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E53 – eCommerce Marketing & Optimisation Blueprint for 2016

In this episode we provide an ecommerce marketing blueprint and broadly outline the strategy we’re using right now with our ecommerce and online retail clients. This episode is designed to be a broad strokes high level strategy and is similar to what we’d present in one of our ecommerce marketing workshops.

Similar to the Small Business Online Marketing Blueprint in episode 49, we’ve presented the steps in the same order as we’d work through them with you if we were working one on one.

1. Understand your Business Fundamentals

Be clear, is your business a problem/solution type of business or do you need to actively generate awareness and demand for your products/services. In other words, is there active demand in the search engines for what you’re selling.

If there is activate demand then the strategy is likely more straightforward.
If not then you’ll need to test different marketing channels and be creative.

Frank Body is a great example of a business with a creative marketing strategy.

Are you shipping worldwide or just within your country? This will determine the channels you can use to market the business.

Do you need to educate the buyer before purchasing, what is the complexity of the sale? More complex sales are going to require more information on the website and a multi-step sales and marketing approach

Understanding your sales and marketing funnel is key to making your online marketing work effectively.

eCommerce businesses that are pure box shippers are going to be able to leverage a more simple marketing strategy. If your products are complex, are high priced or have a longer sales cycle then you’re marketing strategy is likely going to be more complex.

2. Use the right technology

Your choice of CMS (content management system) can determine whether the business will be successful or fail for two reasons:

  1. The CMS doesn’t just drive the website, it becomes the underlying system that supports the entire business.
  2. If the CMS can’t support key ecommerce marketing tools and tactics such as Google Shopping and Abandoned Cart Emails you’ll be at a serious disadvantage over your competition, this is a very common problem and can seriously impact your business.

Shopify is our preferred platform right now, it’s cloud hosted, cheap, has plenty of themes/templates and third party apps that can plug into it BUT that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily right for everyone. This is especially true if you’re doing something more complex than simply shipping boxes.

Other important pieces of technology:

  • Email hosting – Google Apps or Office 365, email is mission critical and an ecommerce business has an even greater reliance on it.
  • Ticket system for support – Zendesk.com.
  • Email marketing – Mailchimp is a good starting point, Klaviyo.com is on the high end.

3. Traffic generation – getting visitors to your site

Search Engines – there are many elements to getting traffic from search and if your search strategy can be summed up as “I want to be number” then you have a problem. There are multiple search engines to take into account in the ecommerce world:

  • Google – SEO, Adwords, Google Shopping or PLAs and in some cases Google Plus Local
  • Amazon FBA & Amazon PPC
  • Ebay – Ebay is still a goldmine for some products and markets

Email marketing – this is a special case because it’s so versatile and so powerful when actually done properly. Email can boost both traffic AND conversion rates.

Other channels:

  • Facebook – ads, pages, groups, remarketing
  • Google Adwords Display Network – banner ads, remarketing, dynamic remarketing
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • Other social networks where your customers are spending time

4. Conversion rate opitmization basics

Use 2 payment methods, Stripe and Paypal are the low barrier entry points

Adding payment and shipping info on the product pages gives customers all the info they need in order to make a purchase without having to dig through your site to find it.

Make the cart as simple as possible, remove unnecessary steps and don’t ask for the info you don’t need.

Abandoned cart emails work like magic, here’s a basic template you can use: https://www.thesearchengineshop.com/abandoned-cart-email-template/

Live chat with proactive chat, this is an awesome way to uncover gaps in your site. Even if you just use it for 30 days it’s worthwhile. We talked about this in episode 25

Google Display Network remarketing and dynamic remarketing

A buyers guide with videos – especially where the product is complex, has lots of options or is something people don’t buy often, a buyers guide can help significantly boost your conversion rate AND it will help with traffic and SEO. Here’s a great buyers guide example the guys at Didgeridoo Breath have created: http://www.didgeridoobreath.com/didgeridoo-buyers-guide-s/271.htm and https://www.didgeridoodojo.com/didgeridoo-buyers-guide

Photography and video – we can’t overstate how powerful photography and video is in the ecommerce space. Our episodes with commercial photographer Matt Reed are a fantastic guide to leveraging photography in your marketing:

5. Trust, relationship and brand

This is a bit more of an intangible. Your brand is the perception of you and your business in the customer’s mind.

Customers will pay more for brand names so long term it’s important to cultivate and grow your brand.

Online, a large part of your brand is built through what you say, the tools you use and the way you market to customers. Some important brand building tools are email marketing, social networks and just generally caring about customers.

High quality design and imagery across all your marketing is also an essential part of brand building.

Listening options:

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