When you think of small businesses, bricks and mortar companies usually spring to mind. However, with entrepreneurs making their way onto the internet to find their slice of the £133 billion online retail sales pie, eCommerce websites have never been more popular.
If you’re running an online shop, whether that’s a clone of your physical store or a brand new business, you’ll know that it isn’t always easy getting customers to click on to your website and check out your products. Sure, it’s cheaper to launch a business on the internet and there’s often less risk involved, but that doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed success.
Below, we’ve put together five marketing tips for small eCommerce website owners to try out – from using copywriting to boost search engine results pages (SERPs) rankings, right through to running regular competitions to keep your brand in the mind of your customers.
Write unique descriptions for every product
If you only take away one piece of advice from this blog post, let it be this. Unless you have a unique, well-written description for each and every product you offer, you won’t be able to climb the search engine rankings pages and you’ll struggle to generate organic sales.
Making it big in commerce is all about outranking your competition; if you’re not selling a unique product, then you need to be able to demonstrate why customers should click through to your website rather than the competition. Go deep and describe the product in detail, listing all of the features and explaining why they should buy from your business.
Before you write your first product description, define your buyer persona and work out who you want to target your products to. From there, develop a brand voice and stick to it across every product and service you write about. Comprehensively list and describe the features and benefits of the product, and format it in an easy-to-read manner using lists.
From there, you should proof, draft and edit your product description based on feedback from your members of staff and existing customers, and then optimise for search engines using the appropriate keywords and strings. However, you should avoid using jargon in your descriptions and instead follow Google’s best practices for eCommerce websites, like using alt tags to describe your images and formatting product pages using Schema.org markup.
Build a mailing list as early as you can
The benefits of email marketing cannot be undersold, so build a mailing list as early as you can. Having access to potential customers’ email addresses will allow you to promote your new products and services to them, which can save you thousands of pounds in pay-per-click advertising and effort in terms of search engine optimisation and content marketing.
Before your business launches, add a landing page to your website so that you can collect the email addresses of interested parties, and be sure to add your friends and family to the list to provide you with some moral support and for feedback on your marketing efforts.
From there, you can use your mailing list to keep your visitors up to date on everything that’s going on with your business. When you do launch, you’ll be able to advertise this fact and offer a discount code for their loyalty and patience.
A word of warning for mailing lists, though: make sure that you don’t spend too much of your time promoting your products and services in the early days of your campaigns. Overly promotional emails and marketing practices can be off-putting, leading to customers unsubscribing from your mailing list and avoiding your company in the future. Instead, nurture your subscribers by answering their questions, keeping them up to date on the latest news in your industry, and writing quality blog posts that you can promote in emails.
Use content marketing to increase your SEO
Content is an essential part of any eCommerce marketing strategy, so make sure that you polish off your copywriting skills or consider outsourcing your copywriting if you don’t have the time or the confidence to do it yourself.
One of the simplest ways to promote your products is to tie them in with seasonal events like Halloween and Christmas, writing blog posts offering the ‘ultimate guide’ to the season. You can complement this strategy with in-depth reviews on each of your products and services, and keeping readers up to date on the latest industry news while incorporating the benefits of buying your products and services and using them to solve problems.
Remember to incorporate your chosen keywords into any content marketing you carry out, and link back to the appropriate product and category pages to boost your SEO benefits.
Run regular promotions and giveaways
Nothing stands still in the world of eCommerce for long, so you need to work hard to ensure you remain on the lips of your customers. Above all else, focus on delivering the very best eCommerce experience by providing excellent customer service, offering fast delivery times, high-quality products and a strong returns policy – after that, focus on your marketing.
One of the best ways to ensure you’re keeping customers on your side is to run regular promotions and giveaways, and advertise them as much as you can through your blog, on social media, in your mailing lists and by using pay-per-click advertising through Google AdWords and Facebook Ads. These promotions could be special offers, discount codes or ‘flash sales’, while giveaways could include hampers, new products and sought-after tech.
Running a giveaway or promotion is one thing, but advertising it is another. Before you create a discount coupon or a giveaway hamper, make sure that you have the time and the budget to promote it. If you’re offering £300 worth of stock, you need to make sure you get a return on your investment, so do the maths and don’t spend more than you can afford.
Consider remarketing to boost optimisation rates
Remarketing is one of the most effective methods of promoting your eCommerce website – and it’s used by the majority of the world’s biggest eCommerce websites, like Amazon, Topshop and Debenhams. Have you ever added an item to your cart and abandoned it, only to have the products follow you around the web on banner adverts? That’s remarketing.
Google AdWords has put together a simple guide to remarketing that you can follow – all you need to do is implement some code into your eCommerce system, and you can then pay Google to promote your products to visitors who almost converted to customers. It’s an effective form of marketing, and can help you build your brand, improve your sales funnels and help you increase your conversion rates over time.
With so many free methods of promoting your eCommerce website, bringing your business online can prove effective. However, that doesn’t mean eCommerce marketing is going to be easy – you need time, patience and skill to find success. Try out the techniques we have offered in this article, be proactive with your marketing and don’t take success for granted.