Results for 'ecommerce marketing'

Inbound Marketing for Ecommerce

While some forms of marketing march up and place their room key on the bar, inbound marketing takes…

feature

While some forms of marketing march up and place their room key on the bar, inbound marketing takes the subtle approach. It takes you out for a nice dinner, strikes up a thought provoking conversation, and kisses you goodnight on the cheek. The result? A long-term, valuable relationship that will eventually lead to... sales.

In this article I'm going to define inbound and outbound marketing. I'll give you the reasons that outbound marketing is on the decline, and I'll also give you 6 reasons you should consider using inbound marketing techniques for your ecommerce store.

What Is Inbound Marketing?

Simply put, inbound marketing is marketing that's focused on getting found by customers. It's the antithesis of the annoying telemarketer that calls you at precisely the worst possible moment. Inbound marketing doesn't aggressively steal your attention, it earns it by providing you with interesting and useful information. Inbound marketing waits for you to discover it, then it offers something valuable in exchange for a few moments of your time. Here are some examples of inbound marketing: 

  • Blogs
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • YouTube Videos
  • Webinars / Podcasts
  • White Papers
  • Infographics

What is Outbound Marketing?

Most people consider outbound marketing to be the more traditional and less technologically savvy way to acquire customers. It's where companies focus their marketing endeavors on actively finding customers. At times, it can be difficult to target properly, and oftentimes it's expensive. Here are some examples of outbound marketing:

  • Print Ads
  • Television / Radio Commercials
  • Telemarketing
  • E-mail Blasts
  • Trade Shows

The Problem With Outbound Marketing

Over the past few years there has been a steady decline in effectiveness of outbound marketing, especially when it comes to online companies. There has been a fundamental shift in consumer tolerance for "interruptive" advertising, and some consumers are starting to revolt. For example, according to a study by HubSpot, 84% of 25-34 year olds have left a favorite website because of intrusive or irrelevant advertising. Here are some more reasons outbound marketing is becoming decreasingly relevant:

Inbound Marketing for Ecommerce

Inbound marketing is an effective way to attract potential customers to your online store and massage them until they turn into customers. For an ecommerce store to effectively use inbound marketing it starts with good content that's optimized for search and tempting for people to share.
By investing resources into inbound marketing, ecommerce merchants will see the following 6 benefits:

 

1. Become a Thought Leader

By creating and publishing thought provoking content on a regular basis, you'll quickly get your name out there as a thought leader. Shopify store Wingset has a blog that compliments their online store perfectly. They sell organic health products, and their blog is an emporium of articles dedicated to helpful information about nutrition and wellness. Thousands of people go their ecommerce store for content: DIY projects, recipes, warnings, and even some myth busters. They have become an authority in the wellness industry and people go to them for information, help, and advice. Sales always follow. 

 

2. Save Some Money

Have you seen the prices of print ads? Or even a display booth at a major trade show? For the most part, outbound marketing is expensive! How much does good content backed by a strong social presence cost? Start small and it won't cost much at all. Give yourself a reasonable goal like publishing one valuable blog post per week. Spend a few hours writing something that people in your industry will find interesting, then spend a few hours promoting it through your social networks. Although inbound marketing takes more effort than simply buying a newspaper ad, its costs run an impressive 61% less per lead than traditional marketing.

 

3. Target Self-Qualified Customers    

Do you think buying a giant roadside billboard for a month would be an effective way to promote your online store? I'll give you a hint and save you some money - it's not. The net ia too big and the vast majority of people looking at the advertisement aren't qualified. Same goes for cold-calling, buying email lists, and other forms of outbound marketing... they're all poorly targeted. With inbound marketing, you only approach people who self-qualify themselves. They show an interest in your content, so it's quite likely that they will be interested in the product you're selling.  

 

4. Increase Organic Search

It's no secret that Google loves fresh content. When you publish search optimized content on a regular basis that gets a bit of social media attention, your ranking will increase. Good search engine rankings are essential for a successful ecommerce store. You want to get your store on page one for as many of your terms as possible, because studies show that the second page of a Google search only receives 0.85% of the traffic. Furthermore, 61% of consumers use search engines to read about products before making a purchase. 

