It is no secret that most successful ecommerce businesses are the ones who are great at marketing and promotions. If you are an entrepreneur or ecommerce marketer you will have to focus on multiple aspects of marketing, business, and technology.
This article lays out all the marketing tactics you must use if you are looking to drive consistent sales over long periods of time. To keep things simple I have split this article into 11 Chapters. Browse through the links below to jump chapters.
This is very long read so recommend you to bookmark it for future reference.
Fix The Fundamentals First
Before you begin building your marketing strategy, fix the fundamentals first. Your store must be perfectly ready to engage and convert visitors into shoppers. Because no matter how much traffic you drive to your website if your store is not spick and span then your visitors will bounce off.
To begin with, optimize your website. And fix those critical elements of your store that have a major impact on the user and conversions.
1.1 Clear Website Navigation
Often ignored but one of the major elements of your website is its navigation. A good site navigation will help your customers –
- Browse the entire website from any nook and corner.
- Ensure that your customer spends more time on the website.
- Help you get more opportunities to know his interests and influence his buying decisions.
A poor navigation, on the other hand, will confuse him resulting in her quickly leaving your website. Also, like all other ecommerce stores, you would like your website to get top ranks in the search engine results. While there are many factors that combined decide your ranking on search results, navigation is an important one. So, improving your site navigation can improve your SEO efforts.
There’s no one way of designing website navigation. Each website is unique and presents challenges and opportunities in designing its navigation.
However, there are some rules to keep in mind-
- Your site navigation should be simple and clutter free
- Use good legible fonts with spaces between items
- Give access to all important pages from the navigation
- Keep it consistent across all pages
- Use search bars to help your users quickly find their desired items
- Give it a proper hierarchical order with categories and subcategories
And most importantly, consider the user. Put yourself in her shoes and see how you can design your navigation to help her on her path to purchase. Each click or tab must help her move towards her goal.
- 9 Best Practices To Improve Your Ecommerce Site Navigation
- Are You Making These Common Website Navigation Mistakes?
- The Rules for Modern Navigation
- Designing and Testing a Mobile eCommerce Navigation
- How to Set Up a Successful Navigation Strategy for eCommerce
- 10 Tips to Optimize Filtered Navigation for Ecommerce Stores
1.2 Make Your Website Fast
Is your website taking more than 3 seconds to load? If yes, then there’s a problem.
Internet users are highly impatient. No matter how impressive your website is, you will not get good traffic if it loads slowly. And this holds true for both desktop and mobile versions. A faster website speed also helps you in SEO as search engines prefer to rank sites that load fast.
According to studies
- 40% of people will abandon a site if it takes longer than three seconds to load.
- Every extra second your website takes to load can result in 7% drop in your conversion rate. For an ecommerce store earning $3 million a month from sales, a 1-second delay translates to the loss of a staggering $2.5 million over a year.
- 40% of visitors will abandon a website page that takes 3 seconds or more to load.
Test My Site is an excellent place to start while improving your site speed. Check your current page speed here. It also gives you suggestions and recommendations for improving your site speed.
You can take a number of steps to increase your site speed
- Optimizing size of your site images
- Minimizing redirects
- Minifying CSS, HTML and Java scripts
- Using browser caching
- Using Content Delivery Networks
- Ecommerce Site Speed And Performance Optimization
- 9 Ways To Make Your Website Super Fast
- How Page Load Time Impacts Conversions And How To Improve Load Time
1.3 Make it Mobile First
According to Google, more than 50% of searches come from mobile. And this trend is to continue. According to data from Criteo, mobile now constitutes half of all e-commerce transactions. Various studies suggest that people are increasingly using their smartphones and Tablets to research for products and shop. You may not see a lot of conversions happening on mobile devices, but a lot of users use mobile, while travelling or at work, to research on their products. So, if you dive into your Google Analytics and see traffic by devices, you will find a significant traffic contribution from mobile. And that’s why a ‘Mobile First’ approach is must for your ecommerce store.
Here are few tips to make your site mobile friendly –
- Make sure it loads fast
- Use responsive design
- Text should be readable
- Use good resolution images
- Checkout process needs to be simpler and shorter
- Show trust badges so that shoppers are comfortable giving their data
- Use autofill and personalization features
- 13 Top Mobile Commerce UX Secrets to Boost Sales
- 10 Ways to Make Your Website More Mobile Friendly
- Beyond Mobile Ecommerce Design: How to Optimize in 2018 for Mobile-First Commerce
1.4 Write Product Descriptions That Sell
Like physical shoppers, online shoppers can’t touch and feel your product. And that’s why your product pages are important. They are a moment of truth. The difference between a visitor and a customer.
Your product page should have 3 elements to create a happy UX-
- Adequate information to make a buyer make an informed decision
- Trustworthy to build his confidence
- Persuasive to motivate her to buy your product
To create a persuasive product page, you need to –
- Create your own descriptions rather than on relying description from manufacturers
- Use layman terms to write your copy. And translate features into logical benefits.
- Take pictures of your products from all angles, showcase all important features. Allow your users to zoom the image to know your product in detail.
- Make informative videos of your products.
- Build user confidence with product reviews and customer testimonials.
- Write persuasive call to action. Motivate him to add your product to his cart.
- Recommend other related products to up-sell/cross-sell.
- 9 Simple Ways to Write Product Descriptions that Sell
- 9 Tips for Writing E-commerce Product Descriptions that Sell
- 5 Killer Examples of How to Write Product Descriptions
1.5 Have A Shipping And Returns Policy
A shipping and returns policy matters and has a direct impact on your sales. As per a survey by comScore and UPS reveals that 63% of American consumers check the return policy before making a purchase and 48% would shop more with retailers that offer hassle-free returns.
