Virtually all ecommerce sites rely on a blend of online marketing and advertising to capture more customers. In essence, ecommerce marketers must be creative and strategic to earn an edge over big competitors. Offer incentives: Most online shoppers are thrifty in that they often seek the products with the best prices. 2) Take advantage of social media: Social networking sites, video sharing sites and other social media platforms have taken the Internet by storm.
Optimize marketing for mobile: More and more people are using the Internet on mobile devices. This article written by Tyler Tafelsky, one of our Ecommerce SEO Specialists here at ClickCentric SEO. Robert: Okay, so, you also refer to yourself as ‘The Marketess.’ Is that your blog, the Marketess? Robert: And you also—I don’t know if this is a side of Boot Camp Digital, but you also do the personal branding? Robert: Okay, so it’s just not the networks, like you’ve mentioned, it’s anywhere a person who is interested, they’re spending their time, you want to engage with them in that platform, and that is considered social media.
Krista: So, you know, the idea of marketing and advertising in general is about getting in front of people where they spend their time. So there really is an opportunity for businesses of all types to understand how to take advantage of this to grow their business and really drive sales.
What we’re find though, more and more, is that what also works is finding where people are having discussions and connecting with them there.
Krista: So I think the first thing is to figure out what it is that your customers are actually interested in that relates to your product. So the big idea is finding out what your audience is interested in, and then posting that type of content to build relationships. Robert: Okay, and what are some of the networks that ecommerce companies need to be looking at?
Now some people might say “Oh, I thought it was supposed to be free.” Well, look, just because it’s not free doesn’t mean it’s not worth your time. And then the next two networks I would mention are more what I would classify as emerging social networks.
Now, you can’t click on a link on Instagram, so it’s a little bit less traceable from a results standpoint, but if people are looking at their products and commenting on them, over time they’ll definitely drive sales. So that’s kind of like a quick overview of the big social networks that most businesses are paying attention to. Robert: Okay, and to go back on Pinterest, I was just trying to think in my head, what if I’m a business that necessarily doesn’t have something that interesting to share or promote on Pinterest, is there like a creative way you’ve seen or you can suggest for business to promote themselves even though it might not be a fit just because of the return you mentioned at the start?
Krista: Well, I mean, look, it only works—so if you don’t have an interesting product for whatever reason, and it’s not something that fits with the Pinterest audience, what you’ll find is you’ll work really hard to be posting your stuff, but you’ll kind of just be spinning your wheels. One of the easiest ways to tell, if you have a slightly established business at least, is you can actually go onto Pinterest and see if people are already pinning stuff from your website.
And if you’re not seeing that already, it might be because your audience isn’t very big or that it’s just not a good fit. The other thing you can look at is conversations either about your brand, again, your competitors, or your industry. I just spoke—I did a keynote presentation at a national conference and I pulled up Facebook pages of all these businesses, and honestly, they’re all posting like “Oh, look at our employees doing this. Krista: Sure, so when it comes to Facebook, generally you want to post directly to Facebook. HootSuite is a tool that I’ve used for, gosh, a long, long time now to manage Twitter primarily. So here’s a great example: A client of mine—I have no idea why he did it—he was like “I wanna get more serious about Instagram!” so he went and he bought this Instagram training class and what they told him to do was do—what they did, it was tell you the top hashtags for different categories.
I think, honestly—look, if there was a magic formula that would get you amazing results overnight, I would be a billionaire sitting on a beach somewhere. You know, businesses that get on Twitter and go out and buy followers or, you know, just start posting stuff and maybe using a bunch of hashtags and whatever, they usually don’t get great results. Robert: Okay, Krista, that’s been very, very informative and I think very helpful to a lot of businesses. Robert: Okay, Krista, thanks a lot for being on the podcast today and for sharing everything you’ve shared today. The eCommerce Marketing Podcast walks you through everything that goes into ecommerce marketing -- from inbound marketing to paid advertising to conversions. OSI Affiliate Software is the best way to create and manage affiliate programs, referral programs, and partner programs for eCommerce businesses. The busiest, craziest, most nerve-wracking time of any ecommerce professional's year is more than 10 months away.
All the ruthless discounting, inventory juggling and returns wrangling has finally retreated back to some form of normalcy. Youa€™ve probably just raked in about a third of your annual revenue in less than 4 sleep-deprived weeks.
