In this video, you’ll learn the 4 best digital marketing strategies for eCommerce businesses. These 4 strategies are based on scientific research in the field of psychology, my personal experiences and a collection of all the best information I gathered from consuming content from some of the best digital marketers I know.
0:38 Importance of using best strategies
2:03 Email marketing with giveaways
9:23 Create content
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Creating content is one of the best ways to get traffic to your website. It also allows you to build you email list and create additional assets. In this video I’ll walk you through the 3 Content Buckets that will allow you to create endless content that drives traffic.
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Covid-19 is impacting businesses across the world and a lot of industries are taking a hit. E-commerce sites are seeing a particular problem where warehouses and delivery centres are closing and deliveries can no longer be made.
If that’s a problem facing you and your business at the moment, read on for guidance on how to handle your e-commerce site when you can no longer make deliveries.
How to communicate Covid-19 updates
Clear communication with customers is always essential. Customers will now be expecting to find Covid-19 announcements or words of reassurance on e-commerce sites. We recommend that communication is specific, in this case, to Covid-19. Here are some options:
Top of page banners
This banner should provide clear details about any delivery delays or cancellations. We recommend having this banner on every page. If that’s not possible, include it on the homepage and the basket/checkout pages. Link out to the relevant policy or FAQ page.
Here’s an example from Target:
Similar to banners, pop ups should have clear information detailing the change in deliveries. Pop ups can be more intrusive than a top of page banner, so we’d recommend including one on the homepage and the basket/checkout pages. Keep messaging detailed and optimistic.
Here’s an example from M&S:
Update meta descriptions
Use your site’s meta description to let existing and potential customers know how Covid-19 is impacting deliveries. This will appear within the SERP, so include information on free deliveries, delivery cancellations or if it’s “business as usual”.
See this example from ASOS:
Implement Covid-19 specific structured data
Google is now supporting Covid-19 specific structured data, which displays clear updates within the SERP. Some examples include:
Announcement of an event transitioning from offline to online, or cancellation
Announcement of revised hours and shopping restrictions
Search for Covid-19 related queries (e.g. “covid and international deliveries” or “is coronavirus impacting delivery times”)
Use Ahref’s site search functionality to research competitors and identify if they rank for questions you don’t rank for
Site search data (Google Analytics)
If you have site search tracking enabled, look at the queries being typed into your internal search functionality.
Are your competitors including Covid-19 specific FAQs? If so, is this something you can also use?
You’re an expert in your industry. What questions would you expect customers to be asking?
How to keep your site functionable
A website helps users fulfil their needs. Although you may be facing delivery difficulties, you can support your customers in other ways – e.g. allowing them to browse, creating shopping baskets or wishlists. Keeping your site live is essential and now is the opportunity to prepare for a post Covid-19 recovery. Here is what to focus:
Ensure search engines know that your site is still live and deserves to rank
Maintaining rankings will be crucial in weathering this storm. Health checks you can make include:
Are there lots of redirects or 404 pages?
Are rank worthy pages (e.g. homepage, category pages) being indexed?
Is the XML sitemap up-to-date?
Find an extensive guide to tech audits here and information on common tech issues of e-commerce sites here.
Keep category and product pages live and updated
Category pages are often essential to rankability, people are often looking for a category rather than a specific product.
Ensure category and product pages are optimised and include relevant keywords in the meta title and H1
Titles should be no longer than 60 characters
Ensure there is only one H1 on a page
Ensure categories pages are well linked to from the homepage
Allow customers to create wish lists or build up their shopping basket without expiry. Remember, we’re thinking about how to make future sales easy for customers that may be browsing now.
Example from ASOS:
How to collect and use customer data
Now is a great time to understand your customers and the journey they take across your site. As mentioned earlier, customers will still be looking for products. Here are some ways to gather and optimise that data:
Ensure your analytics tracking is correctly set up and accurate
If sales are down, this is also a good time to explore the customer journey and map out any areas where the journey can be optimised. For example, are you finding customers are landing on product pages instead of category pages and fail to make a purchase?
Encourage customers to subscribe to be notified when delivery is available
As well as data collection, this offers the customer an extra service which they might not have previously had, helping customer relationships and therefore, retention. Any data collected through subscription can be used for retargeting during this period and post Covid-19.
How to write engaging content
So your sales have dropped and you can no longer make deliveries, how else can you engage the customer? Write some great content! Here are some ideas to get you started:
Write top of funnel content
Top of funnel content can capture potential customers and lead them down the path to purchasing. This type of content is worth investing in now, as it’ll pay off in the future. Some examples include:
Evergreen seasonal content – this content will be relevant every year and can be easily recycled in the future.