Your shipping and returns policy must be –
- Written in clear and common language
- Consider no-questions-asked return policy
- Explain legal terms with examples
- Use it to convey your business philosophy
- Tell the rules up front
- Accessible from all pages of the website
- Tips On Creating An Ecommerce Returns Policy
- Ecommerce Return Policy Template: How to Write a Returns and Refunds Policy to 3X Sales [Examples Included]
- Free return policy generator
- Return & Refund Policy Generator
- Sample Shipping Policy Template
1.6 Streamline Your Operations
Spending dollars on marketing without streamlining the operations is a common mistake done by many entrepreneurs. Put every part of your ecommerce process- right from acquiring products to delivery in motion and optimize it. Take help, buy software and contract with vendors who will be part of the operations. Make the entire process lean and agile so that your operations complement your marketing. Your operations must hold the promises made by marketing. Here are a few things to do –
- Check your entire process, identify gaps and fix it.
- Test your tech infrastructure like apps, software like billing, inventory etc.
- Test your vendors- suppliers, dropshippers etc.
- Tips for Streamlining E-Commerce Processes
- How to streamline your warehouse operations in 5 easy steps
- Why (And How) You Should Automate Your E-Commerce Processes
1.7 Define Clear Actionable Targets
Your marketing should be actionable. And it begins with defining clear actionable goals. Apply the principles of SMART goal setting.
SMART is an acronym for the 5 elements of specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based goals. It’s a simple way to set actionable targets for your business.
Here’s how to define clear actionable targets –
- Understand and assess your existing position before setting your marketing goals.
- Take a data-driven approach to setting goals.
- Set 1-2 major goals that impact the bottom line. Quantify them.
- Set 3-5 sub-goals that are part of your major goals.
- Choose metrics to measure your performance.
- Monitor the performance regularly.
Measure Your Marketing
2.1 Setup Google Analytics and Ecommerce Tracking
Data is fuel for modern day business and marketing. Just keeping an eye on your sales numbers won’t do. You need to collect data on your website usage like traffic, the number of visits, average time spent by visitors and a lot more to gain valuable insights on your customers and their preferences.
Google Analytics can be your valuable ally in arming you with lots of crucial data on your customers. This data can be helpful in –
- Build your marketing strategy,
- Creating a buyer persona
- Influence your customer’s decisions
- Optimize your conversions
- Improve your store design and layout
Google’s ecommerce tracking can provide you with granular data on each transaction and item that occurs on your website.
- Ecommerce Marketing Analytics: The Complete Guide
- Google Analytics For Ecommerce: A Beginners Guide
- E-commerce Tracking in Google Analytics: A Complete Guide
2.2 Setup Goal & Ecommerce Measurement
Goals measure how well your store fulfills your target objectives. A goal represents a completed activity, called a conversion. Examples of goals include a purchase on your store, creating an account or downloading an ebook or a coupon from your store.
Setting up goals is important in measuring your store’s and business performance. Having properly defined goals allows Analytics to provide you with critical information, like the number of conversions and the conversion rate for your site.
Identifying micro and macro conversions can help a great deal in setting up goals. A macro conversion is your primary goal like an order completion in your store. A micro conversion is secondary goals like signing up for a newsletter, following your business on Facebook & Twitter etc.
- Identifying Macro and Micro Conversions
- Create and manage goals
- How to Create a Goal in Google Analytics to Track Conversions
2.3 Measure The 5 Key Ecommerce KPIs
Google gives you a lot of data. But you cannot measure everything. You need to identify Key Performance Indicators for your business and monitor them on regular basis. Here are 5 KPIs for your store-
- Total Number of Visitors- It is the number of visitors coming to your website every day/week/month. Go to Google Analytics>Audience>Overview to get this data.
- Ecommerce Conversion Rate – It is the percentage of visitors who completed a goal. You can get this data on the ‘Overview and Product Performance’ report. Go to Conversions > Ecommerce > Overview
- Total Number of Transactions- It is the number of transactions occurring on your site every day/week/month. Go to Conversions > Ecommerce > Overview
- Total Revenue- It is the total revenue generated by your store. Go to Conversions > Ecommerce > Overview
- Average Order Value– It tells how well you are upselling/cross-selling to customers? Go to Conversions > Ecommerce > Overview
3.1 Do Your Keyword Research
SEO begins with keyword research. Finding the right keywords for your store has great value-
- Helps you attract the right audience to your store
- Helps you get consistent traffic
- Boosts your conversion rate
- Get intelligence on what users are searching for, things in demand etc.
Tips on keyword research –
- Find the sweet spot between volume and competition of keywords
- Look for commercial intent behind the keywords
- Don’t miss long-tail keywords
- Localize your keywords
- Don’t just limit yourself to keyword tools, explore forums, Wikipedia etc., to get keyword inspiration
- Moz Keyword Explorer
- Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool
- The Beginner’s Guide To Keyword Research For Ecommerce
- 8 Keyword Research Tips You Need to See to Believe
3.2 Target Your Keyword Appropriately
Now that you have found all important keywords relevant to your business, it’s time to use them on your store’s website. Here are the major places to target your keywords –
- URL – Including keywords in your URL makes it more relevant for search engines.
- Page Title – Title is one of the important ranking factor in Google algorithm and hence the title of your pages should contain the most relevant primary keyword.
- Meta Description – Meta description should be highly relevant to the page and users and should include relevant keywords.
- H1 and H2 – The <h1> and <h2> tags should contain relevant keywords.
- Content – Adding relevant keywords in your copy provides good SEO value. But refrain from unnatural keyword stuffing.
- Image Alt Text – Include relevant keywords in your image alt text to make it friendly for image searches.
- Keyword Targeting For Better Ranking Of Product And Category Pages
- A Visual Guide to Keyword Targeting and On-Page SEO
3.3 Have Relevant Internal Link Between Multiple Pages
Internal linking plays an important role in ranking of a web page. These type of links are useful:
- Helps users in navigating the website.
