Crafting a Successful eCommerce Marketing Strategy
If you want to separate your online store from the crowd, you need to implement the right plan of action, otherwise it’s unlikely that anyone will notice your business or buy your products. With more eCommerce businesses popping up every day, you need a way to stand out and signal to potential customers that you have what they are looking for.
In a dense and rapidly growing digital marketplace however, this can be easier said than done. You have to ask yourself, what are you doing right now to help distinguish your business from the thousands of other online stores that are vying for the attention of your customers? Do you have a comprehensive eCommerce marketing strategy in place or are you relying on luck to see your business through?
If you intend on achieving success with your online store, you need to follow specific steps that are proven to attract customers and develop your brand. While this may seem daunting, you can’t take shortcuts when it comes to digital marketing. You need a fool-proof and results-driven strategy that will actually get your name out there and help your customers connect with you and find your products.
What makes this issue even more complex is that there are hundreds of possible avenues to take when it comes to marketing online. It’s important to take calculated and informed steps toward your goals rather than trying anything that sounds trendy or that you think “might” work. You’re much better off for the sake of your store’s success to read up on what works and start from a solid foundation.
We’ve put together this guide to help you navigate the waters of digital marketing and ensure that your online store can compete and thrive no matter what industry you are in.
Take Care of Your On-Page SEO
The first step you want to take with the construction of an impactful eCommerce marketing strategy is to make sure your SEO is being handled properly. Search engine optimization is the cornerstone of any serious digital marketing strategy for online stores and needs to be implemented from a professional level.
Specifically, you want to ensure that your website is fast, fully functional, and is easy to navigate. It should be secure, informative, utilize the keywords you want to rank for in all the right places, and should provide ample social proof. SEO encompasses all aspects of user experience on your website, which means you need to take a serious look at your store and question whether or not it is meeting the needs of your users.
A website that is not properly optimized will not only have trouble appearing in the search engines but won’t meet all of the expectations of your users. This is especially important in eCommerce because the entire point of your website is to communicate a strong and trustworthy brand message to any users, in order to push them toward conversion.
If your online store lacks that trust factor due to amateurish design, slow load times, obscure product descriptions, or confusing navigation, there is a high likelihood that your users are not going to buy your products. SEO isn’t just about throwing around a bunch of keywords and popping up in search results. It involves a thorough understanding of what users are looking for in an online store and delivering it to them.
Here is an SEO checklist to get you started if you feel a bit overwhelmed and don’t know what to tackle first.
- Optimize your URLs. Try to shorten them whenever possible, reducing the number of filler words, to better make each URL a long tail keyword. Remember that you need to implement a redirect if you are concerned about losing any traffic because of a URL change.
- Make sure your title tags are in order. Clear and concise use or header tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) that contain relevant keywords for the page or product in question are simply a must-have. Avoid using these out of order or creating headings simply by increasing font size or bolding fonts.
- Write detailed and informative product descriptions. This should go without saying but lazy product descriptions are all too common online. While this may not be a deal-breaker for some people, think of the precedent that has been set by Amazon, where each product typically has a robust and informative page that includes specs, photos, answered questions, supplementary information, uses, and more depending on the product. This is the kind of attitude you want to have, not only in terms of SEO, but for the benefit of your users as well.
- Compress your photos. This can’t be stressed enough, slow load times dramatically increase bounce rate, and bloated photos are one of the worst offenders when it comes to slow page speeds. Regardless of which eCommerce platform you are on, there are different plugins and features available to you to help you make sure your photos are compressed properly. You can also use a free tool such as GIMP to crop, resize, and scale down your photos before even uploading them to your website.
- Don’t forget your image alt-tags. While they may seem inconsequential, Google still takes them seriously, and the “images” section of Google can be a goldmine for eCommerce websites because users will often search there for products they are looking for. You will only appear in these results however if your photos have the proper information in place, however.
- Work on your categories, navigation, and internal linking. Think of your website as a roadmap that is designed to “guide” the user to a destination, which is either information about your products or the products themselves. Don’t assume that your users magically know where to go. Today we have Google maps and extensive signage all over the roads and we still get lost from time to time. Websites can be even more confusing, especially if your target audience isn’t tech-savvy. Rather than leave anything to chance, it’s your job to make sure your website makes sense and is easy to follow. Your categories should be logical, you should have an easy-to-follow breadcrumb structure, and your products and other pages should use plenty of contextual links that lead users to further information as needed.
- Finally, make sure your website doesn’t send any untrustworthy signals. Spammy popups, too many ads, click-bait titles, and other such tactics are no longer welcome online and are seen by both users and Google as suspicious if not downright wrong. While you don’t want your online store to be too vanilla, you also want to ensure it exudes professionalism and acts as an authoritative voice for your brand.
Of course, all of this is assuming you have already performed extensive keyword research and have a general idea of the demographics you want to target. If you don’t know how to do keyword research it’s imperative that you take the time to learn or that you invest in the right digital marketing services, otherwise your SEO efforts may be thrown off course.
Create Valuable Content For Your Users
After your online store’s on-page SEO has been thoroughly addressed, it’s time to improve the content that you deliver to your users. This is an integral part of your eCommerce marketing strategy, because valuable content is one of the biggest draws for users and plays an important role in your ability to spread your content on social media, newsletters, and other channels.
In terms of creating valuable content for your users, you want to think about the questions they might have about your products or the best ways in which to use your products. You may also want to talk about special deals that you offer, as well as entertaining events in relation to your business. The bottom line is however that you need to be regularly creating high-quality blog posts that not only utilize long-tail keywords that you want to rank for, but that also provide a great deal of useful information that your users would actually want to read.
