It’s no secret that the convenience of online shopping has taken a significant bite out of brick and mortar retail. Whether it’s through an e-commerce giant like Amazon, or small to medium-sized businesses with their own e-commerce presence, in 2016 online sales of physical goods amounted to $360.3 billion and are projected to exceed $603.4 billion by 2021. This rapid growth in e-commerce sales means your digital marketing efforts are extremely important now, more than ever.
When it comes to digital marketing, it’s not enough to simply attract traffic to your site, as the average e-commerce conversion rate for a U.S. online store is between 2-3%. That means out of 100 people who visit your site, just 2 or 3 of them will commit to purchasing a product. If you want people to not only visit your site, but make a purchase and become that conversion, you’ll need to optimize your digital marketing efforts. Here’s what you need to know.
Deliver outstanding customer service
Customer service is one of your most important digital marketing tools when it comes to increasing e-commerce sales. In fact, customers buy more products and spend more money when they have a good experience with customer service.
Because it’s all about trust.
Customer service builds trust with consumers. If they trust you, it gives you a leg up on your competition, even if your product or service is more expensive than theirs.
Email marketing is one of your most important tools
According to the Direct Marketing Association, email is the digital marketing channel with the highest ROI of approximately 4,300%. Email marketing is certainly worth your time and effort, but to execute it properly you’ll have to do the following:
Build a strong email subscriber list
- In order to have a successful email marketing strategy, you need to build a strong list of subscribers. Use promotional tactics like a one-time discount to incentivize customers to subscribe to your email list.
- Once you get a substantial amount of subscribers, analyze data from email campaigns to sift out the customers who have no interest or intent to buy. Focus on the customers who open your emails and engage.
Targeted emails perform better than a blast to your whole list
Triggered emails are sent to email subscribers after they perform a specific action on your site. For example, when your customer abandons their shopping cart you can trigger an email that motivates them to complete their purchase. Triggered email campaigns typically have a much higher open rate and CTR, because they are targeted to that specific customer, based on their buying habits and actions.
Email marketing expert and consultant Tim Watson, recommends that you use tools like Google Analytics to help track your email campaigns so you understand your customer’s journey. “Take a look at which pages are most frequently visited, what pages people went through, what clues we can gather about their history. Find out what it was that made up their mind.” You can then use these indications to inform your triggered email strategy. For example, if multiple visitors click a specific blog post that leads them further through the digital marketing sales funnel every single time, then set up a triggered email campaign based on visitors’ actions on specific blog posts.
Engage with customers on social media
Another crucial strategy to optimize your digital marketing and close more e-commerce sales is social media. Presenting the perfect opportunity for customer interaction, social media marketing is an effective way to raise brand awareness and drive traffic to your e-commerce site.
Surveys show that users frequently make a purchase online and/or in-store after viewing a product they found on Facebook. On Instagram, engagement with brands is 10 times higher than on Facebook. These social media platforms, in addition to others like Pinterest, YouTube, Twitter, and Tumblr are perfect for introducing potential customers to the value of your products and services. Use social media to show consumers what your products can do for them. Plus, customers can now shop for your products directly on Facebook, Pinterest and other platforms, which gives you another channel for e-commerce sales.
Increase organic traffic through SEO
SEO – Search Engine Optimization – is to digital marketing as air is to humans; if you want to survive the e-commerce battlefield, you need it.
SEO’s purpose is to generate more organic traffic to your website by optimizing your product listings and pages. It also can be argued that user experience falls under the SEO umbrella too, because all of the optimizations in the world won’t help you make a sale if the user finds your website unattractive or difficult to navigate.
SEO is a complicated business, but you can start with these actions:
- Understand the keywords your customers are using to search for your products and optimize your products and content with these keywords to improve your ranks in search engine results. Be careful not to overload your pages with keywords as this can hurt more than help. There are plenty of tools online that can measure your content’s keyword frequency to help you use keywords in the right quantity.
- Optimize meta descriptions and titles: Meta descriptions are the short excerpts of your page that Google shows in search results. Create meta descriptions for products and pages using the appropriate keywords, but keep the description under 160 characters.
- Include keywords in URLs.
- Make sure your site is secure: https is now the standard and Google warns searchers when websites aren’t secure.
Eliminate barriers to buy
If you want to optimize your digital marketing efforts to increase e-commerce sales you have to eliminate any types of barriers that prevent your customer from converting. Barriers to buy can vary depending on the website, but one of the biggest and most overlooked problems is poor user experience (UX). UX is how visitors interact with your site. Co-founder of Twitter, Evan Williams says “UX is everything. It always has been, but it’s undervalued and underinvested in.” To optimize UX on your e-commerce site make sure to
- Minimize the length of loading time: the majority of web users wait only 6-10 seconds for a page to load before abandoning it
- Make site navigation easy: Allow your customer to easily find the products and services they’re looking for
- Make site mobile-friendly: Mobile conversion rates increased 30% from 2015 to 2016
- Create clear, focused, useful content
Display customer reviews to build trust
If you want a successful digital marketing strategy that gets you more e-commerce sales, you have to show potential customers outstanding reviews of your products and/or services. 79% of consumers trust product reviews as much as they trust a personal recommendation. Reading about someone else’s personal experience with your products allows customers to build trust with your brand, which helps them commit to purchase. If they don’t trust you, they won’t buy from you. Your customer reviews are proof that your products are satisfactory, which motivates the buyer’s decisions.
Attracting visitors to your e-commerce site is great, but if they don’t make a purchase, you don’t make a profit. From email marketing to social media, and SEO, there’s a lot of work that goes into a successful digital marketing strategy. Keep these online marketing tips and strategies in mind, and e-commerce sales will feel more like an accomplishment and less of a frustration.
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