- Establishes information hierarchy for the website.
- Help spread link equity (ranking power) of a page to other pages.
For your ecommerce store, you can-
- Link product pages from homepage using featured products section
- Link products from category pages
- Link product pages from other product pages in the same category
3.4 Verify Your Site For Google Search Console
Want to rank your page on Google quicker? Then verify your site for Google search console. Verification associates a specific user with a specific property. Every Search Console property requires at least one verified owner, though it can have more. Verifying your domain with Google Search Console –
- Helps Google identify you as the owner of your site adds credibility
- Verified sites are crawled quicker by Google and rank higher
To verify your website follow the steps detailed here.
3.5 Use Creative And Informative Copy
Good copy or content is an essential part of your SEO. Good copy can greatly enhance the impact of your SEO efforts. So whatever copy you publish on your site, make sure that it is –
- Relevant and useful to your target audience
- Helps you establish an authority on the subject
- Optimized with keywords
- Written for humans rather than search engines
- Not only describes your products but subtly sells & converts
- Comprehensively informs about your products
- Talks about features and benefits to the audience
Remember, in the absence of any direct interaction with the customers, it’s the copy that does the job of a salesman to your audience. Pitches, convinces, addresses concerns and sells. Plus there are good SEO benefits.
3.6 Leverage Search Rich Snippet
Rich snippets help you better describe your website to search engines and provide extra details of its content. They help you in –
- Increasing visibility of your products
- Boosting CTR
- Driving traffic & sales
Yet, according to a study by Bing and Catalyst, only 17% of marketers use rich snippets. You can use rich snippets for –
- Special offers and discounts
- Product description and price
- Customer ratings and reviews
- Product availability
3.7 Build High-Quality Links
Link building is one of the most important factors in SEO success. You need high-quality links (high Domain Authority) from relevant sites to boost your search rankings. Good keywords, content, rich snippets etc., can take you to a point but high-quality link building can leap your site into top rankings.
All though there are numerous linking strategies not all can be used in ecommerce domain. Ecommerce websites need a different approach to build links. Here are some of the ways to build links –
- Curate list posts like ‘Best X products’ or ‘Top X products’ etc.
- Leverage your existing relationship with vendors, suppliers or friends running relevant sites
- Run a blog and write on topics that can generate editorial links
- Create interesting content like infographics, video tutorials etc., which people would love to share
- Submit to price comparison websites, coupon stores, and other relevant directories
- Submit to product review websites and blogs
- Sponsor and participate in events
4.1 Establish Your Email Marketing Goals
Email marketing can help you accomplish a lot. To get started, it is important to set goals for your email marketing campaigns. Here are few goals you must consider for your ecommerce marketing campaigns-
- Welcome and onboard new buyers
- To promote your products and services
- Get feedback from customers on your services
- Announce new offerings and company events with customers
- Share content like blogs, eBooks, videos etc.
- Send reminders to buyers who have abandoned cards
- Send coupons to loyal customers
- Re-engage with lost customers
- Provide customer support
- Build relationships with customers
- How To Build A Powerful Email Marketing Strategy For E-Commerce?
- How to Define the Goal of Your Next Email Marketing Campaign
- 6 Objectives That You Can Achieve With Email Marketing
4.2 Build A High Converting Landing Page And Drive Traffic
High converting landing pages can be something which gives away high-value content for free. You can build a high converting landing page using tools like UnBounce, InstaPage, and Leadpages. Once you have built a landing page you will have to optimize it to improve your conversion rates. Here’s how to boost conversions of your page –
- Clearly, state the offering
- Use one landing page per goal
- Use relevant and impactful visuals
- Make your CTA buttons bold
- Use powerful CTAs
- Use a short form
- Ask information which is necessary
Having a landing page with the sole objective of collecting email allows you an opportunity to drive traffic from social media, organic and paid sources to your offer.
You can create a buyer’s guide for your products and use it on your landing page. The user needs to enter their email to get access to the guide.
- Email Marketing Landing Pages: A Guide
- 20 Email Landing Page Examples That Convince Users to Act
- Best Practices for Email Landing Pages
4.3 Build An Email List
It is relatively easier to convince someone to give her email id then convincing her to buy a product. We all endeavor to convince shoppers to buy our products or services but it doesn’t always happen. A small part of the total traffic will only convert and buy from you. Others are either not ready to buy or are in early stages of buying. So, if you have their email ids then you can regularly engage with them and occupy their mindspace so that they buy from you when they are ready.
Your buyers will give you their email while creating an account or as part of checkout process. Beyond it, you have many opportunities to get email ids from those who don’t buy products from your store.
- Ask People To Join Your Newsletter
- Use A Content Bait To Improve Subscription
- Use Smart Pop-ups
- Referral Contests
- Out Of Stock Products
- Give Free Shipping Coupon Codes In Exchange For Email
- 105 Ways To Build Your Email List | Tips, Tactics, And Best Practices
- Email Marketing 101: 6 Foolproof Steps to Build an Email List From Scratch
- 14 List Building Hacks to Grow Your Email Database Fast
4.4 Choose the Right Email Marketing Platform
Building a list is great but what maximizes your list into profits is a great email marketing platform. A platform which is both robust in functionality and doesn’t become expensive as you grow your list size.
With these platforms, you can send emails when –
- When a visitor signups
- Buys a product first time
- When visitor abandons cart
- Send product invoices & shipping information
- Birthday and Festival Greetings
- Offers and discounts
- Reminder Mails
All you have to do is to identify the right context and send a personal email accordingly.
While shopping for an email marketing platform, you need to pick a platform that offers you-
- Seamless integration with your website and reduces development effort considerably.
- Powerful automation features to create granular campaigns.
