How you can increase traffic, leads, and sales for your ecommerce business.
This guide walks you through everything that goes into ecommerce marketing -- from referral marketing to inbound marketing to paid advertising to affiliate software and even how to start an affiliate program.
So whether you're a mom and pop shop or the next Amazon, our actionable guide has you covered.
The guide has been divided into 8 chapters. Each chapter will cover different areas of focus that you need to implement for your business.
Follow the easy step by step tactics and double your traffic and sales in 6 months.
Every marketing plan starts with keyword research.
Why is keyword research important? It is because eCommerce websites make most of their money from search engine queries. Search engine queries are generally just keywords.
You’ll understand this when you put yourself in the shoes of your potential customer.
Here’s what they will do if they need to buy something. Most likely, they will type in the product that they would like to buy in the search engines. When they do this, they just don’t just type in the name of the product and the brand. Sometimes, they will include specifics such as the product’s color, size and weight.
Let’s take a simple ‘hair dryer’ for example.
Instead of typing the word ‘hair dryer’, the customer may type something specific such as ‘Jacking 2300 Watt Salon Professional Ionic Hair dryer Blow dryer with Diffuser’. That may seem extremely long but it shows how serious the customer is in finding the particular product.
Another thing that you should note is the buyer intent. When they type these extremely long keywords, they usually have a stronger intent of buying. And that is good news for eCommerce website owners.
Now that you understand why optimizing for the search engines is important, you now know why your website simply cannot live without keywords. In fact, it is the building block that leads to sales. Without it, marketing your website is like throwing darts outside the window. It will not hit your target market. Why? You simply cannot promote your website without keywords for you will not know what you are optimizing for.
How do you know what to optimize for? Keyword research.
And for that you need some tools. Here are 4 tools that I found effective. They have their pros and cons. Used together, they can be crazy powerful.
If I can only recommend one tool among the bunch, I would recommend Ahrefs. Why? I love it because it is an all-in-one tool that lets you do more than just keyword research. You can also track your competitor’s backlinks and do an in-depth website analysis. Here are some of its functions: link tracking, traffic tracking, keyword research and analysis, social media analysis and website analysis.
I think most SEOs will agree with me when I say that Ahrefs is the best among the bunch. This is because you can use it for so many SEO activities and export all reports afterwards.
If you are on a limited budget and can only work with one tool, then use this one. It is worth every penny.
Here’s how you can research keywords through Ahrefs.
Want to know the basic stats for your main keyword? You can use Ahrefs’ keyword explorer. All you need to do is type in your desired keyword and watch it work its magic.
Once you hit the orange search button, you’ll be greeted with the following metrics: the KD or keyword difficulty score, search volume and the number of clicks. On the right is the global search volume.
If you scroll down, you’ll see some keyword ideas.
This is the part that you should focus on if you are just starting keyword research. It will give you tons of long tail keyword ideas that may be interesting to rank for along with its estimated search volume.
You can get more ideas by simply clicking ‘View Full Report’ and exporting all that you have found.
If you are feeling a bit lazy, you can look at your competitor keywords instead.
One of my favorite methods is to look at my competitor’s anchor text. This is extremely easy.
All you need to do is select the word ‘Anchors’ from the left and clicking 4-term words on top. It will instantly give you all the long tail keywords that your competitor is targeting.
Once you do this, you’ll find that not everything will be a good keyword for your website. This is the reason why you cannot just export all of these. Be sure to select keywords that are relevant to your online store.
And that’s not all. You can also take the easy way out and just look at your competitor’s website.
All you need to do is type in the website’s URL and click Organic Keywords on the left.
Then, sort the KD from smallest to highest.
This will yield a good list of easy to rank keywords.
It is impossible to use Ahrefs without understanding what KD means. KD stands for keyword difficulty and it can mean different things in different tools.
For Ahrefs, KD pertains to the metric in gauging the difficulty to rank a particular keyword.
KD ranges from 0 to 100 where 0 is the easiest and 100 is the hardest.
KD is based on the number of referring domains. The higher the KD, the higher the number of referring domains.
You can refer to the information below for a more accurate measure:
KD 0 = 0 Ref. Domains
KD 10 = 10 Ref. Domains
KD 20 = 22 Ref. Domains
KD 30 = 36 Ref. Domains
KD 40 = 56 Ref. Domains
KD 50 = 84 Ref. Domains
KD 60 = 129 Ref. Domains
KD 70 = 202 Ref. Domains
KD 80 = 353 Ref. Domains
KD 90 = 756 Ref. Domains
But KD is not created out of the blue. It is also based on Ahrefs’ observation on what makes websites rank. When I use the word ‘rank’ in here, I am referring to the front page of the search engines and not #1. This is how Ahrefs conducted its study.
When they did this, they found that one of the major factors that rank a particular website is the number of referring domains (unique backlinks). And this is how they came up with KD.
Ahrefs is the easiest tool to use because it just uses the referring domains as a factor. This means that there is a chance for you to rank over your competitor websites as long as you meet the domain count. Of course, this is not as direct as you think it is. You still need to build your website over a period of time and have a solid brand for this to be effective.
However, Ahrefs requires a monthly fee of around $99. You may want to look at other tools before you make your decision.
We cannot talk about keyword research without SpyFu. Take a trip into one of those webmaster forums and they will instantly recommend SpyFu as a good keyword tool. Why do they think this way? There is only one way to find out - Let’s dive in and see what this tool is all about.
On the surface, it looks like an ordinary research tool. But look at the menu above and you’ll know that it is special.
Since we are talking about keyword research, I went ahead and look at the Keyword Research tab.
The keyword research tab is pretty interesting. Just hover it and you’ll see that it already contains so many different tools inside it.
Searching for a keyword is as easy as just inputting a keyword in the search tab.
Upon doing that, I was surprised that the tool instantly generated suggestions - this is something that I have not seen in the other tools that I have used.
Then, it will generate a page that contains some basic metrics for the keyword that you have plugged in.
The metrics are quite simple to understand. It has the local monthly search, global monthly search, average click through rate, ranking difficulty, number of homepages in the results and number of advertisers as well as the cost per click and the monthly costs.
What I have observed is that this tool offers more than just basic metrics - search volume and competition level (as you have seen in Ahrefs and Google Keyword Planner). Instead, it goes another mile by only citing the homepages that ranks in the front page - an interesting metric if you’ll ask me. Also, it separated search volume into global and local - this is quite valuable for small businesses in the local area who have an eCommerce website.
Scrolling down, you’ll find other metrics. But what stood out for me is the Profitable Related Keyword section.
This section contains monthly searches, ranking difficulty, the number of advertisers, cost per click, click through rate and monthly cost.
You can click ‘View All Related Keywords to see the full list. The full list looks like the one below.
It may overwhelm you at first glance but this area is really useful. Why? Well, look over to the left side and you’ll see several ways to sort through the list. This will help you filter through your keyword list so that you only get only the most profitable keywords in your niche.
Once you are finished with keyword research, there is also a tool in SpyFu that allows you to sort through your keywords. You can click on the Keywords Grouping tab for this.
From here, all you need to do is type in the keywords that you have gathered.
And it will instantly take you to this where it has pre-sorted everything based on its category.
You can then tweak the group name by adding new groups.
Pretty easy, right?
If what you have gathered so far is not yet enough, you can also go for competitor keywords. How? You will use SpyFu’s SEO Research tab.
This is where you’ll see the power of SpyFu and what separates it from the other tools in the market.
Plug in a URL and you will know what I mean. You will instantly get to this page.
This is interesting because it shows you the keywords that your competitor is ranking for over a period of time. It even has tabs when there were changes in search engine algorithms.
I like this because it doesn’t include analytics that contains search volume and other unneeded stuff. Instead, it just focused on keywords.
What I find more interesting is the keywords that your competitor has just fallen off.
Click on it. It’s a link and you’ll see all the keywords that pushed your competitor off the first page.
You’ll instantly get a list of really profitable keywords. Looking at this, you don’t even need to test for ranking difficulty - it is already listed for you and you can just sort through it. I also love that the list contains mostly 3-word keywords - really valuable and profitable.
Scrolling down, I also found this graph that shows the weakness of your competitor.
And the keywords that your competitor has just lost rank in - these are great opportunities for you to take over as long as the ranking difficulty is not that hard.
Click View All to get a full list.
You can then sort all the keywords based on ranking difficulty. I like to put the smallest number on top so that I get easy-to-rank keywords.
But SpyFu is designed for more than just keyword research. Out of all the tools that I have reviewed, it seems to have some tools that are designed to help you with your ads as well.
If you will look at the Keyword Research tab, you’ll see that it has Advertiser History.
At first, I thought that it will be quite similar with SEMRush (You’ll find out later that SEMRush has an Ad History). But then, I was surprised that it even contains sample ads that worked well for competitors.
What can you get out of this?
Well, first it helps you in designing your ads. It helps you choose the right words.
Second, it also shows you all the other websites that are advertising in the niche for a keyword that you have plugged in - very useful for eCommerce website owners.
Ahrefs may be the best all-in-one tool in the market, but I think SpyFu trumps over any other tool when it comes to keyword research. It looks through every nook and cranny to find the most profitable keywords in your niche. If you follow the steps above, you can easily find keywords that are relevant to your niche.
If you want a more straightforward tool, you’ll find SEMRush interesting. In fact, I think that it is the closest to the Google Keyword Tool - only better. Why? Well, it has so many fascinating stuff in it too like competitor analysis, traffic tracking and advertising tracking. This makes it one of the sought-after SEO tools for PPC marketers.
Here’s how you can use the tool for keyword research.
Don’t know what to search for? SEMRush has all the tools that can help you.
You’ll know what I am talking about when you plug in your keyword in its main page. You will instantly see some of the basic SEO metrics of the keyword.
Here are the metrics that it gives you. First, there is the search volume and number of results in organic search (aka your competitors). What does these mean to you? Well, a keyword is usually worth ranking for if it has a considerable amount of search volume with less than a hundred thousand competing websites. Then, it also shows you the trend. This gives you an average search count per month. This gives you an idea that the search count is not just for one month - it also spreads across the whole year.
From here, you’ll be seeing some tabs that contains related keywords, phrase match keywords and ad-related keywords.
The related keywords section lists any keyword that is related to your search term - these keywords may or may not contain your main keyword. Aside from giving you ideas, this section also gives you access to different metrics such as search volume, number of search results, keyword difficulty, competition, trends and CPC.
The phrase match section lists keywords that has your main keyword in it. It doesn’t matter how many words your keyword contains. It can be three or four words. This area will still return common variations of the keyword.
So what can you see in this area? The basic metrics - search volume, keyword difficulty (based on the number of competing website), cost-per-click on ads, number of results and a trends graph.
Another area where you can harvest some keywords is through the Ad History section. This lists the websites that advertised for similar keywords. You can find out more about the keywords that they used by clicking on the numbers in the Keywords column.
You can also export all the keywords that you find in a spreadsheet.
Did you know that SEMRush also has a Keyword Magic Tool. This is a relatively new tool and it does practically what the other tools can do plus more. I love this because it is like a keyword analyzer and keyword suggester in one. It is that powerful.
Using it is easy. You just need to plug in a keyword and watch it do its magic - it will instantly generate a list based on related keywords.
Plus, you can also alter the word count so that you get all the long tail keywords on the list.
You can also set it to 3 to 4 keywords. So you don’t have to fix it in one number alone. I find it pretty neat if you ask me.
Again, an easy way to find keywords is just to analyze your competitors. You can do this by simply looking and analyzing the domain of your competitors. In SEMRush, there is the Domain Analytics tool that can do the job.
Using it is as easy as plugging a website’s URL in the Domain Overview bar.
Doing that will instantly generate a domain overview that contains the following metrics: organic search traffic, paid search traffic, backlinks and display advertising traffic. This gives you an idea on how profitable and how competitive the niche of that website is.
If you scroll down, you will see other details such as the website’s organic keywords, ad keywords and a graph that shows the fluctuations in traffic. And below that, you will see the top organic keywords - this is the part that you should be interested in.
From here, just click 'View Full Report'. Just look at all the keywords that it generated. It also shows the position that the website has for that particular keyword and the exact URL that is ranking for that keyword.
If you only want the longtails, you can sort it to only include 3 or 4-word keywords and you’ll instantly get a list of longtail keywords.
You can then export the keywords that are relevant to your business.