This will get your website ranking on Google and is also what will get clicks on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, which are some of the best channels for digital marketing right now. If you are able to create valuable content on your website, this becomes a draw for users to visit that doesn’t involve simply purchasing a product. You can then warm a user toward conversion by providing helpful reviews, how-to articles, interesting news, and more.
Valuable content is a necessary component to a successful online store, and needs to be worked into your digital marketing strategy. Even if you don’t fancy yourself as a writer, you need to invest in this area of your business, ideally through professional eCommerce SEO services.
Connect With Other Brands For Valuable Opportunities
One of the fastest-growing areas of promoting businesses online is through influencer marketing and brand partnerships. While this is a somewhat ambiguous area, because it’s difficult to say just when the right time to reach out and connect with other brands is, this is something you want to keep an eye out for and consider.
As you develop your marketing strategy, you want to approach the growth of your website and brand with brand partnerships in mind. A brand or influencer is unlikely to want to partner with a brand or store that doesn’t look the part. As you are optimizing your website, think about how you are engaging your users and what steps you can take to create a more stylish and functional experience that would incentivize someone else in your industry to cross-promote.
You might think that this is an unnecessary part of digital marketing, but the trends say otherwise. These days, one of the trust factors that users look for in an online store or brand is who is promoting it and involved with it. If your brand exists on an island and is not being talked about on social media, this is definitely an area you need to work on.
How do you reach out and make connections though? The key to finding opportunities with brand collaborations and cross-promotions is to be invested in your industry. Talk to your customers on social media, allow your customers to tag your brand page and feature them on your Instagram and other social channels, follow influencers and brands in your niche and reach out to them from time to time with ideas for mutual promotions.
Start a Facebook Marketing Campaign
Speaking of social media, this is the next major area of focus for your marketing campaign. While SEO is still the most essential element to online success for the majority of eCommerce stores, social media is continuously gaining ground.
Specifically, Facebook marketing presents an incredible opportunity for businesses of all sizes to reach more customers and build their brands. Facebook marketing is extremely effective because it can target such specific demographics, making it one of the best marketing tools in history.
If you manage an online store, you should create a Facebook business page and begin to grow a following there. The easiest way to do this is to utilize the content that you are creating on your website and promote it on this page, along with helpful tips about your products, funny anecdotes, and “day in the life” information that your audience might find valuable. At the same time, you should be using a small amount of ad spend on a “like” campaign to reach people in your niche.
Once your page accrues enough fans, you can expand into more sophisticated advertising strategies that draw customers to individual products, run giveaways and contests, help with customer service concerns, and more. A properly managed Facebook advertising campaign can act as a useful arm to your marketing strategy, which also naturally leads into Instagram as well, one of the best platforms for promoting your products online.
Running social media accounts however can be a time consuming and intensive process that requires a dedicated social media manager or eCommerce marketing expert at the helm. As you develop your strategy, you may want to invest in professional social media and Facebook marketing services if for no other reason than time constraints. If you want to be free to run your business, there’s no way you can afford to spend all day on social media!
Invest in PPC Once Your SEO Comes to Life
The final stage of your marketing efforts should focus on a comprehensive PPC campaign. Some store owners want to immediately jump into the deep end and throw money at Google to try and get quick and easy conversions, but there’s more to pay-per-click advertising then “money in, money out.”
First and foremost, if your website isn’t optimized to provide a great user experience, it doesn’t matter how flashy your PPC ads are or how great your product is. The user is likely to abandon their cart or leave your site immediately at the first hint of amateur design. If the trust factor isn’t present, the user is simply not going to take the plunge and hit the buy button. Before you invest in PPC, you need to cover all of your bases and make sure your website has been properly optimized.
Once your online store looks the part and feels professional, and once you have established a solid social media presence and have a solid and balanced cashflow coming in, it’s time to unlock the power of Amazon PPC and Google Adwords. These marketing channels can be used to scale your business and create a loyal customer base, providing quick turnaround and sustainable results, but only if implemented properly.
Successful PPC efforts require a comprehensive understanding of audiences, retargeting, and keywords specific to the world of pay-per-click advertising. The same keywords you take advantage of in SEO aren’t always the same ones you utilize when running PPC campaigns, so in order to have a well-rounded eCommerce marketing strategy, you need to have knowledge of both in order to get the results you want.
To start out with running a PPC campaign for your eCommerce website, you want to have a firm grasp on your target market, and understand that this can shift slightly depending on the platform you are advertising on. You also want to research which of your specific products would work best and are worth advertising, and which products are best left for organic traffic brought in through SEO.
Once you reach this point of understanding with your audience and how to best target them through the appropriate keywords, you can move onto crafting the ad itself. Depending on your platform of choice, this is where you need to know how to write informative and convincing sales copy. If this isn’t your strong suit, it’s important to recognize this fact and invest in professional eCommerce PPC services that can handle the task of writing sales copy that gets conversions.
Putting Your Marketing Strategy Into Action
As you can see, there are many points to consider when crafting an eCommerce marketing strategy that gets results. You certainly can’t take a “try everything until something works” approach, otherwise nothing will get done and your website will most likely fail to gain any traction.
In order to truly succeed in eCommerce, you need marketing experts that understand all aspects of how to run and promote an online store, regardless of the platform or industry. Here at Genius eCommerce, running eCommerce marketing campaigns is simply what we do, and we do it well. If you honestly want to put together a marketing plan for your business that will generate the kind of results you’re looking for, reach out to us at 888.982.8269 and we’ll help you make it happen.