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Learn How to Launch Your Business Online & Start Selling ASAP [Quick Guide]

Earth is closed! You might have seen the memes, but you most certainly will have heard how the Covid-19 coronavirus has wreaked havoc on businesses all over the world. If you happen to be one such business person, don’t lose hope.

work during corona
People are indoors, in either self-quarantine or lock-down. Apart from reducing the spread of the virus this way, people being indoors means business can still go on. Ask those working from home and they will tell you that everything is progressing, albeit slowly, online.

If you are the owner of offline store, brick-and-mortar business and want to run your business online, this article is for you.

Are you ready to launch your business online?

Here we go!

How To Get Going Quickly – First Steps

e-commerce setup

This is often the hardest move, but modern technology has made it quite straightforward to transform your business online. Whether you are an independent business owner or work for small shops, or restaurants and cafes, you can still use the internet to your advantage.

Here’s How TheRubyTap Wine Bar did it !!

Offline to online store

The Ruby Tap Wine bar, for example, took quick action in setting up online order system helps people to make orders online. They could come pick up their purchases from the curbside when ready. It was a great way to encourage safety while at the same time keeping business going.

See what happened after they launched an online bottle ordering system!

In your case, things might be a bit more complicated. It is not a bad idea to start a little late, while still being quick about it.

Start with buying a domain name if you are not having one. Domains are ridiculously cheap, demand only annual pay, and can be redesigned to your heart’s content. You will need to invest a little cash to get this going, but your efforts will prove fruitful.

Now the next part will be to use trusted and ready to use framework for your online store. We recommend going with Shopify, WooCommerce hosted on WordPress or any other eCommerce platform depending upon your requirement. They will save your lot of time in developing the system and offers world class ready to use features for your online order system.

A blog, along with some reviews from existing customers, can make you stand out in your own light even though you are technically the ‘new e-kid on the block’. Content writing businesses can help infuse your blog with sufficient content on short notice.

Have some of your preferred customers post their reviews of you and your services. The rest is a promotion game waiting to begin.

Biggest Pitfalls – Watch Out!

home delivery

You need to remember that these are dark times, and you cannot just leap on the success bandwagon overnight.
A major pitfall that no one will tell you about is the mistrust of online shoppers. Many who do not normally opt for e-commerce are now being forced to. Additionally, you have more people looking for a lot more things online than just what you are providing. It is therefore imperative that you come across as trustworthy, learned in your business, calm and efficient, and do it all using written words, videos, and images.

Customers are ready to buy, Are you ready to sell ?

The chain of supply-demand has to be maintained. You need to have field agents ready to home-deliver, or at least set up your marketing campaign in such a way that people know where they can come collect their purchases safely and without incident. Try a dummy run yourself just to see if you can deliver to those living in your neighbourhood.

Shopify, WordPress, Woocommerce… These are your online management hubs, using which you can adequately handle all things customer-related. Order management, keeping a central data repository, GDPR, spreadsheets, etc. can all be maintained if you are willing to set aside time for them. You can lose sight of several factors if this step is not followed, so spend those few hours a day on ‘paperwork’.
A bank, no matter what they say, will not bail you out. Do not rely on their hollow promises at a time like this. Banks are more interested in high-end corporates and large business chains. Your comparatively simpler business needs you to be smart and give time.

The Right Resources – Choose Your Weapon

e-commerce resources

People are strapped for cash right now, which means you cannot afford to be a ‘freeloader’ when hiring some of them to help keep your business afloat in an online marketplace.
Just keep a handful of trusted employees, get a few recommended online social media savvy individuals, and pay them a cheap but guaranteed amount of money to help you sort out varied business demands at different times of the day.

Love Thy Competitor

Peers as well as rivals will have ideas to share with you. These are trying times, which are somehow uniting people rather than dividing them. Put aside your pride and ask those in your business circle for advice. Even one small point can turn the tide in your commercial favor.

Pay that Debt Off

Small business loans, as long as you are sure of repayment, can prove to be a good choice in these testing times. It will help you pay for your online presence as well as keep your employees committed.
Not everything you read online is true. The same applies to people you talk to before transforming your business online. Trust, but verify. Double-check everything, in fact you can ‘hire’ a family member or friend to do this on your behalf.