As you can see, SEMRush is more of a research tool. It gives you all the keywords that you must target based on certain metrics such as keyword difficulty and search volume. On top of that, it also allows you to look at the keywords that your competitor is ranking for - which is very useful if you want your website to eventually rank higher than them.
Moz is an unexplored keyword tool. While it is mostly known for its OpenSiteExplorer for measuring domain authority and linking domains, it also has a Keyword Explorer that is relatively new.
Using it is as easy as inputting your main keyword, then it will generate metrics like this.
As you can see, it shows the average search volume and has three metrics - difficulty, opportunity and potential.
Difficulty is based on how hard for an incoming website to hit the first page of the search engines. This is measured based on the strength of the links of the top 10 ranking websites. Moz computes keyword difficulty based on their metrics in OpenSiteExplorer. Specifically, they use the metrics of Page Authority (PA) and domain authority (DA). They combine this along with the click through rate of the page. From here, they determine the keyword difficulty.
Difficulty can vary from 1 to 100 where 1 is the easiest and 100 is the hardest. A good rule for this is to not target any keyword that has a difficulty of over 40. Our example above has a difficulty of 95 - that is already too hard.
Opportunity, on the other hand, is more focused on keywords that has the ability to get clicks when your website gets ranked. This is a factor that is unique to Moz and should be studied to be fully understood. Moz has taken into account click through rate (CTR) to determine this factor. This factor came from the fact that the search engines are no longer like it used to be. You will mostly see ads and SERP features like snippets and videos. If the opportunity is high, that means that you have plenty of opportunities of getting more clicks from your ranking links - this means that there is a low number of ads and SERP features. But if the opportunity is low, it means that ranking your website through SEO should not be your priority. You should just look at the ranking SERP features and aim to optimize your website for that instead.
Third is potential. Potential takes into account several metrics such as search volume, ranking difficulty, opportunity and importance. They then create a score based on this. Higher potential means that there is a really high volume and low level of ranking difficulty. In Moz, this is the metric that you should look at. This is because it has already summarized all the other factors into one.
But the power of Moz’s keyword explorer does not end there. It also has three other features below.
Keyword suggestions contains all the related keywords for the keyword that you have search for. SERP Analysis looks at the top 10 websites ranking for your target keyword. And mentions contains articles that has that keyword based on the most recent date that it is published.
Out of the bunch, I love to look deeper into keyword suggestions. I do this by clicking ‘See All 1,000 Suggestions’.
Then, I get a list of keywords that can be sorted in a different way than the other tools.
First, you can sort the keywords based on the idea and whether or not the keyword is a question. I find this fascinating for I have not seen this way of sorting in the other keyword tools I have mentioned above.
Aside from that, you can also sort through the keyword tool using search volume. This will give you the most profitable keywords on top.
I find that there are some points for improvement though. I think that the tool will be better if it has a way to sort through the keywords so that it displays 3-word or 4-word keywords as in Ahrefs and SEMRush. It will also help to have other metrics for sorting aside from qualitative metrics (whether or not it is a question, etc.) and search volume. There are other things to be considered for keyword research after all.
Overall, I love the new metrics that the tool has introduced. Difficulty, Potential and Opportunity is definitely some metrics that can gauge a keyword’s ranking ability. However, it seems that these metrics only come out for one keyword. I hope that they can implement batch processing in the future.
In my opinion, Moz is still better when it comes to competitor analysis. You can easily key in your competitor’s URL in the search bar.
And then get metrics like DA and PA - metrics that are relevant to the search engine’s algorithm today. We will use this later when we promote our eCommerce website. As of now, we’ll leave it for minor keyword research - getting keywords to plug into the other tools.
Finished your keyword research? It is time to put everything into one spreadsheet. You need to do this so that you can easily sort through everything you have found.
For this, I have this unified spreadsheet format.
It contains the keyword, search volume and keyword difficulties in all 4 tools. Why did I include these? These are the metrics that are important in ranking. Generally, you want keywords with low difficulties and high search volume. Those are your profitable keywords.
NOTE: You can also use the Potential in Moz. This takes into account several factors to determine if a keyword is worth ranking for. It may help to put another column in the spreadsheet for that.
Most of these tools have export options. Use these so that you can easily copy columns from the exports and paste them into your main spreadsheet. Then, copy the list again, put it in Notepad and plug it in the other tools. This will help you get the metrics that you are looking for.
Pro Tip: You’ll find that cross-checking keywords can be quite daunting. Hire a virtual assistant to do this so that you can focus on your eCommerce website instead.
By this time, you should already be familiar with all the tools mentioned above. It is time to take action.
For your assignment, you have to gather at least 1000 product keywords for your eCommerce website. Aim for keywords with a considerable amount of search volume (100-10,000) but with low difficulty across different tools. Branded keywords and longtails are okay.
You need to do this to help your eCommerce website to rank for keywords that are relevant to your target market. These should be keywords that they are already searching for (has a considerable amount of search volume) but are not competitively saturated.
You absolutely have to do this before you proceed to part 2. Your keyword research list is the building block of your eCommerce website.
Go ahead and get your hands dirty.
When eCommerce business owners think about rankings, they usually go ahead and build backlinks.
But this is a grave mistake.
You see, the search engines just don’t work this way.
Sure, they look at your backlinks to determine the topic of your website and they put a lot of weight on that.
But they also look at what’s INSIDE your website.
What does this mean?
It means that search engines also consider your website’s content and HTML tags.
So what should you do?
That’s simple. Optimize your website for your desired keyword and that will do the trick. What this does is confirm that your website is indeed about your target keyword.
Higher search engine rankings.
Here are some factors that you need to look into when optimizing your website.
Title tags are quite the same as name tags. It is the first thing that anyone sees when they visit website.
Like a name tag, it shows the brand of the website along with its main topic. This introduces the website to anyone that comes across it - whether it be a human or a search engine robot.
Title tags are especially helpful for visitors because it helps them get a glimpse of what the website is about in just a short phrase.
And it is helpful for search engines for it tells them the main keywords that the website is going for.
Title tags are also valuable for product pages for it helps the visitors understand the product page.
So how can you optimize your title tags?
That’s depends on the page.
Optimizing inside pages, on the other hand, can be a bit tricky. Some eCommerce website owners follow this rule for product or category pages:
Here’s the format in action. Look at how Aldo followed the format showed above.
As you can see, they have the product keyword first (AFOALLE Flats), followed by the category (Women’s Shoes) and the brand name (ALDOshoes.com).
This works because of three things.
First, having the product keyword at the beginning gives it a higher chance of showing up in search.
Second, having the category next to the product keyword also gives the listing a chance to rank for the category keyword.
Third, the brand name is kept intact. The link looks natural and the brand is instantly shown. If the brand has enough of an authority, this alone can increase the chance of getting clicks from searchers.
However, all of these will end up in vain if you did not do your keyword research. So do that before you attempt to optimize anything.
Aside from title tags, you should also aim to optimize your header tags for your target keywords.
What are Header Tags?
Header tags pertain to those titles that has the H1, H2 and H3 tags in them.
Here’s how a header tag looks like in code and size.
You can easily use these header tags when you edit the source file of your eCommerce website.
Why Do You Need to Optimize Header Tags
Search engines need more than just your title tag when looking at your website. It also needs to understand the subtopics that your website tackles. Header tags can help them understand your website a little more.
It would be good to use LSI (latent semantic indexing) or related keywords in your header tags as this can improve your rankings.
Looking for LSI keyword ideas?
You can instantly find them at the bottom when you search for a keyword in the search engines.
We tackled how you can optimize your product page’s title tag in number 1. Now, we’re going to look into how we can optimize product descriptions.
When you visit an eCommerce website, you’ll usually see a generic description in their products like this.
Or like this.
What it does is that it describes all the specifications of the product in great detail.
Usually, this description is copied from the manufacturer’s website and pasted into the new eCommerce website.
The goal of these website owners is simple: Get as many products in the new eCommerce website as fast as possible.
It is a good strategy, right?
I hate to say this but that is such a lazy way to create an eCommerce website.
In fact, it is so wrong that it lowers the chance of your website getting ranked.
Think about it. If you are in Google’s shoes, would you rank a website that just copies content from another website?
You may think that product descriptions are exempted but they’re not. To Google, they are just the same - any written content is a type of content. End of story.
So what should you do?
Take the time (or hire someone) to write descriptions for your product pages.
You may even go another mile and write sales pages for each one.
I love how this website added a different description to their blenders.
Can you see how it made a difference?
The description is not as boring as listing the features as if the product description area is a condensed user manual. It talked to the reader instead.
Also, the description is so short that it is easy to do for all of their product pages.
A word of warning though.
Changing product descriptions will take time especially if you have thousands of products in your website. But doing it is worth every ounce of effort.
Sure, it will take time. But you’ll get ranked faster and not incur penalties for your online store.
That is ultimately better than getting a website up in a few hours without getting a single sale.
You may also want to optimize your categories.
Sorting your products into categories not only helps your customer find the products that they need but also build strong internal links to your product pages for SEO.
More than sorting, you should put your categories in a place where it can be easily seen.
The best place for categories is on the top navigation bar, a homepage dropdown and in breadcrumbs.
Let me discuss each one below.
Top Navigation Bar
It is quite common for categories to be on the top navigation bar.
Just take a look at how Argos has its navigation bar securely placed on top of its product page.
What makes this effective is that it gives your customers something to click on if they want to explore more products. It can instantly show them similar products as well as direct them to other categories that might interest them.
When you visit some of the most popular eCommerce websites, you’ll see that they have implemented these dropdowns instead of a category navigation bar.
This works for websites that have too many categories to fit in a navigation bar. This may be the reason why big websites like Walmart and BestBuy do this.
The best place to put your categories is in breadcrumbs.
What are Breadcrumbs?
These are the navigation bar with arrows that you can see in your product pages.
This reminds your customer about the category that they are in and gives them lots of related options to click on.
The best part?
It can also give your internal pages some link juice.
Rather than using random related keywords, I would suggest doing keyword research to uncover the most profitable keywords for your online store.
There will always be variations of the word. Your goal is to find a keyword that is not only relevant to your website but is also profitable and easy to rank.
For this, you should use tools such as SEMRush and Ahrefs. This will help you find the most profitable keywords for your categories.
Don’t forget your URLs. While they may seem hidden compared to other onpage optimization factors, it is still very important.
For URLs, a good rule to follow is to keep it simple.
Don’t add useless categories and product numbers in the URL.
URLs like this don’t work because no one is searching for product IDs.
Also, the categories may just be too general and competitive that you will hardly rank for it at all.
Instead, aim for a shorter URL.
According to Backlinko, a shorter URL tends to rank higher on the search engines. They are able to derive this from their study of 1 Million URLs.
Here’s what they found: As the number of characters of a URL gets longer, the position is also lower.
So make your URLs shorter.
If you can, just include your product name, brand and some specific description. Forget the categories and the collection in the URL. Put that in the navigation bar or in breadcrumbs instead.
You may notice that eCommerce websites contain thousands of images. This is a perfect opportunity to optimize a website for your target keyword. How? Through Image ALT text.
Image ALT text is an attribute that you can add to an image URL in HTML.
So instead of a simple Image URL like this.
<img src="/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/sampleimage.jpg" class="aligncenter" />
You can have the images to have an ALT text like this.
<img src="/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/sampleimage.jpg" alt=”What This Images is About” class="aligncenter" />
This helps your website in two ways.
First, it relates the image in your website to a particular keyword. This tells the Google robots what the image is about and may assist in ranking your website in the search engine.
Second, it also helps Google in understanding the topic of your entire website. It gives Google an idea of what the image stands for other than its URL. Since Google Robots cannot see images, these codes help them understand the images that they encounter in your website.
I hate to say this but eCommerce websites can be somewhat notorious for having duplicate content.
I have talked about this earlier in the product description section. Online store owners have this bad habit of copying and pasting descriptions just to get a website set up.
And this is not only true for manufacturer websites. They also tend to do this internally - they tend to copy and paste descriptions in other products as well.
A way to get around this is through canonical tags. This gives credit to the original content so that you don’t get penalized.
Implementing this is simple. Just add a canonical link relationship to any link.
Here is the HTML code of a simple link.
Here is the link with a canonical tag.
It’s easy, right?
Here are all the things that you have to optimize in your online shop.
This may take some time if you have thousands of products in your website.
