Starting out to create a digital marketing presence for an ecommerce startup can be hard if you are not well versed with the variety of options that are available. To make an informed choice, it helps to be aware of all the options out there which can help you increase your sales.
Different businesses have different goals when it comes to what they want out of their digital marketing activity. For most e-commerce businesses it is visitors, conversions and sales. With a little bit of patience and effort, you will not only be able to generate sales, but also build a brand experience that people can identify with. We have put together a small checklist that should cover some of the important areas that need your attention when it comes to building your digital presence and pulling in sales.
Social Media Platforms
Social media platforms can be used to communicate your brand personality to your prospective customers. It also helps build “reach”, word of mouth and acts as a nurturing channel to constantly remind customers you are around. If used wisely, it will help you to create a niche of loyal customers who value your brand because it speaks to them. However, it is a bit unrealistic to expect direct sales from these efforts or look at it purely as a marketing platform that generates instant conversions. Look at it as a long term investment and not as an advertising channel!
SEO – Search Engine Optimization
SEO is a must for all online businesses. Google keeps reinventing itself, and so do SEO techniques. However, SEO is something which is required invariably if a website or your products have to show up in search. Be sure to get each product page optimized. Get your site structure and landing pages in place. Also do submit your site map using webmaster tools. All these activities are well worth investing in at an earlier stage itself. After all what is the point of having great products if your customers don’t know where you are selling? Again a cautious word of advice: don’t expect SEO to generate instant sales on it’s own right from day one. It takes time to build search traffic that is of high quality and while this is what will eventually determine a lot of revenues, it’s a long term on going process.
Pay Per Click Advertising
Pay per click advertising or PPCs is something every online business has to use to ensure it gets right to get sales keep trickling in. Always keep aside a budget fo PPC, Google Ads that are search based, display ads, Facebook ads and paid advertising in general. Though these will lead to instant sales, be sure to factor in your cost of customer acquisition. Many ecommerce businesses fail to really factor their customer acquisition costs, percentage of advertising spend required and eventually fail to drive sales simply because advertising cots were kept out of the equation while determining pricing. Keep optimizing your ads to ensure that you are able to optimize on your investment and ensure higher returns on advertising spend.
New online businesses should keep an open mind about using affiliate networks. Networking, tie ups and reselling through other market places, stores and websites is usually the bread and butter for most new online businesses. You will have to part with a percentage of your sales when using an affiliate network or partnering with other channels of sales. However, these will help you in the long run as it will increase your visibility and online presence to customers who would otherwise not have heard of you. Listing on coupon and deals sites can also help customers, stumble upon your website, looking to cash in on a good deal!
PR & Coverage
What others are saying about you is perhaps even more important than what you’re saying about your self. Getting PR and coverage from third party blogs, sites, reviewers and publications can go a long way not just in terms of creating more visitors and traffic to the site but also building a reputation and confidence among users online. With so many ecommerce sites going up each day, standing out and being talked about is an essential area of your overall digital strategy.
User Experience & Website Technology
Another often ignored area is user experience and choice of the e-commerce website/platform. Since your website is going to be a major factor in influencing the final choice of the customer, be sure that is free of all bugs and problems. Ensure that the UI is flawless as a bad user experience will result in users landing on the site but not converting into sales despite there being no issues with the product, price and other factors. A/B testing can help you increase the number of conversions. Payment features should be simple, secure and work perfectly so the process of an user landing on the site, browsing products and checking out is seamless.
An e-commerce venture (especially a new one) is often easier to setup and start than it is to succeed at since it takes a tremendous amount of daily effort on a number of fronts before sales start to happen at a respectable rate. Unlike a physical store which has foot traffic and people passing by, an online store isn’t going to have visitors magically appear unless you make it happen. However, with a focus on some of these core areas of e-commerce digital marketing, consistent activity on these fronts and building your ecommerce brand one step at a time, you could be on your way to being the next big name in online shopping!