The 6 Critical Keys to Increasing Profits and Driving More Sales With Social Media and Technology!

I received a call from a potential client recently. This call was different than most I receive. You see, this business owner was angry! I mean outright ticked off!

He wasn’t angry with me. No. Not angry with his industry. He was very angry with new technology and marketing, and the people trying to constantly promise him the moon if they signed up for their service.

The call went something like this…

“Is this Bill?”

“Yes sir,” I said. “How can I help you?”

“My name is Bob. I am the president of XYZ Company (the names have changed to protect the frustrated.) I am so sick and tired of all the calls, emails, and letters I am receiving from people who say they can get me to the top of Google, start a Facebook page, show me how to Twitter, and promise me a ton of sales with this new marketing stuff. I have tried their pay-per-click programs and wasted a ton of money. They promised they could get me to the top of Google, and 1 year later, I am no where near the top. I am fed up wasting time and money!”

“I understand Bob. What made you call me specifically?”

“My friend is a client of yours. She told you can sort this out for me.”

“Thank you for calling Bob. Yes I can help you. Let’s talk about your frustrations and how we can turn lemon into lemonade…”

I can’t tell you how many times I hear those same frustrations from clients and customers. They weren’t as passionate as Bob, but you can hear the fear and desperation in their voices too.

The new internet media can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how you approach it, your mood to embrace it or not, and your passion to execute a very good plan.

Part of my weekly ritual is to spend time studying trends in consumer behavior, electronic trends, ecommerce advances, and better understanding the lifecycle of the purchasing process.

Not only do I read research articles, I pay attention to my own buying habits and those around me. And have those habits ever changed in the last few years.

With the incredible growth of Smartphones, tablets, e-readers, and other mobile devices, consumer buying habits are changing literally right before our eyes.

Social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, are captivating consumers in every walk of life and creating opportunities to communicate with them like never before. We now have a tremendous opportunity to tell our story and capture that lucrative group of buyers who can be very loyal to your business.

Before I get into strategies and techniques on how to improve your sales and profits through better customer engagement, let’s look at some trends. Forrester Research, Inc, Pew Research, and the Nielsen Company have all recently completed studies. Here are some interesting statistics they discovered:

  • 43% of all U.S. retail sales are influenced by the web (Forrester 2010)
  • Preference by U.S. online adults to receive customer support via the phone has fallen from 32% in 2007 to 29% in 2010. (Forrester 2010)
  • U.S. online adults report they spend equal amounts of time – 13 hours a week – watching TV and being online. TV viewership has increased only 5% from 2005 to 2010. (Forrester 2010)
  • 79% of U.S. online adults read print magazines, down from 84% in 2007. (Forrester 2010)
  • 58% of U.S. online adults prefer to research a product online, up from 43% in 2007. (Forrester 2010)
  • As of February 2012, Pew Research states that 88% of all adults use cell phones. About 50% of those are Smartphones (Up from 17% in 2010.) Over 80% of Smartphone owners use the internet with the phones at least once a month.
  • Nielsen says that adults have increased access to social sites via their phones from 11.1% in March 2010, to about 40% in September 2011.
  • In 2010 Forrester Research stated that 10.3 million U.S. adults owned tablets, and will be about 82 million by 2015. CNET states that the ownership of tablets increased from 10% in mid December 2011, to 19% in mid January 2012.

I believe this is the tip of the iceberg in terms of accessing the internet, shopping, and buying. You will see these numbers climb dramatically.

What Does All This Information Mean?

These statistics mean a few things to your business. One, there is more and more opportunity to connect with consumers in a positive way. This new reality also creates more work, the need to have a deeper and comprehensive strategy, and you will need a dramatic shift in thinking if you are not already on board with the consumer’s changes.

With the world literally at the consumer’s fingertips (anywhere), his or her tendency is to bounce around on the internet very fast and can lose interest in your company, product, or service. You must use a number of different strategies and tactics to create a conversation with these consumers, methodically move them towards purchasing from you, and not lose them to someone else that has grabbed their attention.

Consumers can now enter the buying game from so many directions. They have more options, thus more directions than ever before. They can find you with a simple Google search for your company or product. They can see your pay-per-click ad. Or a large banner ad that follows them on the internet. They can find you on a Facebook ad, or if one of their friends likes your page, you show up on their friends Facebook wall. Or what about a prospect sharing your Tweet about a particular promotion to their Twitter followers?

And there are emails, direct mail programs, print ads, radio, TV… the list goes on and on. It is more important than ever to know your prospects/customer, your target market and find out where they spend their time. Then target your campaigns appropriately to your prospects.

Once the consumer enters your marketing lifecycle, the message you send is critical to better conversions and also repeat business. You need to think of your marketing lifecycle more circular now, rather than linear. The circle is the top of a funnel. The circle includes all the different media types. You still need to move them along through the qualification funnel, but now the size of the top of the funnel has gotten much larger, and is getting bigger every day. If you continue to exclude some opportunities, your funnel top becomes much smaller than your competitors. More leads into the funnel, the more sales and profits come out the bottom of the funnel.