But the effort is all worth it.
Hopefully, this has helped you in optimizing your eCommerce website. Feel free to ask questions below.
Having a referral program has many benefits. Not only is it the fastest way to get more people into your sales funnel. But it is also a great way to promote your brand and let your business spread through word-of-mouth.
A referral program gives your business a tool to help your customers refer your business to other people. With it, you give your customers another reason to talk about your business aside from just good service. You give them an incentive that can come in the form of cash, a single-use coupon, a multi-use coupon or other forms of benefit.
Why does a Referral Program Work?
A referral program works because of
Referral marketing works because of two reasons:
It Works Because its Goal is Not Sales
People know a salesperson from a thousand miles away. They know if you are in it for the money or you are willing to lose money to get exposure. And if they see that you don’t care about the sales. That’s when your customer eyes light up. Suddenly, they are paying attention. Suddenly, they want to know what you have to offer.
This is how referral marketing works. You give them an incentive that they cannot refuse. For Uber, it is a free ride. For PayPal, it is plain cash. For eCommerce websites, it can be a discount coupon. And then you give this incentive to them without asking them to spend money. This makes the offer very attractive.
It Works Because It is Based on Trust
Real marketing is based on trust. People buy not only because they think that you have an amazing product or service. They buy because they trust you.
This is the same concept that works in referral marketing. When you have a referral program, you ask people to refer their family and friends to sign up in exchange for a reward.
This works because the person promoting the program is a person that they trust. It is a friend or family member. It is not just anyone. This trust factor encourages them to sign up and their engagement is far better than ice cold leads.
Now that the importance of a referral program is emphasized, let’s dive into the setup process.
Most marketers dismiss the idea of having a referral program in their website or business because the process can be quite complicated. Not only are you required to configure plugins, widgets or tools for it to work. But you also need to know how to promote it to really see its benefits. For a business owner who already have too much to do, this can get overwhelming.
Today, you’ll learn the step-by-step process on how to set up a referral program for your website or business.
Referral rewards can take on different forms. You have to decide on two factors: what type of reward to give away and who to give it to.
Let me break down these decision points for you.
First, you have to decide on the type of reward to give away.
You see, rewards can come in different forms. It can come in the form of cash, single-use coupons or licenses, multi-use coupons or licenses and other forms of product or service. The key is to choose a reward that suits the product or service that you are giving away.
Choosing will require you to examine different facets of your product or service.
First, you should know if the product is designed for one-time purchase or multiple and continuous purchases.
For one-time purchases such as a car, cash may be the best incentive. It would be irritating to receive a 50% discount coupon for your next purchase if you buy a car. It is like giving away something that your customers will not be able to use.
Mattress company Leesa knows this and they give away $50 for every friend referred to the company. The usual price for a mattress is $890. As for me, I apply the 100-rule. This is where we give cash discounts for products more than $100 and percentage discounts for products that are priced below $100. Simple, right? Since mattresses costs $890, it is more than $100. Cash is the best type of incentive for this type of product.
For multiple and continuous purchases such as groceries, single-use and multi-use coupons are the best incentives. Since the product is something that your customer will surely buy again, the coupons will encourage them to continue doing business with you.
Powder City, a supplements company, gives a 6% coupons for every referral. The nature of their product makes percentage discounts more attractive.
You can also give one-time coupons or percentage off for subscriptions for services. This allows the users to try your services before using it on a regular basis.
This is what Uber did. They gave away free rides to new users. This works because it takes away the apprehension or fear or using the service in the beginning. Since it is free, the customer has nothing to lose.
Videoblocks also did the same when they give 90% off their annual subscription (getting the price down to only $99) along with $20 for every referral.
For coupons, you can choose to give fixed cash discounts ($25 off) or a percentage discount (50% off). Again, this will depend on the price of your product or service.
Second, you need to decide on who to give your reward to.
When implementing a referral program, you’ll find that there are two types of people involved: the referrer and the friend. You have the option to give your reward to the referrer or you can give it to a friend. You can also give rewards to both. It is all up to you.
Some businesses even choose to split the reward instead. Let’s say that you are planning to give away $50. You can then choose to split the reward between the referrer and the friend. You can give $25 to the referrer and $25 to the friend. Or you can give more to one party. You can give $30 to the referrer and $20 to the friend. The amount depends on your personal preference and the demand of your customers.
How do you know if you have chosen the right reward and right person? Well, that will really depend on your customers. It is better to ask them about it by having a survey on your website or just ask them to fill up a simple feedback form.
In the first step, you took a closer look at the incentive. In the second step, you’ll look at the people that you would like to attract to your program.
First, you need to determine the type of referrals that you need. This is quite similar to defining your target market or coming up with a target persona.
Think about the type of person that you like to attract to your program. Is it a man or a woman? What is his greatest desires that you can satisfy? What is his hobbies? What type of work does he do? What topics is he interested in? What are his expectations for your product or service?
List these down. Put a picture with the persona if you need to. This will encourage you to see your target market as a real person with needs and desires.
Why do you need to do this? For proper targeting. You can only choose an incentive and type of referral program based on your target market.
Once you found your target persona, it is time to start looking for them. You need to do this before you set up your program because you need to get to know their behavior and culture to determine the type of referral program that will appeal to them. Social networks may be the best location to find them.
Next, you need to ask them about what they want. Conduct an online survey or interview. Message them about the type of products and services that they like. This will give you an idea on the type of incentive that you should give.
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Once all of that is sorted out, it is time to create your referral program. For that, you will need some tools.
1. Referral Program Software
referral program software can aid you if you know nothing about coding a website. What this tool does is that it can be installed as a plugin or embedded into your website and it will instantly generate a customizable referral form in your website. The great thing about these tools is that you no longer have to worry about coding. Just install it, customize and you’re ready to go.
2. Analytics Software
Analytics is very important in referral marketing. It allows you to track how much traffic is coming in and how many people are referring friends into the system. You need this in order to track the conversions of your referral program.
3. BONUS: Email Marketing Tools
You may also want to connect with your followers through email. For this, you can use tools such as Mailchimp, Aweber and other email marketing tools.
A referral program without promotion is useless.
This is what happened to AirBnb when they first launched a referral program. The program is called Referral 1.0. It was perfect. Everything was in place and the tool is working. You can easily refer friends when you visit it and you get free money for every action they take. Imagine, just from referring a friend, you can get as much as $75 when they book a place.
What they did wrong is that they did not promote the referral program.
It failed. AirBnb hardly got any new sign-ups.
But Airbnb did not give up. In fact, they decided to try again. They did with Referral 2.0. And it was a success.
What made it a success is the contact importer that they built into the program. When someone installs the app, they have this option to import all of their contacts and invite them to the app in a single click.
A massive 900% annual increase for their business.
This is an example of referral marketing done right.
While you may not have the programmer to give you a contact importer, this shows how important it is to show your product or service to as many eyes as you can. Promotion, after all, is not just about advertising on Facebook or doing classic forms of promotion. Be creative. The key is to get the word out there and funnel them into your referral system.
Also, make sure to test the conversions of your referral system. There are so many marketers who just choose a tool or plugin, launch a referral form and think that it is a successful referral program. It doesn’t work that way. You have to see how much traffic is coming to your website and how many people are converting and referring their friends. You don’t have to get fancy here. A simple analytics tool will do.
There is a risk to try to be perfect when creating a referral program. Don’t do that. It will only stop you from launching it. Instead, talk to your customers about what they want or test some referral programs and track its conversions.
For some people, a referral program may seem like an optional form of marketing. But it is the magic behind big companies like AirBnb, PayPal and Uber. It is the secret behind how apps are able to gather a significant number of people and became the primary solution for users.
So if you run an eCommerce website or just have a product or service that is worth promoting, be sure to do referral marketing. It may be the missing piece that you’re looking for. Companies like PayPal is able get millions of users because of it. It is about time that you also do that for your business.
You can’t expect to earn anything if you don’t do any promotion.
Creating a successful website always entails 80% promotion and 20% content creation. It’s the Pareto Principle - put 80% of your efforts in the activities that will yield the most results.
One of the easiest ways to promote an eCommerce website is through paid marketing. This goes by many names. Sometimes, it is called Search Engine Marketing or SEM. Others call it per-per-click marketing or PPC. But whatever name it is called, it simply pertains to the process of paying money for advertisements in a particular website or platform with the goal of driving traffic to the website promoted.
Paid advertising should not be taken lightly though. It has been really effective for multiple online businesses that it is able to contribute as much as 85 Billion Dollars to the National GDP of the United States.
Now that is a lot of money.
This goes to show that paid advertising continues to be effective for online businesses and it is certainly a form of marketing that is worth tapping into.
But here’s the thing.
Paid advertising is called as such for a reason - this means that you need money in order to advertise.
I have seen so many marketers enter the paid marketing scene thinking that they can just double their money in a short amount of time only to be devastated when their ads hardly convert.
Paid marketing is not just about putting money in and getting more money out. If it was that easy then many business owners should have been millionaires already.
A word of warning though.
Paid advertising is quite the same as gambling. If you are new to it, you may end up losing money in the process.
So you have to be careful. Be sure to learn the ropes before you invest anything. This will save you from the headache that will hit you when you lose money from a bad paid advertising strategy.
Fortunately, this is the topic that I will cover in this part of the guide. I will take you on a tour of the basic advertising concepts, terms and processes along with the exact steps that you need to take in order to advertise your eCommerce website in its first few months.
For this purpose, I have a 3-Step Approach.
Here are the steps that I will be discussing in this part of the guide.
STEP 1: Define Your Target Persona
STEP 2: Choose Your Marketing Platform
STEP 3: Track Your Conversions
This is different from other guides that simply lists the different ways you can advertise. If you will take the time to read this guide from start to finish, you’ll find that it is an easy-to-follow step-by-step action plan that you can do by yourself or outsource to an assistant. I tried my best to make this part of the guide as straightforward as possible.
Let’s get started.
It is impossible to create targeted ads if you don't know who you are targeting. This is where a persona comes. You need to know more than the basic characteristics of your target market. You also need to know their persona.
Today, I will teach you how to find out more about your target market and create a target persona along the way.
Are you ready? Here we go.
Before we can proceed, we need to know what a persona is.
A persona is an imagined person who represents your target market. This is the embodiment of the very person you are targeting. It includes demographic characteristics such as the person's age, sex and location. It also includes their hobbies along with their goals, desires and feelings.
On the surface, a persona looks like a person's ID. It contains basic information such as a person's name, address, contact information and basic demographic characteristics.
But a persona can act like an extended biography. It should also include a story behind the personality of the person. This should include his greatest goals in life along with his frustrations.
Creating a persona is easy. First, you need to put yourself in the shoes of your ideal customer.
The best way is to start with the problem that your website can solve. Think about what types of problems your products solve and work from there.
Once you have written the problem down, it is time to think about your customer's ideal situation when it comes to solving that problem. Think about your prospect's goals and dreams.
From here, you can make the solution as descriptive as possible. Answer these questions:
This exercise can also help you tweak your website for a better user experience.
Once you have these down, you can now think about filler demographic characteristics.
Only when you have defined the problem can you answer these questions. It is easier to come up with filler characteristics when you are finished defining the problem.
Once you have answered these questions, it is time to construct your target persona.
You can do this by creating a person’s identity in a document.
In here, you can write the person’s demographic characteristics, their problems and their dreams.
Some marketers even go another mile by including a name, a picture and a background story.
Why do they do this?
They do it so that the persona will seem more real. If the target persona is real, it represents the target market better.
With your target person in mind, it is now easier to find a marketing platform. You now have an idea on the basic characteristics of your target market. It should now be easier to find the marketing platform that they mostly hang out.
But choosing your marketing platform should not solely depend on the presence of your target persona. You should also think about other factors as well.
Here are some factors that I consider when choosing a marketing platform.
There are different platforms for paid advertising. It is not just about PPC or pay-per-click. Banner display advertising can also be considered as paid advertising and it has nothing to do with any advertising network.
In this section, we'll explore the different types of advertising platforms available.
What is the first thing that entered your mind when you think about paid advertising? There is a chance that Adwords may have crossed your mind.
I don't blame you.
Adwords has been here since the dawn of Google's popularity and it continues to serve ads not just on the search engine results but also in Adsense websites.