- Features like analytics, reports, ready-made email and newsletter templates, customer support, ease of use etc.,
- 25 Best Email Marketing and Newsletter Apps
- How to Choose the Right Email Marketing Platform for Your Business
4.5 Engage With Email Subscribers
To keep constant touch and engage with your email subscribers you would need –
- Set Autoresponders: Autoresponders are a great way to set up email marketing campaign on autopilot. It is like a machine is making money for you. For your store, you can set auto-response emails for –
- welcome email on creating an account with your store
- feedback email for purchases and customer support inquiries
- re-engagement email with subscribers who have not shopped with you for a long time
- birthday/festival greetings
- upsell and cross-sell products based on customer’s recent purchase
- abandoned cart email as a soft email reminder asking the user if there is anything stopping them from completing the purchase
- Send scheduled emails: These are your regular emails which share your latest offers, products and company announcements. Stick to a schedule which is usually Weekly or Bi-Monthly for most retailers.
5.1 Build A Solid Content Strategy
Good, quality content helps your ecommerce marketing by –
- Earns buyers trust by helping him solve a problem or providing useful information
- Gives visibility to your store on search engines to drive traffic
- Keeps your social media campaigns engaging
- Boosts email marketing by helping you to offer something valuable than promotional messages.
- Nurture relationships with your customers
Whatever marketing activities you plan to do, you would need content. And, a solid strategy is a core to your content marketing success. Here are steps to build one –
- What’s your business- specialty, distinction and future vision
- Who are your customers – create a buyer persona
- What are your business goals- qualitative and quantitative
- What’s your path to purchase
- What kind of content will help your customers on the path of purchase
- What’s your brand voice and tone
5.2 Set up A Blog
Does your website have a blog? Is it active? No? Then you’re missing a great opportunity. A blog is helpful to your business in many ways like –
- Drive traffic to website
- Boosts SEO efforts
- Helps you engage with your prospects
- Establishes you as an expert voice
- Communicates your brand story
- Medium for social media engagement
5.3 Create How-To Videos
Videos are increasingly becoming a powerful conversion optimization tool. According to StacksAndStacks.com, visitors were 144% more likely to purchase after seeing a product video than those who did not.
For ecommerce brands, creating ‘how to’ videos like ‘How to use an X product’ or ‘How to fix an X problem’ can be beneficial. Such videos evoke customer interest as they help solve a problem or inform in detail about the product.
Secondly, the video is also getting prominence in search results. So a great way to drive traffic to your website.
Tips for creating great ‘How To’ videos –
- Identify a problem relevant to your audience and business
- Think how your business or products can be a solution to it
- Add expert inputs into it
- Tell it as a story
- Promote it on your website and across social media channels
5.4 Develop More Visual Content
Content has evolved over the years. Textual content serves as a point. This is the age of videos, infographics, gifs, animation videos and so on. And customers love it. It is more engaging. Here’s why –
- According to brain rules, when people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later.
- According to Animoto, 4X as many consumers would prefer to watch a video about a product than to read about it.
5.5 Have A Content Distribution Plan
Creating good content is half the job done. It needs to be discovered by your audience to read, watch and engage. That’s why you need a good content distribution plan. Building an effective content distribution plan involves –
- Understanding where your audience is
- How to connect with your audience
- Aligning your content form with the nature of medium like Facebook is good for visual content, Twitter for blogs etc
- Leveraging various channels like social media, email, newsletters and ads etc., to share content
- How to Build a Perfect Content Distribution Strategy
- 7 Steps to Creating Your Content Marketing Channel Plan
- 16 Ways to Skyrocket Your Blog Traffic Through Content Distributin
- Content Distribution, Promotion, and You: A Marketer’s Guide
5.6 Convert Your Audience Into Email Subscribers
Your audience- people who visit your website, read your blog, watch your videos, follow you on social media- are a treasure trove. But you need to convert them to email subscribers so as to-
- Regularly engage with them
- Occupy their mindspace
- Tell your brand story
- Nurture them across the sales funnel
- Earn their trust
- Inform about your new products and offers
Some ways to convert your audience into email subscribers-
- Subscription for blogs
- Request email id and permission to further share good content like ebooks
- Incentivized opt-ins like coupons and discounts on website and social media
- Run contests
- Encourage them to create accounts on your store
- Referrals from friends
- 15 Quick Tips to Convert Visitors Into Email Subscribers
- 5 Strategies To Convert Your Readers Into Email Subscribers
- How to Turn Your Social Media Followers Into Email Subscribers
- Smart Actionable Ways To Convert More Of Your Blog Visitors Into Subscribers
5.7 Track The Right Content Marketing Metrics
Monitoring the performance of your content marketing can help you in –
- Measuring RoI on your content investments
- Identify what’s working and what’s not
- Channelize your efforts on delivering channels
- Sharpen your content marketing strategy
Which metrics to track?
- Audience- Page Views, Unique & Repeated visitors
- Engagement- Session duration, bounce rate, social share, comments
- Conversion- downloads, opt-ins,
Social Media Marketing
6.1 Have Complete Profiles On All Popular Social Media Channels
Social media offers numerous benefits to ecommerce brands like –
- Boosts brand visibility
- Help engage with the audience
- Find new customers
- Drives traffic to the website
- Boosts SEO efforts
With so many benefits, you must leverage social media. The first step is to create good profiles on the channels. Your profile communicates to the world what your business is and creates the first impression. And that’s why each element must accurately reflect your brand message. Here’s what you can do-
- Choose @names carefully. Try to use your company name but if it is not available, pick a name that identifies with your company name
- Choose a profile photo that visually represents your business or brand
- Include useful information in the bio, such as your location or business hours, and a link to your website.
