Integrating Fedex API Into Your Website

Hoping you have gone through my previous and first article of this series, “Integrating FedEx Web Services Into Your Website“. In the article, I had explained the basic steps to start with Fedex API integration.

As explained in the basic steps, one needs to obtain the following before starting off and testing the codes of the APIs:

i. Test Account Number

ii. Test Meter Number

iii. Developer Test Key

iv. Password

Once you have obtained the following, you are ready to proceed with the article below for implementing the Fedex API real time.

Also Read: Key Ecommerce Trends In 2015 Every Marketer Should Know

Rating Web Service Integration

Before a shipping is done, the first thing a user needs to know is the money/rate he has to pay for selecting the particular shipping. For this we will be using the Rating Fedex API.

In the ‘Documentation and Downloads’ section of the ‘Fedex Web Services’ menu inDeveloper Resource Center, you will find two APIs under ‘Standard Services’ => ‘Rate Services’, namely, ‘Rate’ and ‘Rate Available Services’. You need to download them (download the PHP version of the API, since I will discuss in PHP) and also can refer to the Rating documentation by checking out the checkbox for ‘Include documentation(PDF)’.

As per the documentation, both the APIs are for rating functionality, but with a little difference.

Quoting the descriptions from the document:

RATE: “RateRequest wsdl provides a rate response on a single service.

Note: A rate request does not return the route or service availability. All rate quotes are estimates only and may differ from the actual invoiced amount.”

RATE AVAILABLE SERVICES: A Rate Available Services request will provide a list of available services from one request. Rates are returned for each service on the list.

[Note: A Rate Available Services request does not return route information, but does check the service availability and returns only those services that are actually available.]

Thus, Rate service returns the rate for only a particular available service whereas, the Rate Available service returns rates for all the available services in a location.

Today, I will discuss the Rate Available Services in PHP (download the PHP version of the API), which will give me the rates for all services available at a location.

Once you have downloaded and unzipped the RateAvailableService API, inside that you’ll find a PHP folder, where you will find 3 folders – library, wsdl and RateWebServiceClient.

wsdl: DO NOT make changes to the wsdl folder file during testing,.

library: contains a file named fedex-common.php5

RateWebServiceClient: contains RateAvailableServices => RateAvailableServicesWebServiceClient.php5

[Note: Since I am not using PHP5, I have modified all the file extensions in PHP5 to PHP.]

Thus I have 3 main files now after renaming:

RateAvailableServicesWebServiceClient.php, fedex-common.php and RateService_v16.wsdl

(Remember to change file names from PHP5 to PHP, in the code too, wherever required)

The documentation of Fedex API contains all the necessary details regarding each file and the nodes and parameters used in the API code. However, I will describe a few necessary parameters of each file briefly, for easier understanding.

fedex-common.php

This file contains all the common parameters and functions that will be required by the APIs at a point of time.

Integrating Fedex API

Once you open the file, you will find a function getProperty().

In the function, replace the ‘key’, ‘password’, ‘shipaccount’, ‘billaccount’, and ‘meter’ with the credentials that you had obtained while registration, as below:

Read more at http://bit.ly/1Brga5J

Customize Your PPC Campaign With Different Browsers

Every time someone clicks on your ad, you pay a small amount to the search engine where your ad was posted. This would be profitable only if it results in successful conversion, where visitors of your website get converted. But if it does not result in an increase in conversion, then your PPC cost would become sunk cost. Customize your PPC campaign to get better results.

You bid for the right word. You opted for the best search engine. Your ad was up to the mark and catchy. So where did you go wrong? Perhaps you forgot to customize your PPC campaign.

Pre-requisites as you customize your PPC Campaign

i. Every PPC ad campaign is judged on the basis of the quality score and CTR (Click through rate)- higher the CTR, better becomes your campaign. This CTR depends on a variety of factors like:

Also Read: Fundamentals Of An Effective Landing Page Design To Keep Your Viewers Hooked

ii. Relevance of your ad

iii. Lack of any actionable claim

iv. Overlooking testing of your ad

v. Lack of extensions that allow the user to go where they want easily

vi. And finally, browser customization

Information browsers

Most people who type keywords into search engines are more likely to gather some information. “Google it” is a catch phrase used when one does not know something. Keywords that are entered are vague, less descriptive, and common. Like “browse”, “click”, etc. So if you want to target these phrases and keywords and bid on them, theconversion rate is going to hit rock bottom.

