Any online store, whether it is new or an established one, it needs to constantly increase the number of its customers and amount of sales. To ensure all this on a constant basis, you need to promote your store. Today we will talk about the basic marketing tools for ecommerce business, which you may already know, but could know not enough to implement it effectively.
Target audience is the cornerstone of your marketing strategy. Without a clear image of your client in your head you simply won’t be able to create an efficient strategy. Focusing on a certain audience does not mean that you will abandon other customers; instead, you will be able to compose a more accurate marketing plan and get the most out of advertising campaigns. With a clearly defined target audience it is much easier to determine where and how to promote your company.
You can have several audiences, and for each one you will need a “portrait” that includes all demographic and geographic data, income level, marital status, values, interests and hobbies, lifestyle and habits, the devices they use and websites they frequent. It is extremely important to know what exactly worries your customers, what they want and interested in, which content they read in order to choose proper channels, communities, and advertising platforms to promote your online store.
Each store owner has his own impression of a target audience, which sometimes turns out to be quite different from the reality. In such cases, the analysis of your webstore or additional research allows to revise or adjust your audience profile. For example, Google Analytics can provide you with a large and comprehensive audience report, allowing you to track your visitors and customers, products in demand and the ones you should stop promoting.
Apart from Google Analytics, there are many online resources where you can create reports on Internet usage among various demographic groups. Why not use this information to search for new promotion channels for your products or services?
Your Online Store
This is your main sales tool. Before turning to external channels through which visitors will come to you, let’s take a look at the main asset you already have – your sales platform. Here, everything must be in order. Pay attention to the following aspects in your online store:
- Design. Your online shop design should be simple, user-friendly and neat. Make sure the design is mobile-friendly and meets current web design technical requirements and visual design trends. Outdated site design can cause the buyer to distrust you and doubt the quality of your services.
- Helpful product descriptions. Give your users a detailed description of the product that will interest them most. If you are selling shoes and clothes, then it is important to demonstrate all your the size and color range as well as some peculiarities of the product the care and maintenance. Another block worth including to the product page is customer reviews, for they usually prompt decision making. Moreover, include FAQ and give customers a chance to ask you any question concerning your produce.
- Checkout Process. The process of placing an order should be very convenient and simple in order to minimize the rate of cart abandonment. The best practice to implement here is One Step Checkout. If you can not organize placing order on one page, make the buttons the customer should press to continue simple and intuitive. To learn more about Checkout Process optimization, click here.
- Shipping. Information about the cost and time of delivery greatly impacts the customer’s decision to purchase or not. If your client knows how much he will need to pay for delivery and how long will he wait for his order before he actually places it, the amount of shopping cart abandonment and negative reaction from the customer will be significantly lower. Imagine that you go the whole way placing an order and at the end just find out that the delivery will cost you twice as much as the item itself. Most likely you will get angry, disappointed and won’t ever return to this store. Therefore, try to warn your customers about delivery cost and time before the order is placed.
- Payment methods – add the logo of all the cards the customer can pay within your store. Add popular security seals. All this will create a sense of security for your client, and he will not be afraid to enter his personal data, knowing it will be safe.
- Email automation is a tool that should be implemented in the store itself, for it is of both technical and marketing nature. Here are the type of letters that will prove extremely beneficial to your business growth:
- Welcome at registration. In this case, you can immediately give a discount on the first purchase or another nice bonus.
- Message about the order and its status, so that the customer can track their purchases.
- Message about the abandoned cart to return the buyer, who could have simply got distracted and forgot about what he intended to buy.
- Review request to get more feedback about the product and expand its description.
- Message about the bonuses and discounts the client got to encourage him to make further purchases.
- Messages about new arrivals and brands.
- Holiday greetings and gifts in form of discounts and coupons.
Basic marketing channels and tools
After you have defined your audience and set your website in order, you can proceed to select appropriate channels to promote your online store.
There are standard channels and tools that ecommerce marketers use to increase site traffic and convert visitors into buyers. You can use those that are most suitable and effective for you. I will simply describe the basic tools of online store promotion:
Organic traffic. Let’s start with the basics, without which no site or online shop can do – Search engine optimization (SEO).
This is the most powerful channel to attract organic traffic. You almost don’t need to spend money on it, but it requires a lot of time. SEO will give you a guaranteed free flow of visitors, but there is one drawback – it won’t happen at once. If you, like the majority of business owners, are set to make quick profits, you need to additionally invest money in other promotion channels, but never abandon SEO. It should work in synergy with other channels that will only strengthen it.
We’ve already had the articles dedicated to SEO if you wish to explore it in more detail:
SEO for Ecommerce: Search Engine Optimization and Keyword Research
SEO for Ecommerce: Make your Webstore Search Engine Friendly
SEO for Ecommerce: Link Building White Hat Methods
7 Practical SEO Tips for Ecommerce Websites
Content marketing. The hottest promotion tool right now. It both positively affects your SEO and motivates your client. The main thing to remember is that you should create content should for people at the first place, and then for search engine robots that index it.
You will need to select content topics based on your target audience interests and create a comprehensive content plan. Most likely, customers will be eager to learn how to use your product and how it differs from your competitors. A perfect example of cool content is blog posts of recipes in online bakery tools store. A great idea is to publish step by step workshops using the goods you sell in the process. If the content is engaging and positive, users will share it online among their friends, resulting in an influx of new customers.
PPC – a paid channel to attract traffic to your store. This is one of the online advertising models, the essence of which is that advertisers pay each time a user clicks on their advertisement. There are several different types of PPC ads you can implement. For example, you can create such ads in Google search and set up your ads to appear when users search for the product you sell.
Remarketing is a form of PPC advertising. To return customers who have left you without a purchase, you can run retargeting ads on other sites. Such advertising will constantly remind the customer of the products he viewed, but for some reason did not purchase.
Social media marketing. Marketing channel, which is known and used by almost all B2C marketers. The question is whether it is done effectively. Social Media Marketing allows you to personally communicate with your customers. You can use social networks to attract attention and interact with customers, increase traffic to your store and expand your customer base. Proper presence in social networks will help you convert subscribers into your customers over time.
In addition to posting useful and interesting content, social networks provide additional advertising possibilities. Focusing on your target audience, you can run an advertising campaign specifically aimed at them. As it is now time for visual content, you can enhance your ad with a small video about your product or store, which tells your customers how it will help improve their lives.
Influencer marketing. Influencers are people popular in certain areas and media personalities who have enough charisma to influence their audience. In today’s reality, such people are mainly bloggers. Fashion bloggers can be the perfect option for promoting cosmetics, clothing, shoes or beauty shops; sportswear stores can advertise themselves via with socially active athletes and so on. To implement influencer marketing, first consider which public person will be able to influence your potential audience the most and whose opinion they can trust.
Affiliate marketing. This is a channel for getting new customers through the traffic of another Internet resource. It is also called partner marketing, meaning that you find a partner with the most suitable potential audience and promote yourself at his website or blog. If the buyer comes from the partner site, you pay a pre-agreed fee. Sales are tracked through affiliate links, which can be implemented with the help of various programs.
Humanize your Webstore. Buyers like to see faces and communicate with real people. Show them who is behind your store. Show photos and videos of your employees. Tell about them and how they work or create your product. Converse with clients, reply to them on tweets, comments and messages in social networks and share your emotions with loyal customers.
We have described the basic channels and tools that will help you promote your online store. It’s hard to say which channels work best for you; the best solution here is to just experiment and be creative and keep in mind your target audience portrait. Remember that a well-thought and accurate marketing strategy will help you attract new customers, gain the trust of the ones you have and convert them into loyal clients.