 

5. Boost Social Presence

It's been proven that prospective customers who are linked to your social media platforms show increased loyalty. Studies show that 41% of B2B companies have acquired a customer through Facebook, 42% through Twitter, and 57% through their company blog.  When you're promoting good content through your social networks, you'll naturally gain a larger social following. When it comes to your social presence, make sure all your guns are firing: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit, Pinterest, and all the others. 

 

6. Recover Abandoned Shopping Carts

Prospects sometimes abandon their shopping cart before a sale is closed. It can be for any number of reasons: high shipping prices, a long checkout process, or they simply get distracted by something else. With traditional marketing, you focus your efforts on acquiring people who have never been to your ecommerce store, or people who have already made a purchase - but that's leaving out a whole demographic of those who have almost made a purchase. With inbound marketing you can cultivate their interest over time by having an active blog, engaging social media sites, or by providing them with free resources via email marketing. You can also use a cart abandonment tool to identify those who have jumped ship and re-engage them. Shopify merchants can choose from Abandon AppElasso, or Jilt to recover lost sales.

Basic Email Marketing for Ecommerce

Don't think email marketing works? Tell that to Groupon! They've made a pretty penny through marketing campaigns heavily based on…


Don't think email marketing works? Tell that to Groupon! They've made a pretty penny through marketing campaigns heavily based on sending out emails. A well designed email marketing campaign for your ecommerce storefront can increase sales. Period.  

Email marketing is a proven way engage your customers, increase sales, and promote your online store. BUT, an awesome campaign can only be successful if you implement the right strategies to build a strong client base. If planned and executed properly, email marketing is the cheapest method to retain existing customers and enroll new customers for repeat purchases. In this post I'm going to share 4 easy tips on how to execute an effective email marketing campaign for your ecommerce store. 

I don't have to tell you that oftentimes people visit an online store, but don't end up buying anything. It's a sad but true reality. Research shows that visitors can be converted into customers by building a long-lasting relationship with them through frequent contacts and constant follow-ups. Email marketing is an effective way of achieving this. This approach is called permission based marketing, and has an estimated response rate between 5% and 20%. Not bad at all. 

Here are 4 strategies to help you run a successful email marketing campaign:

1. Develop Strong Relationships

You should highlight how your email marketing has helped your existing clients by offering them the right products or services. This helps build enduring relationships and creates credibility among potential clients.

2. Accept Only Voluntary Subscriptions 

Always provide potential clients with a choice for subscribing to your emails and newsletters. Their decision for subscription should be a conscious one and stealthy methods of signing up clients should be avoided at all costs. All subscriptions should be based on confirmations from shoppers. You can automate the confirmation process through an auto responder by sending a standard acknowledgement message of the subscription to let the customer know that the subscription had been recorded.

3. Provide An Unsubscribe Option

Even if a client has voluntarily opted-in for your email marketing, the customer can decide not to receive any more email messages or newsletters from you after a certain period. You should respect such decisions and have the opt-out option at the bottom of every message and newsletter you send out. The ‘unsubscribe’ message should have a clear link and proper instructions for opting out of your email marketing campaign. When people see your ‘unsubscribe’ message, they are assured that they have the freedom to stop your messages anytime. This increases their confidence in dealing with you. 

4. Address Prospects by Name and Make the Email Personal 

One of the most effective ways to enhance the response rate to email marketing is to personalize your emails. This can be achieved if you address your prospects by their first name. If you don't have enough information on a client, avoid personal salutations and keep them general.

    A Beginner's Guide to Content Marketing

    Today we're happy to unveil a free in-depth 15 part video series that will show you exactly how…

    feature

    Today we're happy to give you a free in-depth 15 part video series that will show you exactly how to develop a content strategy for your ecommerce store.

    Content marketing is a very powerful way to build your brand, while increasing traffic, sales, and repeat business. It's also particularly important for those of you selling products that have no active search volume (nobody searches for your product on Google), which is often the case when entrepreneurs create a new product. 