Search engine marketing is effective if you don't have the time to do SEO. By just bidding a higher amount than the next man, you'll instantly put your website on the front page of the search engines. Since search engines get billions of searches per day, that is a huge number to expose your website to.
See those ads on top or at the side of blogs?
Those are ads.
Bloggers make money from their blogs with these.
But they can only do this if they have targeted traffic - visitors who are interested in a particular topic.
Display advertising is a great way to get your website in front of the nose of your target market without being pushy. You just qualify the website or blog beforehand and they will post an ad for you as long as you pay them their desired fee.
As you may have noticed, websites like Facebook and Twitter are already getting tons of traffic.
The best part is that they are willing to share this traffic with their advertisers. But first, a good look at the popular social media websites is essential.
Here is a brief description of each social network.
Facebook is the most popular social network online. With over 1 Billion users, it the perfect hangout for online surfers. The characteristics of users are mostly bored. They love to like random but interesting stuff.
Twitter has somehow evolved to become a place for short updates - whether informational or emotional. It has a traffic of 560 million and it is used mostly to reach out to people on a personal level. With the recent implementation of images, it is slowly evolving to be like Instagram as well.
G+ is for people who are tired of the normal social network. These people love sharing news or articles that piques their curiosity. With a userbase of 400 million, it is not lagging far behind from Twitter.
LinkedIn is a website made for professionals. It has been used by businesses and employees to find matches for employment and other needs. It has a userbase of 240 million and has highly targeted business-related traffic.
Instagram is a social network for image updates. They recently implemented image carousel and live videos and they continue to be well loved by 50 million users all over the world. Most creatives are on Instagram for it is image-oriented.
Pinterest is also a social network for creatives. With 7 million users, people use this as a tool to find image inspirations. It is the best place for anything related to fashion, home, photography and the likes.
Now that you have read the descriptions, what social network is the best for your eCommerce website? Where is your target persona ‘hanging out’? A good rule of thumb is to go where they are.
Paid advertising processes can vary from one social network to another. It may be best to try a network and see its conversion before you attempt to continue promoting in that network.
You’ll learn more about tracking conversions later.
Another form of advertising that is recently becoming more popular is video advertising. This can be done in three ways.
See those ads at the bottom of videos on Youtube? That is a Video Ad Popup. These ads usually have a close button in them.
In my opinion, video ad popups are not very effective. Usually the user is already very engaged with the video that they hardly notice the ad.
A video intermission may be a better option.
Ever since YouTube implemented ads on its platform, you’ll see that videos have this yellow trigger in the progress bar.
These yellow triggers are ads and they may appear multiple times in a video when it is long.
Video intermissions are highly effective forms of advertising. This is because it instantly exposes the viewer to the ad whether they like it or not.
Although it is not very effective when it comes to driving conversions. It is still quite effective for branding and viral campaigns.
Video views can come from PPV or pay-per-view networks or platforms that allows videos.
I have seen this being implemented in an app called Episode. For every chapter a user reads, an ad pops up. The ad lasts for 60 seconds.
This is also quite effective when it comes to branding and viral campaigns.
A cheaper way to advertise is through advertising networks. These are websites where you can sign up and get your website served on member websites for a smaller fee.
A word of warning.
Be sure to track the reputation of these websites before you attempt to buy. More websites is not always better. The traffic has to be relevant or you'll hardly get conversions from these.
A platform that is not well explored are cost-per-action advertising networks. These are networks where the advertiser can pay a publisher when the traffic fulfills a particular action - a sign-up, a filled form, etc. These networks can be effective if harnessed well.
With all the platforms available, it is important to learn how to choose the best one. You can use the other factors in this section to help you.
Let’s start with reputation.
You see, paid advertising platforms is plagued with scammers. While there are reliable platforms like Google PPC and Facebook ads, there are also advertising networks that can serve your ads at a cheaper rate but will not give you sales.
When it comes to advertising platforms, cheaper is not better. You also need to look at the reputation as well. Some of these networks serve your ads in link farms or just hijack clicks to get you untargeted traffic. These traffic are a waste of your money and time. They will hardly convert that you are better off not advertising to begin with.
What's the best way to know if the website will work? Well, there is really no other way than to test it. While it helps to consult other eCommerce website owners to see what worked for them. Your products may still be too different from the person you asked. It is better to target and see your conversions and tweak your campaign from there.
First, you should familiarize yourself with the different types of targeting available.
Targeting is simply the process of creating an ad for a particular type of audience. In this process, it is important that you are highly familiar with your target market. You should already have an idea of the persona of your potential customer. This will help you as you determine the targeting that is most suited to your campaign.
The easiest way to target your customer is by selecting the location. This is called geo targeting. And this does not only pertain to the country. You can also target a state, city or particular locale.
You may be familiar with this if you have already advertised on Facebook. If you have tried it, you'll see the option where Facebook allows you to choose keywords based on the interest of your target market. This is Interest Targeting.
Websites are also quite smart. They can alter their interaction with the customer based on past actions that the customer has done. This is called behavioral targeting - it is where ads or the website is shown to people who have done a particular action. This can happen when they added a particular product to their cart or they have recently viewed an item in an eCommerce website.
This is a great way to solve the problem of cart abandonment.
This is a relatively new way of targeting where it is done by looking at your existing target market and targeting your ads at them. You can do this by either following up on a product that they are interested in buying. This is quite similar to Behavioral Targeting only that the ad may appear on another website and it will target you because you have already expressed an interest in that particular product.
Once you have chosen your targeting, it is time to check if your ad network have these options. You'll find that some ads may not have certain targeting options. For this, you may need to do your research so that you can find the right network.
Some of the terms that you will encounter when you visit an advertising network are CPM, PPC, CPC and the likes. You may be wondering what these acronyms mean. Don’t worry. I got you covered.
Here is a brief discussion of the common types of advertising.
CPM stands for cost-per-mille which literally translates to cost per 1,000 impressions. This term is quite common in display advertising where your ad is paid based on how many times a page is loaded. An impression is simply a measure on the time that your ad is displayed. It is therefore a cost that counts views instead of clicks.
CPM advertising is quite common in big websites like the Huffington Post and TechCrunch. However, these websites have a really large userbase that generating 1,000 impressions can be done from a few minutes to a few hours. if you have chosen the website or advertising network well, this can funnel some valuable traffic to your website. But that doesn't mean that people will click on your ad.
I think that CPM advertising is better suited for visual campaigns. This way, it doesn't matter whether the prospect click or doesn't click on the ads. What matters is that it is displayed.
NOTE: Always track your CPM campaigns for conversions. It is useless to continue a CPM campaign if you are hardly breaking even.
A good example of CPM ads are the ads in the Warriorforum.
See the ads on top? These are paid for every 1,000 impressions.
If CPM offers too low of a conversion rate for your campaign, you can choose CPC advertising instead.
CPC stands for cost-per-click. This means that you (the advertiser) only pays the publisher when your ad gets clicks. For this type of ad, the CTR or click-through rate is the most important factor. A CTR is a percentage of clicks that a website gets out of all the people that visited it.
However, it is important to remember that clicks are not the same as conversions. Just because an ad has a high click-through rate doesn't mean that it is profitable. You still have to track sales.
CPC is quite common in the ads that you see in search engines.
See the Google ads on top? These ads are paid with each click.
The same is true in Bing.
The key is to always track the conversion. Clicks are not the end-all and be-all of paid advertising.
Video advertising is slowly increasing as well. For this, we have CPV or Cost-per-View. Sometimes, this is also called as PPV or pay-per-view and it simply pertains to the type of advertising where the publisher gets paid for every video view.
This is effective if you want to engage your target market. Videos after all are very engaging. This makes CPV advertising a perfect avenue for brand awareness and promotion.
However, this also doesn't automatically translate to conversion. It is always better to track conversions so that you can see if a campaign is effective.
One of the most popular CPV network is MediaTraffic.
CPA stands for Cost-per-Action. This is quite common in CPA ad networks where publishers are paid for every action made - filled up a form, downloaded an app, filled up a survey, etc.
CPA is by far the best form of paid advertising because it gets the viewer engaged. However, performance can be low if you don't know how to reach the right target market.
CPA marketing is quite popular for marketers. There are multiple networks that provide these such as MaxBounty and ClickBooth.
Now that the mobile industry is booming, there is also a new form of paid advertising called CPI or Cost-per-Install. This is where the publisher is paid for every successful app installation that he generates.
This is very effective in getting more people into your app. But the quality of the traffic may not be that great. People who have downloaded the app may not be as committed after all.
CPI is very interesting because it can be highly profitable if used well.
In fact, I think that it is very profitable for eCommerce website owners with ads or affiliate programs to use this.
Here are some of the most popular PPI Networks:
Now that you are familiar with the different forms of advertising, it is time to explore your marketing platform to see the formats available. From here, you should assess whether these formats are effective in reaching your target persona.
Also, don’t forget to check your budget. You can only advertise on a platform if you have enough money to pay for the ads.
This is the reason why there are people complaining that they are losing money with PPC. They may have launched their ads without considering the consequences. It is a good habit to have an estimate of how much you plan to spend and then stop an ad when it is no longer bearing fruit.
For websites with display advertising options, it doesn’t hurt to look at the Advertise page.
This will usually have the basic ad platforms available along with the prices.
And if they don’t have it, you can always email them. Some popular websites don’t have prices in their Advertise page. It may be best to ask instead.
NOTE: Don’t be afraid to shop around for the best option before investing on advertising. For some niches, it may take some trial and error (which may mean that you may lose some money along the way) but that is okay. Once you find the right advertising platform, you can just watch money convert and all you need to do is to rinse and repeat.
Your advertising campaign is only as good as its conversion.
When a traffic buys your product or service from your website. That is considered a conversion. This means that the visitor is not just a website hit. It is a real live person who is willing to spend money on your products and services.
ECommerce website owners should ideally aim for higher conversions. Traffic may look good. But at the end of the day, conversions bring the money.
You need a tool to track conversion. A paid tool is recommended.
In the market, the most popular tool for tracking paid advertising efforts is KissMetrics.
I love KissMetrics because it is compatible with all the common advertising platforms: Google Adwords, Yahoo, Bing, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, StumbleUpon. You can also use it if you have banner ads on a particular network.
But more than conversions, KissMetrics also add another factor - user behavior. They look at where the user came from. Did they come from paid search? Did they add products to the cart? Did they make a purchase? Then, you can plug in different advertising platforms and see what works best for you in an instant.
This tool does more than just see if the traffic is converting into sales. It also helps you understand your potential customer.
You can instantly tweak your online store to suit your customer's experience. This will mean more sales and more loyal customers in the long run.
There are three steps to successful paid advertising for any eCommerce website. These are:
- This helps you uncover the basic characteristics of your target market
- This will help you choose the best marketing platform for your campaign
- This will help you track your sales (aka conversions) so that you can evaluate if the campaign is a success or not.
These steps build on one another. Step 1 helps you to know your target market so that you can choose your marketing platform. With the right marketing platform, you can also start tracking conversions to see if your campaigns are successful or not.
In the end, it all boils down to tracking. Paid advertising is the ammo but you cannot hit the target if you don’t track it. Don’t go shooting ammunitions without knowing what you are up against.
The rule of paid advertising is simple. Pay, Post, Tweak and Try Again.
It may seem hard at the beginning. There are times when you may feel that the tweaking never ends. Don’t worry. Once the ball is rolling, it is an easy way to make money again and again.
So how is your experience with the guide so far? Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Promotion to a brand new website can be really difficult.
First, it is hard to convince website owners to link to a website that has nothing to offer. Think about it. Will an established website link to a website that doesn’t have subscribers and traffic? Heck no!
Second, building backlinks to a brand new website requires a crazy amount of work. It requires reaching out to dozens of websites everyday as well as trying to submit your link in any place possible. It is overwhelming and downright exhausting.
Third, the available backlink building guides on the Internet are setting up new website owners for failure. Try downloading a free guide and you’ll see advice like ‘submit to thousands of directories’ or ‘submit to web 2.0 websites’. With all the search engine algorithm changes, these strategies simply don’t work anymore.
So what works?
Well, you should just focus on strategies that will get you sales. It’s as simple as that.
So don’t aim for backlinks. That doesn’t work.
Instead, aim for recommendations from authorities or highly relevant website in your niche.
It is for maximum results - real sales and money flowing into your bank account.
Think about it. Would you rather get thousands of links that have no impact on your website’s sales or a dozen links that gets you sales?