6.2 Place Social Sharing Buttons In The Right Places
You can use social sharing to –
- Enable customers to follow you on social media
- Encourage your customers to promote your products
- Allow your customers to share about product purchases
So place your social sharing button strategically so that your customers find them at right time and get motivated to share it. Here are few places to place social buttons for maximum impact –
- Product Pages
- Thank You, Page, at checkout
- About Us page
- Email signatures
- How To Motivate Customers To Share Your Products
- Importance of Social Media Icons for eCommerce Sites and How to Set Them Correctly
- How to Display Social Media Stream on Website to Increase E-commerce Sales
6.3 Engage With Your Social Audience
Most of the businesses on social media spend all their energy in growing follower base, promoting products and driving traffic to the website. But few care about engaging with the audience. Social media engagement benefits an ecommerce business by –
- Building relationship with customers
- Boosting trust in your brand
- Making your business look humane
- Helping you better understand your customer needs
So how to engage with your audience?
- Ask questions to your followers. Encourage them to talk to you.
- Run creative contests
- Share helpful and relevant content
- Share customer testimonials
- Encourage users to share their experiences with your business
- Organize Twitter chat or Facebook chat with your audience
- Promote social causes
A few popular tools that can help you in your social media engagement and other efforts are-
- Hootsuite- Schedule, manage and report your social media activities.
- Klout create and share great content.
- Buzzsumo Analyze what content performs best for any topic or competitor and find the key influencers to promote your content
- Mention Track your brand mentions on news sites, social networks, blogs or any web page.
- 5 Reasons Why Businesses Should Consider Social Media Engagement
- How to Engage With Your Social Media Followers Quickly and Authentically
- Social-Listening: 5 Ways To Really Engage With Your Social Media Audience
- 5 Ways to Increase Engagement With Your Target Audience
6.4 Commit To A Posting Schedule
Being consistent on social media is necessary. No one likes to engage with business or a person who is not active regularly. But then no one can be active 24X7 on all channels. Here’s a way to do it-
- Create a posting schedule- This will include the type of content you want to share, the number of posts per day etc.
- Use a scheduling tool like Sprout Social, Hootsuite etc.
Scheduling your posts has advantages like –
- Optimizing your time and efforts
- Being consistent on engagement with your followers
- Automating a part of work to boost productivity
- How to Create a Social Media Posting Schedule
- How to Schedule Social Media Content for Next Week, Next Month, and Next Year
6.5 Keep Track Of Metrics Across All Channels
Social media is goal oriented. All your efforts on social media websites are directed towards achieving your goals. The goals can be –
- Getting new customers
- Building brand loyalty
- Amplifying your brand message
- Driving traffic to the website
- Increasing sales
You need to monitor your social media performance to understand its effectiveness and take corrective measures where required. All the social media sites provide analytics to give you granular data. Here are a few key metrics you should keep an eye on a regular basis –
- No. of sharing of your posts
- No. of comments on your posts
- No. of likes on your posts
- Traffic to your website
- Sales & revenue earned from social channels
Sell Your Products Outside Your Store
7.1 Sell On Facebook
There are many places beyond your store where you can sell your products. The Facebook marketplace is one of them. As of the third quarter of 2017, Facebook had 2.07 billion monthly active users. You can tap into this massive audience by setting up a store on your Facebook page.
The marketplace is available in the Facebook app and on desktops and tablets. Look for them at the bottom of the app on iOS or at the top of the app on Android. If using a web browser, you can find Marketplace on the left side of the Facebook page.
You can set up your store on your Facebook business page. And when your customer visits your page, they can see your product listings and can directly buy products there.
- How To Add A Shop Section To Your Page
- How to Guide on Facebook marketing for eCommerce success
- 3 Easy Ways to Set Up a Facebook Store to Start Selling in 2018
7.2 Sell On Pinterest
Pinterest also allows you to sell your products via buyable pins. Buyable Pins let people buy your products without ever leaving Pinterest. People can easily spot these Pins all over Pinterest—in search results, in related Pins and on your business profile.
According to Shopify, 87% of Pinterest users say they have purchased something they discovered while Pinning. Also, the average order value of sales coming from Pinterest is $50 – higher than any other major social platform.
With over 12 million active visitors per month, selling your products on Pinterest can really boost the visibility of your stores and sales.
- Getting started: How to sell on Pinterest with Buyable Pins
- How to Setup Buyable Pins to Sell Products Direct on Pinterest
- The Complete Guide to Pinterest for eCommerce
7.3 Sell On Instagram
Instagram is the king of engagement. But it is also the right place for ecommerce stores like you to sell products. According to CIO.com-
- Over 600 million people share or view photos and videos on Instagram each month,
- 400 million people visiting the site daily.
- 60 percent of Instagram users said they discovered new products on the platform,
- 75 percent said they had taken action after being inspired by a post.
Though in early rolling out stage, Shopping on Instagram provides eligible businesses with the ability to tag products in their posts. Every tagged product leads to a product detail view where a customer learns more about your product.
You can tag up to 5 products per photo (or 20 products per multi-image post). You can tag products in both new and existing posts.
When someone taps a tag on your post, they’ll see:
- An image of the product from your post
- A description of the product
- How much the product costs
- A link that takes them directly to your website, where they can purchase the product
- How do I enable the ability to tag products on Instagram?
- How To Leverage Instagram To Drive Your Ecommerce Success?
- 11 ways to sell on Instagram
7.4 Marketplaces – eBay, Amazon & Etsy
There are many established online marketing places like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy etc., where you can sell your products and boost your business. Some major benefits of selling in these online places are –
- Opportunity to expand your business beyond your store
- Making your business visible to millions of shoppers who visit these marketplaces
- A cost-effective way to acquire new customers
- Leveraging from the trust earned from these marketplaces
However, you have to pay a fee to sell on these marketplaces and have limited control over things like product presentation, pricing strategies, and processes etc.
