This is a guest post by Richard Aumaitre. Richard is the CEO of Florida-based company, Epic SEO. He has several years worth of SEO and internet marketing experience, helping small to mid-sized business owners grow their respective businesses. All opinions expressed in this article are the opinion of the author.
The most common reason most small e-commerce businesses stay small is because they cannot attract enough new customers or get current customers to spend more.
To grow any business, you’ll need to find new customers, get current customers to spend more, or increase the price of your product/service.
In today’s article I’m going to show you three effective marketing strategies used by every successful e-commerce business to find new customers and to keep them spending.
To grow your business you must buy attention
Modern-day marketing isn’t shoving your product or service in your prospect’s face hoping they buy. This, as you may have found out first hand, just doesn’t work anymore.
With millions of small businesses using Google, Facebook, and every other marketing medium possible, you’ll fail to grow if your first message is a sales pitch.
Instead, you should aim to win the attention of your prospect through Facebook and Google. Once you have their attention, anything is possible.
In my opinion, Facebook and Google are the two best platforms in the world to find and keep your customers’ attention.
Why you must use Facebook
Everyone is on Facebook… okay, almost everyone. With more than 1.86 billion active users, your customers are using Facebook.
Once more, the average Facebook user spends, on average, 50 minutes per day on the platform.
Visit any public space and you’ll see dozens of humans tapping on their phones with their head down, many of them focusing their attention on social networks, such as Facebook.
If you’ve tested Facebook in the past and felt it didn’t work for your business, the reason for the failure was most likely due to a bad marketing strategy.
Recent studies reveal that as much as 70% of B2C brands have acquired customers from Facebook.
Facebook works, and there are hundreds more case studies to prove it.
How does a small e-commerce business use Facebook effectively? By setting up a simple Facebook funnel like so:
Step 1 (new leads) – Never pitch to new prospects on Facebook; it’s highly ineffective and expensive. Keep in mind that the average conversion rate of new website visitors is less than 2% for e-commerce businesses.
Instead of selling, educate.
This can be done in the form of blog posts, video content, reports, white papers, or anything else that provides the prospect with value.
Here’s a Facebook advert from Compass who are offering me a free report to learn more about my business:
They are not trying to win my money, only my attention, trust, and email address.
Step 2 (website visitors) – Facebook is a versatile ad platform and allows you to use retargeting to show specific adverts to people who have interacted with your Facebook page or website.
A customer who has visited your website is eight times more likely to convert than a new visitor, and it’s in step 2 where you lead with the pitch.
Depending on what you sell, I usually like to give prospects a voucher or discount off their first order as it helps push them off the fence of uncertainty. This is exactly what Rosewholesale does on their website visitors, offering 10% off their first order.
Step 3 (customers) – Here you can keep serving your customers more products by uploading your customer list to Facebook.
Steps one and two focus on grabbing attention and trust, which is then converted into paying customers. Step three focuses on maximizing the lifetime value of each of your customers. At this stage of your funnel, you can serve them upsells of products they may be interested in, along with offering them special offers and introducing them to new item lines.
Note: This Facebook funnel is just a template. Depending on your business model, you may require more steps in the attention and awareness phase. This is especially true if your online business sells high-ticket items, as those customers require a lot more convincing when considering the purchase of a $5,000 product in comparison to a customer buying a $25 item.
Why you must use Google (SEO)
Don’t get me wrong, Facebook is an amazing platform and a must for every small e-commerce business, but so is Google.
Facebook is a platform on which businesses push their content to prospects and customers. After all, who logs in to Facebook to see ads?
Google, on the other hand, brings customers and businesses together. Whether you’re looking for a pizza delivery service, an online grocery store, or a local vet, chances are you’ll start your search on Google.
Here’s what you would see on the first page of Google if you were looking for vets in Boca Raton. For a Boca Raton-based SEO company, ranking your business on the first page of the organic search using SEO for key search terms can be worth tens of thousands of dollars each year.
The first organic listing receives 33% of all clicks compared to 18% for second place.
SEO was also voted the second best marketing channel for ROI after email marketing in 2016.
You can implement SEO for your e-commerce business today by using the following methods:
Keywords – Research product keywords that are searched by your customers and create long-form content using best SEO practices to rank your website higher in the search.
For example, if you’re selling sports products, articles on how customers can improve their tennis swing or the difference between various shuttlecocks for badminton will rank well organically and can also be repurposed with Facebook ads, maximizing the exposure of your content.
Optimize – Check your current pages to see if they are adhering to best SEO practices and ensure each product category is using the correct on-page SEO tactics. You’ll often find that by making a few changes to optimize your core pages, it can result in an increased amount of organic views in the following weeks.
Competitor research – Use tools such as SEMrush to see which keywords your competitors are ranking for to create better, more up-to-date content to outrank them.
By researching your competitors’ SEO strategies, you can often save months of trial-and-error testing which keywords are profitable to target.
Why you must use email marketing
Unlike Facebook or Google, who ultimately control who see your adverts or where you rank on search, you have full control of your email list.
Facebook can suspend your page, and there’s nothing stopping Google from de-listing your website from their search if you break their guidelines.
But nobody can ever take your email list away from you.
You can email customers as often or as little as you like and send them messages about what you like at any time of the day. That’s why email marketing has been one of the best mediums for returning e-commerce businesses a positive ROI.
The end goal of all your marketing efforts should be to get your website visitors’ email addresses. Once you’ve captured their email addresses, you have a means to reach them over and over again.
A Smart Insights study found that organic search and email marketing were the top two performing channels for driving e-commerce sales.
Facebook vs. Google vs. Email – which is better?
It’s hard to compare Facebook, Google, and email marketing as they all offer different services. To advertise your business on Facebook outside of organic posting, which has proven to be very ineffective, you must pay to promote.
The upside is that you’ll receive website traffic right away and can laser target your target audience. The downside is you’ll need a marketing budget and it can get expensive with no guarantee of ROI.
SEO, on the other hand, is free and you aren’t required to pay Google a fee to list your business in the search organically. Once you rank organically, with a little bit of monitoring you can generate leads and sales 24/7 without having to spend money.
The downside is that it can take months before you can see measurable results as SEO doesn’t happen overnight.
Email marketing is awesome because unlike Google or Facebook, you aren’t fighting for your customers’ attention in a sea of Facebook updates or Google search listings.
With the right email service you can send personalized emails and automate the entire process.
The downside is that you cannot grow your email list without driving visitors to your website, which you do using Facebook and Google.
All three rely on each other to work to the best of their abilities and relying solely on one traffic source to grow your e-commerce business isn’t a wise idea.
When it dries up, so does your business.
An ideal marketing strategy should be to use a combination of paid, organic, search network, and social media to grow your business.
SEO, Facebook, and email marketing should be the key mediums every small business should focus on, as they have proven over and over again that they work.
Once you master these golden traffic sources, then you can go ahead and look into other areas of marketing to expand further.
Are you using Google, Facebook, and email marketing to grow your e-commerce business? One or two out of three is not enough; you must focus on them all to get ahead.