SBAgov and EcomChat are two fine examples of online chat forums that are essentially ‘by the people, for the people’ threads (or conversations), aimed at shedding light on e-commerce issues amidst ongoing chaos. Use the tag #ecomchat to ask questions on Twitter. You will find that several people from all over the world will be willing to ease your doubts. They also pick some important questions and discuss them with the users, as shown below :

ecom chat example

Client Reviews boost your reputation

Your current customer base is the fuel for your online rocket. You need to call them and entail their help. Merely request them to leave a review online, preferably on your website or blog (you must have created one expressly for your present e-commerce requirements). These reviews are crucial, because the last thing fresh customers want is to see a ‘blank’ company that has made no real impact in the lives of people. Yours has actually influenced real-life people, so it is important that your online portal reflects that. Here is an example of client testimonials on a Digital Marketing Agency website.

customer reviews
‘Payment technology’ is the term applied for all online payment options. You need to set this up, so people can choose one of a handful of ways to pay online when shopping with you. Don’t forget to make COD, or cash on delivery, available as well.

Get the Lead, when you least expect it

Make excellent use of free trials and free tier accounts to integrate live chat options on your portal. You’ll be surprised just how many people will want to directly ask you questions instead of emailing. You can earn or lose customers based on how accessible you are to them. Even when you are not online, these chat apps can still help you get leads as seen below.

live chat app

Reach out via LinkedIn to varied staff and/or employers/owners. Many are out of a job at this time, and you might get lucky and land a few experienced minds for your online business transformation.

Landing Your First Order – How To Make It Happen

ecommerce customers

Marketing options for your blog or website will not come free. This is where your business loan or savings can come in handy. You need to invest in good marketing. This is not really an option for small businesses eager to win the attention of online shoppers.

Learn Opportunistic Marketing from Amul

Opportunistic Marketing is the biggest source for getting your brand across. Amul has been on the top since its beginning in terms of opportunistic marketing. Here is a recent example of Amul spreading awareness about Corona Virus.

amul opportunistic marketing
The first fact to keep in mind concerning Marketing is that you need to target the right audience. Be it housewives or teenagers, you need to sing to the right crowd or your song is going to go unheard.
Facebook ads are taking a hit, but Google ads are still going strong. You can start generating interest followed by sales by buying Google ad space. You can start by creating a Google Shopping Campaign.

Right Ad placement can do wonders

You can buy ad space based on the interest of people. As you can see below, SEMrush has bought ad space on the domain buying blog, as the person who is building a website will need marketing tools for sure. Smart move, isn’t it ?

display ads example

Several orders are made via chat platforms. Suppose the free version mentioned earlier has expired, you can leave your Whatsapp business number on the blog or website to redirect people to come chat with you. They can place orders after quickly clarifying their doubts.

This is the most valuable e-commerce option for small businesses. Whereas your website or blog sets you up as a dignified and trusted service provider, your Whatsapp may well become the hub where all the shopping action takes place.

Conclusion – This Is Only the Beginning

online shopping

Putting in the effort is only half the effort. Think of it this way: without a sound strategy, all your hard work will only drain your energy levels as well as potential sales. ‘Less is more’ works beautifully for small businesses looking to transform from offline to online during the Covid-19 coronavirus crisis that has affected a plethora of businesses all over the globe.

Learn to Earn

Help is readily available for you online, in the very realm where you are now planning to branch out. Portals like Website setup are interesting pages to spend a day on, so you can figure out what will work for you and what won’t. From Affiliate Marketing and Online Publishing to creating Youtube videos, there is so much you can learn to benefit your small business in this crucial transition phase.

It is all about familiarity, which is why we recommended that you sit at least one day doing research. It may seem tedious, but at the end of the day you will have taken all the right notes to help you narrow down on the essentials. This in turn will help you target all the right customer bases and business factors, getting you that much closer to online success in a relatively short time.

6 Old Marketing Ideas that Still Work! – Checkout How?

Acquiring new customers has never been easy, especially when you are a new brand in the market. Further, with the help of technology and spreading awareness among customers, selling a product required a lot of research and promotional creativity. A few decades ago, marketing was all about printing a few ads and banners for the local streets. But with the present surge of internet and social networking platforms, marketing strategies had a major makeover. To understand these changing trends, it would be a great idea to look back at marketing leaders over the ages.