Ways To Customize Your PPC Campaign

So how do you get them to buy your product? Since no one searching for information would have their shopping mode turned on, give them what they want. Information.

Give the browsers information that revolve around your product in the form of articles, advice, tips and how-to’s. Here the focus is not on selling but meeting the requirement of the users by providing the information they need. This forms a relationship and the basis for future or subsequent sale. This would prepare the ground as you customize your PPC campaign.

If you pitch your product too hard, you are more likely to turn away your potential customers and lose the hook. Avoid using pushing strategy with information browsers. Pushing strategy would require you to push your product at them. These browsers need to be coaxed and cajoled into visiting your site and taking a look at what you have to offer.

Through information, you can try getting their email addresses that would allow you to get in touch with them about your deals and offers at a later stage.

Shoppers

Browsers can also come online on search engines in the form of shoppers and buyers.

The strategy to tackle them here would differ from that of mere information browsers, which would require you to customize your PPC campaign. Shoppers are much close to purchase decision than information browsers. Hence, it is more likely that they will earn you a higher conversion rate. These type of browsers search queries like “price”, “best” etc. With them, a sales-pitch would work. Here you can give descriptive information about your product and inform them about the best deals and offers. Most often these browsers search for the best prices and discounts available on certain products. This is where you can grasp an opportunity to convince them to turn into your customers.

Buyers

On the other hand, buyers are ready to buy. A decision has already been made and they are using search engines for specific models and hence they type in specific keywords.

Therefore, it is required to customize your PPC campaign according to the browsing requirements and keywords bid for. The keywords bid would be specific to different types of browsers and your PPC campaign would differ accordingly.

User Focused SEO Helps Achieve Long Term Goals

Search Engine Optimization is something that is ever changing. How then, can you work on a concrete plan? For any site SEO, flexibility is the core essence for marketing and promotion. A user focused SEO needs to apply new and innovative strategies and keep shifting to varied SEO practices to draw in higher traffic.

For any website, SEO serves the key purpose of optimizing sites in the search engine result page. However, a site that implements SEO tricks just for higher rank never works. New websites often use Black Hat techniques to gain ranks. However, a user focused SEO should implement white hat techniques that are clean. These might take time to rise through the rankings, but you can rest assured that you will not lose your rank easily.
Also Read: The Must Have WordPress SEO Plugins
Benefits of user focused SEO
User focused SEO provides a larger audience base. If you utilize this SEO technique, you get a higher quality of traffic to your site.
Optimum utilization of on-site SEO techniques draws in better traffic as you provide users with valuable experience.
Posting of quality contents which are of relevance to the user leads to increased user satisfaction. Thereby, the rate of conversion increases.
The most important benefit provided by user focused SEO is prevention of loss of traffic. This is through redesigning of websites.
User focused SEO also prevents websites from being penalized by search engines.
Components of user-focused SEO
Keyword classification
User Focused SEO Methods
Keywords form an important part of SEO. Any user while browsing the internet puts in some relevant keywords or phrases, based on which the search engine draws out results. Hence your task should be to analyze what are the most highly used and highly valued keywords. You can make a list of these keywords using them in your contents. The use of these keywords would ensure that your site pulls in traffic. High valued keywords benefit your site as it results in maximum conversion. Apart from these, using of valued keywords helps you in recognizing your brand in the search engine.
Content creation
Contents are the basic elements that users look for in various websites. Once a user enters your site, the contents form the binding factor. These keep users engaged and provide them with valuable information that they searched for. Therefore while you develop contents, keep your target audience in mind.
Content is not limited to just the main pages. It is throughout the website. Content is in blogs, forums and even on social media sites. The promotional ads too contain contents. Hence keep all the display places in mind. Use relevant keywords in all the contents as it helps generate focused audience resulting in higher conversion.
Developing persona
For your site to succeed, it is important that you know and understand your target audience well. Evaluate your user’s psychology and what they would look for in your site. Each of the personas is different hence would use different conversion paths. Developing personas helps you better understand your target audience guiding you in the growth and development of your website.
Metric determination
The statistical data that helps measure the visitor footfall, rise in the rankings, etc is called metrics. The various metrics of a website determines how and where it should be placed in the search engine results page. It also helps in integrating your value as a marketer and attains success. Implementing a closed-loop process ensures that visitors utilize all the data available in the process.