Youa€™ve probably also taken a third of a year off your life dealing with last minute Christmas delivery debacles, manically outrged customers and the inevitable website bungles that is online retail in December-January. But with your brand's collective deep breath, comes the need to deal with those three challenging, but unfortunately necessary cousins of any successful online retail operation. You can click on the dot point that takes your fancy and head straight to the relevant section. Ita€™s time to analyse your Christmas shopping data, check your benchmarks and compile a list of actions.
To help you kick things off, wea€™ve got a really helpful article from Michael Harel, Director of Clicktale - an ecommerce analytics software provider. As much as we ecommerce folk wish next year would just mind its own business until the bedlam of Christmas shopping is over, 2016 refuses to be silenced. That evil new year is knocking on your office door right now, nagging you and your lack of marketing preparation.
We've compiled all the important seasonal events, holiday periods and industry dates into one free, downloadable time-saver. Use the key dates to prepare your marketing program in advance and turn your 2016 planning from a perpetual last minute buzzer-beater to a meticulously planned runaway win.
The perennial question lurking at the back of every ecommerce practioners mind - do we need better website technology? If you're thinking about it, February is a good month to get stuck into your research and comparisons of what's available. There's hundreds of options to choose from, and each of the companies (whether opensource or not) are shifting their pricing schemes all the time, adding new features and thinking of new ways to make it easier for you to sell your items online. The online retail CMS authority is indisputably the Ecommerce Platforms Blog, run by Catalin Zorzini. Catalin and his team have put together a refreshed 2016 analysis of the best ecommerce platforms you can find in 2016. You'll find deep comparisons on how these systems match-up in terms of price, design, features, backend, frontend and support. It seems like the only news anyone in ecommerce is talking about this month is Amazona€™s almost-surprising-but-with-Amazon-nothing-is-surprising decision to open 400 new stores. There was once a train of thought in the world of retail that digital and physical were two separate things. The Guardian explains why Amazon dominate online retail, and are surely poised to dominate offline retail as well. Why wouldna€™t they create an incredible offline retail shopping experience with these credentials? Herea€™s just a few of the innovative ecommerce brands exploring the opportunities available with a physical store presence. If youa€™re launching your brand from scratch, pureplay (admittedly naff industry term meaning online-only) is really hard. Paid search advertising is will get you into one of those a€?budget black holesa€™ the government is always yammering on about.
According to a study released in January by research firm L2 Inc, Macya€™s and Nordstrom spent an estimated $6.4m and $4m respectively, in paid search listings for the top 1,000 apparel-related keywords in the first quarter of 2015.
Online advertising is a minefield of questionable return, littered with unscrupulous middle men and cash-deprived publishers willing to compromise their quality controls.
Strategic content marketing programs have helped a bunch of retailers acheive the type of fast growth, rapid customer acquisition and increases in customer lifetime value required to generate sustainable ecommerce success - but this approach is no walk in the park. Put simply, ita€™s soooo much easier and cost effective to acquire new customers through physical retail. No costly market research, or gamblish a€?gut feela€™ is required to select the spot for your store. You can make an informed decision, and strategically manage your inventory to match the preferences of your online customers. This turns ecommerce data analysis into 8th grade arithmetic, while our bricks and mortar contemporaries are left with a complex algebraic puzzle of divergent store information. For complex products (electronics), significant purchases (furniture, luxury goods) and clothing (sunglasses, suits, shoes and dresses in particular) - customers are still reluctant to buy without trialling. Some retailers are paying third parties to manage this ugly step-child of ecommerce, just to avoid the organisational kerfuffle. You dona€™t even need to sell stuff (you can avoid the costly warehousing costs in the process), but a physical location that allows your customers to touch, trial and feel your products will reduce friction, increase surety and pave the way for online repeat purchase.

According to a Shop Visible study, retailers that allow for in-store returns of online purchases can generate up to an 18 percent increase in sales. Local stores can also allow online shoppers to click and collect with surety, rather than waiting for a less secure and controlled delivery to their door. The Guardian reports that service based stores are making up for the decline of old retail in malls and on high streets.
If you have an online store, youa€™re car is still moving uphill on the macro-economic rollercoaster chart. Online retailers have to work so hard to make up for the fact there are no friendly shop assistants to help online shoppers through an ecommerce store.
We spend our days dissecting the finer aspects of the shopping experience, working out exactly what content we need to assure, convince and persuade buyers to the next stage of the purchase journey. What if we took this mentality and applied it to physical retail (with the help of our rich data and analytics insights)?
That engineered quality of experience is precisely what has made retailers like Apple, Starbucks, and Sephora strong. Engineering a best-in-class shopping experience is the mission of any successful ecommerce marketing professional.