6 Critical Keys

Critical Key 1:

One critical key to improving your sales conversions and revenue is to reduce the friction to your sales closing (conversion) by engaging the consumer in the channels they are engaged. Embrace where they go and spend time developing strategies that will convert them right there. Not distracting them to other channels.

If you have a lead on Amazon, get them checked out then and there. Don’t count on moving them to another site where they have to think about it again.

Critical Key 2:

Make sure you know your target market very well. Where do they spend their time? Do they use Smartphones? Do they carry their tablet into your retail store? Check your Google Analytics to see how they are reaching your site and to what pages. What is their income range? The list goes on and on.

Critical Key 3:

It’s really the old K.I.S.S. principle. Keep the conversion and closing very simple and easy for the customer to understand.

From and ecommerce point of view, the checkout needs to be very simple and streamlined. The customer needs to feel comfortable and understand everything about the sale. How much is shipping going to cost me? How long will it take? What is your return policy?

Critical Key 4:

If you are promoting a product in an email campaign or any campaign for that matter, the link from the media to the product needs to be directed to a landing page with a specific call to action, or directly to the product page. Don’t make the customer search for the item on your site, or other sales page. All too often I see clients directing their campaigns to the main page of the site instead of a dedicated page. A huge mistake.

Critical Key 5: Cross Channel Marketing.

Consumers use many different ways to communicate with their friends, family, and you, their retailer, e-tailer, or service provider.

Expanding your marketing message beyond just email, or direct mail is critical to your success. Those businesses who don’t engage with their prospects and customers through multiple channels and cross over between these channels will not be maximizing their opportunity to sell, and will not see their business grow.

Traditional marketing has always been explained as a three-prong approach. You need to deliver the right message, to the right people, at the right time. We now need to look at a fourth prong, delivering all these through the right media.

Critical Key 6:

Embrace the opportunities. Check your mood about the new marketing opportunities. Be careful selecting multiple companies that will tell you they can promise to get you to the top of Google, or fix your reputation online, or will put together a pay-per-click campaign that will change your world.

Bob was a tough one to win over. Once I was able to help him understand the big picture, we were able to lay out a great plan and then execute making small adjustments along the way. I have to say, Bob is much happier today. And his qualified leads more than doubled once we were able to define his target market and refine his unique selling proposition.

All of these things can happen, but with a strategic plan, and a compelling message. Now, commit to yourself that you will first formulate a comprehensive internet marketing plan, and then execute the plan to bigger sales and bigger profits.

Good luck and great marketing!

Bill Mooney

Ecommerce Marketing Strategy for A Profitable Website

Formulating a marketing strategy for your ecommerce website is one of the most important things you can do for your business. There’s no point in building a website before you’ve even thought about the marketing aspect of it. You must understand your market from the outset so that you can attract customers as soon as possible.

So what should your ecommerce marketing strategy be?

First, define what is unique about your product or service and, with that in mind, create a step-by-step marketing plan.

A big feature of marketing these days is Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which basically means ensuring that the content of your website includes the most effective keywords for each page so that when a potential customer is doing an online search, the odds are more in your favor that they will be directed to your site from the search results pages. Keyword research is the most vital part of SEO. Finding the best keywords and keyword phrases for your business is critical, because you should build your ecommerce site around these keyword phrases; you don’t just throw them in as an afterthought. Discovering the proper keyword phrases may indeed be the most important step in your whole marketing strategy.

Your ecommerce marketing strategy should include the time and budget for lots of market research. The goal of this market research is to discover:

– Who are your potential customers?

– What do your potential customers want?

– What is their demographic?

– Who are your competitors?

– What are your competitors offering?

– How are your competitors reaching their customers?

Just because keywords are the foundation you build your website upon, that does not mean that the design of your website doesn’t matter. Of course it does. Your customers should be comfortable and happy when browsing your site and should feel encouraged to visit again. The site needs to look professional, and reflect the unique aspect of your product or service. It should be simple to navigate and must enhance the visitor’s experience. Include some positive reviews from past customers if possible. All of your terms and conditions should be clear and unambiguous. Very importantly, all of your contact details must be simple to find and should be repeated throughout the site.

Once your site is created, that does not mark the end of your ecommerce marketing strategy. On the contrary, you must now work hard to maintain the site, always being sure that it’s up to date. Additionally, you should constantly analyze its web traffic to find out how many visitors you’re getting, how long they spend on the site, what pages they visit, etc. This information is invaluable for enhancing the site, fine tuning your strategy and thus bolstering your bottom line.

What Every Business Should Know About Ecommerce Marketing Strategy

Running an integrated ecommerce marketing strategy is very important to your overall business goals and objectives. This strategy should incorporate all facets of your offline marketing and direct traffic to your site for lead generation and sales creation.

