Struggling to increase ecommerce revenue?
2019 is poised to offer 1.92 billion ecommerce shoppers, that is, if you can get them to your site. (source)
Whether you’re new to online business, or just need help ramping up online sales, this blog has the information you need to make strong choices today.
Have an Ecommerce Marketing Strategy in Place
You can’t talk about increasing online sales without drafting a strategy to guide you to the results you desire.
Your marketing strategy should:
- Contain your value proposition
- Cover all goals and objectives
- Reflect a specific period of time
- Communicate your mission statement
- Describe your target market
- Outline your buyer personas
- Detail your pricing
- Include your positioning strategy
- Discuss distribution strategy
- Summarize content mix
- Cover your digital channels
- Explain the processes you will use to execute the strategy
Your marketing strategy should communicate a clear and consistent message to your customers about your brand. (source)
Extra advice: you can step things up by educating your prospects with tools like webinars, video tutorials, and online chat. Use all of these to guide customers through every step of the buyer’s journey with your store.
Know Your Audience
You already knew that, right?
But roughly 60% to 70% of marketers in B2B businesses know true understanding of their customers escapes them. (source)
That stat alone demonstrates the importance of simple preparation, and the edge it will give you.
So, before even thinking of starting an online business, let alone increasing online sales, you have to know who you are selling to.
Can you comfortably say with absolute authority that you know your customers?
Don’t waste money on inefficient campaigns that yield little success. Know your audience to build buyer personas.
Buyer Personas Must Be Detailed
The questions you need to answer to create strong, useful buyer personas will tend to vary depending upon what you are selling and where.
Here are some examples of important questions to answer:
- How old are your customers on average?
- Where do they exist online?
- Where do they look for information online?
- What problem do they have that your product can solve?
You should know what your customers are interested in, their demographic characteristics, and the media they use to search for products and services. This will help you select the best marketing channel to communicate your message. (source)
Remember, you can’t please everyone, so keep your offer focused.
No customer is going to buy your product if it doesn’t satisfy a need or solve a problem. This is why it’s key to know which specific market appeals to your products and services.
Customer Experience with Your Brand
Customers are no longer passive when it comes to information, especially product information.
86% of customers would likely pay more for products that come with a fantastic customer experience. (source)
The availability of information via the Internet means your customers have access to myriads of products offered by sellers the world over, all vying for their attention.
If you’re only offering a product, you’re already off on the wrong foot.
There are a million online stores offering products like yours.
To customers, your brand and their experience with it are one and the same. You have to ensure your customer experience is enjoyable and personalized to their specific needs and preferences.
The customer experience will make them return to buy far more than your products will. This is brand loyalty. A solid customer experience sets you apart from your competitors and brings your brand promise to life.
Today’s customers are looking for meaningful engagement, a “wow” experience, from brands.
Customers are loyal to brands that demonstrate a commitment to them by consistently exceeding expectations. The key word here is consistency both before and after purchase.
Your marketing communications must be consistent across all marketing platforms and online sales channels.
Available digital technology is yours for the taking. Make use of it to personalize your service offerings to create a deep connection with your customers. Customers tie what they think about your brand to their loyalty.
This is why it’s important to provide a delightful brand experience across all platforms. (source)
Find the Right Marketing Channels
A mere 14% of companies currently have a true omni-channel campaign in place. (source)
You need a channel strategy that will be the best fit for your business. It should ideally focus on spaces where customers falling into your buyer personas already exist.
1. Pay-Per-Click (PPC)
You pay websites like Google and Amazon for every click an ad of yours gets.
PPC ads can be Paid Search Ads. These are usually text-only ads at the top of search engine results. Display ads are usually banners on popular sites, blogs, mobile applications, games, and shopping campaigns. Here, images of your product appear alongside search engine results.
PPC is an easy way to sidestep the time required for SEO.
2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
How your site ranks in search results.
When potential customers are looking to buy a product you sell, they are most likely to use a search engine, like Google, to find you. Those customers aren’t going to look through dozens of search results or even scroll to the bottom of the first page.
You have to provide your content at the top of search results to sell.
3. Content Marketing
Provide useful information to build a base of potential customers.
Also known as inbound marketing, you write blogs, create infographics, and make videos to get shoppers to your doorstep.
- Pro: cheap, long-term approach
- Con: requires a lot of work
This slow process builds traffic organically, but there are ways of speeding it up.
4. Influencer Marketing
An influencer is someone with a large number of social media followers.
People who pay attention to influencers online think they are credible sources of information. You increase awareness and push more sales by getting the influencer to post about your site.
This channel has become extremely popular across social media, popular blogs, and channels like YouTube.
Influencers are free, but you can also pay people to drive traffic to your site.
5. Affiliate Marketing
Increase your brand’s online sales by paying an external website to generate traffic.
The advantage is payment occurs only when affiliate traffic generates actual sales. This affords you the opportunity to generate online sales from customers you didn’t or couldn’t target.
Affiliates are like professional influencers, meaning they tend to be social media experts.
6. Social Media Marketing
Engage with your customers where they already spend time online.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and others offer different ad types to suit the your brand’s advertising strategy. They’ve also innovated features to bridge the gap between brands and target audiences.