- 32 Places to Sell Online: eCommerce Marketplaces & Platforms
- Pros and Cons of Selling on Amazon, eBay and Etsy
- The Pros And Cons Of Selling On Amazon Vs Ebay
7.5 Comparison Shopping Search Engines
Comparison shopping engines are also a great place to boost your sales. These sites get millions of hits every month from shoppers who are researching and comparing various products. Some benefits of selling products on comparison shopping search engines are –
- Gaining visibility among shoppers with intent to buy
- Compete with similar shoppers
- Entice buyers with low pricing strategy
- Opportunity to upsell/cross-sell
You need to display your products on these sites. Your products will get shown on various comparison searches done by customers. If a customer clicks on your product then he will be directed to your site.
- Comparison Shopping Engines
- The Top 20 Price Comparison Shopping Search Engines
- Price-Comparison Websites Best Practices (For Retailers)
7.6 Use An App To Streamline Operations
When you sell your products on multiple channels like a store, social media, online marketplaces and comparison websites then it becomes challenging to manage your operations. You can face challenges like-
- Streamlining all orders and syncing it with your delivery process
- Price management for various channels
- Managing promotions of various channels
- Identifying ROI of each specific channel
- Inventory management as your sales increases
eCommerce platforms like Bigcommerce and Shopify etc., offer multichannel operation management as a feature and they have apps to streamline your operations. Few apps for other ecommerce platforms – ChannelGrabber and SellBrite, Sellberry
Make Your Mobile Site A Revenue Generation Machine
8.1 Invest In A Responsive Theme
Mobile is important for ecommerce. Mobile searches globally have already surpassed desktop searches and soon purchases on mobile will surpass those in desktops.
Your site must be responsive to mobile devices. What is mobile responsive design? In a responsive website, the layout and/or content adapts to the size of the screen it is accessed from. The size of fonts, the layout of content etc., adapts to the screen size to give a better user experience.
A responsive theme is the best way to make your store mobile friendly. There are many themes to choose from marketplaces like ThemeForest-
- Shopify Themes – Link, Link
- Magento Themes – Link, Link,
- Bigcommerce Themes – Link, Link,
- WooCommerce Themes – Link, Link, Link
- PrestaShop Themes – Link, Link
- Be Accessible on Mobile Devices
- How Responsive Design Boosts Mobile Conversions
- 78 Best Ecommerce Website Design Examples & Award Winners
8.2 Make it AMP Ready
To make the mobile web faster, Google introduced Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project. AMP is a natural fit for e-commerce because AMP makes web pages fast, and fast pages help with purchase conversions. As per Google, AMP pages are 4X times faster than a mobile page. Some benefits of AMP are –
- Fast loading pages boost user experience and conversions
- Boosts your SEO efforts
- Search results on mobile display AMP pages distinctly which improves CTR of your pages
- AMP supports a range of mobile ad formats helping you better target customers on mobile
- Getting Started with AMP for E-commerce
- Accelerated Mobile Pages Project
- AMP for Ecommerce: Answers to All Your Questions on Accelerated Mobile Pages
- Why One E-commerce Company Is Going All-in On Amp (Hint: Conversions)
8.3 Make Marketing Landing Pages Mobile Friendly
Responsive themes can make your website mobile friendly. But can it improve conversions of your landing pages? No, and that’s why you need to do more than adopt a responsive theme for your landing page. Here are a few things you can do –
- Trim the copy and make the message concise
- Use bullet points
- Use a base font size of minimum 16 pixels
- Use a short form
- Use just one CTA (Call To Action)
- Make CTA buttons distinct with bold colors
- Make the page load faster
- The Anatomy of a Mobile Landing Page That Converts
- How to Build the Perfect Mobile Landing Page
- 5 Mobile Landing Page Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs
- How to Optimize a Mobile Landing Page that Converts
8.4 Make Your Email Opt-ins And Newsletters Mobile Readable
Email opt-ins are a great way to collect a customer’s contact detail and permission to engage with her. Opt-ins provide privileged access to customers. A smaller screen estate on mobile makes it essential to design opt-ins that are mobile friendly. Here are a few things to consider –
- Put your message in one sentence
- Use one opt-in per offer
- Limit the number of fields in form to bare minimum
- Use a single opt-in for mobile
Now that you will start getting people subscribing to your newsletters, offer information etc., it is important that you make your emails and newsletters readable on mobile. Here are a few tips –
- Use a legible font size
- Use a single column template
- Use images only when necessary
- Choose responsive newsletter templates
INCREASE YOUR CONVERSION RATES
9.1 Run Promotions
Promotions have been an effective sales strategy since time immemorial. While the nature of promotions has changed since then its effectiveness still remains. In the online world, where finding better deals don’t take a lot of efforts, promotions work like a magnet helping you attract a lot of customers. There are many types of promotional campaigns you can run in your store like-
- Percentage discount like 20% off
- Money value discount like $50 off
- Upgrade discount wherein people can exchange old product and buy a higher value product at a discount
- Free Shipping
- Threshold discount wherein your offer discount to people who cross a specific cart size
- Membership discount
- Daily deals
- Seasonal discounts
- End of sale offers
Run promotions to attract new customers, boost your conversion rate and reward your shoppers.
- How To Drive Sales With Ecommerce Promotions On Shopify
- The Essential Ecommerce Promotion Guide: 80 Tactics that Drive Online Sales
- Why Your Ecommerce Promotions Fail
9.2 Use Cart Abandonment Software
Baymard Institute gathered 37 stats on cart abandonment rates. Some studies reported cart abandonment rates to be as high as 80.30%. The lowest rate reported was 59.80%.
People leave their products in carts due to many reasons like-
- Hidden Costs
- Need to create an account to purchase
- Complicated checkout process
- Slow delivery
- Website crashes
- Lack of trust with website’s security
Fix the technical issues, simplify your checkout process and be transparent about prices and other information. And use a cart abandonment software. The software allows you to send automated emails every time a visitor leaves products in his cart. It sends a gentle reminder asking the user if there is anything stopping them from completing the purchase.
