4 Mar 2014

Guide to Ecommerce Marketing from Easitill - Checklist

So you’re a long way into building your website and have your product catalogue data almost completed, or may have already completed this part of your website process and are now ready to go live...

Now let’s consider a fundamental key to making your website successful, Website Marketing!

There are 4 main ways to attract customers to your ecommerce site:

1.      Organic Search Traffic
2.      Paid Search/Advertising
3.      Email Campaigns
4.      Social Media

Here we have written a list of tasks to guide you through the various marketing activities you need to carry out to make your website succeed. 

Stage One – Set the foundations for launch:
1.      Submit your website to google for indexing - we will do this for you upon go live.
2.      Generate a sitemap for your website - this is a tick box on import. Submit it to google web master tools - again we can assist you with this.
3.      Create your new stores launch promotion - for example offer an introductory 10% off first orders to all new visitors to your site or a voucher code which offers free delivery on first 100 orders or something similar to drum up interest in your new site and launch.
4.      Get the message out on Facebook - Create a Facebook business page (if you haven’t already got one) and make sure you use this to drum up interest about your launch and launch promotion
5.      Use Email to promote your store's upcoming launch - Try signing up to MailChimp to create e-newsletter campaigns to send out to your databases including promotions, discounts or simply news. (Promotions and discounts obviously work best to drive traffic). You can send 12,000 emails a month to a list of up to 2,000 subscribers with MailChimp’s Forever Free plan, though a few features are only available to paying users.
6.      Don’t forget to promote your new website in store if you also have a bricks and mortar store and existing customer base. – Put the web address on till receipts, on the shop carrier bags, on posters in the store and shop windows, on your shop signs. Record your answerphone message with the website address.
7.      Track your visits – You can view how many visitors you are getting to your new site through Google Analytics Reporting. Again we can help set you up with this.

Stage Two – Help those new visitors convert to sales
  1. Show off you product with great images – also include multiple images as much as possible- The more photos you display for individual products, the better chance for persuading shoppers to buy. Remember this is the customers chance to fall in love with a product. Studies show product images receive nearly 1/3 of online shoppers’ viewing time. In fact, 67% of consumers rate image quality as 'very important' when deciding to purchase — even more important than product reviews and descriptions.
  2. Increase credibility of your website with an About Us page. - Who runs your business, when and why you started your business, what’s unique about your business compared to competitors.  If you’re an online business only or also have a physical store. Add photos & videos to keep things interesting.
  3.  Provide clear shipping & returns policies – Customers should know what to expect if they purchase from you. This includes how their concerns will be addressed if there’s an order problem or request a return. You can increase sales conversions by having clear shipping and returns procedures outlining:
a.      What are the time frames and limits for accepting a return?
b.      Do time frames and limits begin on the order day or when the order is received?
c.      What condition should the product be for a full refund? What about a partial refund? Is store credit an option?
d.      Who is responsible for postage in returns and exchanges?
e.      How can customers expect to receive your products?
f.       How will your customers be able to identify their shipments? Will it be in a generic box? Will it be clearly marked from with your company’s address and logo?
g.      Will delivery require a signature?
h.      Are your products perishable and require prompt attention upon delivery?
i.       You should let people know about when orders should be complete for next day deliveries and when orders should be placed for holiday deliveries, such as Christmas

4. Display clear contact details in case of problems or queries.

Stage Three – Start getting search traffic
1.      Write great product names/titles - Try to make your products the first thing shoppers notice. High quality product titles help this happen. Product titles also help with search engine rankings and make you stand out on shopping comparison websites, such as Google Shopping. By keeping to some simple guidelines, you can create good product titles:
a.      Keep your product titles descriptive, keyword-rich (so search engines find them) and unique
b.      Try for less than 70 characters (45 to 50 is ideal)
c.      Include product characteristics such as brand and colour
d.      Place important keywords at the front of the title
e.      Avoid placing your company name at the front
Example of Good product descriptions:
“Tommy Hilfiger Men's Golf Polo Shirt”
“Plaid Red Schwinn "Winwood" Beach Cruiser 3-Gear Bicycle”
Example of Bad product description:
“Golf Polo”
“Plaid Red Schwinn Beach Cruiser”
2.      Improve SEO with great product descriptions –
a.      Keep your descriptions unique.
Search engines don’t like duplicate content. If you've taken your content from a source such as your product manufacturer, always re-write the descriptions. This also helps you put a personal spin on your descriptions, separating you from competitors.
b.      Use keywords in your product description
Keywords in the product title should also appear in the description, especially in the first 160 characters.
c.      Use varied description lengths.
Vary the length of each article from 200 words on up to over 1000 words, with a general average of 400-500 words across all the articles. Varying the length of your articles makes it less obvious that you are 'stuffing' SEO content on your site.