I’m pretty sure you’ll choose the latter.
Today, I am going to show you 3 promotion strategies that have worked for me. These are perfect for getting your brand out there and getting massive traffic and sales.
In a study by Fractl and BuzzStream, they found that list posts were the most shareable. They found this as they study over 220,000 articles.
A study from Buzzsumo and Okdork confirmed this and just have an extra type of post that is more effective than the list post: the infographic. They got their results from studying over 100 million articles.
But do you want to know something surprising?
These numbers change every day. Just look at how varied the numbers are depending on the day.
And look at how the numbers change per month.
With that in mind, what should you do to find out the type of content that gets the most shares?
Fortunately, there is a tool for that.
Buzzsumo is an online tool that allows you to search for articles that have the most shares. And this goes for just about any topic.
Here’s how you can use Buzzsumo.
First, put in your main keyword.
The results will include articles that has the most shares.
As you can see, this takes the guesswork out of what will get shares and what will be ignored. You’ll instantly get a list of most-shared articles for any keyword.
However, there are some things that you must keep in mind when selecting topics.
1. Don’t Copy – It is important to use this tool merely for inspiration and to not use it to copy titles word for word. Instead, try to create an article around the same keyword with the same format. And if you found a list, you should aim to create more items or have a more in-depth explanation. Definitely aim to create something better.
2. Check the Date – Be wary of recent articles. If an influencer has already published an article on that topic, then it will be really hard to get attention to it. It has recently got some shares. These people would not be willing to share a rewrite of the article.
3. Consider the Social Channel – not all social channels are relevant. Some social channels may be more relevant to your products so take note of that. Don’t just go promoting your website everywhere. Choose the channels with the best conversions.
Once you have chosen a topic, it is time to do the work. Outsource the writing if you need to.
Once that’s set, you can now proceed to promoting your content. You can do the next strategies to help you with that.
Most new website owners try to reinvent the wheel. But that is a grave mistake.
Here’s what you should do instead.
Why competitor analysis? This is because you should learn about what worked for your competitors and do that.
As I have said earlier, don’t reinvent the wheel. Instead, copy what your competitors have done to build their websites to where they are.
Fortunately, competitor analysis is easy. In fact, it just involves 3 simple steps.
STEP 1: Choose a Competitor in the Same Niche
STEP 2: Look at their Backlinks
STEP 3: Steal the Link
Here’s the breakdown of each step.
First, you need to find a competitor that is in the same niche as you. Why do you need to do this? Well, you need relevant backlinks and competitors in other niches will not give that to you.
The reason is quite obvious.
Let’s say that you are in the health niche. Do you think a marketing link worths a lot to you?
So look for competitors in the same niche.
Fortunately, there’s Google to help you with that. Simply use the following search query:
Best [main keyword] blog
[main keyword] inurl:blog
This will instantly give you a long list of highly relevant competitors.
Just look at the competitors that I have found.
Now: it is time to dissect your competitors’ websites to see what makes them tick. Fortunately, this doesn’t involve taking the website apart. You can just use a tool like Ahrefs for that.
Here’s how you can do this.
First, key in your competitor’s URL.
Then, look at their backlinks.
Be sure to visit the link to see where the competitor URL is in. This would come in handy when you do your outreach later.
NOTE: Ahrefs is a paid tool. You can get a free 30-day trial but you have to pay later. In my opinion, it is a really valuable tool that’s worth every cent. So go ahead and get it if you don’t have it yet.
With a list on hand, it is time to put your ninja mask and start getting your competitor’s links. You can do this through two things: (1) examining their backlinks and (2) approaching the website owner.
The first step is very important. You have to visit each link and examine it. This helps you to approach the linker in the right manner.
For example, here is a link to http://kristihines.com/ from https://blog.kissmetrics.com/guide-to-guest-blogging/. This link is a guest post link.
What can you do with this type of link?
Do the same. Write a guest post that is even better than what your competitor has written and approach the website owner.
Now: You’ll find that some links are easier to acquire than others. Some links can even look impossible to acquire (ex. PBN links). However, don’t focus too much on acquiring as many links as you can. Focus on the quality of the link as well. If the website looks automated and it doesn’t contain a lot of posts and engagement, then it is not worth getting any link from that website.
PRO TIP: You can also activate Mentions in Ahrefs. This will allow you to stay on top of the new backlinks of your competitors and swoop in at the right moment - ask for a link before your competitor does. However, this can only work if your website’s content is at par or better than your competitor’s. This shows how important shareable content is.
Promoting products can cost a lot of money.
Not only will you have to spend on the creation of an advertisement which includes video shooting and editing, you also need to hire a model and pay a hefty advertising fee.
Hiring influencers online are not really cheap either.
For example, there is British fashionista Zoella. She reportedly gets around 15 million monthly views on her YouTube channel (1.4 million views per video). Her engagement is at a considerable amount of 7.3 per cent.
Here’s the problem: She is asking a whopping 100,000 Euros for a promotion!
That’s an awful lot of money.
So what can a small e-Commerce website owner do?
Hire a mini influencer.
As e-Commerce website owners, we thrive because of the products that we sell. One strategy that helped my website a lot is by leveraging the power of what I call as ‘mini-influencers’.
These are influencers with a considerable amount of followers (around 2,000 to 10,000) and have their content with a considerable amount of shares. It doesn’t need to be explosive like that of celebrities but their reach is significant for retail business owners.
A common sign of a mini influencer is that the influencer usually works by him or herself. She doesn’t have an agency or a manager. Instead, he or she talks to you directly when you contact him or her.
Here’s a simple 3-step process on how you can get these mini-influencers to promote you.
Mini influencers are everywhere. Most of them are on Instagram and YouTube.
The key is to find a mini-influencer who has the same target market as your e-Commerce website.
So if you are running an e-Commerce website for make-up, you should target beauty vloggers.
Some popular vloggers are Ravinder Osahn and Taylor Shymanski.
You’ll be surprised to see how these mini influencers usually have their contact information in their channels. They put this out so that they can continue to get sponsorship or review requests.
Just take a look at this mini-influencer from Instagram.
She has her e-mail on her profile description.
For other mini-influencers, their contact information are usually in their blogs.
Be sure to visit that as well.
These contact information are actually baits for business owners like you and me to use them for reviews and recommendations.
Once you have their contact information, it is just a matter of asking for a review or recommendation.
You can do this by sending them a free sample of your products and asking them to promote your website in their channel. Some e-Commerce website owners even go another mile by sending these mini-influencers a box of goodies to review.
Why do e-Commerce website owners do this?
That’s because this type of promotion works.
As for rates, it is usually very affordable. In fact, Sponsokit indicated that you can go as low as 1 euro for engagement.
For example, a video costs 1,000 euros. If that video gets 6,000 views with 1,000 engagements, then that is only 1 euro per engagement - Really affordable!
When it comes to mini-influencer promotion, it is important to think long-term. It may look like you are losing a lot of money in the beginning. But the traction that you’ll get from the word-of-mouth marketing will eventually pay for what you have spent.
Recap: There are 3 powerful strategies for promoting a brand new e-Commerce website. These are:
Strategy #1: Create Highly Shareable Content
Strategy #2: Steal Your Competitor’s Backlinks
Strategy #3: Leverage Mini Influencers
The promotion stage is comprised of three elements: (1) highly shareable content, (2) competitor backlinks and (3) mini-influencer promotion.
Once the stage is set, there is no turning back.
You have to brace yourself for the overwhelming traffic and sales.
Yes. It can happen even if you are just starting out.
You see, these strategies are really powerful. It is structured in a way that no one will even care if your website is new. Once you have highly shareable content along with mini-influencer recommendations, no one can stop you.
Do it and tell me all about your experience below.
Why do customers buy from a certain website and not from others?
The answer may be because of inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing has been a popular for small businesses. As the number of employees go down, the higher the likelihood that a company will employ inbound marketing in their business.
If you operate a small eCommerce business with less than 200 employees, then inbound marketing may be useful for you.
Today, you’ll learn about what it is and how you can apply it to your eCommerce website.
The main goal of Inbound marketing is to convert cold leads into buyers. It does this through a process of ‘warming up’ leads so that they will be more confident to take out their wallets and buy. The main concept is simple: Learn Now, Buy Later. It is where the marketer primes the prospect with content until that moment that the prospect is ready to buy.
This is the reason why most forms of online marketing can be considered as inbound marketing. Content marketing, email marketing, SEO, Social media marketing, video marketing, landing page optimization are all ways of supplying enough information for the prospect to buy.
Here is the flow of the inbound marketing process.
The prospect starts as a stranger. This person is attracted to the blog because of SEO, its content and the social media updates.
The person then becomes a regular visitor. Then, you can convert them into leads by having an opt-in form or by asking them to buy a low-priced product.
When you ask them to buy again, they turn into customers.
If they love the experience, they will turn into promoters.
But this may not be the case for eCommerce.
In eCommerce, you only have a moment to convince your prospect to buy. You cannot give them tons of content and prime them. The moment that you have is a very short period. It may only be just a few minutes. If you bombard them with information, they may just click back and look elsewhere.
This comes from the nature of the products being sold at these websites. eCommerce websites like Amazon, BestBuy and Zappos usually have products that doesn’t have a high buying cycle. These are usually common items like clothes, groceries, home goods, video games and toys. Seriously, the prospects will not like to read a long article about the benefits of laundry detergents. They need the product and they need it now.
Does that mean that you cannot do inbound marketing for your eCommerce website?
You can still do it. You just need to do it in a different way.
Here are some strategies that worked for me.
What is the first thing that your customer sees when they visit your store?
Is it a grid of products? For product pages, what other details are in the page aside from the product image and description?
These pages are your chance points to convince your customer to buy.
What can you put in these pages? Well, that depends on your goal.
First, let’s look at what other eCommerce websites are doing.
Look at what 6pm is doing. You can see that it has the discount plastered on the front page.
The same is true in Althea. In the front page, you’ll see the 20% off discount. It even has a Sale category on top.
And it doesn’t stop there.
Their product pages also have these listing that has extra discounts for buyers.
These are all designed to convince the buyer to buy.
Unlike traditional inbound marketing that includes blogging, social media marketing and Youtube marketing, eCommerce inbound marketing is more product-oriented than content-oriented. It takes on a bottom-up approach than top-down. It works around the concept that eCommerce visitors are almost always ready to buy. So you just need to give them that extra push so that they proceed with making the purchase.
The enemy of eCommerce website owners is cart abandonment. This is where the prospect is already ready to buy but decided to just leave the cart without checking out. This is the moment where the store should convince the buyer to buy.
More than discounts, you can also give other types of rewards. Here are some rewards that eCommerce website owners have used for their products and services.
Percentage discounts are the most common. You will see this everywhere. Almost every eCommerce website will have a discount in their front page. It is the most common way to convince the prospect to buy.
You should not be limited to discounts. You can also give freebies instead. This works if you have products that just takes way too long to sell. If the price is not too high, you can give them as freebies for every purchase.
Althea used to give away free lipsticks and lip glosses for every purchase worth $50 or higher. It has a note that the offer only lasts while stocks last. This means that you can stop the giveaway once you run out of freebies.
You can also play with time instead of prices. Some buyers are procrastinators. They will not buy a product unless you tell them that the discount will disappear in a day or two. This allows you to tap into their fear of missing out. They will usually buy an item even if they don’t need it in fear that they will miss the discount if they procrastinate.
Still, the type of reward should depend on what your customers care about. Don’t be afraid to conduct a preliminary survey to know more about what they want.
How will you know if an eCommerce website is successful? It is based on its reputation.
Once a website gains tons of traffic and it became the go-to place for certain products, it can be considered successful.
The secret is called remarketing.
This is where past customers are encouraged to make future purchases.
Unlike traditional inbound marketing that pours all of its efforts in priming customers for that one-time purchase. eCommerce inbound marketing is about creating events or deals that gets people to come back and buy.
Remarketing can be done in three ways.
This is where you compile a list of products that have massive discounts and send them as a an email to past buyers. This is usually entitled with a headline that encourages instant action such as “Don’t Miss This!” or “Limited Time Only”. Some eCommerce website owners even send deals as if they are sending a newsletter.
If you don’t want to send weekly deals, you can also give limited-time discounts. These are huge discounts (usually 50% or higher) but it can only be used for a limited time (2 days to 5 days). Apps like Uber like to give this type of discounts to encourage their customers to ride on certain days.
