how many customers it takes to click the widget in order to release the offer.

Shoppers browsing your site see the advertised offer on the OpitaTalk widget, click on it, and then tell some of their friends to do the same. This sales model has a social aspect to it and the limited time window creates a sense of urgency that promotes conversion.  Popomaronis has said of this model “Basically, it’s FOMO. It’s the fear of missing out.”

 

OpiaTalk clearly knows how to land a client. Version 1 of OpiaTalk was released in the fourth quarter of 2013 and by the following March it landed its first enterprise customer - Skype, owned by Microsoft. A few months later in July 2014, OpiaTalk secured Charles & Colvard, the publicly traded jeweler, as its second enterprise client. And last month, OpiaTalk released with Rosetta Stone, starting first with the UK and Germany sites before expanding to six more sites. The press has taken notice - only six months after debuting its WaaS, OpiaTalk was already covered by Fast Company.

Below, Popomaronis talks about how this sales model works for small businesses, tips to lead a successful campaign that results in high conversions, and how to build a client base using LinkedIn. 

Does your model work for small business, too?

“The model does work for small businesses, though retailers with higher traffic will see the largest incremental returns. Enterprise is our sweet spot. One small business with whom we work, GrabGreenHome, has seen in excess of 10 percent in-widget conversion rates whenever we run OpiaTalk campaigns.” 

What are some tips for small business owners/entrepreneurs putting together a campaign?

“First, make the visitor’s ‘goal’ to unlock the promo code realistic. Normally, for a smaller site, the goal will be one to two people. The second tip is to run campaigns as often as possible and then determine optimal scheduling. For example, you may get the most traction out of evening visitors, in which case you could play around with increasing the goal during those hours, in order to maximize conversion opportunity. Luckily, until we release the self-service model, we provide ‘full-service’ campaign management to help — we’re pretty good at it!" 

What advice do you have for small business owners/entrepreneurs who want to get the attention of major brand clients like OpiaTalk has?

“Read our article series on how to use LinkedIn to your advantage. Seriously. We’ve gotten a lot of traction off of sending cold InMails and other tactics on LinkedIn, including landing our Chairman of the Board and first enterprise client. The other advice I’d offer is to take advantage of content marketing to attract attention instead of just focusing on reaching out. Simply put, write smart things about your field. Make them of interest to your target demographic, and you will get attention. For your reading pleasure, here is Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3!

Also, connect with me on LinkedIn or feel free to -- always happy to help where I can.”

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