The tides are drifting captain, it’s time to take charge and traverse through the blustery wind. It may sound melodramatic. In the eCommerce world, without a strategy, you are doomed. Almost the same as our lost captain, uttering “Oh captain my captain”, further drifting off course. A pinpoint strategy, detailing the action plan keeps you in-tact. It helps to find opportunities, plot a course of action, and predict palpable outcomes. The foremost advantage of an eCommerce entrepreneur is that they can own an online store will little or no investment (most eCommerce platform providers give a 15 day trial period).
Marketing in the digital world has redefined how customers interact with business. Exemplary strategies have instilled the need for business entities to share a common goal, to set a goal that meets customer values. A customer-centric marketing strategy helps to identify the ideal customers, understand their needs/ preferences, and take necessary action to meet their requirements. Easy when it’s said, isn’t it? But, the reality is mildly distorted. Think about it, only a handful of companies know who their target customers are. Most entities fail to create a persona and club it with their marketing strategies. Yes, it’s a disturbing fact. The main reason being they put the bottom line first and ignores the customer. Business is all about exchanging values.
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Top eCommerce Marketing Strategies For Businesses In 2018
Let me not keep you waiting, time for a nose dive.
Let’s see what are the top e-commerce marketing strategies that can help you achieve success.
Outline your Website to Meet the Traffic Requirement
How you represent yourself matters, your website is the initial touch base for your visitors. A well-outlined website clearly reflects the value proposition, what a customer gets when they engage/ transacts with your business. Consider your online commerce is into selling luxury products. Then it’s imperative, that when your target visitors land on your website they should feel delighted with the kind of luxury experience your online store is able to reflect. Nothing less, you end up representing yourself as another entity trying to hit the bottom line. Personalize your website to meet the demands and requirements of your inbound traffic.
UI/ UX of your eCommerce Store
The User Interface and User Experience part play a focal role in igniting credence among customers. A well-mapped store structure clearly orients the visitor. Characterising how each action contributes to meet the end objective. Make your interface user-friendly. Be logical, think how your customer wants to convert on your website. What steps you want them to take, trim down any unnecessary steps, provide them hassle-free experience. Leave your creative to the user experience part, most people will go crazy and end up compromising the simplicity.
The user experience on your landing page should give them a whooping experience. It should delight and make your customers feel special. Visual graphics and designs play an important role in elevating the customer’s interest, and aids in keeping them engaged. Every text you add to your online store should create a healthy connection with the other creatives on the landing page.
If your eCommerce store caters to multiple segments, then make sure that the landing page is strategically designed to meet the demands of visitors from multiple niches. This is one common mistake that plagues several eCommerce stores. For example: Consider you own an online apparel store. Then your eCommerce theme should be streamlined in a way that it sends a clear message in terms of, what niche segment your online store caters. Personalizing your brand just to meet the requirement of one segment will cost you a fortune.
Helpful read: 28 Best Sites To Find Paid Blogging Jobs
Content – A Proven Channel to Educate your Customers
Whether displayed on analog or digital, high-quality content has proven its significance. Over time we have noticed, creating valuable content that offers a complete solution to people is well appreciated. Content at its core is created with an idea, an idea that can transform people’s life. Leading a digital entrepreneurial life, you need to identify opportunities that can add merit to your business. Having a sense of purpose to help and support people increases the brand awareness, and content is the right channel to extend a helping hand.
Best Practices in Content Creation
- Create a buyers persona
- Identify target customers pain points
- Map customer journey
- Create content for multiple stages in the customer journey
Prior to content creation make sure that you have your personas created and set aside. If you are considering you eCommerce pretty seriously and planning to generate monetary value, then the pivotal strategy I would advice is to identify and box your ideal customers. Creating a buyers persona helps you to target who your target customer is, their pain points, interests, etc. It acts as a blueprint for your project. Without a strong foundation, you cannot build an empire.
Mediocre articles will never suffice the need. It’s similar to an email blast, never hitting the target you intend to hit, nevertheless making a point. Do an in-depth research, find what points can add value to the reader. The more value your reader gets, the longer he stays with you, making it easier to convince and convert.
Content comes in different forms and format. Content represented with a blunt of visual graphics will help get better traction than the counterparts, represented in scripts and texts. With visitor attention span plummeting, a visual representation of information can give better impact. Videos and infographics are the best-preferred channels for delivering complex information. Here the crux can be diluted and personalized to meet the audience. It is one good reason why marketers use video to represent testimonials, it gives a crystal clarity and a personal touch, a trusted figure to deliver a statement that can influence the buying decision.
How to effectively market your content
Regardless of how good your article is, unless and until you puff up your chest and start taking action to rigorously market it, your article is not going to reach anyone (to the least you become a domain expert). There are multiple channels through which you can promote your content. Social bookmarking, sharing it on multiple social platforms, content syndication, email newsletters, dark social, etc. If you have dabbled with content marketing most of the strategies would be familiar to you, other than dark social. Dark social may be a term you are not accustomed to. Allow me to explain.
Dark Social:- Dark social refers to the traffic coming from social platforms like messenger, WhatsApp, etc which cannot be categorized and fully narrowed down to a specific source. These sources usually lump up as direct traffic.
SEO – Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization is the best recommended / organic way to get high-quality traffic to your website. Ranking in SERP is not as easy as said, Google uses multiple factors to decide how to rank a web page. Few basic things the Google algorithm considers before ranking is;
- The Quality of content and how it’s structured
- Social signals
- Consistency in publishing
- Domain relevance
- No of quality backlinks pointing to the page
- Page loading time & bounce rate.