Aside from discounts, you can also give away freebies. As I have told you earlier. This is what Althea did when it tried to give away lipsticks and lipglosses. They give away an item for every purchase worth $50 or higher but only until supplies last.
Remarketing is another way for eCommerce website owners to do inbound marketing without the need for content.
How to Improve Customer Service
Do eCommerce website focus on customer experience? Yes. But not in the same way as traditional inbound marketing.
In traditional inbound marketing, it is all about reaching out to the customer through social media or other channels, priming the customer with the right content, getting them to buy and letting them enjoy their product and the experience.
For eCommerce, it is all about the process. It is about getting customers to the website. Letting them go through the selling process and letting the customer experience top-notch customer service.
Customer service should be rendered not only after the sale. It should be rendered before, during and after the sale. More than merely assisting the customer, customer service is done as a remarketing strategy - convincing customers to come back and buy because of amazing customer service.
The difference is in the customer’s intention. For content-filled websites, it is about getting the prospect to trust them so that they can lead the prospect into the funnel and buy.
But for eCommerce, the customer is already decided on buying. They just want to know why they should choose your website over the other online stores that are providing the same product.
How to Increase Conversions Using Exit Intent
Inbound marketing works around the concept of getting prospects to trust you before they buy. It usually involves content marketing that can come in the form of a blog, video or other formats. All of these are done with a single goal - get the prospect into the funnel and buy.
In Ecommerce inbound marketing, the goal is to convince the prospect to stop stalling and buy. It involves giving discount coupons and freebies in the first point of contact with the website. This is then coupled with amazing customer service and that is usually enough to get the prospect to buy. This is then followed by remarketing.
But what if the prospect ended up leaving his cart instead? What will you do?
This is where exit marketing comes in. This is where you design a pop-up in your website offering a unique deal to prospects who almost left your site.
This can be a discount or a freebie. It is just a way to get your prospect’s attention back to the website and prevents him from leaving.
This is an effective inbound marketing strategy without the need for extremely long content.
This strategy is called hybrid inbound strategy because it combines traditional inbound marketing (content marketing) with eCommerce inbound marketing (encouraging more purchases with discounts and better customer service).
It comes from the concept that all products in eCommerce websites are not equal. While some products doesn’t require consideration before a purchase (like in your laundry detergent or toys for your kids), there are some eCommerce products that require a bit of research and consideration. For these products, a hybrid inbound strategy may help.
A good example of a product that requires a bit of consideration is a mobile phone. There are eCommerce websites that are selling these. But a mobile phone has so many features in it that you have to consider them before you buy. This is where reviews are helpful. You can put some reviews in your website along with the presentation of your product.
Another type of product that requires consideration are cosmetics. While they may seem similar to grocery products, it seems that women put a lot of time and consideration in thinking about what products they should use for their faces and bodies. Again, reviews are important in this type of eCommerce website.
For these websites, a little bit of traditional inbound marketing may be helpful. In-depth blog reviews with pictures along with real customer reviews may aid you in selling more products. For some niches, videos may also encourage customers to buy. It all depends on your niche.
The best way to approach eCommerce inbound marketing is by putting yourself in the shoes of your customer. Think about what will push you to buy? Think about what will make you hesitate and leave your cart? Will you need more information before you buy? Will discounts be attractive to you? Do you need to look at other customer reviews?
Map the customer journey. Take note of any need that may come up. Taking these into consideration will help you craft an inbound marketing strategy tailored to fit the needs of your customers.
What inbound marketing strategies are you currently using on your website? Are you using any of the strategies above? Tell me all about it below.
If you are looking to get traffic from referral partners and affiliates then OSI Affiliate Software is the program for you. OSI Affiliate Software will make it easy for you to create and manage an affiliate/referral/ambassador program for your eCommerce business. Get more referral traffic, leads, and sales using OSI Affiliate Software. Thousands of companies use OSI Affiliate Software to grow their businesses.
Price: 15-day trial, plans start at $47/month
Google Adwords is an invaluable tool for retailers and bloggers alike. Although specialists argue the profitability of conversion rates gained through searches, it is still one of the most lucrative methods of gaining traffic and promoting sales. With Google Adwords you will basically be creating ads according to specific keywords and phrases related to your business.
These ads will appear across the internet, for audience that will be interested in what you have to offer. Google Adwords is one of the best way to attract more customers. They will simply click your ad to make a purchase, or learn a little bit more about your business. The great thing about Adwords is the fact that it can be targeted locally (for different cities, regions or countries). In other words you can promote specific products to the right audience.
Price: minimum bid/keyword is 5 Cents in adwords
Grow your business with the best all-in-one marketing software, HubSpot. HubSpot combines all the tools you need for a successful inbound marketing strategy into one platform. HubSpot will help you with blogging, email marketing, creating landing pages, social media marketing, SEO, and much more.
Price: 30-day trial, plans start at $200/month
One of our favourite traffic acquisition tools is Nimble. With it you can significantly decrease time spent on menial tasks such as email responding, follow-up messages and many more. What it does is combine all your contacts, social signals, emails, activities & follow-ups in one place, so that you can focus on the important things. With Nimble you can easily manage thousands of contacts, receive notifications for important events and check out who's talking about your website so that you can engage with them in a timely manner.
Price: 14-day trial, plans start at $15/month
Know your customer using KISSmetrics. KISSmetrics will allow you to learn about the REAL people who are visiting your website. Learn why individuals convert or do not convert. See their progress in your marketing funnel. All this data will help you sell more and grow your business.
Price: 14-day trial, plans start at $179/month
With Optimizely you can boost the conversion rate of your Ecommerce website by setting up little "experiments" within the browser. The tool will determine which of your page's elements convert best, and which of them don't. For example, if you have a main graphic on your site, you can tweak it to see which version converts best.
Ecommerce is all about playing with the appearance of your elements (like logos, content, graphics, cart buttons, bullet points etc.). Optimizely is particularly useful if you are spending money to drive traffic to your website.
Price: 30-day trial, plans start at $19/month
Social media is big right now. It will probably continue to grow in the following years. At the moment, it is less about building links and more about becoming part of the social media landscape. Twitter is a great social network for Ecommerce websites, and with Click to Tweet you can quickly promote and advertise your business on Twitter. The tool's notable features include analytics which notify you how many times a Click to Tweet link has been accessed, easy set-up and many more.
As you probably already know, proper link-building is essential for all types of websites. The Open Site Explorer by Moz is definitely the link building star. You can use it as a free tool, but for full access you will require a subscription. The Open Site Explorer software pulls out data from an impressive collection of web-pages (courtesy of Moz's Linscape crawler).
Information like page authority, total links, Facebook likes, Tweets, Google +1s and many more will be displayed to help you understand more about the performance of your website. The back-link data is also important for research and future link-building strategies. From the OSE tool you can view inbound links, linking domains, top pages, anchor text, compare link metrics and advanced reporting.
Price: free for basic access
Here's another nifty traffic acquisition & research tool to have in your toolbar. Quantcast will provide you with demographic information for your website's visitors (including education, income, age, sex etc.). It is very similar to Compete.com, in that it also provides with traffic estimates.
Simply type in the name of your website (make sure that the Quantcast measurement is also implemented on your website), and the tool will pull out the data. These estimates may not be the most accurate ones, but they will give you an idea about your target audience. As far as Ecommerce marketing is concerned, understanding the demographics of your visitors is imperative for future retail decisions.
Colibri.io is without a doubt one of the best traffic acquisition tools available. It will show you how customers are engaging online and help you insert yourself in relevant conversation. Its main benefits include the opportunity to diversify traffic through participating in the right conversations, as well as Google Analytics integration.
Price: 14-day free frial. Plans start at $45/month
Grow your website traffic and increase your email signups using the easiest app in the market, SumoMe. Using SumoMe will help you get more shares for your content, images, and also get you more emails. It is easy and fast to get up. Grow your website traffic using SumoMe.
Hosted shopping carts have proven more user friendly than self-hosted solutions. Once your website is complete (from a technical perspective) you can set up your Ecommerce online store as you please. With hosted shopping carts you can hide all the codes and present products better (with drag and drop technology for galleries and details).
Using them will also enable you to upload things faster and connect your site to a payment processor more effectively. Here are our top picks for hosted shopping carts.
Shopify is without a shadow of a doubt the best Ecommerce software on the market right now. Not only will it make your Ecommerce store look professional and beautiful, it also offers a plethora of apps that will extend the functionality of your site. The software also offers 24/7 support (essential for serious retailers). Shopify Is the one-stop-shop ecommerce builder designed to make life easier for you.
Price: free for 14 days, subscriptions for Shopify+ start at $995/month & basic subscriptions start at $29/month.
Squarespace is another incredible hosted shopping cart which makes the creation of beautiful, image rich websites a breeze. Besides the visual appearance aspect, the tool also offers full control over product variants, coupon generation, configuring shipping costs & options, sales taxes, managing email lists and many more.
Although the set of ecommerce tools from Squarespace is not as comprehensive as the one provided by Shopify, it is a lot cheaper and more visually engaging.
Price: free for 14 days, subscriptions start at $10/month for personal subscriptions
Are you looking for a user-friendly, drag-and-drop website builder? Weebly might have exactly what you need. This hosted shopping cart has everything you will ever want to quickly create a full-featured online store. Features include, but are not limited to multiple variations of the same product, fully integrated shopping cart, consistent shopping experience, integration with Paypal, Stripe & Authorize.net. The biggest selling point of Weebly is its user-friendly nature and lean learning curve.
Price: basic access is free, starter tier costs $4 and Pro Plans start from $8/month. The business plan costs $25/month.
Customer acquisition is a vital part of Ecommerce marketing. Here are a few simple and effective tools that will help you with this process:
Get more leads for your eCommerce business using LeadPages Software. LeadPages will allow you to easily build landing pages for your business. These mobile responsive landing pages will increase your conversions and revenue. One of the best features of LeadPages is that it takes minutes to create beautiful and highly converting landing pages.
Price: starts from $37/month
Visitors who leave your website aren't necessarily lost causes. With the Bounce Exchange tool you can turn them into clients by asking them to convert right before they live your Ecommerce store. How exactly does this work? It's pretty simple. With this software you will be leveraging the exit-intent technology.
According to the company 90-99% of marketing efforts are effortless and 85% of shoppers who add to cart don't make a purchase. The tool identifies the exact moment when visitors leave the site and helps you keep their attention (hopefully even draw them back).
Price: Platinum - $5.95/month by page-view volume, or $3.95/month by page-view volume.
Features include Mobile & tablet integration, A/B testing, full service campaign management, unique technical customization and many more.
Totango is an excellent tool for Ecommerce websites because it is built in a way to attract visitors and users to your products. It will not only attract visitors but also result in higher conversion rates. Totango will identify new prospects by separating the average free users from "true evaluators". In addition to this it will pull-out the information you require to begin follow-up mails and calls. It works with the help of a simple concept: Listen -> Understand -> Engage. With it you will learn more about customer marketing & advocacy and become more successful online.
Price: Free trial, pricing plans available on request
The lifetime membership of $299 may not sound cheap, but it is definitely worth the investment. As a matter of fact, WorldWideBrands is one of the first tools that you should consider buying. Besides helping you find suppliers for a specific product it will also help you brainstorm new niche ideas for your business. This software integrates seamlessly with Amazon, it is safe & secure, and only collaborates with certified drop-shippers.
Price: $299 life-time membership
NextBee is a cutting-edge viral marketing software which will turn customers into your marketing team (Yeas, you've read correctly), harness the power of social media and significantly improve sales. What it basically does is create custom branded smart widgets that you can embed directly into your site to increase its value and the experience of your visitors.
Price: is calculated according to IT Integration, Influencer Perks Program, Social Media AD Buys & Support Centre access.
More useful reviews mean more credibility for your Ecommerce stores. PowerReveviews Express is a tool that has proven to increase sales significantly. Many retailers use it, so why shouldn't you? The product is easy to set up, affordable and extremely useful. With the basic subscription you receive 3000 review templates, patented display and review request via email system for 1 store. For Silver and Gold subscriptions you can add more stores and customize the design of your reviews.
Price: 30 day free trial. Bronze Subscription - $35/month, Silver - $80/month, Gold $199/month
Mad Mimi is the easiest way to create, send, share and track email newsletters online. Mad Mimi is for people who want email marketing to be simple. Every day, over 40 million emails are sent, shared and tracked using Mad Mimi.