This necessitates auditing all your offline business materials to ensure that the web address is correctly referenced and considered. Most businesses that use the web as a serious marketing medium should have a formalized internet marketing strategy. This written document should scope and bound the marketing objectives, state the plans intentions and provide a basis for measuring or benchmarking progress. Here are some suggestions for incorporation into your ecommerce online marketing.

Email Marketing:

You should have a facility in place to collect email addresses and make regular contact with your subscribers. This is an approach that can be used to build credibility and allows you to keep in contact with prospective customers. When you release new products, you should use this channel to inform your subscriber base. This generates word of mouth advertising and can be a healthy form of repeat business.

Giving Away Free Reports:

By giving away free reports, both online and offline, you can incorporate sales material that directs potential customers back to your website for further information. This is a great way to generate traffic, showcase new products and generate new business. It also serves as a reminder to prospective customers who may be close to ordering.

Using Video:

Uploading free videos to your website, YouTube and Google Video provides a neat way to deliver a verbal message with a background presentation. People like to watch videos and once you are setup to create them they can be much easier to produce than writing extensive reports. Videos are a great way to showcase new products or highlight important features that can differentiate you from your competition. Using video will put you at the forefront of ecommerce marketing.

Monitoring Statistics:

Your web statistics can provide valuable insight into consumer surfing behavior. By regularly monitoring them you can discern important viewer trends. Heavy emphasis on certain sections of your site provides insight into consumer interest and can be used for additional product or content creation. Sections that are not generating interest may indicate an important area of your business that needs revival. It can also indicate an area that may need additional search engine and pay per click campaign focus.

This is several internet marketing strategies that you should consider as part of your marketing arsenal. By using a combination or all of the above you can reach a broader target market, build a customer base and expand your business activities. If you haven’t formalized an ecommerce online marketing plan then the above suggestions should provide you with a place to start.

eCommerce Marketing Strategies To Increase Sales & Traffic

With so many online stores selling more or less the same products, competition is at an all time high in the online retail industry. Any eCommerce business wanting to succeed in this competitive environment needs to have the right marketing strategies in place. It’s simply not enough to have a great webstore. Without proper marketing all your website development efforts will go down the drain.

Here are some eCommerce marketing strategies you can use to get the best out of your eCommerce venture.

1. Upsell Your Products

A majority of merchants go for up selling their products, because up selling works better than cross selling online. There are two main factors to up selling – 1) Make your upsells related to the original products 2) Have the right product pricing strategy to make the upsell look like a deal. Also make sure that products you are up selling fulfill your customers’ needs. New products must be really better than the original ones.

2. Integrate Instagram

An average order value from Instagram marketing is around $60.00. Instagram gives brands 25% more engagement than any other social media platform. If you use right filters, appropriate hashtags and post at the right time, then you are on the right path on Instagram.

You can run campaigns, contests and share user generated pictures on Instagram. It is an excellent way to attract users towards your offerings. Instagram is one of the fastest growing apps and can be integrated with your store to have a better user engagement.

3. Launch A Facebook Store

Nobody in their right mind should ignore Facebook, the biggest platform for social media marketing. What many people are not aware of is that it is also a great source to generate traffic for shopify users since it is well integrated with Shopify store; you don’t have to have a separate track of your inventory changes. Facebook Store, an app built by Shopify lets you display and sell your products directly on your Facebook page. Buyers can share their favorite items with their friends.

4. Capture More Email Subscribers

Email is one of the most essential means at your disposal in eCommerce marketing. It drives online traffic to your store. Email marketing is one of the oldest and still the best channel for digital marketing because it is more direct and accessible. If you are not convinced, consider these stats:

  • Emails have an ROI of around 4,300%.
  • 80% of people claim that they receive marketing messages with their personal emails regularly.
  • 70% of people make use of discount offers.

So don’t ignore the power of good old email. Getting your target customers subscribe to your emails is one of the most surefire ways of increasing sales.

5. Improve Email Campaigns

Of course, it is not sufficient to gather a bunch of email addresses. Sending emails regularly with targeted content and offers is critical. There could be many occasions for sending emails that your subscribers appreciate.

For instance, send a welcome email once the customers sign up. This helps have the highest open rates of any marketing e-mails. Or you can let your customers know that their order is being processed and on its way. They would love to know their order status.

Another example is to send regular newsletters and let your buyers know about new discount offers, tips and company news. Out of curiosity, they might check your emails.

6. Generate More Product Reviews

As per the online magazine Internet Retailer, one can boost eCommerce conversion rate by 14-76% by adding product reviews to eStores.

There are two key reasons why this is so. First is social proof. Product reviews are similar to testimonials, wherein people share their experiences after using particular products. Second key reason is, SEO. Product reviews help increase the amount of content on web pages and also increases the probability of ranking for long tail keywords.