In 1960s, the ways of promotion were a lot different than it is today. The medium of spreading the word was mostly limited to the three networks; television channels, radio & newspaper. Further, the messages were largely literal and were crafted mostly for female consumers. In those days, the styling was all about suits and cigarettes. A fountain pen and a martini would symbolize status. The consumer on the other side had little purchasing information and accepted anything that was put through.

It was in the 1970s when the first hint of creative marketing was seen. Though most nations were fighting political unrest and economic pressures, the expenditure of consumers too reached an all-time high, propelled by inflation and hoarding behavior. During this decade, ‘Positioning’ was the most popular advertising strategy and it was considered as an effective way of placing the ads of your product in the mind of the target persona. The 1990s brought forward several new brands and we saw a boom in marketing strategies. Door-to-door selling was replaced by electronic marketing and we started using digital media and accompanying technologies for product promotion.

In this ever-growing industry, the core marketing concepts are still the same and very much functional. In this article, I will be sharing my views on those old marketing ideas and will compare the same with the current marketing strategy.

Here is the list of old marketing strategies that are still effective:

#1 Influencers are important

influencers

The idea of brand ambassadors and celebrities was introduced in the 80s, largely by a few big brands. But looking forward, it has been a distinguishing aspect of brand identity today.

It was in the 1980s that marketing became more intense and consumers got more demanding. This was also the period when we saw a rise in the fashion industry. Designer labels like Calvin Klein introduced a whole new range of products and employed celebrities like Kate Moss during the start of her career in the early 90s. Campaigns became more seductive and promotion needed some ambassadors that the end-user segment related to. In this light, we also saw the widespread popularity of jeans in the fashion industry. Currently, we have seen such influencers as well in the fashion industry like Kim Kardashian and Kendal Jenner. In today’s world celebrities have huge followers on various social media platforms and are known as social media influencers, they charge around $10K for a single tweet or an Instagram post.

#2 Believe on Visuals

visual-marketing

Though the world largely buys from the internet portals, visual advertisement still plays a prominent role in choice making. With so many competitors for every single product, it is through creative visuals that marketers can appeal to the senses.

Multiple advertisement mediums have been introduced including TV, radio, billboards, magazines, Internet, direct mail, and newspapers. Advertising became an integral part of the life of an average user since the 1970s and this was well supported by growth in TV usage. Advertisement placing was well researched and scientific and more emphasis was laid upon fact-based marketing. Music was introduced with the advertisement for better brand recall.

Currently, there are plenty of online advertising platforms available in the market like Google AdWords, Media.net, Criteo & AdRoll on which merchant show their ads and it directly reaches the target audiences. These platforms help in achieving huge success because it benefits consumers, advertisers, and companies as well. On the other hand, social media marketing is also a plus point for companies to reach out to the targeted audience. Companies love to promote their Advertisement banners on platforms like Facebook ads, Twitter, Pinterest & Instagram Ads which gives great ROI in terms of branding and sales.

coca-cola-banner

#3 Reaching out to customers

It was due to the limitations of technology that our previous generations weren’t able to pass on the information effectively. In old times, businesses reached out to customers via newspaper advertisements, Radio, Banners, TV’s, etc. But today, social media platforms present a solid stage for reaching out individually to customers and groups. Every major brand has a vast social media presence today and has been investing more in social campaigns.

Here, I would like to give a small example of how social media marketing helps companies at the branding level. Coca-cola is one of the top soft drink companies founded in 1886. As per reports it has only served around 9 bottles per day in the first year and today it sells around 1.9 billion bottles daily globally. Coca-cola changed its marketing strategies frequently over time based on the market trends, brand ambassadors and competition. Today Coca-cola has around 106 million likes on Facebook and around 4 million Twitter followers which show that consumers still have faith in this brand. Coca-cola runs impressive online & offline marketing campaigns and tries to reach out to the maximum audience.

#4 Branding is pure business:

branding

Again, the visual impact seems to be the competitive advantage of a brand. One can easily associate with the Nike or Adidas logo, but there are thousands of good sports manufacturing companies. Creative designing and Infographics have certainly taken an authoritative ground. A logo is one of the most important factors when it comes to branding. If you closely see the branding campaigns of famous companies then you will notice that most of the companies use red color in their logo as it is bold primary color and consumers can easily remember the logo for a long time. Most of the companies like Coca-Cola, Puma, Virgin, Toyota, Canon, and Netflix uses the red color in their logo.

