E-commerce is only going to grow in 2017. This is both good and bad news for your business. Good because any business has the potential to create enormous success online. Bad because the online competition can be tough. Finding success online is possible for any type of business, whether it’s entirely virtual or one that is associated with a brick-and-mortar store.
Draw in more organic traffic, create a connection with your potential customers and increase conversions (and sales!). These four tips are simple, easy to implement and effective. If your e-business is new, here are four guidelines to always keep in mind. If you’re an SEO vet, it never hurts to brush up on the basics.
Here’s what you need to know:
Make Shopping Easy
What’s the biggest drawback to selling a product online? The customer can’t touch, see or otherwise handle the product like they could in person. And if you’re selling a service, the problem is the customer can’t see or hear you live for in-depth discussions or question-answer sessions.
For both product and service, here’s what you want to do:
- Simplify the shopping cart as much as possible
- Offer free shipping
- Offer a hassle-free, generous return policy
- Highlight yourself and staff with video biographies
Try to make up for the lack of hands-on shopping by reassuring your customers they can return anything they’re not happy with. Elaborate checkout procedures and expensive shipping fees can cause shoppers to abandon their cart, so make checkout easy.
Finally, don’t treat your business as some faceless website. Showcase yourself and your employees with bios. Include photos and even video of your company’s behind-the-scenes life. These bonuses have been shown to increase trust in your business as detailed in this study from the University College London Computer Science Department.
Be Active on Social Media
Social media isn’t just a side aspect of your website. You’ll want to develop a robust and engaging presence online.
Not all platforms are the same. You’ll need to identify where your potential customers hang out online. Every social media platform serves different users with unique demographics and interests. This report from Pew details the breakdown for many popular platforms.
Social media isn’t commonly used for sales. Instead, your social media platforms are a fun and effective way to create a connection with your audience. You’re building trust and establishing yourself as an expert in your industry.
Social media is also a great way to learn more about your potential customer base. You want to spend your time targeting only people who are most likely to make a purchase. Social media is a great way to learn what these people think of your product and business, what problems they have, how they use your product in their actual lives and more.
Include opportunities for interaction throughout your site. Let readers share your blogs, videos and other content easily with one-click social media share buttons. Also, highlight testimonials on your site from real customers who love what you do.
Your website needs to be mobile-friendly. People use their smart devices to find information about stores in their area. If you run a brick-and-mortar store, it’s important to keep in mind that today roughly 80% of shoppers search online before visiting a store’s physical location.
Mobile sites should be easy to navigate. You’ll also want to emphasize your brand name, address and phone number (NAP) on your site. Search engines will use this info to help with mapping and directions to lead customers directly to your doors.
Your site isn’t a permanent structure you build then forget about. Instead, you’ll want to continuously add fresh content. These can be blog posts, videos and more—whatever content caters to you ideal demographic. Search engines tend to favor active sites over stagnant ones, as do your customers.
Don’t make your content all about sales. Instead, focus on your industry. Create helpful guides and share current news. This will help your brand build an audience of regular readers.
You’re Already on Your Way!
Focus on the four areas above and you will see your e-commerce business grow. Over time, you’ll develop more advanced strategies, but they’ll likely still be related to one of the four above categories.
Successful marketing for your e-business is an ongoing process. Keep the basics in mind and you’ll always be improving. Check out our blog section to learn more. There’s always new info to help your e-commerce business grow and thrive!