Since the beginning of this decade, eCommerce, and online shopping in general has become a multibillion dollar industry and is only expected to grow even more in 2017. While ten years ago, most people were skeptical about shopping online (both about the delivery of their goods and the quality), the situation has drastically changed. Today, according to statistics gathered by the Nchannel, more than 70% of people in the United States believe that they will get a better deal on their products online than in brick-and-mortar stores.
With all of those potential customers out there, creating an eCommerce website today can be one of the most profitable moves you could make in your career. Of course, creating an eCommerce site is one thing, and creating a successful online business is completely another. One of the more common mistakes many young entrepreneurs make is not putting a lot of effort in their marketing strategies. But if you fail to properly market your site, you certainly won’t be able to reach your target customers, and your site will fail in a matter of months.
If you don’t want to be group with those 80% of entrepreneurs who fail within the first 78 months of starting a business, you should definitely focus more on some of these marketing tactics, and be prepared to invest a few dollars along the way if you want to see success.
SEO AND CONTENT CREATION
Create an SEO Strategy
Right out of the gate, we have to speak about SEO, because it’s not a must just for eCommerce sites, but for all websites on the Internet. And the more you optimize your website, the better chance you’ll have to rank high on search engines, which means more traffic, and consequently, more sales. There are plenty of different elements of search engine optimization, and if you don’t have time to learn everything about it, you can always hire a capable marketing company to do the dirty work for you. But if you’re working on a tight budget, you can easily find a wide variety of instructional videos and SEO guides that can help you with the basics. If you want to get started by yourself, you can easily check you Google ranking by simply typing the name of your company in the search bar. But if you want to see how you rank in different countries, you might have to use a VPN to check everything thoroughly.
Start Blogging as Soon as Possible
Blogs are not only cost-effective and easy to create, they are also great for attracting new audiences. If your site sells a specific type of merchandise, you can create a blog regarding your specific niche and attract your target audience to your site. And blogging will not only help you connect with your customers, but it is also an important aspect of your SEO efforts we mentioned earlier. You see, one of the most important factors of SEO is having a ton of quality content for Google and other search engines to crawl and index, and websites with blogs have more than 400% more index pages according to the Tech Client. All of these pages will help Google recognize that your site is a good resource, full of useful information.
SOCIAL MEDIA TACTICS
Leverage Social Media Sites
Both large enterprises and small companies have a great deal of love for social media. The great thing about them is that if you find the right platform with the right demographic, you don’t even have to spend a lot of hours on it to make things happen. In reality, 30 to 60 minutes of social media promotion every day should get the job done. But when it comes to selecting a media platform to advertise on, you have to choose wisely because if you spend too much time on a network that doesn’t bring sales, you’ll lose a lot of money. For instance, a recent Shopify survey of more than 500,000 online orders made through thousands of eCommerce stores and social platforms revealed that around 66% eCommerce sales and visits are captured through Facebook.
Posting on Regular Basis
Once you have enough quality content ready, and a good social media presence, you should start developing your social communities. And how do you do that? Well, quite simply actually. All you have to do is post your content on a regular basis, and while you have to spend those 30-60 minutes answering people’s questions on Facebook and Twitter, you should schedule your posts, and post them on every day around the same time (few minutes won’t make a big difference). Therefore, you have to test the optimal frequency with your followers or check out the engagement levels in term of the posts of you competition at frequent intervals.
MANAGING YOUR REPUTATION
Monitor Your Mentions
According to BrightLocal’s Consumer Review Survey, almost 90% of today’s consumers trust online user reviews as much as they trust recommendations from their close friends. No matter what product you sell or manufacture, there are plenty of sites on the Internet dedicated to offering an easy way for customers to vent their frustrations or say a few good words about it. And like with anything else, you are bound to get at least a few bad reviews. Therefore, you have to make sure that you’re tracking your reviews, and that you have a solid strategy in place to deal with negative criticism.
Ask Bloggers and Vloggers for Reviews
In addition to user reviews, one of the best ways to increase your visibility and raise brand awareness, is to vend bloggers who write about products similar to yours, or Vloggers who do video reviews, and ask them if they are willing to say something about your particular offering. In most cases, companies that are still relatively new send promotional, free samples to the reviewers before asking them if they are willing to cover them. If they like what you have and give you a glowing review, their entire following (including social media followers) will be exposed to your product and they’ll most likely pay a visit to your site.
Bonus:Optimize Your Mobile Experience
Ok, this isn’t exactly what you would call a marketing effort, but seeing how user experience is crucial for success of your eCommerce shop, we should at least mentioned it. Around two years ago, a comScore report revealed that mobile traffic has finally surpassed desktop, and last year, Google officially stated that mobile searches triumphed. As those numbers indicate, mobile is something you cannot ignore no more if you’re planning to see any sales.
For example, calls-to-action and product descriptions still play a big role the desktop user experience, but they are almost meaningless on mobile devices. Considering how mobile shoppers largely base their decisions off the visual appearance of your product, it would be wise to have a high resolution product photo positioned front and center on all pages of your mobile website.
DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF GOOD PR
This is actually a pretty basic strategy (if you can even call it a marketing strategy), but sharing news about your business with the rest of the world is free and can help you attract new, excited customers. But you don’t have to wait about someone to write about you – you can actually generate press releases and publish them on different news platforms.
But there is much more about PR than ordinary press releases, if you know a couple of journalists that work some online publications, contact them to write a story about your business, and then share them on your blog on social media sites. Remember, it only takes one good story on a major news site to launch your business into the stratosphere and bring countless consumers to your website.
You might have your products, website, PayPal account and the packaging materials all ready, but before you start bringing in a good amount of visitors, you practically don’t have a business. On the World Wide Web, a tree definitely doesn’t make a sound if nobody’s around to hear it. Marketing may be challenging and time-consuming, but if you execute everything right, you’ll be more than satisfied in the end, and all of the tactics we mentioned above will certainly help you jumpstart your eCommerce business.
It took a long time for the general public to adopt eCommerce, as they’ve avoided giving their personal and financial data to the third party, however, the days of long lines, old shopping carts and small parking lots with no parking spaces are long gone for the most of today’s shoppers. Forrester Research predicts that by the end of the next year, online sales will reach 370 billion dollars, and as the market grew and the consumers become more sophisticated, eCommerce has become more competitive. So if you want to have the upper hand in today’s market, you better start making marketing efforts as soon as you can.