Price: 2,500 contacts free plan, paid plans start at $10/month
Here's another tool that we absolutely love. Its only real competitor is HootSuite. In the end it all comes down to preference, because both platforms are extremely effective. With SproutSocial you can monitor your social media activity. SproutSocial integrates with Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus.
Price: free trial, Deluxe - $59/month, Premium - $99/month, Enterprise - starts at $1500/month
Number 23 on our list of Ecommerce tools is Pay With a Tweet. This tool gives you access to your content or product when someone tweets or posts about it. It will make it easier for your content and products to go viral during the stages of inception.
Price: basic plan is free, paid plans start at $19.99/month
Our top pick for an email marketing tool is ListBuilder. With it you can collect email addresses from your site visitors. The software is compatible with smart-phones and desktop versions of your site and it also integrates with other email services like Mailchimp and Aweber.
Another interesting email marketing tool is AWeber. This advanced software is used by over 120.000 small businesses, retailers, entrepreneurs and bloggers. Among its many benefits we would like to include access to over 600 templates for email creation, sending sequences of auto-responders to new subscribers and important metrics for email performance.
Price: $1 trial, paid plans start at $19/month
Are you still searching for Ecommerce marketing tools that didn't fit the above criteria? Here are five more excellent tools that will help your online efforts.
Have you ever noticed that certain Ecommerce websites have chat boxes through which visitors can connect with retailers? Olark is a small chat application that makes this possible. It will tell you who is on the site (includes details such as location and what they are exploring). This will make it easier for you to connect with them in a meaningful way. Other features include integration with major CRMs such as Salesforce, Desk.com & Highrise (to help you keep track of leads & customers) and customization features for seamless design.
Price: 14-day trial, paid plans start at $15/month
This tool may very well fit in the research category but it has several extra features that make it unique. Cliktale is a customer experience analytics software which focuses on usability research, conversion data and website optimization. It is one of the best tools for keeping visitors engaged with the content and helping them with the conversion process.
Price: basic plan is free, premium plans differ from business to business.
Como is one of the lesser known Ecommerce tools. With it you can create a fully customizable app instantly. Monetization is guaranteed with the help of coupons, loyalty cards, Ecommerce features and many more. It is always a good idea to create an app for a successful service.
Once you have created it with Como you can submit it on leading marketplaces such as the App Store, Google Play or the Amazon Marketplace. Como will help you grow your business in 3 simple steps: Create -> Customize -> Connect.
Price: Basic plan is free, Gold plan - $33/month, Platinum Plan - $83/month
Number 29 is a great tool that you should definitely consider for your Ecommerce store. Online Conversion Insights will enable you to benchmark and optimize your online conversion funnel. One of the most important aspects of online marketing is keeping a close eye on your competitors.
If you don't do this you might be losing important opportunities. Do you know the percentage of customers who are also shopping on other websites? Do you want to know what makes your competitors so successful? Millward Brown Digital's software will offer you the ability to learn all these things.
All businesses should be created with the customer in mind. This said Polldady is an excellent tool for creating polls and surveys for feedback and market research. With it you can find out what people like, or dislike, about your Ecommerce store.
Price: basic free plan, paid plans start at $200/year
The last tool on our list is eCommHub. It will automate many of the daunting yet necessary tasks involved with running an Ecommerce store and shipping business. This software takes care of everything from inventory management to email tracking numbers, order routing and many more. It is also compatible with Shopify. You should definitely give this tool a test-drive.
Price: Basic - starts at $35/month, Professional - starts at $75/month, Enterprise - starts at $150/month
Similar to Polldaddy, Qualaroo also reveals important insights about your visitors. The difference is that it will help you understand exactly what your visitors are looking for and why they are taking certain actions on your site. It focuses not only on the how, but also on the why. It is an invaluable researching tool that can increase your conversion rate. Surveys are available for desktop and mobile users.
Price: 14-day trial, plans start at $63/month
This concludes our list of essential Ecommerce Marketing & Management tools. We hope you find them useful. If there is anything you would like to add to the list please let us know!
Check out what the top people in the ecommerce marketing industry have to say about online marketing and how you can get more traffic and conversions for your ecommerce businesses.
Find out what strategies that top ecommerce marketers are using that you should be implementing.
Here's what the top Ecommerce Marketing Experts had to say:
If you're like most ecommerce sites, SEO is a REALLY important part of your business. The problem is, retail giants like Amazon and Best Buy tend to rank for just about everything. But they have a weakness...
You see, massive ecommerce sites like Amazon rely on Domain Authority to rank. If you look at individual product or category pages, they generally have few (if any links) pointing directly at them. Which means, if you can build links directly to your product pages, you can outrank them. Fortunately, there's a strategy called The Moving Man Method that's perfect for ecommerce sites. Basically you a) find products that are no longer sold and b) reach out to people that linked to those products and c) ask them to replace their link with a link to a similar product you sell.
Add email capture points to all content and promotions you run, tap into your base of subscribers before launching to the public and ask for shares and links.
Most ecommerce sites focus on driving traffic. And although traffic is important, improving your conversion rate is a great way to generate more sales. So if you want your ecommerce site to grow, don't just focus on traffic building, also optimize your site for conversions.
The biggest issue with marketing, not just SEO, for E-commerce is that you have a large number of pages to deal with and the content of most of those pages is not inherently interesting unless you're specifically in the need state for that product.
When it comes to SEO you specifically have the problems of duplicate content, scaling product descriptions, metadata, internal linking structure (specifically with regard to keyword cannibalization) and getting all of those URLs indexed. Most of those things are pretty basic and apply to more than just E-commerce SEO, but they are bigger issues when you're dealing with sites of such scale. Cover your bases with segmented sitemaps that align with the sites taxonomy, and copy formulas for metadata -- unless you have the resources for creating unique metadata.
When you're dealing with so many pages you may want to consider plugging AlchemyAPI into your e-commerce platform and programmatically determining what pages own which keywords. Then you can potentially programmatically alter the internal linking structure at scale.
Additionally, you want to try to figure out cool ways to help the product pages interesting. FreePeople is a good example of making this work with their FP Denim feature where they used Olapic to pull in images of users wearing their products. Attracting links can also be done by building compelling pages featuring fake products.
Ultimately, though, to be competitive in the SERPs with the big players you will have to build links directly to the product pages and increase page authority.
The best e-commerce sites do three things remarkably well on the SEO front:
1. Get technical SEO right - canonicalize duplicate pages or variations on products that aren't uniquely worthy of separate indexation in the engines, make sure pages are as few clicks away from each other as possible, and build a logical, useful information hierarchy to categorize your items.
2. Create pages that are uniquely useful and worthy of sharing - most e-commerce shops focus exclusively on the experience of those making a purchase, but if you also optimize for shareability from those who browse, you can dramatically increase your incoming traffic and links, which help (indirectly and directly) with rankings.
3. If your product(s) alone aren't worthy of attracting attention, find a way to make people care about your company/brand - even the most boring products can have amazing stories attached to them. Don't settle for anything less than a brand story that drives interest through being unique and eliciting emotional reactions. Press-worthiness is SEO-worthiness.
Install SumoMe.com. Make a google spreadsheet of the first 10 companies you want and reach out directly for sales. Create a free PDF of your 10 favorite tools for your industry and email that to potential customers / give it away to their email address. Sign up at okdork.com to learn more :)
One of the most important factors to consider while trying to improve your online marketing is the creation of an optimal mix of online media. It is crucial to diversify and invest equally in several forms of traffic creation such as branding, paid search, PR, product search, SEO and social media.
Although each of these methods creates varying amounts of traffic, it is important not to put all your eggs in one basket. Across the board most profitable mainstream E-commerce websites get traffic from a number of channels. Direct traffic to your website should typically account for 35% of the total visits. A lot of this direct traffic grows via PR, branding and offline marketing. Search engine results typically direct around 30%-40% of traffic. Referrals from third-party sites should account for around 15%-20% of traffic, with email and social media directing on average 10%-15% of website traffic.
It is evident that a number of forms of online marketing must be used in order to achieve full market coverage and encourage more potential customers to visit your website. Spread your online marketing budget, and don't make the mistake of undervaluing a good brand.
eCommerce marketing is all about creating a valuable experience for your audience at every interaction. Less than 5% of people make a purchase on their first site visit, so building relationships before, during, and after their visit with relevant and engaging content is key. Leverage tools like social media and blogging to connect with your audience outside the shopping cart.
Get more traffic and sales to your eCommerce store by using email marketing. Collect emails from potential customers and your website visitors and use this email list to directly communicate with your target audience. This method of marketing allows your subscribers to become familiar with your brand. It is a great way to build trust, loyalty and ultimately get sales.
Take a little time to nurture your leads before pushing them to buy from you.
One thing we always recommend our customers at LeadPages do is create a free lead magnet for their visitors. For example, if you were a photography equipment eCommerce site, you might create a PDF titled "The Top 10 Tools Every Pro Photographer Needs in Their Arsenal." When visitors land on your site, they could then opt-in for your email list in exchange for the guide.
Now, your eCommerce site becomes a "giving" site as opposed to strictly just a "taking" site in the customer's mind. When they opt-in for your helpful content, they become more qualified and more likely to buy from you. Not to mention you can recommend some of the same products you sell.
We've created tools at LeadPages that make this strategy incredibly simple to implement, so you can get a big return on just a small investment of time.
Know your customer and FOCUS. I see a lot of shot gun marketing. Business owners hear a new tactic or hot new marketing button that they feel like they should try. I suggest getting back to basics. Know who your customer is and where they get their information on products like yours. Then, create a system to test marketing tactics so you aren't just randomly trying things. While you are testing, make sure you are keeping track of metrics! You eventually want to know how much it costs to acquire a customer and how much the lifetime value of that customer is.
Keep your marketing emails remarkably simple. Simple design. Simple message. Your customers (and prospective customers) are busy and distracted. Use compelling images and subject lines to grab their attention, and then use very clear, friendly language to convey what you want them to learn, feel, or do. Keep it simple.
Put a phone number on your website and pick up the phone! Talking directly to your customers (and not hiding behind your laptop is one of the biggest point of leverage for ecommerce owners.
IMO, the most important aspect of SEO for Ecommerce site is crawlability. Sites with only a few hundred products can quickly bloom into thousands or hundreds of thousands of pages which is extremely inefficient. In fact, most of the time when I work with an Ecommerce site they're already suffering from index bloat. So, make sure you're using parameter handling, your on-site search (and results) is under control, and your links aren't watering down topical relevancy. Take full advantage of the simple things like robots and sitemaps, and go through the exercise of identifying content worth showing in organic search.
The platform itself is also crucial, so make sure you take SEO into consideration before picking out a CMS. Find one that allows you design the site structure, with the URL patterns you need (not numbers and letters with no semantic meaning). Specifically, design the content around each general bucket of search interest from general awareness to "buy now". Research these tasks and reflect them in your site- from homepage, category, subcategory, and product pages. Each of these has specific intents and too often category pages get neglected, and not every product has the same search interest.
There are two figures that are important for the long-term: lifetime value of a customer, and cost of acquisition. Lifetime value is how much a customer is worth over the course of your business and it varies between business models. Cost of acquisition is the amount of dollars spent to find a new customer that purchases your product or service. Most people only think about lifetime value, but acquisition costs are just as important. You cannot win in the long term if cost of acquisition is higher than your lifetime value. In a world that gets noisier with more distractions, the cost of acquisition is the most challenging part for online retailers now.
E-commerce SEO can be tough - especially when you're trying to get actual product pages to rank well, and your store doesn't have a huge Domain Authority like Amazon, eBay or the most popular online store in your industry, yet it has to compete with those sites.
Apart from trying to increase the domain authority of your own site, you can leverage an easy strategy that I originally found MobileFun (an online store selling mobile phone accessories) using. It requires only some of the products you're selling on your e-commerce site, and a little bit of outreach.
Suppose, you have an e-commerce store that sells various kinds of affiliate marketing books. Now, say you want to increase the organic search rankings of your traffic generation related products. The strategy basically would be to find a few authoritative sites related to traffic generation as part of affiliate marketing, and then reaching out to the site owners and offering a product to them for free that they might be willing to publish a review of on their authoritative websites, and politely asking for a link (doesn't necessarily have to be anchor-rich), linking to either the product page or product category page.