And it goes on.
Importance of Semantics
Semantics, understanding something to its basic level and giving meaning to it. With Rankbarin and semantic search, Google has reinvented the search algorithm, an intelligent system that can understand the context and intent of a search query and deliver results based on it. In semantics search, the algorithm will consider your location, your past search history, your interest, etc in providing you a final result.
For example:- Your past search history shows you have shown some interest towards Gucci Handbags. The next time when you trigger a general search query for handbags, tentatively you may be shown a couple of results highlighting Gucci Bags.
Note:- Ever wondered why, Google’s SERP is divided into multiple blocks Google Knowledge Graph (General), Google Knowledge Graph (Local), Related questions, Local pack, Featured snippet, Carousel, etc. The main objective is to provide the end user the best possible answer for the search triggered (Customer comes first). Usually creating articles that start with best, Vs, recipe, make, definition etc ranks well on the featured snippet.
PPC -Pay Per Click
Pay per click is a widely used strategy in eCommerce marketing. With PPC Google offers you an opportunity to bid for relevant keywords and rank in SERP. In a way you can call it, buying traffic. Sincere advice: Before you start PPC for your eCommerce, invest the right time in understanding how the channel works. Keep in mind that every click will cost you X amount of money. Working with multiple clients I have seen a tendency towards ego based bidding. Which is not a healthy practice, know what your end objective is and optimize your PPC campaigns to reach the end objective.
How to Create an Effective PPC Strategy
There are multiple factors that determine the success of your PPC campaign. One being, how you did your research in finding opportunities. Creating a keyword matrix is one suggested strategy. So you know which keywords can probably give you a better return on investment. The Quality score of your ad matters a lot. Follow the best practices while setting up an ad.
Remember the part where I mentioned trust playing an important role in eCommerce marketing. It’s time we learn how to use influencers to spread words and strengthen your brand presence. Now let’s see what an Influencer marketing is, Influencer marketing help you bring a sense of authority and foster trust in the digital realm. Imagine your eCommerce store gets endorsed by a local entity or an expert in the niche market. How do you think it will affect your sales. Pretty big, Isn’t it? Yes.
The best way to do influencer marketing is through expert interviews, and getting your product or website reviewed by an expert. When an expert says how your website and products tend to add value to the market, then there exists a high probability for the Influencers followers to trust your business and to interact with it.
Influencer marketing helps you reach a wider audience. If the influencer is the right person who resonates with the interest of your target audience, then the extent of brand awareness you were able to create is immeasurable. Influencer marketing can also be done with local figures/ personalities.
Social Media Marketing
We all know the importance of networking and how it helps build strong relations. With a rough figure of 30% millennia’s engaging with brands across social platforms it becomes vital to ask, how active are you on social media. Also, set your goals. What you are planning to achieve over the period. Is your strategy to increase the no of social followers or to target a small niche and cater their needs. Be realistic, Set achievable goals! It will be an arduous effort trying to hit 1 million followers in a short time.
In the initial days narrow your focus to 3 social channels. Over time you can migrate and explore other channels. Learn the social channel and make sure it meets your business model. When creating social accounts/ pages make sure that you will not compromise the personality or uniqueness of your business. Across platform, your value proposition and digital identity should be the same. Don’t stuff your social accounts with keywords, but make sure the relevant keywords are there. Create a feasible plan of action and start networking.
Interact, engage, and build a healthy relationship with the target audience
If you are into eCommerce business, then Facebook and Twitter should be given high priority. With a striking figure of 79% people engaging on Facebook, creating a fan base and building brand awareness on this platform could gyrate into a money churner. Social media is not a broadcast media, running torrent of a post without any intent to engage will not suffice the end objective.
Be active in multiple groups where your target audience engages the most. Slowly interact with the people who engage on the platform, one amazing way is to participate in the online contest and expressing your opinion (be abreast to respect others opinions). Share your personal views, opinion, tips, etc. Once people start to notice your presence, slowly introduce your business. Create a custom offer/ discount for people in the specific group, and monitor their response.
Email Marketing:- The Mantra to Email Marketing is Hyper Personalization
Email marketing is one of the leading channel used for lead nurturing. Old fashioned email campaigns are not going to make any impact. As the world has changed, the way email campaigns are drafted too evolved. A well-fabricated email designed to get the eyeballs of your leads are the next-gen email marketing strategy. Technology has simplified the way we do business and made it easier to reach a vast audience.
We live in a world that enables Do It Yourself, and technology has bestowed us great tools to carry out complex process with ease. Personalize your email subject, draft it compelling enough that the addressed person will most likely open the mail. Tell them what the email is about, Make it short, but clear enough to send a strong message. Tag with a good email service provider, make sure the email templates are responsive. You may not know, which display the user prefers (desktop or mobile). Albeit the high ROI, email brings, when done wrong it pisses people off and gets labeled as a spammer (Stats on Campaign Monitor says, email help get $44 for every $1 spend).
Parting Notes:- Strategies are mere plans, without commitment and a strong action plan it’s not going convert to the revenue generator you want it to be. A customer-centric eCommerce marketing strategy helps you interact and engage with people. Place your customer at the heart of your business, make sure that every activity you do help add value to them. Always know the fact, first you need to start, then slowly build pace, and then extend your reach. Be prepared to face challenges and failures. Nobody has achieved anything without experiencing a pinch of failure.