Your beautiful e-commerce website is up and running. Now what? How do you make sure that people find your website and start buying from your online store? If you already have a marketing strategy in place for your business, then I will invite you to add the word “e-commerce” in the following sentences. See, there’s marketing, and there’s marketing for e-commerce. So if you asking yourself: “How should I use Social Media to promote my business?” Change this sentence to “How can I use Social Media to promote my e-commerce business.” Read on to see why this wording is so critical:
E-commerce marketing tool #1: SEO
Search Engine Optimization will be your #1 priority, as if you have a strong SEO, you “own” your ranking and don’t have to pay for PPC (AdWords or Facebook) to drive traffic to your store. Here’s why this is super critical in this case. Usually, if it’s a new e-commerce website and you don’t have the same marketing budget as Nike or Adidas do, to promote their stores online, you, most likely will be very cautious as to where your marketing dollars go. Running a PPC campaign for a product-based business will be very costly, as the odds of actually converting people from each click is very low, by default. Even if you have very targeted campaign, say for “yoga pants” – by running an ad and targeting those people who type in “yoga pants” in Google, is still very vague.
See, if people are searching for yoga pants, they might have something very specific in mind. Maybe they are looking for Lululemon pants, maybe they are looking for colourful pants, maybe for black yoga pants, slouchy yoga pants, or capri yoga pants, or maybe they don’t even know what type of pant they want. So even if you have a “yoga pants” as a phrase match (so your ad shows up for phrases that have your keyword in it) there are so many variations of what people actually want, that the odds of you perfectly attracting the right customer are very low. In other words, you would need to get some serious volume to get enough people to convert and buy that pant. There are other ways of advertising your product online, but for the sake of this exercise, let’s stay focused on SEO. Bottom line – AdWords is going to be expensive – get your SEO in order.
A quick checklist for you, what you can do every time you enter your product, making sure it’s SEO optimized. Make sure you have the following areas filled out with enough content for Google to crawl through – use your targeted keywords generously, but naturally.
- Product name (Include your keywords where possible)
- Product description (Describe for both humans and search engines)
- Meta tags: title, description, keywords (Describe for both humans and search engines)
- Alt tags for images (Every time you add your product in, make sure the name of the file as well as all alt tags, description, etc of the image contains your targeted keywords, AND actually describes the image, product. Don’t cheat Google!)
- Videos (Google loves dynamic content that is interesting and engaging for the users. Embed videos where possible.)
E-commerce marketing tool #2: Content
The ridiculously overused phrase “content is king” still holds its positions in marketing circles, so yes, it’s all about content marketing. But what type of content will actually get you a decent return on your marketing investment? Think what would excite you. Most likely you are one of the customers of your own shop. Right? Or your friends, family, kids. What would they want to hear from a business similar to yours? Aside from your content being helpful and useful, here are a few ideas to keep in mind when you create content specifically for your e-commerce website.
- Easily sharable content
- Beautiful, unique content
- Practical content that will give tips to customers on how to use/wear your product
- Visual content that showcases your product
- Downloadable how-tos
E-commerce marketing tool #3: Social Media
How is social media different in a setting of promoting an e-commerce website? Social Media is an excellent tool for e-commerce as it actually can result in immediate conversion. In most cases social media should not be perceived as a sales tool. If anything, it’s an excellent branding tool, allowing you to connect with your customers directly, to expand your brand’s reach into new areas and test different demographics. When you are actually selling online, however, this is where the fun begins, as you can connect, engage, reach your audience and suggest a product at the same time. As mentioned under the previous points – Content – if you create visual content that is engaging, sharable, and actionable you will be able to spread the word about your store in no time.
- Include a link to your store in all social media profiles
- Create a hashtag that will connect you with your tribe (more on tribes below) – e.g. check out #ExperienceHalloween or #FreshCoolGrow on Instagram
- Mention specific products and share links to individual product pages often (on Pinterest or Google+) this will add some points to your SEO, too
- Include a call to action – ask people to share your content (e.g. on Facebook when you share visual content or create downloadables)
- Run short contests and giveaways often (it doesn’t have to be anything too extraordinary, but something that would get your target audience tuned in)
E-commerce marketing tool #3: Community building
With the myriad of online communication channels for your customers to connect with your business and with each other, comes tremendous transparency. It works both ways – your customer can see what you are up to, and you can easily see what your customers are up to and in to these days. It’s all about connecting with like-minded people. Just like your customers want to make sure your business’s values match theirs, same goes for your customers finding like-minded supporters online for their own guilty-social-media-pleasures. Create tribes, communities, circles. What does this mean to your business and your e-commerce website?
- Join an existing tribe/community
- Create your own community
- Offer a brand ambassador program
- Feature your best customers on social media
- Talk to your customers on social media (share their content and they will share yours. win-win)
E-commerce marketing tool #4: Email Marketing
Honestly, as far as I am concerned, email marketing’s “fountain of youth” is slowly all drying out. That is in comparison to where it was say 10 years ago, of course. It used to be a quick and easy way to connect and market to your audience directly. Social media changed it all. While email marketing is still a valid marketing tool, it is, however, definitely not our first choice for some businesses. This is again, a bit of a different story, if you say, as mentioned about: “How can email marketing help me with my e-commerce business.” This is a game changer. Email marketing is not just a nice-to-have tool here, it’s your customer support tool, that can be used as a marketing tool – brilliant. Win-win again.
- Order confirmation emails
- Shipping confirmation emails
- Customer satisfaction after-sale emails
- Time-sensitive promos and giveaways + VIP club/exclusive promos
- Useful content sharing (as per #2 above)
As you see, your new e-commerce website will add a new twist to your marketing strategy. Think like your customer, create awesome resources, connect and stay on top of what’s hot and your new e-store will surely attract the traffic you need to grow your online presence.