Australian ecommerce pioneer Kogan revolutionised the electronics industry, bursting onto the scene in a disruptive flurry of middle-men-chopping, discounting fury.
Now, 10 years on, and CEO Ruslan Kogan is surprised by his branda€™s about-turn to bricks and mortar retailing. We know where our customers are, what their interests are, what they like, what they dona€™t like, what products are trending in their area, and more. We also know the conversion rate of every product by location so we can ensure wea€™re only stocking the products most relevant to customers in that hyperlocation. We know how to use data and insights to create the most efficient retail model a€“ whether ita€™s online or offline. If ecommerce brands can take this mindset over to physical retail, we can create data-backed, continually-tested, and technology-aided shops. We can turn malls and high streets back into genuine experiences - places where people go to enjoy themselves, rather than the soul-sucking, cash-grabbing, queue-waiting stores dominating the retail environment of your local commercialplex today.
Wea€™ve mentioned the Ecommerce Fuel podcast before in the Jungle Gym, and for good reason.
So if what you sell is not unique and even if it is, you need to have on those pages nearby in a prominent position, maybe on a category page before the product, or the on the product page before the add to cart, three bullet points or a horizontal line or three key reasons why I should buy from you and not the other guys. It could be your free shipping, you've been in business since 1977, you can trust us, and we have five million customers. With the demise of the flash sale ecommerce model, lost traction for the daily deals phenomenon and continuing questions around the long term viability of subscription commerce, Jason's question is a significant one. Our weekly ecommerce marketing update is a treasure trove of advice, analysis and helpfulness. Keep an eye out for his online ramblings - you can expect a generous helping of lightbulb moments and cheeky guffaws. Nowadays it's becoming even more challenging, for the competition has become very intense and simply establishing a good ecommerce website will not guarantee its success. There are several strategies that will help to ensure your ecommerce website attracts quality traffic that is more prone to convert. There is immense value in using social media to leverage and manage customer loyalty for increased brand awareness and website promotion.
Not only is it difficult to pursue ecommerce SEO and other forms of search engine marketing, but simply establishing a web presence and solid customer bases is a challenge in itself. I actually don’t really write there anymore, but, yeah, that’s a blog that I used to run with kind of marketing tips and stuff like that.
And if you can just briefly explain what you do with your current company, Boot Camp Digital? We work with people and help them figure out how to bring their personal brand to life in a meaningful way. And, yeah, that’s one of the reasons I wanted to have you on and I’m real excited to have you on, is just the fact that you have all these years of experience in social media, and I wanted you to kind of share some strategies and show us how businesses can actually use social media and social networking to increase their traffic, increase sales, increase conversions.
So most people, when they think of social media, they’ll think “Oh, it’s Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn.” And those are social media sites, social networks, but really, what social media is, at a high level, is it’s about connecting with people through the things that they care about and through conversations.
And why is it so important for businesses and marketers to try and engage with customers in social media?
So the big idea here is that we want to get in front of people where they’re spending their time with a relevant message.
And would you recommend the people of the business to get connected with the customers or to extend the brand in those social networks? And, honestly, that’s not really a new idea, but I think with all the hype over social media, a lot of people have forgotten it. Back then, we were on Myspace, actually, because you had to be in college still to get on Facebook.
What would they need to do to engage their customers and then, in turn, get more leads, get more conversions?
So, look, if you go on social media and, let’s say, selling…whatever product it is your selling. You’re not on social media because you want to be popular on the internet, you’re on social media because you want to drive your business. And the other thing I would say is social media ads do really well also, and at least exploring and testing with some ads is a great opportunity for almost every business. LinkedIn is really powerful if you’re targeting business owners or if you’re targeting people in a professional context.
When I wrote my—what was it—my second book, which—or my third book, Visual Social Marketing—when I wrote Visual Social Media Marketing, I interviewed a company that sells wedding supplies online, and they’re killing it on Instagram. So when I look at a business, usually any kind of business that already has customers and that people know about, usually we’ll be able to see some content from their website getting pinned by average people on Pinterest.
If they’re getting traction that shows people are interested in stuff like what you do on those networks. So if I was thinking about—you know, if I was selling car parts, maybe, I would want to look.
And now, moving on, are there some top mistakes that you’ve seen brands and companies make in social media? Look at our employees doing that.” and I say “Who do you think cares what your employees are doing?” maybe your employees, so put it in a newsletter. It just allows me to organize what I’m looking at and makes it faster and easier for me to have meaningful conversations on Twitter. Buffer basically allows you to create posts and schedule content out in advance, and I’ve been using that for some time as well. And, lastly, what are some advanced tips and hacks for social media that you can share for businesses to use?