User Focused SEO Helps Achieve Long Term Goals

Optimize Email Marketing Performance For Better Leads

While marketers still debate on the need of email marketing, it still remains a great channel to promote your business. There has been a constant debate on the effectiveness of email marketing, some even declaring email marketing as a dead issue to pursue. On the other hand, another group of marketers are constantly upgrading and changing to optimize email marketing performance.

Email marketing is constantly evolved to improve traffic to a website. Some marketers use it as a way to communicate with the target audience in person. However, to optimize email marketing performance, a marketer has to employ some methods that would generate greater traffic and better leads.
Also Read: Email Campaigning Mistakes You Should Avoid
Maintaining a list
If you plan to optimize email marketing and promote your product through email, you need to have a considerable number of customer email addresses.
Create a list of all the customers whom you want to send your marketing email. If you do not have enough in the list, you can always utilize events, and partner marketing firms to increase your list. This way you can optimize your email marketing performance with emails reaching to a greater number of audiences.
Maintaining the list of mailers whom you would send your emails should consist of users who actually engage to your site. Sending marketing emails to customers, who no longer engage with your site or connect to your product, is a waste of time as well as of your marketing efforts.
Reaching your ideal customers
One common mistake that marketers often commit is sending emails to users who are not consequential for your product. These emails are wasted as they do not generate convertible traffic. Matching your marketing list with the top prospective clients is necessary. This is the list of customers who regularly go through your marketing emails and has a high chance to procure your product.
Optimize Email Marketing Performance
If however, this list is not quite effective to optimize email marketing performance, you might need to make some amends in your email marketing strategies. Try A/B testing your marketing emails to check which mails perform better.
If you have a set of customers ideal for your product, maintaining a cordial email relation with them would ensure that you have a good set of prospective ready at hand.
Let customers identify emails
While popping up of emails after intervals is good, constant emailing to your customers can be disturbing for them. And while you bombard your target audience with emails, you would not find time to make much variation in them.
Hence, try to deliver a variety of marketing emails to your customers. Changing styles in your marketing email will make it more engaging for the customers and optimize email marketing. Similar products can be properly marketed only if it is presented in a variety of ways. For newsletters, you can use different banners in your heading. This makes it more interesting for the customers to view.
Helpful tools
Email marketing is an important marketing tool and properly using it generates great results. If you have a huge list which you need to send your marketing emails, it is better if you opt for a bigger service provider for emails. Sending and extraction of data from a bigger server is easier. ExactTarget is one such service provider.
You can also use cloud storage platforms to stack in your email data.
Choosing which platform you need to optimize email marketing efforts from your side is entirely upon you. You can go for a bigger service provider or you can use multiple cloud platforms for your data storage.

Optimize Email Marketing Performance For Better Leads

Optimizing Facebook Groups For Business

Irrespective of whether you run a big or small business, Facebook is ideal for promoting business online. The growing numbers of business pages is a clear indicator to show the increased usage of Facebook by business communities. Entrepreneurs can promote their business either by creating a business page or by building Facebook groups. So, what are these Facebook groups?

Facebook groups are nothing but a group of people with common interests who communicate, collaborate, share and interact. As Facebook groups bring together like minded people, it is an easy way for businesses to attract their customers. They offer a unique experience tailored specifically as per customer interests. Here are few tactics for optimizing Facebook groups for business.

Also Read: Advanced Targeting Tactics For Facebook Ads

Encourage customers to participate in group activities

The more you encourage group interaction the easier would it be to spread the message. Encourage Facebook groups to participate in chat sessions by sending an email about the latest events being planned on your business page or by offering a reward for customers participating in business events. Interacting with every customer would make them feel special and also help in building brand image. Keeping the groups engaged would ease the process of launching new products.

Offer customer support

Facebook groups are an ideal way to answer the concerns of every customer in a more personalized manner. This way of staying in touch with customers would help learn the customer views about the product and obtain suggestions for product improvement. It ultimately paves way for customizing the product as per customer needs that automatically promotes sales.