9.3 Use Live Chat Software
- Assisting shoppers with information
- Provide customer support
- Upsell and Cross-sell products
And it’s cost-effective and fully automated. So, with less money, you can offer 24X7 shopping assistance to your shoppers.
- 4 Reasons Your eCommerce Store Should Have Live Chat
- Top LiveChat Software
- Seven Retailers That Use Live Chat To Improve Customer Service
9.4 Let Customers Know Your Ecommerce Store Is Safe
Customers are wary of online frauds and privacy issues. Most shoppers want to feel assured before sharing their personal and financial detail with you. So, making your customers feel safe shopping on your website is key to increasing conversion rate. Here’s what you can do-
- Build an impressive website
- Display Trust badges for site, payment, and data security
- Showcase customer testimonials
- Write a good ‘about us’ page
- Write a good return policy
- Put your contact details on the site
- 11 Ways To Design Your Online Store For Trust
- How To Win Customers Trust With A Kick-Ass About Us Page?
9.5 Let Customers Checkout As Guests
Modern day marketing requires you to make your customers sign-up to your website. It helps as you collect some customer details in the process. You can use the data to connect with him and build a long-term relationship.
However, not every customer, specifically new buyers, would like to share their details on the first visit. This results in –
- Loss of sales
- Increase in cart abandonment
- Makes checkout process longer
- Loss in marketing efforts
So give them a choice of buying as a guest. You can request them to sign up for your website later once the purchase is complete. But don’t make sign-up a barrier in your checkout process.
9.6 Optimize Mobile First
Nearly 40% of Google searches happen on mobile. Over 30% of retail purchases happen on mobile. Mobile is critical to improve your store’s conversion rate and boost your sales. And just making the site responsive is not enough. Here are a few things to optimize your store for mobile –
- Ensure your site loads on mobile in less than 3 seconds. For every second delay, studies suggest a 20% loss in conversions
- Use a font size of 14X and more
- Trust Badges for site security, payment gateway security, business accreditation etc.
- Avoid full-screen Ad blinds
- Improve site navigation
- Provide complete product information
- Enable ‘Add to Cart’ and ‘Buy Now’ from the product page
- Create a shorter checkout process
- 13 Top Mobile Online Store UX Secrets To Boost Sales
- How to Optimize Your Store for Mobile
- How to Make Mobile eCommerce Convert: What’s Effective In Mobile Design Right Now
9.7 Boost Repeat Purchases With An Ecommerce Loyalty Program
One of the best ways to improve your conversion rates is to boost repeat purchases. It is because the cost of acquiring a new customer is much higher than selling to a new customer. Also, repeat customers spend 67% more than existing customers. Loyalty programs help you gain business from your existing customers. Loyalty programs have other benefits like –
- Builds long-term relationship with buyers
- Provides engagement opportunities with customers
- Improves marketing ROI
- Designing an E-Commerce Loyalty Program to Increase Retention and Sales
- 8 Powerful Customer Loyalty Programs for E-Commerce (w/ Examples)
- The Best eCommerce Loyalty Programs
9.8 Always Be Testing
It’s very important to try out new things and test different ideas to boost your conversion rates. A/B testing removes the guesswork out of your decision making and makes it data-driven. Some of the major areas to try and test is –
- Home Page
- Product Pages
- Checkout Process
- Billing Page
- Landing Pages
9.9 Measure Progress
Keep an eye on the analytics regularly and regularly monitor your conversion rates. Here’s how to do it-
- Identify the product pages with high and low conversion rates
- Check their traffic sources
- Check new visitor conversion
- Check old visitor conversion
- Check cart value per conversion
- Identify the exit pages
Once you see increase/dip in the conversion rates of any page, figure out the reasons and take corrective steps.
GOOGLE SHOPPING ADS
10.1 Setup Google Shopping Ads
Shopping ads appear on Google Search, Images, YouTube, and more, when people search for products you sell. You can use Shopping campaigns to –
- Promote your online and local inventory
- Boost traffic to your website or local store
- Get better-qualified leads.
- About Shopping Campaigns And Shopping Ads
- Set Up Google Shopping Ads
- A Quick (but Useful) Guide on Using Google Shopping Ads to Generate Sales and Revenue
10.2 Set Up Your Shopping Feed
Shopping campaigns are different from AdWords wherein you can choose keywords for which you want your ads to appear. In shopping campaigns, Google crawls your feed and then determines the keywords or queries for which your ad should appear. Yes much like how SEO works. A feed is nothing but a format in which you provide information about your product.
Setting up your Google shopping feed properly is important to –
- Make your ads appear on the right search queries
- Make buyers click your ads
- Boost RoI of your campaigns
You can build a feed manually, by entering information about your products into a spreadsheet or by using plugin and apps that pulls information from your website. There are many apps like Shopping Feed, 3dcart etc., to help you scale and speed up your campaigns.
10.3 Learn To Manage Bids Effectively
Bids are the most important part of your Shopping campaigns. They are a factor in determining what keywords your ad will show up for and the spending on your overall campaigns. A higher bid will make your ad campaigns expensive while lower bids will affect the campaign effectiveness. That’s why getting your bids right is critical for your campaigns. And it’s not that tough. Here are a few tips to win the bidding war on shopping campaigns –
- Start with defining objectives for your campaigns. What are you looking to achieve from your campaigns?
- Select clear metrics to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns.
- Select the right bidding strategy. Google allows smart and manual bidding strategy. See what will work best for your campaigns.
- Start small and then grow big. Start with a few products and set a small budget per day. Grow as you learn from the experience.
- Use competitive metrics like benchmark CPC, benchmark CTR, impression share, and click share as well as tools like the Bid Simulator to assess your performance, hone your bid strategy, and make informed decisions.