#5 Trends are always on the high

Trends seem to be fleeting, changing with every new introduction. As such, marketers and brands at large should be the carriers of changing trends and just not follow them. Here, one needs to understand the trends and predict the marketing strategies in advance to meet the expectations of changing human behavior. If the brand doesn’t change with the trend, it will lose a large market share like Nokia.

#6 Discounts and offers still work

black-friday

While the modern consumer always makes an informed decision, discounts and fair price has always been a welcome move. Discounts and offers have also been a major element to gain a competitive advantage. In this era, the discount and offers are mainly known as Black Friday & Cyber Monday deals. In November & December month which is mainly known for holiday sales, all local & online stores provide huge discounts & deals for consumers. As per fortune report in 2015, online shoppers spent around $4.45 Billion on Black Friday & Thanksgiving day.

The way a consumer thinks will keep on changing but marketing strategies need to be a step ahead and should be able to anticipate the change. Modern consumers have been taught to be completely aware of what they are buying and whether there is a better alternative or not. The challenges for the marketer are thus enormous and it is with creative abilities and wider research that a successful brand identity can be established. However, there are still many things from the early ages of marketing that stick to the core of the process. Marketing strategies have always been about research and understanding our customers. The same will continue to apply.

10 Mistakes to Avoid While Managing Google Ads Account

You allotted a decent budget to promote your business through Google ads and not getting desired sales. Are you not happy with the Google adwords performance? Does your paid marketing campaigns are not giving desired sales? Are you planning to stop using Adwords?

Wait! Before you stop using Google ads, checkout this article. It may happen that your team committing few common mistakes in managing Google adwords account. Here it is very important for you to learn about possible reason behind this poor performance? Therefore to avoid the common Adwords mistakes, it is necessary to take care of the following blunders and to avoid them in the future:

#1 Not doing proper research:

Doing a proper research is the key before you start any paid marketing campaign. The most important and the basic first step for Adwords advertiser is to understand the market. Research can be done by reading tips on industry blogs like Search Engine Land, Google Ads official blog or by talking to others who have advertised on Google Ads. If possible read Google AdWords blog daily and keep your self updated with latest AdWords update & features. It will give you better idea to experiment new things in various client accounts.

Here fundamental understanding of your market and the Google adwords features is highly recommended. It will give you better understanding of your target audiences and the type of ads you should run. So, start doing your research and understand the tool before you start promoting your business via Google adwords.

Pro Tip:

If you are an eCommerce business and looking to generate sales, you need to study Google shopping ads. They not only giving best conversion rate but also can reduce your ads spend as compare to search ads. Here is an example of how Google shopping ads display your advertisement on Google search result.

Google shopping ads example

#2 Not using the right Keywords and Keywords Match Type:

Keywords research is the heart and soul of a Google Ads campaign, especially for the search ads. Thus it is beneficial to correctly judge your keywords before putting them into the campaign. The keywords should be such that they bring conversions and not just clicks. It is important to ensure that you understand your campaign type whether product or content to manage the set of keywords.

keyword-match-types

Break your keywords into small sets and use the right keyword match types combination (broad match, phrase match, or exact match) to optimize your campaign. But of course, this strategy would depend on what you want, traffic, impressions or conversion.

Don’t forget to add negative keywords list which includes terms you “do not” want to respond to, so as to save a lot of costs. In Google AdWords Negative keywords are most important factor as it saves lots of cost and will not show your ad on particular keywords. Here is one such example of the importance of negative keywords.

bad-ppc-agency

In every AdWords campaign there is common set of negative keywords which needs to include while creating any new campaign. You also need to identify that which negative keywords will come at AdGroup and Campaign level.

#3 Ad Copy – Not using multiple ad copies:

If you are creating one or two search or display ad copies, it is wrong practice. Testing advertisement copy is very crucial part while running a paid ads. It is the most compelling reason people click your advertisement and and hence, better ad copy can improve CTR. An ideal ad copy consists of a headline, your keywords and a persuasive call to action. It is wise to test your copy by trying two or three variants to find out what works best. You need to find out what actually will get you conversions thus it is wise idea to test different variations of everything.