    In these videos we teach you easy to adopt techniques to help you grow your business and make more money. 

    It's important to note that although we call this series a beginners guide, we go over some very advanced techniques that everyone can learn from. 

    The host of this video series is Ezra Firestone, a veteran online store owner, the man behind SmartMarketer.com, and the host of multiple popular marketing podcasts.  

    Feel free to watch the first video here on the blog, or hop over to Ecommerce University to watch the whole series.

    Video 1:

    Three of the Worst Marketing Techniques – and What to Do Instead

    Search engines and customers are smarter and savvier than ever before at sniffing out low-quality and spammy marketing…

    feature

    This is a guest post by Andrew Youderian of eCommerceFuel.com

    Search engines and customers are smarter and savvier than ever before at sniffing out low-quality and spammy marketing techniques. Yet many companies still use antiquated marketing methods that are ineffective at best and downright dangerous at worst.  

    Below are three of the worst marketing techniques for today's online environment – and what you should be doing instead.

    1. Blog Commenting

    This strategy involves leaving generic comments on blog posts that include a link to the site you're trying to market. It can be done manually but is more often generated by software that makes it possible to automatically spam the crap out sites and leave comments on thousands of blogs quickly.

    Blog commenting is perhaps the most despicable, annoying and lowest form of online marketing in existence, as anyone with a WordPress site can attest. Worse, it's not even effective! Even IF a spammy comment is published, 99% of links posted in blog comments don't provide any kind of SEO benefit. Due to the special “no follow” tag added to links by most blogging platforms, Google and other search engines ignore them.

    What to Do Instead:

    Blog commeting isn't a good technique for building SEO authority but it can be a great way to generate highly targeted traffic to your website. Here's what to do:

    1. Find an article on a subject you know very well.
    2. Leave an in-depth, informative comment that adds to the conversation.
    3. Include a very applicable link at the END of the comment. 

    People reading your comment have absolutely no reason to want to visit your website, so you need to give them one. Writing a thoughtful, in-depth comment showcases your expertise and builds trust with someone scanning through the piece.

    And if you include an on-topic link after your top-notch comment, a large number of people will click through to your site. The mistake most people make is putting their link at the top of their comment before they've established any credibility – and people skip right over it.

    This technique works best on sites that are highly trafficked. The picture below illustrates a comment I left on a Hacker News thread that resulted in more than 500 people visiting my blog:

    2. Article Marketing/Spinning

    Traditional article marketing usually consists of creating dozens of slightly different versions of an article and then blasting them across the web using a paid distribution service. If most veteran online marketers are honest, they'll admit to having done it in some form in the past, myself included. 

    But it's a really poor choice for marketing today. Search engines like Google are getting really good at filtering out and discounting duplicate content online, and that's exactly what a thinly spun mass distributed article is. It's also really spammy, and Google has been cracking down heavily on low-quality techniques and backlink profiles with algorithm updates like Penguin. Even if this technique works for a short time to improve your rankings, there's a good chance you'll be penalized in the future.

    What to Do Instead:

    Instead of using a paid service to shoot out hundreds of copies of a generic article, approach individual sites one at a time and offer to write a unique piece specifically for their visitors. You can then include a few tasteful and applicable backlinks to your site in the piece.

    This approach takes much more time but is a much better long-term approach. You'll be able to get your articles posted on higher-quality websites, which will pass more authority (i.e., SEO power) back to your own site. Because you're specifically targeting the sites, you'll also be more likely to receive highly qualified direct traffic to your business. And, of course, you won't have to worry about Google penalties in the future.

    For more information on how to use this technique, check out these resources:

    Blindly Outsourcing Your SEO and Marketing

    Marketing an ecommerce store well takes a tremendous amount of work, so it's understandable that people often consider outsourcing the process. But unfortunately many people will simply hire the cheapest person on oDesk who claims to be a marketing or SEO “expert,” which is a recipe for disaster. 