- Guide To Google shopping Bids
- Google Shopping Campaigns Optimization Guide
- Create and Optimize Effective Shopping Campaigns: Google Best Practices
10.4 Optimize The Product Name And Descriptions
Product name and descriptions play an important role in the performance of your Google shopping campaigns. You need to optimize them to increase their chances of appearing for more relevant searches. Here are a few things to optimize your product titles:
- Be specific in your title
- Use keywords used by shoppers. Use keyword planner to identify such keywords.
- Don’t use foreign words
- Use popular terms
To optimize your product descriptions, you need to –
- Use first 140-180 characters effectively. This is the part that is visible for shoppers. For the rest, they have to click ‘read more’.
- Put important information like brand, product type, size, key specs in the first 140 characters.
- Don’t use comparison with other products.
- Write in common man’s language
- How To Optimize Product Descriptions For Google Shopping
- 9 Tips for Optimizing Your Google Product Listing Ad Campaigns
10.5 Use Retargeting To Become Omnipresent
People will click on your shopping ads, visit your website and buy the desired products. Though shopping ads generally have good conversion rates but still a good percentage of the shoppers will not purchase. You can target such shoppers with remarketing or retargeting. It offers benefits like-
- Gives your more brand exposure thereby increasing the chances of getting sales
- Helps you occupy customer’s mind space while he is still searching for products
- Opportunity to offer you better deals and discounts
- Opportunity to upsell and cross-sell
Remarketing for shopping ads work the same way as remarketing for search ads. You can set your bids, create ads, or select keywords keeping in mind that these customers have previously visited your website.
10.6 Mention The Promotions You Are Running
Merchant Promotions is a free feature that allows you to distribute online promotions with Shopping Ads. When you add promotions to products that you sell on Google, shoppers see a “special offer” link (e.g. 15% off, free shipping, etc.). This link can increase the appeal of your Shopping ads and encourage shoppers to buy. It is a good idea to mention all special offerings you are providing to your shoppers. Some of the offerings can be –
- Free Shipping
- One-day delivery
- Free Gifts or Sample products
11.1 Setup Facebook Ads
You’ll need to create an advertising account to run advertisements on Facebook. Every account has an ad manager available to run campaigns. But, if you plan to manage more than one ad account or if someone else (employee or agency) will be managing your account you will need to use a Business Manager account.
A Business Manager account gives you benefits like –
- You can create separate ad accounts for different businesses, pay for ads with different payment methods, and organize by objective for reporting.
- You can allow specific, role-based access to ad accounts, Pages, and other assets to your employees, as well as easily see who’s working on what.
- See the performance of your ads across different ad accounts and get reports.
11.2 Setup Conversion Tracking
Conversion tracking is essential to measure the effectiveness of your ads and its return on investment. Facebook Pixels is to FaceBook what Google analytics is to Google. It helps you track your ad performance. You can understand the actions people take after seeing your ads.
How many people clicked on the ad?
How many conversions?
How many liked your page after seeing the ad?
And a lot more.
Conversion tracking also helps you show ads to people who are more likely to convert.
11.3 Use Carousel Ads
Facebook’s carousel ads are great for ecommerce businesses to engage and convert their audience. According to Kinetic Social, these ads can drive up to 10 times more traffic to websites than static posts on Facebook.
The carousel ads allow you to showcase up to ten images or videos within a single ad, each with its own link. You can use it to –
- Showcase different products
- Highlight different sides of the same product
- Tell a story about your product or service
- Use a combination of images and videos to give a lot of information in a concise and engaging way
- Creating your carousel ad
- Creative Specs And Technical Requirements For Ads
- FB Carousel Format Creative Examples
- The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Carousel Ads
11.4 Use Power Editor
If you are running large-scale ad campaigns then you must use Facebook Power Editor. It is a great tool to manage a lot of campaigns and eases a lot of complex tasks for you like –
- Bulk editing your campaigns
- Manage multiple ads
- Import ads using excel
- Search and apply filters to quickly find the right information
- Customise reports and save data sets to see the numbers that are most important to you.
- Power Editor Basics
- Manage Facebook Campaigns At Scale
- Facebook Power Editor: A Crash Course into Facebook’s Powerful Ad Editor
- 7 Hidden Facebook Power Editor Features to Save You Time
11.5 Lookalike Audience
Facebook’s Lookalike Audience feature is an excellent way to reach new people who are likely to be interested in your products and services because they are similar to your best existing customers.
According to Upwork-
- Lookalike audiences had the Best CTR in 80% of campaigns
- Lookalike audiences had the Best CPI in 60% of campaigns
- Lookalike audiences had the Best CPA in 60% of campaigns
Facebook creates lookalike audience based on your existing customers, website visitors and people who like your pages.
Using it, you can target people who have demographics, interests and economic profile of your existing customers. And increase your sales.
- Lookalike Audiences
- Create a Lookalike Audience
- The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Lookalike Audiences
- Here’s How You Can Put Facebook’s Lookalike Audiences to Work for Your Brand
Remarketing to people who have visited your website and shown interest in your products is an excellent way to boost sales. Facebook remarketing allows you to track people who have visited your website and show your ads on their facebook feed.
You can use the remarketing ads to increase the chance of conversion by –
- Offer discounts on the product your visitor has shown interest in
- Show similar products
- Cross-sell and Upsell
- Reach him with a new message
Ecommerce marketing works best when multiple channels play together. Driving traffic to your online store is only half the battle. You should have conversion strategies before you actively start driving traffic. Before even thinking marketing it is very important you take a good hard look at your online store and business.
- Is this a website you would trust?
- Is the product range and collection good enough?
- Are you investing enough time and money into this project?
Before going big guns on traffic focus on the fundamentals. Fix the basics, have a measurement plan, focus on consistent improvement and scale your traffic.
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