Stage Four – Increase social traffic
1.      Engage people through Facebook - When people like your Facebook page, it's like they're starting a conversation with you. This conversation allows you to keep them up to date about your store and what's happening with it. But like in any conversation, you need to keep people engaged. Posting relevant content is the most important thing you can do to keep your audience interested. You want to post frequently enough to maintain a connection with your audience, but not so frequently that you lose engagement. To start, try posting every day, or every other day and see what works best for your business. Try sharing photos and videos, running events and promotions to attract people to your store. Don't be afraid to experiment, it's a great way to learn more about your shoppers. Those who have liked your page are interested in your store and what it sells. To start try posting interesting information about your industry, your store and your team.
2.      Find your stores voice on twitter - Tweeting store promotions, sales or exciting new products can quickly create buzz around your brand and increase store traffic. Use Twitter to follow competitors and learn what makes them successful. Keep an eye on what generates the most interest and the type of people engaging in conversations.
3.      Ensure you link from your website to your twitter and facebook profiles.
4.      Try Pinterest – Pinterest is a visual, online pinboard for social bookmarking where 25% of visitors purchase from the pins. 75% of brand engagement on Pinterest is generated by users not brands. Interact with you customers through real life product usage and ideas.

Stage Five – Email Marketing Campaigns
1.      Speed up your email marketing with MailChimp - As your business grows it can become difficult to manage email campaigns from your personal email. Using a free or low-cost email application like MailChimp will make the process easier and save you time. Email campaigns are a powerful tool to quickly increase store traffic and sales. Here are some tips for creating effective email campaigns:
a.      Create professional emails. Applications like MailChimp help you quickly create high quality emails that make your store appear professional and reliable. You can also create newsletters and promotion templates to reuse in future campaigns.
b.      Schedule & manage multiple campaigns. As your business grows you can keep track of different marketing campaigns you're running and various email lists, such as people who have bought from you and people who signed up to your newsletter.
c.      Analyse your email statistics. Track statistics such as the number of people who opened your emails, clicked specific links and visited your store. These help you measure the campaign’s success and plan future campaigns.
2.      Get your newsletter going - When shoppers do things like sign up for your newsletter or purchase a product, you can automatically add their email to different lists. You can then email people on these lists about new products, deals etc. Over time this source of traffic can provide your store with a regular source of revenue. Here's a few other benefits of email marketing.
a.      Prequalified curiosity. Shoppers signing up for newsletters are showing they're interested in what you sell and are more open to purchasing. Those who have purchased from you already even more so.
b.      Email marketing pays for itself. Starting out will cost you nothing as smaller campaigns (<12 are="" campaigns="" can="" emails="" free="" give="" investment="" larger="" mailchimp="" month="" o:p="" of="" on="" per="" return="" returns="" spent.="" while="" with="">

c.      Email is viral, mobile - People forward on interesting emails, potentially increasing your audience. Also, given that 8 out of 10 people open emails on a daily basis your subscribers are very likely to see your emails.
3.      Create your first newsletter.

Stage Six – Showcase your products in other online places

1.      Get an industry influencer to promote your store – build up a relationship with bloggers and industry influences who talk about products within market, particularly those with large followings. Build a relationship with them by retweeting their content, replying to their questions and engaging them in conversation. If you are tweeting interesting content then you are more likely for them to follow you. Once you have a relationship with them ask them to review and write about your products and link back to your store. Run promotions in conjunction with them such as a competition or giveaway of some goodies from your shop.
2.      Get traffic from shopping comparison sites – Submit your products to sites such as Google Shopping. Easitill can help you create and upload a data feed of your products. Please note however that Google Shopping is now a paid for service in conjunction with Google Adwords.
3.      Price competitively for more sales - Competitive pricing can be the difference between a shopper ordering from you or another store. Monitor your competitors pricing and price competitively. WisePricer is a tool that can also help in this monitoring but costs $500 per month for subscription to use their comparison tools.

Stage Seven – Get more people buying with key conversion tactics
1.      Make buying easier with a mobile friendly version of the website – This is an optional extra which can be purchased separately from Easitill.
2.      Enable & Encourage customer reviews
3.      Build trust by showing your website is secure – display the payment gateway logos and explanation on secure.

Stage Eight – Use advertising to attract more shoppers
1.      Drive traffic with Google Adwords

Stage Nine – Turn marketing into a regular activity
1.      Schedule daily/48 hourly social media activity
2.      Schedule weekly/fortnightly email marketing activity

Keep up the great work!
The Easitill Web Team