The online marketplace has completely revolutionized the ability for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and larger corporations alike to sell their goods in local, regional, and global markets.
Where, once upon a time, an eCommerce store was a cute, innovative way to create a new sales channel, now sophisticated, customer-centric eCommerce activity has become the norm — so much so that 72% of businesses have ambitions to only sell online in the future.
With so much bustle and activity shifting to the online marketplace, it’s imperative that business owners adapt to the change. Here are five eCommerce marketing tips that are absolutely essential to online success.
1. Always Create a Strategy
Creating an eCommerce strategy is ground zero for a successful online marketing campaign. If a company goes in haphazardly spending money, randomly experimenting with online marketing channels, and wandering aimlessly from one thing to the next, their digital marketing efforts will atrophy before long.
That isn’t to say that you can’t experiment and invest in different online marketing channels. However, you should always focus your efforts through the guideline of a genuine strategy.
For instance, if a local business decides that they need to create an online presence because “it’s what everyone else is doing,” they can quickly find themselves spending tens of thousands of dollars on a rudderless website, fruitlessly pouring money into PPC advertising, and generally getting stuck in a high-cost, low-profit online quagmire. If, on the other hand, they take the time to create a locally-focused marketing strategy before they start, they can make sure to:
- Create a simple, low-cost website that emphasizes local keywords and search engine optimization (SEO).
- Cultivate a locally-focused social media presence that enhances customer loyalty.
- Work with influencers who will effectively build their brand’s reputation amongst a legitimate, local customer base.
- Nurture a quality email list of interested people that can be turned into repeat customers.
Suffice it to say, if a company takes the time to create a solid online marketing strategy before they begin to pour time, money, and resources into their online marketing, they’ll be much better off once the rubber hits the road. Of course, the natural question that follows is how to assemble that strategy — a question that the next four tips help to answer.
2. Network and Collaborate
While it’s tempting to fixate on sales pitches, amass followers, and rack up flashy statistics, it’s also important for any business that is marketing online to remember the importance of professionally collaborating within the online marketplace.
Take influencer marketing as a perfect example. Influencer marketing has become a critical component of many companies’ online marketing success. The strategy involves cooperating with various “influencers” to, among other things, help promote brand awareness, build your customer base, and drive traffic to your website.
An influencer is an online social personality with a highly engaged and interested following. One of the key benefits of working with influencers is that they already have earned the trust of their audience. If an influencer endorses your product or company to their followers, it can instantly boost your online clout as an authority within your industry.
Another networking option is creating an affiliate program. Much like using influencers, an affiliate focuses on siphoning the marketing efforts of other successful online personalities into your own strategy. However, in this case, rather than paying for a service, you give an affiliate a portion of every sale that they make.
Looking for influencers great and small (they can have anywhere from thousands to millions of followers) within your particular niche and setting up an affiliate program are both easy and effective ways to get your online marketing off the ground.
3. Create Quality Content
Along with a strategy and key collaborative alliances, it’s important to make sure that you have everything airtight when it comes to your own online content. As you create social media posts, website copy and blog articles make sure to go about crafting each piece of content with genuine care.
Strive to come up with meaningful pieces of content for your readers that genuinely connect with their pain points and provide solutions for them. This is another important way to establish your brand’s reputation as an authority within your niche.
This applies to everyone, from international powerhouses like Amazon and Google right down to small, locally-based companies. Guides, for example, create opportunities for niche businesses to showcase their skills in fields like indoor drone photography. Detailed content like this, with video and screenshots, naturally increases your online reputation as an informed and skilled solution for everyone’s drone usage questions.
4. Address SEO
It’s fairly easy to grasp concepts like working with influencers, setting up a company website, and creating content that pertains to your particular knowledge base. However, there’s one area of online marketing success that is often overlooked due to its daunting, mysterious nature: search engine optimization, also known as SEO.
SEO sounds overwhelming at first, but really, all it equates to is making sure that your online content is able to be understood by both people and search engines. In other words, if you have a website that sells clothing, and you create a killer blog post about which hats are in style in 2020, that post isn’t likely to do you much good if no one can find it when they generate a Google search for “2020 hat styles.”
SEO ensures that your content, while still primarily focused on being high quality for the human readers, is also readable by search engines. You can do this by incorporating things into your content like:
- Hyperlinks to external resources.
- Hyperlinks to other parts of your website.
If you take the time to research and learn SEO best practices, it can have a huge difference in the effectiveness of your marketing.
5. Set Goals and Track Results
Finally, always remember to set goals as you go along. If you simply pour effort into open-ended online marketing, you can end up spending countless hours and endless money and resources without any real idea of if you’ve accomplished anything.
Instead, make sure to download data tracking tools like Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel to help you collect information on things like traffic, clicks, comments, and conversions. Then consider what it is that you’re trying to accomplish with your online marketing, set achievable goals, and track everything to see if what you’re doing is working.
Finding Digital Marketing Success
If you can strategize, collaborate, create quality content, use SEO, set goals, and track your results, you’ll be putting yourself in an ideal situation to succeed online.
As you go about implementing these tips, make sure to genuinely slow down and go over the first suggestion on the list. Think through your options and create a strategy that incorporates all of the above considerations so that you go into your digital marketing efforts with both eyes open and your gaze set on solid, tangible goals.