You should finally choose a copy that gets you the highest click-through and conversion rate, or the lowest cost per acquisition. It is thus extremely sensible to trust numbers before making a final choice of copy. Here, you also need to understand the importance of AdWords Ad Extensions. Sitelink, Call out, Structured snippet, ratings and location extensions are the most common extensions that every AdWords users use in their campaigns. This extensions often increases CTR, Conversions, Clicks and Converion Rate so use them wisely.

adwords-ad-format

In above ad copy you will find the maximum use of Ad Extensions which drives some useful information for the users hence the chances of clicks and conversions are high.

If the holiday sales are near by than you should set up your campaigns before one month with various ad copies. After setting up the campaigns within 1 or 2 weeks you will come to know that which kind of ad copies are working well for holiday campaigns and on the bases of that you can make necessary changes in it.

#4 Not knowing your customers Life Time Value:

Calculating the LTV for your customers is an integral part of your research to understand how much you can spend on Adwords per acquisition. By calculating this value you can decide how much to spend on your campaign. The Life time value should not be lower than the cost per customer for your campaign especially for an ecommerce business. If your customer stays with you longer that eventually the initial cost may be sensible. Kissmetrics blog provided detailed calculation of Life Time Value represented in Infographic on their blog.

#5 Not understanding the Adwords advance features:

Although the basic campaign set-up is easy yet they require various small setting to make it run better. It is up to you to educate yourself about the use of those features so as to get more results for the same money. Some of the helpful options are AdGroups, Ad targeting, Match types, Keyword insertion and Ad Extensions.

I strongly recommend keep reviewing new and advance features announced by Google Adwords team. They are really working hard to offer best Adwords features that can maximize your business using their tool.

#6 Not using Google Analytics with Adwords:

One of the most powerful marketing tools, Google Analytics is there for you at no extra cost. Connecting your AdWords conversion tracking to your Google Analytics can help you see all kinds of data that your campaign is generating. Google Analytics provides you the product performance report specially for ecommerce business which helps them to make AdWords strategies for particular products or product category.

Google AdWords blog also explained earlier that combining Google AdWords & Analytics can open huge opportunity for advertisers to achieve their goals.

Please note that, this is not a mandatory to use but if implemented properly, you can have a better data to understand customer’s behavior. This can directly impact your marketing strategy and can improve overall performance for sure.

#7 Not directing the Traffic to the category or highly relevant page:

The unique landing pages help the searcher connect easily with the information they seek, and this is much convenient for them rather than landing on your homepage where they have to struggle with finding what they came to your site for.

For an ecommerce site, it is a good idea to send people directly to the product page, bypassing the homepage and the category pages.

There is one added advantage of landing them on highly targeted page is to have a better Quality Score! Google adrank is defined based on your Quality score + bidding and having better QS can result in lower CPC.

#8 Not Testing the Optimal Ad Position for branding:

Positioning is important if your goal is to improve branding. It is obvious that the first few search results get more clicks and if getting clicks is your goal then do ensure you are on the top of the page but if your goal is conversion then your ad content will work for you.

One more important factor of branding in AdWords is that you shouldn’t ignore your own brand while running the campaigns. Yes, you need to run Ads on your own brand keywords. If your business is slowly achieving the goals and people come to know about your business after some time than they will directly search on Google by your business name. But, if you are not running ads on your brand keywords and some competitor grabs this opportunity than you will loose huge business.

buffer-vs-hootsuiteSo, don’t make this mistakes while running AdWords account and make sure your first campaign will be your brand campaign.

#9 Not knowing your competitors:

When you know who are you competing against and what ads are they using you are well equipped to build a strategy for yourself.  It is important to know your competitors keywords and their landing pages to modify yours.

kohls-competitor

If you want to sustain in the market and keep improving your business than you must focus on competitors. Above report is fetched from ispionage which gives detailed report of your competitor like how much they are spending, which ppc keywords they are using and many more. Even in Google AdWords you can check Auction Insights report where you will find how other advertisers participating in the same shopping auctions. It gives you valuable insights for your Google ads account.