The goal is to connect directly with potential customers.
7. Email Marketing
Send marketing content and offers directly to potential customers’ inboxes.
Because it’s interest-based, you get customer contact information when they sign up to receive a newsletter or content offer. Proper maintenance of your email marketing campaign, to ensure the emails are attention-grabbing and sent to the right people at the right time, is absolutely crucial.
Find a balance between not enough and too much, you don’t want to lose subscribers or have them flag your emails as spam.
Ultimately, the channel you choose has to support your marketing strategy and how you broadcast your message. (source)
Content Marketing to Ramp up Online Sales
60% of marketing professionals make 1 content offer per day and content marketing is up to 7.8 times more effective for driving traffic to leader sites. (source)
Think of product content as the juicy appetizer that invites customers to stay for a main dish. Not everyone knows how to create appealing content to pave the way for increased patronage.
Create custom content with conversions in mind and build a long-term content marketing strategy.
Your content is a reflection of what you truly are as a brand. By closely managing your product content, you can get the right products to the right market at the right time using the right channels.
Content encompasses every message used to market your brand, giving customers memorable experiences.
- Blog content
- Web copy
Everything you create must be useful, informative, credible, and engaging, telling a story that speaks to the emotional side of your market.
This can be an original story, a testimonial of how your brand has made the lives of your customers better, a description of how you solved a problem, or all of the above.
Listing the same old product descriptions and statistics is boring, be memorable instead.
With content, you can also showcase the industry authority your brand commands. This need not be limited to your products and services. Discuss the issues that are important to your customers.
You may not get results immediately, but content marketing will impact future conversions.
Good ecommerce content includes compelling descriptions of product attributes. All sense of touch, sight, or smell is eliminated in online sales. So, it’s critical to ensure your product descriptions give your customers the same feeling they would get in an actual store. (source)
Written descriptions go hand in hand with rich, colorful, high-resolution images displaying your products from every possible angle. Display products being used and in tandem with associated products you sell.
How are potential customers finding the sites where they are buying products like yours? Make use of relevant keywords to boost your web page ranking and increase traffic.
All content must include a relevant and useful call to action. Content should never just end, it should lead to more content.
Common CTAs include:
- Cheat Sheets
- Blog posts
- White Papers
- Links leading to specific pages on your website
Don’t ever give a potential customer an excuse to leave your site.
An Easy, Seamless Checkout Process
Abandoned shopping carts cost between 2 and 4 trillion dollars a year and it’s only going to get worse. (source)
You may have done a great job drawing customer attention to your brand. You held those customers with compelling content and have convinced them to buy. Don’t lose them now with a clunky, cumbersome payment system.
Increase your website’s loading speed and make it easier for your customers to give you their money.
It’s key you make buying from your store an effortless, painless process. If customers feel like it is easier to buy from other sites or physical stores, you need to look into your checkout process.
A seamless checkout process reduces cart abandonment and ultimately drives customers back to your site for more sales.
In the same vein, it’s crucial to reduce distractions to the bare minimum during the checkout process. Ads bombarding your customers during checkout distracts them and will cost you sales. (source)
Build Your Online Credibility
Customer perception of your business is critical, so infuse your brand communication with personality.
Content goes a long way to assure customers that your brand is credible. Display trust seals and highlight both positive and negative reviews on your website if you have them.
Positive reviews obviously speak directly to your brand quality, but why focus on negative reviews?
Negative reviews you have successfully resolved speak to your brand’s commitment to your customers. Showing potential customers that you’ve accepted returned products, processed refunds, or simply reached out to customers directly helps them build trust in your brand.
Only customers who trust you become loyal.
Consumers will always want to know, hear, and see the comments of others who have used your products and services in the past, before they decide to commit to you and what you are offering. Thus you have to optimize your website and social media accounts, to provide avenues for customers to leave reviews about their experiences with you. (source)
You need to convince your customers that their dealings with you are secure.
84% of customers won’t buy if they think a website isn’t secured. (source)
Communicate to your customers the steps, procedures, and software in place to ensure their transactions and information are safe with you.
Have a Feedback Mechanism in Place for Evaluation Purposes
Always take time to analyze and evaluate your performance.
Doing this will reveal gaps and give you an idea of what works and what doesn’t. Make use of resources that track the health of your SEO.
This can be measured in terms of:
- Referral rates
- Conversion rates
- Leads generated within a specific period of time
- Site traffic
- Social media sharing
Solicit feedback from your customers directly.
Ask questions on social media and encourage customers to fill out surveys about their experience with your brand. Experiment to fix the gaps you discover until you figure out what works best.
Scale up to Online Sales Success
There is no one magic method for online sales success, but be sure NOT to select services that can’t scale up as you grow.
It’s important to make choices tempered according to your future goals, especially when selecting the ecommerce marketing channels that will help you grow as a brand.
Ultimately, ecommerce sales success rests on consistently dazzling your customers with delightful experiences to keep them coming back for more.
Now that you know how to ramp up online sales like a pro, click here to see what Catsy can do for you.