Successful e-commerce business: 8 tips for online shop marketing

What is the perfect marketing strategy? Online marketing experts still can’t agree; every year new strategies enter the mix and old ideas are given a makeover. Online shop owners need to find the ideal marketing mix that works for them. Whether the focus is on search engines (SEO and SEA), on social media marketing, or combines more conventional banner advertising and display network together with large e-mail marketing campaigns: with our tips you can optimise your future strategies.

1. Not without SEO

Search engine traffic is one of the most important ways for online shops to receive visitors. When it comes to SEO, many different factors play a part: technical implementation, conceptual site structure, content, link profile, and keyword optimisation. SEO measures have a lasting effect on visibility and traffic but every online marketer should make sure they adhere to Google’s guidelines. With close to 90% of search queries in the UK being carried out by Google, it is by far the leading search engine. If you don’t stick to the guidelines, you may end up with a lower ranking and a decreased volume of traffic.

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2. Thinking mobile

Mobile shopping has become so significant that for many, a life without it is unimaginable. Mobile commerce is principally responsible for the strong sales growth in e-commerce, as it has been gradually rising year on year and is predicted to represent over 40% of all UK e-commerce by 2017. In 2016, mobile commerce sales reached £25 billion, up 25.4% on the previous year. These figures prove that it is beneficial for a competitive online store to optimise its website for mobile users. More information on this subject can be found in the article on mobile e-commerce.

3. Know the USP and use it

The world of e-commerce is dog eat dog. An analysis of the competition is the first step to be able to place yourself successfully on the market. This analysis is a cornerstone of online store marketing. Stores should keep their USP (unique selling point) in the forefront since it’s the most persuasive unique feature. You don’t have to offer the lowest price to win customers over. To stand out from your competition, you could offer free or quicker dispatch or excellent customer service.

4. Use recommendations

Have you already defined your USP and want your customers to spread the word? This is where referral marketing comes into play. Through interlinking your shop with social media channels and ratings platforms, you give the customers the possibility to rate the business and act as a spokesperson. It is not unusual for businesses to actively ask their customers to share their opinion, for example, via a CTA (call to action) during a transaction. This shows transparency and strengthens trust. Ratings aren’t just an instrument for customer retention; they are also shown in the search results. Rich Snippets (extra information in the SERPS like ratings and contact details) are a free means of winning over potential customers by showing your products in Google’s search results.

5. The perfect content strategy

If you offer relevant content and target specific groups, then you can always pick up the customer at the right place in the customer lifecycle. This cycle describes the process from the first point of contact between customer and company (usually via an advertisement) to the end of the business relationship. If you arouse the customer’s interest through useful information, your product will move into their field of attention. Optimised content helps you address certain target groups. By using the right content strategy, you can tailor your product to the customers’ requirements and make it tangible, so to speak. You can use this personal level that has been created to form a relationship with potential customers. When it comes to SEO, good content leads to a higher ranking, a wider reach, and a better conversion rate.

6. Turn potential customers into leads

Online marketing doesn’t always have to end with finalising a contract or the purchase of a product. Sometimes it can be more relevant to generate leads (customer contacts), especially when the customer is seeking information at the start of the process. This is how to speak to people who haven’t made a purchasing decision yet but are interested in a product or service. You can gain contacts, for example, by offering potential customers the option to register for a newsletter. You can try to address them with tailored advertising material and content at a later date.

7. Strengthen usability

Your marketing techniques should work to entice potential customers to your store and prevent them from getting frustrated and leaving the site without buying anything. Online store owners should thus check their site and processes for usability. Common frustration factors include excessive loading times, unclear and poorly structured sites, and unfulfilled expectations, which occurs when the user can’t find what they’re looking for. The shopping basket and payment methods are two other frequent weaknesses.

8. Ensure conversions

After you’ve optimised your store’s usability, you can go one step further and integrate targeted elements, which encourage conversions. It’s also a good idea to have a security badge as well as customer ratings and reviews. Placing seals and symbols on the home page and order pages show the visitor the quality and trustworthiness of the store. Another beneficial element is HTTPS encryption, which is easily recognised by the small lock symbol in the browser window.

It all begins with quality and usability

Before you set more traffic or a high conversion rate as your goal, as a store owner you first have to make sure that your e-commerce marketing measures will work. As well as a solid shop system and optimal performance, your store also needs to be user-friendly. If you spend your budget on different SEO, SEA, or social media marketing without proper preparation, you won’t achieve any considerable results. The store’s content and quality are top priority. Only when these are in place can the concrete marketing strategy follow.