#10 For eCommerce – Avoiding Shopping Ads is a biggest mistake:

If you are an eCommerce brand and not running a Shopping ads, you are loosing great business opportunity. Shopping ads has a great importance for an eCommerce and this case study is a great example of it.

As explained in first section, you will have a great benefits of using shopping ads:

  • Only eCommerce portal can run shopping ads (less competition)
  • Your ad will appear with product image / ratings / price and other additional information. This can give you added advantage over search ads.
  • You can use various promotions (through Google merchant center, you can run promotion that will be displayed under your product ads). Better way to increase CTR.

Apart from this, there are various benefits of using Google shopping ads which is already explained in given article.

Over to you:

Just check the given mistakes and review your Google ads account to see whether your team is making these mistakes? These are very basic points but can really save your money and can improve the performance of your adwords account.

If you still need any help, feel free to contact us here by comment or through our contact us page. I will get back to you within 24 hours.

How Social Commerce Can Change the Future of eCommerce Industry

Opinions always matter when one is about to spend money on a product or service. According to the Google Data, mobile searches for “product review” has grown around 35% in past two years.  Here buyers want to understand what people are saying about a brand before purchasing it online. This is very similar when we ask for help from our family and friends on social media before purchasing a product. This is one example of Social Commerce where a brand is directly benefited from their existing buyers sharing reviews with their friends and families!

Mobile product review“The world is a global village” is a phrase that is commonly used when referring to the advancement of technology. Things have become easier in a way you can access services from the internet from the comfort of your house just by using your phone or laptop. But when it comes to eCommerce, most of the merchant are still not using social media to improve customer confidence. By displaying a reviews of their friends or families, merchant can increase conversion rate of their eCommerce website. Social commerce trend is growing rapidly and will change the future of eCommerce industry if incorporated properly with an eCommerce brand.

The new form of trade involves buying and selling of products and services by use of social media websites as trading platforms. They give consumers and producers a chance to interact conclusively on their brands. This concept can also be defined as the process of using shopping tools to enhance social commerce sales. The concept is mainly to give clients a blueprint of the product or service they wish to buy. These tools also advise clients on the product they wish to acquire. By connecting people from different parts of the globe, it is right to say that E-commerce brought forth social commerce.

Breaking the Norm

Since products are easily accessible once you have the internet, it is easier to know what is trending and at what price. Consequently, a huge demand for the products online is created. While browsing the internet, creatively managed dynamic re-marketing display ads also create a thirst for owning certain products.

Social commerce also has a great advantage of targeting right audiences at the right time. Lets for example, if your product is mainly targeting female audiences, you should be at Pinterest. Out of all adults who use social media in US, 38% of women are using Pinterest as compare to 15% of Men. Here you can plan a precise data driven social media marketing strategy to increase sales from social media websites.

Here is the list of popular social media websites based on their market shares. One can choose the platform by considering macro metrics of their target audiences to convert them into customers:

Source: Statista (January 2018 data)

Endowed with social media marketing tools

This form of doing business is socially driven as it has to use social media sites to further it. It is evident on sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter which are largely used for commercial purposes. Social Commerce also involves the use of platforms under which users have one on one conversation with other users and can sell their products to them. Statistics show that many customers buy products due to recommendations given by their friends. It also has a peer recommendation where the user can use recommendations of other users before making a purchase. Some also have social shopping where the user is allowed to interact with friends and other users on their opinion of a product.

With the help of social media marketing tools, you can improve the way you use social media to promote your products online.

Well-defined prospects on various Social media sites

Social media and social commerce have a mother and child relationship as they coexist. Different sites have features that make the involvement of social commerce unforgettable. Facebook, for example, has the dynamic ads as a feature for social commerce. The feature connects merchant with consumers from advertisements on the site or from the mobile application. The feature has seen more retailers use Facebook and increase their sales as it connects retailers with millions of consumers on a daily basis.

ASOS has increased their orders 3 times and their return on ad spend by 2.5 times with the help of Facebook Dynamic Ads. Checkout this ASOS case study to learn more about this opportunity:

Facebook has also launched Marketplace where anyone can sell their products like classified websites. This has allowed clients to enjoy social media as they buy products. Pinterest also offers great feature for ecommerce via Buyable pins that allows the client to purchase an item once shared on the platform. The item often comes with reviews and images that allow the customers to make informed decisions about the product.