Timely content around Covid-19. We are seeing sites writing content around working from home, wellbeing and things to do whilst isolating. This content is highly relevant and relatable during this period.
What are your competitors writing about? Use Ahrefs to discover related queries and content ideas to your industry. Protip: find which keywords your competitors rank for that you don’t using Ahref’s Content GAP functionality.
Lush can no longer make deliveries. They have communicated clearly to customers that deliveries can’t be made, kept category and product pages live and are instead showcasing related content. The screenshots below are taken from their homepage.
To communicate the lack of deliveries to customers, Lush have provided a banner and large announcement above the fold on the homepage. This communication is clear and links out to a more detailed article.
Instead of displaying products on the homepage, Lush are now showcasing relevant content such as, a guide to looking after your hands and recommendations on “ways to cope” during Covid-19.
The top nav allows customers to easily contact Lush, browse for products and access their basket. Although orders can’t be made, Lush does encourage customers to signup to create wishlists instead.
Although the world is experiencing a period of uncertainty and disruption, take the time now to prepare your site and business for a post-Covid world. Investing time into ensuring your site is healthy, that content is being written and that customers feel supported will pay off. Now is the time to pay more attention to customer support, retention and brand reputation in preparation for the future.
Share any of your e-commerce tips and tricks with us!
Email marketing is the life and blood of e-commerce, but if you’re using it wrong, it won’t generate you any sales. When you look at companies like Overstock do you know where they’re getting the majority of their sales from? Email marketing. That’s how powerful it is. Today I’m going to share with you seven e-commerce email marketing tactics that work like a charm.
I’m going to break down seven tactics, and if you use these, your numbers will go up.
Tactic number one, scrub your list.
The reason I say scrub your list, too many people have eCommerce email marketing out there and they’re just like, yeah, my list is huge, I’m at 100,000, I’m at 200,000, and I’m going to keep emailing everyone.
Well, what you’ll find is your email’s going to the promotions tab.
Why is it going to the promotions tab?
It’s because you keep emailing people that aren’t opening up your emails.
If you scrub your list, only email the people that are opening it, your deliverability rates go up, you get into the inbox, and your open rates go up, your clicks go up, your sales go up.
Scrub your list. If you’re using a good email provider like ConvertKit, they automatically do it for you.
Number two, you want to make sure you do trigger-based emails. If someone is on your email list, they add stuff to their cart, but they don’t complete their checkout, what should your email be to them?
When someone goes to their checkout they have these products and they don’t checkout, but then, you shoot them an email being like, check out our e-commerce store, here are all these products that we sell.
Well, that’s a terrible email.
They already added the ones that they want to buy, but they just need that push over the edge.
Maybe some testimonials, whatever may be to get them over the edge, that will help a lot, and you’ll notice a ton of sales from that.
The third thing that you need to do is time-based emails. Here’s what I mean by that.
Everyone’s like, yeah, you send out an email, people open it up whenever they do. If you have a ton of unopened emails in your inbox, what happens?
You’ll find that you’re less likely to go through all the ones that are at the bottom and open them up.
People get lazy, it’s not just you, it’s everyone. So you want to look at what time that person came to your site and put in their email.
That’s when you should be sending them an email.
I try to stick within that timeframe, usually within an hour, versus sending it whenever it’s my convenience.
The fourth thing you want to do is promotional-based emails.
So you want to make your campaign set up in advance. You don’t want to be at the last minute writing these emails.
That’s a lot from a holiday season, even though there’s a whole 12 months in a year.
The fifth tip I have for you is to keep your emails short, to the point, and try to use text-based emails.
Most e-commerce companies love using image-based emails.
Do you know what happens with image-based emails?
They get pushed in the promotions tab.
Google and Gmail and Outlook, they all know that when someone sends you an email with a ton of images, it’s usually a promotion versus when someone sends you a text-based email it’s typically a friend, hence, you want to use text-based emails.
The sixth tactic I have for you is upselling and downselling.
Typically, when someone buys from your e-commerce product you’re going to have upsells and downsells on the checkout page.
Sure, you want to still have them on the checkout page right after they purchase, but you also want to followup through email for all the people that don’t buy your upsells and downsells.
On your thank you pages where you have these upsells and downsells, usually they’re short and to the point.
Through email, they can be much more in-depth, longer, and you want to space it out.