So, you know, when it comes to hacks and stuff like that, I feel like a lot of the times, people want these easy answers, right. So you’d go find the top hashtags for food, and you could literally copy this list of hashtags and place it in every one of your Instagram posts. What I’ve noticed is a lot of the biggest sort of “secrets” and “hacks” and things like that that you see people come out with are good ideas that are done in kind of like a spammy or overaggressive way.
It’s really knowing what is the stuff that people both are interested in and that also drives your business. Because what you need to do is really think about “Okay, who have a really good value proposition?
What I try and do is at least investigate one new tool every month, just to see how it goes, and take it from there. From everything you said, I think one great takeaway would be investing time to find the right network, and then coming up with a plan. You need to improve your user experience with the lessons learnt from another silly season.
Michael has some simple, practical advice for your post-Christmas analysis, mainly focused around improving your online store UX. Even the largest retailers in Australia would struggle to put a dent in that type of security barricade. You need start your own miniature media publication and develop all the storytelling capabilities that come along with it. Professor of marketing at NYU Stern, Scott Galloway, is one of the sharpest minds in the business.
No ecommerce brand needs 120 different online stores across a whole stack of countries and states - just one big one.
The options you are able to afford to your customers can make a big difference to your long term bottom line. Traditional bricks and mortar stores are closing, and although these rates arena€™t as rapid, the trend is continuing.
Leisure and hospitality stores are not as affected by online retail, but fashion retailers and bookstores have been hit hard.
If you can find a way to use the benefits of your online store to enhance an in store experience, youa€™ll find the evergreen retail elixir everyone is questing for.
If youa€™re an ecommerce pro with a smartphone and an internet connection (thata€™s all of you surely), you should be listening to Andrew Youderiana€™s weekly half hour. Is it really the innovative, new way of selling things that works, or do the best businesses just find a way to win out in the long term?

We pull together the best information from the depths of the ecommerce jungle, wrap it up in one little email package, and ship it direct to your inbox door. James is dedicated to teaching ecommerce brands how to create their own repeat-customer-generating media empire. It is thus important to employ such marketing efforts creatively without investing a great deal of ad dollars. Social media brings you greater conversion potential since you will be getting targeted web traffic for minimal investment. Before you unleash you ecommerce site or web marketing campaign, be sure to have a sound ecommerce strategy in place. Click Centric SEO is an ecommerce SEO company with resources and capabilities to advance your brand’s web presence in the search results. She’s worked with companies like Procter & Gamble, GE, Macy’s, Google, and the United States Senate, and she has been featured as an expert in the New York Times, CNN, Wall Street Journal, NBC, CBS, Mashable, and the Associated Press. So we help businesses figure out how to better use social media tools and internet marketing to grow their business.
So, today, people are googling you to assess your credibility, and the idea of personal branding is making sure that when people search for you, you look like a rock star who they’re really excited to work it. And the first question I had is if you can just briefly explain to some listeners who don’t know or just give a definition of what is social media? And so, really, whether you’re using Instagram or Pinterest or Facebook—whatever tool you’re using—the big idea here is that you want to connect with people in a relevant way where they’re already spending their time and having conversations. And, really, as we look at where we can reach people with relevant messages, social media’s becoming a bigger and bigger opportunity because people are on social networks a lot. Now, some people might say “Well, I don’t know that people want to talk about my business on Facebook.” Studies show that most people are interesting in connecting with businesses on social networks.
I mean, most people when they hear social media, they think “Okay, we should make a Facebook page and start posting stuff. But we were on social networks doing those things, but we also went into discussion forums.
And so essentially what you want to look at as well is “How do we post stuff that’s both interesting to the customers but also drives our business over time?” And as you start getting your content close to that, that’s where businesses see results. It’s by far the biggest global social network, so most businesses find value from being there as well. So if I was selling office related products, even if I’m not selling them to a business, but if it’s business related, LinkedIn is where you’re gonna want to spend your time. It’s about the third biggest social network, depending on how you measure, and the thing that makes twitter really cool is that a lot of people are really active on Twitter and the people on Twitter love sharing experiences. It is a more female-centric network, but huge, huge, huge potential and really good for directly measurable results.
And if you don’t have things that are appropriate for Pinterest, you may find that you’ve put in a lot of effort and you’re not seeing a great return, and that’s probably because it’s just not a good fit. Like that example you said, okay maybe Pinterest might not be a good fit for certain businesses, but how can businesses go into these social networks and get a hint or an idea of “Maybe this is a good fit for our business and we need to invest time and money to engage customers here”?