As you probably know already, it's extremely hard to build links to product and category pages of e-commerce sites. But thanks to this method, you won't have to spend upwards of $500 or even $1,000 dollars to gain a dozen of extremely powerful, editorially given links from authoritative domains from extremely related sites.
The reason this strategy can be so effective for small to medium e-commerce sites is that for relatively less popular products and industries, even Amazon and eBay product pages lack links. They still manage to rank well thanks to the authority of the domains they are on. But, as your product pages will be having links from related authority sites pointing right at them, chances are, they'll give Amazon and co. a run for their money, if not outrank them straight away.
In this day and age of Google randomly changing their ranking algorithms, the best way to gain and retain customers is to focus more of your efforts on email marketing. Grab as many email addresses as possible by including email signup forms on all of your content pages and embedded within the content. Experiment with popups regardless of how you feel about them.
The biggest opportunity right now is in content. It goes without saying that most ecommerce businesses are very good at selling product, customer service, fulfilment etc and that a good proportion of them know how to create a great user experience from purchase funnel perspective but that's not enough on its own.
The really smart strategy is to shift thinking away from the fact that you 'sell stuff' and instead concentrate on becoming a one stop shop for knowledge, advice and opinion on your chosen niche/industry. The 'brand as publisher' opportunity is game changing for those that get it right as investment in great content and the strategy that pulls that together is really being rewarded now in both search and social. Not only will you earn trust but you'll also engage with your audience more, learning more about them and improving your business as a result.
That's not to say it is easy as you need to approach it in the right way to maximise return on investment but if you do you'll create a real barrier to entry to any new entrants into the market.
While you are in the early development stages of your eCommerce store you need to be able to have a clear strategy for handling out of stock and obsolete items. This strategy will help you to determine what platform is going to be best for your business. You see some eCommerce systems will automatically throw up a 404 error once an item is out of stock, others may simply 302 your visitors to an alternative product or category, both of which aren't great for your SEO, plus if you do return 404 errors there is a chance someone will contact the people who are linking to you and get your links removed(!!)
I usually advise my clients to handle out of stock products by always leaving the pages up. On the out of stock pages offer alternative products and have a clear notice of when the product will be back in stock. If there isn't availability for a few weeks you may want to offer a coupon code to soften the blow and perhaps an opportunity to receive an email when the items are back in stock.
If a product is discontinued or made obsolete you need to be able to easily add in a 301 permanent redirect to a similar category or product. If you sell generic me-too products such as mobile phone cases you might be able to reuse the URLs and therefore maintain the authority of the page.
My #1 piece of advice is to develop an expertise in website structure and how search engines work. Ecommerce shopping carts are not necessarily built for SEO - so understanding how your solution works with and against the search engines is probably the #1 thing you can do. You may choose to hire someone who has an expertise in the platform you've chosen and keep them on until you're sure you've got all of the intricacies of your ecommerce system worked out, or you can develop an in-house employee into an expert. You'll find having that go-to person who can tell you, or find, the answer to a sticky SEO situation invaluable. Don't expect them to know every question right off the top of their head, but a willingness to dig for the correct answer and keep digging until they find it is the tenacity you'll need!
Focus on the channel that you know works best for you. With so many options today between social, email marketing, paid traffic, content marketing, SEO and more it's easy to get overwhelmed. If you're a Fortune 500 eCommerce company with a huge marketing team, then you'll have no problem tackling all these marketing channels well.
But most of us don't have massive teams, and have to prioritize our marketing efforts. So pick the one that generates the best results for your company and niche and spend the majority of your time there.
Ideally, do you want a well diversified marketing mix driving traffic to your site? Absolutely, and I wouldn't recommend completely neglecting all other channels. But it's better to have one extremely effective channel that's bringing you a lot of business vs. half a dozen weak, non-effective channels that aren't helping at all.
Find accounts related to your niche with large followings on less mature social networks like Instagram, Pinterest and Vine (Channels like YouTube are tapped out now and prices are too high now). Most of these large accounts are built solely for the purpose of selling ad space. You'll know if someone will feature your paid posts because they will have an email in their bio. These less mature accounts usually have high engagement and are low cost.
From my experience, you can get on Instagram accounts with 500k followers for $60-$100 ($0.12/CPM) right now. These sponsored posts can garner upwards of 15,000+ likes, hundreds of comments and thousands of new followers to your account which you can then nurture with your own content.
These channels are still relatively untapped gold mines at the moment.
I've worked with plenty of clients that come to me and want me to help them rank higher.
But the problem is that a crucial step hasn't been taken.
In most situations they want more traffic because they think they aren't getting any sales.
The reason for this in most cases is their website isn't geared to convert.
My advice would be to start at the very beginning, get the website to a point where it's able to convert.
Then continue to build a solid foundation by identifying priority keywords with a high focus on long tail keywords. Then work on getting the technical/on page SEO sorted. Just getting the categories and URL structure sorted can make a huge difference.
It's also worth noting that backlinks are still the currency of the web and you will need them to rank, but you need to focus on link earning. Keep it natural. It's more expensive but you will be glad you invested in the future. Those that let the quality slip and build shoddy links run the risk of manual and/or algorithmic penalties that will end up costing even more to recover from.
Keep your focus on quality and improving user experience.
The biggest thing that comes to mind is building out great category pages and other taxonomy pages. Typically this means custom content on the pages, not simply product listings.
The next thing is to build out all of the informational content you can think of, and put it in the right places on your website. For a camera equipment shop, that might mean a series of buyer's guides about "The 3 Best DSLR Video Packages Under $1000", and something like "What Canon lens should I use for indoor close-range interviews?" might fit better in a Q&A section.
Finally, make your website design shine. Nothing says "sketchy fly-by-night drop-shipper" like a half-customized theme that you whipped together that looks like every other mediocre e-commerce shop your visitors have ever seen. The details really matter, and missed details in design and UX translates to lost sales.
I don't think that e-commerce SEO differs greatly from any other "type." It really comes down to on-page optimization and backlinks. The only wrench that is thrown into the e-commerce scenario is the potential for a far great number of pages than, say, a small/medium blog or simple business site might have.
The number of pages can be beneficial for rankings, though. More content is generally a good thing. But you have to make the most of it. Write detailed, unique descriptions on the product pages. Include reviews and ratings (this can help provide unique, user-generated content and help with conversions). Include good images and optimize their tags. The on-page optimization is pretty standard even for product pages on an e-commerce site.
The one thing that e-commerce sites do have to worry more about - that smaller site's don't always have to (although it would certainly help them if they did) - is establishing a proper architecture. You want to have an architecture for pages that not only makes sense for the user, but also passes "link juice" from link building efforts. For larger sites it isn't reasonably feasible to build a large number of links to each page. So you want to set up an architecture that won't force you to do so.
Focus on providing value. It may sound ridiculously simple -- especially when there are countless SEO tips, techniques, and tactics floating all over the web -- but when you think about it, it makes perfect sense! No one's going to bother to link to your latest blog post if they don't like what you've written. No one's going to consider you to be an authority if you don't offer hard facts and legitimate advice. Remember, search engines exist because people need a way to get their questions answered and their problems solved. If you focus your efforts on providing bonafide answers and solutions, your SEO will naturally fall into place.
And, please, whatever you do, don't stuff a ton of keywords into your content! Yes, it's important to target a couple of carefully-chosen keywords in everything that you publish, but if you make your website look like it was written in some kind of bizarre alien language, no one -- including Google -- is going to take you seriously!
First off, you MUST have Google Analytics e-commerce tracking set up properly! You need to be able to track revenue from sources like organic and referrals.
If you sell a product online that others do as well, then make sure that you craft unique and descriptive product and page titles and descriptions so that you don't have the same content as everyone else. The more content on your product pages that you can do, the better! Start with your most profitable and popular products and just keep working down the list. Lastly add in good, relevant, internal linking between pages. E-commerce sites usually have lots of pages, making internal linking that much more powerful!
These on-page SEO tips will provide you good results and are fairly low hanging fruit.
For eCommerce company, it is important to focus on local SEO. It doesn't matter if you have a huge factory or just a shop lot for your business. You need to have visibility and Google tend to be pretty 'one-sided' especially for those who invest time to setup proper Local SEO for their company.
For a typical eCommerce website, you have hundreds (if not thousands!) of product pages containing duplicate and thin content. With Google's Panda update continuously evolving, this can really hurt your SEO rankings. My advice is to make sure all of your product pages contain at least 100 words of unique and well-written content. This is a minimum - aim for more meaty content if you can. Also put some focus on site speed. This is an SEO ranking factor, but more importantly, it directly affects your conversion rate. The slower your site, the less you sell. Lastly, link building is still super crucial. But focus on quality over quantity. And manual over automation.
Identify a unique product/niche you can serve better than the bigger guys. It's really the only way to compete online these days, and the competition's only getting more intense. You're screwed if you do it wrong from the start.
My second tip would be to use a professional copywriter to create your product descriptions. While you may know the product best, hiring a pro copywriter helps you communicate the value of a particular product much better than someone without experience. It takes years of practice to learn how to write sizzling copy that skyrockets your sales, but it's worth every penny. Plus, 99% of businesses do not use a copywriter, and have no awareness that one is beneficial. So, it's a huge, little-known competitive advantage. It costs money up-front, but you'll make so many more sales long-term that it's ridiculous.
Nailing down a good strategy for Ecommerce is largely effected by how many products you're selling. If you only have a few segments, it helps to spend a good amount of dev and testing time on your product pages. After that you can work on a link building strategy for individual product pages.
However, If you have thousands of products, this gets exhaustive. Instead, you should focus on a solid URL and taxonomy structure and work on building links for category segments.
Overall, I don't think the biggest issue for Ecommerce is SEO, but more about growing your visitors life time value. Spending weeks optimizing pages is worthless if visitors only purchase once and are never heard from again. The same goes for spamming your email list with "deals" on a daily basis. It's not a long term strategy. You'll get much better results by being the first company that comes to a person's mind when they think about products in your target niche.
While everyone talks about building links and driving visitors to product pages, the parts that come before and after getting traffic are very important.
On-site optimization for ecommerce is critical because of the large numbers of CMS and frameworks that are used to build online stores. Once you decide on a scripting language and CMS on which you're going to build your ecommerce site, look up every conceivable tip, plugin and piece of code to optimize it to the hilt. There are comprehensive guides, robots.txt samples and posts out there that cater to Magento, Shopify, WordPress or whatever platform you're using. And then there is landing page optimization. Never cease A/B testing and optimizing your category, product and campaign pages. Here's an entertaining guide to get you started. Further, Oli Gardner and Peep Laja are a couple of CRO experts you should closely follow.
If you have an e-commerce site, you are more or less dependent on search engine organic traffic (mostly Google). And for that SEO is a MUST-DO. SEO for e-commerce websites is quite different from a traditional SEO. In an e-commerce website, technical on-page optimization is a basic necessity. Backlinks are no doubt very important but as you have lots of pages obviously you cannot build links to all the pages, so if you can make your website Search Engine friendly, you can easily rip the low hanging fruits (traffic from long tail keywords) as they're lesser competitive in nature.
Building Links to an Ecommerce website is totally different from normal blog site. Why? Because a lot of thee sites are amazon affiliate stores that are on autopilot (they pull content from amazon). 1) This is the first mistake a lot of people make when creating an ecommerce site. 2) And even if they build thousands of links, their ranking will be temporary.
Now that we are through with the first mistake a lot of ecommerce companies make, the next step is to pay for unique content. Give Google something to index, locate your top selling products and product categories (through E-Commerce reports) and make them content rich so that they can attract traffic from Google/search engines.
One way to get your ecommerce site to rank is to build powerful links (preferable homepage links from PBN). You don't just want to link to your homepage. This will not look natural to search engines. What we are going to do next is to build links to our inner pages. Why not start a blog on your ecommerce site? The content on the blog will focus on your products, with this, bots will have a lot of crawling to do on your site. There are more ways to attract traffic to your ecommerce site apart from search engine, here are top 10 ways to attract referral traffic to your site.
Social media is a new SEO. Create engaging content, review your products and share it on social media. Each platform i.e. facebook, instagram, pinterest etc... has its own audience and methods and demographic. Check what is your demographic male, female or both. Reviewing your products will bring traffic from search engines as well as social media eventually result in more sales.