Extend community service

Facebook Groups For Users

Entrepreneurs who do not have much to share about the business with customers can promote their brand image by extending community service. You can start a charity group or run a social service program and invite your customers to participate in those activities. Organizing community activities relevant to the business helps spread the message about your business.

Start a reward program

Majority of Facebook users love to view business pages to avail special discounts and to keep themselves updated of latest information. Offer discounts to loyal customers, provide them an opportunity to share the product related messages within their community and provide information about future events. Offering updated information and valuable coupons encourages customers to participate in group events without fail.

Host conferences, seminars or workshops

This is a great way to attract potential customers who share interests common to your business. Ensure that the events remain educative offering new information. Allow the participants to share their views and encourage group members to discuss on those views. This helps to extend the events for a long time, spread the message easily and also helps entrepreneurs learn customer experiences with the products. See that discussions run smoothly without any conflict. Posting rules or guidelines for participating in the events helps group members plan on what to speak. To make the events interesting you can give feedback to the participants.

For perfect results it is important for an entrepreneur to choose the right group – open, closed or the secret group. The Facebook groups you select paves way for expanding brand image, connecting with potential customers and expose yourself as a professional entrepreneur. Open groups can be used to spread message about business, secret groups can be used to convey information to current loyal customers and closed groups can be used to interact with specific customers from whom you wish to obtain feedback or make discussions. Posting an introductory post enables new members of the group to learn about the goals and objectives of the group and it even serves as a reference for the existing members.

A Closer View On Microsoft Cortana – What It Offers You

Smartphones that are being extensively used now-a-days run on various platforms that use a specific digital assistant. Microsoft Cortana is used for windows phones while iOS phones have Siri and Android phones have Android digital assistant. Each of these digital assistants has their pros and cons.
Microsoft Cortana that is creating a buzz in the technical world is ready for release across various platforms. Cortana that was designed incorporating the best features of other popular digital assistants and some additional features is being the considered best in the market for windows phones.
Also Read: Windows 8.1 With Bing Will Let Manufacturers Create Low Cost Devices
Under the project named Einstein, advancements are being made to the app to make it fit for iOS and Android devices. This article discusses the features of Cortana that are beneficial for users in their daily life and how it makes the app best for Android and iOS devices.
Takes user preferences rather than making assumptions
Unlike other applications Cortana makes the user work a little but this little extra work makes the user get the best out of the app. For example, Google digital assistant that works automatically rarely picks up itineraries that are messaged to you and tracks those flights. But, Cortana asks the user details of the flight that are to be tracked. Microsoft Cortana accomplishes this feature by using GPS tracking system. Similarly, Google digital assistant fits only Gmail but Cortana works with all major mail services excluding Yahoo.
Allows users request for follow-ups
The best feature of Microsoft Cortana is once the user obtains answer for a particular question he can pose follow up questions and get the answer sorted out quickly, whereas other apps treat each question as a new query. For example, if the user requests list of Chinese restaurants and then asks to sort out the best restaurants then the app lists only those restaurants that have a four star rating.
Offers multiple ways to organize reminders
Microsoft Cortana Features
Cortana lets the user organize various events by setting reminders at appropriate times along with location. This feature helps the user get a reminder of the event when he/she reaches that particular location. For example, upon reaching the bank the user can obtain a reminder to make a deposit. A unique feature of Microsoft Cortana is it even allows setting reminders based on people. For example, if a friend of yours got a new job then setting a reminder would let the app remind you of the same when you call or text your friend next time.
Other unique features that are observed in Microsoft Cortana include complete assimilation into phone contacts, knowing the user preferences, reading and understanding of emails, complete integration with Bing, blocking of texts, notifications and calls as per user preferences, organizing appointments using voice, and identification of songs. iOS and Android phones use different applications such as SoundHound for sound recognition. Its novel features such as the ability to read and understand emails and know the time and location of the user are not observed in the existing iOS and Android apps making it superior and advanced.
Microsoft is working hard to incorporate novel artificial intelligence into Cortana and make it available for the iOS and Android users. Microsoft Cortana is expected to do its best on other platforms too similar to other apps launched by Microsoft. To withstand tough competition from Apple and Google, it is very important for Microsoft to release its latest version of Cortana at the earliest before the release of Apple Watch and Google’s latest mobile app that is capable of offering proper contextual data based on user interests.

A Closer View On Microsoft Cortana – What It Offers You