It’s a big opportunity!” and so we say “Okay, let’s get on Facebook” and we just start posting stuff and nothing happens.
I can see the hashtags I wanna follow, I can see the people that I’m most interested in, and I can respond easily through HootSuite. Like I see products for sale like “Learn exactly how to grow your Instagram following by five billion people in two weeks,” some crap like that. Now, there’s an underlying principal there that’s accurate, which is using hashtags will increase your views. Dealing with old legacy assets can be a significant handicap, but choosing a new platform is a pain-staking and expensive process.
According to PWCa€™s 2015 Retail Trends Report Since 2000, fully three-quarters of retail sales growth has occurred through online channels. We spend endless hours of effort, endless streams of dollars, and endless bundles of effort to design our online shopping experience to be as simple, fast and helpful as possible. If you are at all interested in increasing your conversion rates, Peepa€™s Ecommerce Fuel interview will provide some valuable lightbulb moments for you. Always they are crafted to help brands delight, educate and funny-bone-tickle their audiences into coming back for more. If you want to offer incentives without breaking your bank, consider leveraging second tier products as promotional pieces. This is mostly because only those individuals who know what you are offering will end up on your website. There is also a significant number of people who are using other mobile devices like PDAs and tablets for shopping. Krista’s passionate about social media and she created one of the first accredited social media certification programs in the world.
We have an online certification program and a variety of other classes that we do that really just help business centers to get better results. And that still is a little bit more close to traditional advertising, I would say, where you’re trying to push messages out and hopefully they’re messages that people are actually interested in. So, for example, if I’m selling purses and I start posting style trends…well, as long as my purses are in those style trends, that naturally can grow sales for my business as well.
If you sell anything on the internet that’s remotely interesting, and hopefully if you’re selling something it’s interesting, Pinterest.
What I would say would be really good indicators are, one, are you competitors getting results there? The reality is that most things that are gonna get you quick results like that, you’re getting low quality results.
But spamming hashtags, which is essentially what he was doing, does not increase your views and it annoys people.
But if you can figure out exactly what is it that people care about, and that drives my business, and you start posting stuff like that… If you spend time actually connecting with people and understanding your customers, responding to them, nurturing relationships, that is the stuff that works over time. Typically offering incentives and promotions of Incentives not only encourage customers to buy, but they also ensure that your customers return as well as recommend you to others. Social media is also advantageous in that it allows you to get valuable feedback from customers as well as engage and interact with customers on a personal level. Take advantage of this by ensuring key pages of your ecommerce websites are mobile-friendly. She’s worked with companies like Procter & Gamble, GE, Macy’s, Google, and the United States Senate, and she has been featured as an expert in the New York Times, CNN, Wall Street Journal, NBC, CBS, Mashable, and the Associated Press. So it’s a combination of posting stuff, but also being relevant and developing relationships where people are spending their time and talking about this stuff too. Organic reach, or just naturally reaching people without advertising is getting harder and harder.
So it’s a great place to get people talking and to talk back to people, but it does take a little more time than, say, Facebook. So, in a business I’m working with right now, they’re not active on Twitter yet and they’re not sure if it’s worth their time. Let me retweet some of their stuff.” And that’s really how you get—that’s really how you get results. Email and social media marketing for ecommerce sites is a great way to promote incentives to both new and existing customers, depending on the nature of the campaign.
In some cases a custom mobile application could be the best investment for ecommerce marketing. So most businesses that are active on Facebook now also have a budget to promote their posts or to advertise with Facebook.
And if there’s already conversations, that’s another good indicator that it’s probably a good platform for you. So, you know, the best sort of advanced strategy I have is to really think through your content well. That can save you a lot of time and effort by just scheduling a handful of pins to go out every week. The content of your social posts should be engaging and interesting, and more times often than not, encourage users to take action.
It is also important to ensure that the checkout process from mobile devices is secure and straightforward.
Pinterest drives more traffic to websites that LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter combined and doubled.
So that shows at least that people want to connect with businesses like theirs in that medium. When making a mobile-friendly ecommerce store, ensure that the platform has such exclusive mobile features like mobile store promotions via emails, check-ins, SMS offers, and GPS localization.
And you also need to always keep—the second thing I would say is keep your target audience in mind. Mobile website optimization is a critical consideration for ecommerce sites, and it's becoming even more important as mobile becomes even more popular. Be proactive and engaging and this will motivate your fans, followers, and subscribers to spread your brand image through sharing and the likes.

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