    Low-quality marketing techniques like the ones we've discussed can leave a messy backlink and marketing profile that can permanently hurt your rankings, be extremely difficult to clean up and damage any legitimate marketing efforts you've already done.  

    What to Do Instead:

    If you're new to online marketing and are bootstrapping your first ecommerce business, I highly recommend that you do as much of the marketing and SEO work yourself as possible. Why?

    1. Learning to market is – hands down – the most valuable skill you can develop in business.  
    2. You'll need to know the ins and outs of marketing and SEO if you want to competently manage others doing it in the future.
    3. It will save you money that you can pour back into your business.
    4. You'll do a better job than 99% of low-end marketing freelancers.
    5. You'll know exactly what's going on and can avoid any dangerous or penalty-causing techniques.

    If you do decide to hire someone else to market your business, you'll want to vet and manage them closely. I learned this lesson firsthand when I failed to properly manage an SEO firm I'd hired.

    Because I'd worked with the company before, I assumed things were being run well and I failed to oversee their work. Only after my site was heavily penalized by Google's Penguin update did I realize that the process hadn't been managed well, and that they'd used some unsavory techniques. Ultimately, it was my fault because I abdicated responsibility and didn't check in on their work.

    When outsourcing your SEO or marketing, make sure you vet candidates well. Check references, look at their past work and talk with them about how they'd structure a campaign. And once work starts, make sure you're checking in on a regular basis and monitoring progress. Because in the end, it's your business – not theirs – on the line.

    For more information, see this video by SEO guru Rand Fishkin on how to choose a good SEO company.  

    You Pay Now … or Later.

    Marketing your ecommerce business online can be a tremendous amount of work. You can either put in the investment to create a quality, value-adding marketing campaign now OR pay the price later when  shady techniques permanently penalize your site's reputation or rankings.

    Focus on quality marketing tactics despite the additional work and you won't regret it in the long run.


    By Andrew Youderian, an eCommerce entrepreneur who's passionate about marketing, SEO and traffic generation. His blog, eCommerceFuel.com, is dedicated to helping individuals and small organizations build thriving online stores. For more information, check out his well-reviewed free guide to running an ecommerce business.

    7 Common Marketing Mistakes To Erase

    If your ecommerce marketing campaigns aren't living up to your expectations, then you're probably doing something wrong. Too many…

    If your ecommerce marketing campaigns aren't living up to your expectations, then you're probably doing something wrong. Too many entrepreneurs are making easy to erase mistakes. 

    Here are 7 common marketing mistakes you need to avoid: 

    1. Over Targeting

    It's important to recognize your target market and focus your marketing strategies towards them. Find out where you're getting conversions and direct your energy to that audience. 

    2. Lack of Focus

    There are new marketing techniques emerging each day that clever business owners can take advantage of. While diving into these new portals is definitely worth looking into, it's  not necessarily beneficial to abandon or diminish your current methods to start over each time something new emerges. Stake your territory immediately so you own your business name as a username (now's a good time to think about Pinterest & Google +), but keep your efforts on the back-burner until you're sure the juice will be worth the squeeze.

    3. Not Pulling Enough Data

    Do you know which of your marketing efforts are converting customers? Can you track sales from Twitter, Facebook, Blog Posts, and LinkedIn? If you don’t utilize some sort of tracking system to confirm which methods work and which ones don’t, you're wasting time and money.

    4. No Clear Call To Action

    When you're putting together your marketing campaigns you want your potential clients to know what you’re selling and how to get it immediately. Without a clear call to action, your efforts are quickly wasted because the customers you catch in your net quickly swim away. 

    5. Missing Free Marketing Opportunities

    Today there are tons of low cost marketing platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) that should be taken advantage of. Putting some thoughtful effort into social media will likely cut costs and widen your exposure.

    6. Giving Up Too Easy

    It can take some time to know if your marketing angle is working. If you give up too fast you will never know if you were on the right track, so stick with it for a while and never stop pulling data and optimizing.

    7. Not Knowing When To Pivot

    Sometimes you need to recognize when a marketing strategy is simply not working. Maybe you have misread your target market, or maybe your campaign is out-dated and stale. Sometimes you need to know when enough is enough.