You want to followup with all the other things that they can buy that can make that experience even better. It’s very important to get the timing right.
The moment you get the timing wrong, that’s when you’ll see that those emails won’t convert at all.
And last but not least, when you’re doing email marketing, it’s not just about email.
It’s very similar to email about the tactics that I’m going to break down. It’s push notifications. I use email combined with push notifications.
So when someone subscribes to my site through tools like Subscribers, I’ll let them know and push send them through their browser, hey, here are the products that you could end up buying.
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Research from Google suggests that the correlation between page load times and conversion rates is strong, especially on mobile web pages.
One of the simplest changes you can make to your website is limiting the data loaded as a visitor navigates through product listings.
More simple yet surprisingly quick things that can help speed up your ecommerce site.
For online retailers, the abandoned site/cart problem has many factors. Reducing the number of clicks to checkout, eliminating surprises in price displays and offering guest checkout options are some well-known ways to fight cart abandonment on an ecommerce site, but smart merchants are always searching for ways to keep potential customers from leaving the site before making a purchase.
Research from Google (among other surveys conducted in the last few years) suggests that the correlation between page load times and conversion rates is strong, especially on mobile web pages. In short, slow loading times are stopping sales in their tracks.
Speeding up page load can have a huge impact on your business. Just check out Google’s Test My Site tool, which can help you estimate load time’s impact on revenue based on the number of visitors to your site, your average conversion rate and average order value. Depending on your results, you may want to start small or jump into wholesale site adjustments to reclaim revenue lost to site abandonment. Let’s go through speed-oriented changes at three different levels of difficulty.
Level one: Simple yet quick changes you can make yourself
Images on your website create the biggest data transfer need when someone loads up your page on their browser. One of the simplest changes you can make to your website is limiting the data loaded as a visitor navigates through product listings. That doesn’t necessarily mean you should remove images, it just means you should be smarter about how they’re used.
The simplest way to do this is to make sure your customer’s browser is loading the right size image for their needs. If they’re on mobile, they don’t need the same size product images as they would on desktop. You can manually add differently-sized images and set parameters for when they’re displayed, but your ecommerce platform should offer a way to make images responsive to the customer’s device. You upload the highest-quality image you have, and the user gets the size they need based on the device they are using.
Another best practice is to limit the number of items displayed at one time on each page. Don’t load 100 results per page when only 15 can fit on-screen at once. Instead, use “Load More” buttons and let shoppers tell your site when they’re ready for more. This allows shoppers to scroll segments of your product listings, without feeling daunted by dozens of pages of results to sift through, while also keeping load times ultra fast. Your page will only need to load a handful of images at a time when the user is ready to view them, and their overall scrolling and the shopping experience will be simplified.
Level two: You might need the help of your partners
As with images, reducing the amount of other data that needs to load when a user first visits your website will help speed up their experience. The content they encounter first on your site is called “above-the-fold” content and should be what loads first. You might be surprised to learn that plenty of websites load third-party widgets before getting to the actual content.
Level three: Teamwork makes the dream work
Consistent experiences across desktop and mobile have been the goal for merchants since the iPhone’s introduction in 2007 launched the era of mobile browsing. In the 2010s, responsive design delivered significantly better mobile experiences and played a significant role in the shift of internet access taking place mostly on desktop to mostly on mobile.
Now, blending the functionality of websites with the simplicity of apps is the latest move to provide fast, simple mobile commerce experiences. Progressive web apps, (PWAs) which were introduced several years ago but are seeing more significant adoption now, have a few attributes that make them unique, and uniquely-suited to online sales.
PWAs are responsive and load incredibly fast, giving the sensation of instantaneous load times. They can work offline, thanks to progressive updates through service workers, and are secure because service workers require encrypted data transmissions. PWAs can be installed on mobile device home screens and support push notifications like apps, but can also be accessed and shared using URLs like websites.
In short, PWAs can solve the problems of slow page load speeds on desktop or mobile, but also unlock new ways for merchants to interact with shoppers, provide great digital experiences, increase loyalty and empower customers to advocate for the brand. You probably aren’t going to build a PWA alone, but brands who do find many benefits in the process.
When a potential customer visits an online store, it’s typically because they have some level of interest in the products sold there, which is why it’s frustrating for merchants to lose a sale once they have come that far. Don’t let page load times be the reason bail. There are many factors and many fixes like the ones we’ve reviewed here that can impact load speeds and keep customers happily shopping on your ecommerce site.
Jimmy Duvall is Chief Product Officer at BigCommerce.