eCommerce retailers’ biggest question is “My return on investment for social, organic and paid marketing…where is it?”. And it is a tough question to answer because the eCommerce market is so variable when it comes to marketing. But the good news is that we actually do know enough about shopping online to give you both the simple and extended answers.
The Simple Answer:
You’re not meeting the needs of your customers, while they are browsing online. It’s important that your marketing messaging speaks directly to the customer and where they are at in the buying cycle.
Example: Your 1000 word, SEO friendly article about the benefits of using a waterproof camera case isn’t going to help you win over a customer that is already searching for a waterproof camera. Other eCommerce retailers already capitalized on simplicity.
*There goes that $500 you just spent on “targeted SEO”
The Extended Answer:
When I’m saying that you’re not meeting the needs of your customers, I’m not saying that your products or marketing efforts are failing. What I’m really trying to say is that not every customer is the same, so the way in which you market to them cannot remain the same across channels. Below is a breakdown of the available channels that you can use to market in the eCommerce ecosystem, along with the general marketing message you should use to try and convert those potential buyers:
Social Media: This is a place for discovery and sharing. So make sure you are tailoring your marketing efforts to do just that. This means that you should be creative showing in how your products could be used or the benefits that they offer. Make it seem relevant and use bold imagery in for your content.
*Don’t try to immediately ram new products down people’s throats with ads, be subtle about it*
Organic Searches: Articles are great for sharing knowledge and building trust from readers online. The readers might not be ready to buy right away when they find your content, but chances are that you will have the ability to influence them, if your articles are targeted and provide substantial value.
*Don’t spend a lot of time and money on creating articles for your branding and focused keyword strategies, if all you want is immediate sales*
Search Engine Text Ads: Text ads are meant to be specific and targeted. So making sure that the ads that show up for those certain keywords will be the only way you can attract quality traffic. The ads need to be focused and speak to the questions that the customer is asking.
*Don’t waste your money if you aren’t serious about putting in some real time and thought into it. “But I had a Google Adwords Rep call and help me setup my ads…” – This thought-process will bleed your bank account and give you a false sense of comfort, because you think they know your business as well as you do. They don’t. And that strategy will definitely not result in a high return on investment for eCommerce marketing.
Search Engine Product Ads: This is a great opportunity for companies that have products and eCommerce stores that sell them. These ads are targeted directly for customers that are ready to buy. All they need is to feel assured that your website can deliver the goods as promised and provide immediate support if something goes awry.
*Don’t place products with high shipping costs or general product descriptions (unless you’re a big-box trusted retailer). Also, if you have an older looking site with a complicated checkout process, then these ads will not provide an acceptable return on investment. People don’t buy from sketchy looking sites that aren’t maintained and updated.
It’s easy to pretend that spending money on social media, organic SEO and paid ads is working because your web guy is saying that he’s sending traffic to your website.
It’s smarter, however, to take a look at that traffic and see if your are converting those people into customers. If that’s not the case, then you should take a step back and think of the best ways to market your products on each channel. Your return on investment is the most important factor when dealing with eCommerce marketing.