    E-Commerce Marketing: The Big Picture - Part 2

    Ecommerce Marketing: The Big Picture - Part 2 Having secured a good strategy outside of the store to…

    Having secured a good strategy outside of the store to face the challenge of luring customers to click on the links that end up at your shop, it’s time to give thought to the other side of ecommerce marketing that takes place inside of the store: improving conversion rates. Or in plain English, “how to turn a viewer into a shopper”.

    Here, Landing Page Optimization (LPO) and the need for a good LPO strategy is the first thing that needs consideration. What are you presenting to the customer who has just gone through the arduous quest of finding your shop? Is your presentation aimed at the right crowd?

    Coming up with the best strategy is an endless task involving numerous A/B testing (testing how one landing page version’s responses compare with another version’s). But there are some easy fundamental pointers that should always be remembered. Take a look at a good overview of some basic LPO rules .

    One of the most important aspects of LPO is the Value Proposition presented on the page. What are you giving to the customers in exchange for their money that will have them pick you as the ultimate choice? If you can convince the hasty, short-attention span customers of today with a good and brief value proposition, you’re in business.

    Keep in mind that no matter what your value proposition is, expressing it in the right way can make all the difference. There’s an interesting article and webinar in MarketingExperiments that can be considered as a good guide for optimizing your value proposition . Ask yourself why should your potential audience buy from you? Compare your reasons with other retailers providing the same service. Refine them until you come up with something that stands out. Then try and express your results very briefly in a way you think can win a buyer over at a glance.

    Having a brief look at the big picture of ecommerce marketing shows how important it is to categorize the different elements of marketing, and how this helps in keeping track of functionalities of each component. Still, there’s more to marketing than simple assessment and data gathering of these categories. At the end it all comes down to the insight that you take away and how you act upon it.

    Ecommerce Marketing: The Big Picture – Part 1

    Ecommerce Marketing: The Big Picture – Part 1 Instead of diving head first into another new, advanced, and…

    Today instead of diving head first into another new, advanced, and complex marketing strategy, which these days tend to turn up more frequently than they used to, we’re going to try and take a step backwards to look at the bigger picture of basic ecommerce marketing and its latest tools. This is a good way for old timers to brush up on some of the basic strategies that they’ve forgotten about, while also getting the new-comers familiarized with some of the basic marketing jargon.

    The first thing to look at is obviously the answer to the big question: “how to get customers to come to your store?”. In the same way that big shopping centres always have good location and large parking lots, online retailers need to have a good Search Engine Optimization ( SEO ) strategy, improving both the quantity and quality of traffic to the store. One thing about SEO is that it’s one of the fastest evolving areas in ecommerce and a good strategy doesn`t stay good forever by itself.

    Using sitemaps, keywords and advertising tools like AdWords are the basics for SEOs, but a recent article from Visibility , a search engine dedicated magazine, emphasizes the importance and benefits of Viral Marketing over keyword rankings. Still, don’t miss out on Google’s new search-based keyword tool . Take a look at this article for a review. This new gadget can help you get better results in more ways than you might think, whether you use AdWords or you’re just looking for improved keywords.

    The next best thing to consider for bringing more buyers to the store might be Comparison Shopping Engines (CSE) like Shopping.com and PriceGrabber . The functionality of CSEs still being search based, the thing making them different from search engines is that they require a specific product price, title, description, image and action URLs from you to link back to your store. This means they don`t rely on web crawlers and their complications to find your pages. Most CSEs use a Pay-Per-Click ( PPC ) policy for their services and retailers can change the rate of their PPC in exchange for increased visibility.

    To make the best of using CSEs and also other PPC services like AdWords, the most important thing to take into account is improving your Conversion Rate . That means getting more of those people that come to your store via these paid services to actually buy something. Read a more detailed discussion about the importance of conversion rates for PPC services.

    Where to go from here? In the next post we`ll look at improving conversion rates, value proposition and LPOs.

    Start your free 14 day trial!Create your store now

    Create an online store in minutesTry Shopify Free