Instagram is also testing shopping feature since long and hopefully they will launch for all business very soon. You can always run a paid marketing campaign to promote your product using Instagram ads. Once the user clicks on the button, she will redirect to the same product page on your mobile app / website and a transaction can be made easily from that. The feature is easy to use and has encouraged consumers to purchase items as a variety of products are displayed for the picking.

Instagram ad example

Unlimited benefits

Social commerce does provide opportunities to buyers and sellers as it provides a link to both. It gives both an upper hand of interacting with tons of people from all over the globe. The platform favors everyone in the supply-demand chain. Social commerce has become more social in that the purchase of a product is not only done by the buyer himself but by other parties. Traders have a social circle in which they consult one another on different deals that are about to be made.

A buyer may for example post on Facebook for advice or reviews on a product they are willing to purchase. Family and friends often give out their opinion and help the buyer in decision making. Social circles of traders have also been created as this lets them meet on the social platforms where they can easily carry out their deals. Buyers get to know from other buyers on who has high-quality products at affordable prices. Brands also have online platforms where they allow customers to post their reviews and ratings on the brands they have purchased. This gives the buyer a sense of belonging without going all out to experience this.

Some online shops have also given their clients the chance to be more confident as it allows them to fully express their experience with the brand. They are able to post their personal experience using the product on the respective platform. This shows other potential customers why they should use the product and what experience they should expect. For example, GoPro is regularly sharing their customer’s videos and experiences on their official Facebook page. Have a look at one of such video:

https://www.facebook.com/GoProIndia/videos/2015533948701456/

It is all about shopping without limits and therefore making your shopping experience memorable. It also gives brands a more global outlook. This allows traders who are buyers and sellers to connect from anywhere in the globe.

Social media is a source of money as with just a simple click millions of people are exposed to your brand. With the good reviews and exposure, your product could be sold out to millions in a short period. During the NBA championship, the Warriors were able to sell shirts worth $125,000 via Twitter. This has become possible with the presence of different social media sites.

Final Words

Finally, while engaging in social commerce, research is vital as the merchant needs to know whether they are targeting the right channel or not. Being there when your prospect needs you can increase the chance you make a sale. Effective utilization of social commerce can give you an edge over your competitors and to always satisfy your customers. It is a new dawn of commerce.  Adapting to the new technological advancements would favor your business as manufacturers and service providers so as to improve customer experience.

10 Marketing Skills To Double Your eCommerce Sales in 2018

Do you know which was the first ecommerce business? Or which eCommerce business first achieved profit in the industry? Jeff Bazos launched Amazon back in 1995 but they achieved first yearly profit in December 2001 (Fourth quarter). Amazon survived after dot com burst and became a giant player in online sales business. Each and every day new eCommerce business launches and shutting down and only they survives in the industry who knows how to grab and retain customers with effective eCommerce marketing strategies. Let’s talk about some marketing skills which help you to double eCommerce sales in 2018.

If there is any business which sells products, makes money and in most cases, even making profits; it should be eCommerce business. But this was not the case for some time. Five years ago, eCommerce was quite different from what it is today.

The bottom-line was not so robust as it is today. Ecommerce Stores have embraced new ways to market themselves. And if your ecommerce store is struggling to join the league of profit making online stores, here are some skills you must develop right away. As 2017 is already gone, it is better you start now so that 2018 can be marked as an year of record-breaking sales in your timeline.

#1 Content Marketing for eCommerce

Bill Gates predicted it in 1996 and rightly mentioned the importance of content. The truth is no different today. Content is undoubtedly the King in today’s marketing. No business can hope to win customer’s attention without content.

Why content wins?

content-is-kingImage Source

Well, there are various reasons behind this but when it comes to eCommerce, content can be helpful in different ways explained below:

  • Compared to the cost involved, other forms of advertisement are not feasible in generating leads or conversions
  • Telemarketing has literally hit a dead end, thanks to call identification and blocking mobile apps
  • Networking is soon running out of its shine as a potential mine for leads

Pro Tip:

For eCommerce businesses, it is always challenging to keep unique and compelling content for their product pages. In such situation, the right content strategy will make your website unique as compare to your competitors selling same product. Proper implementation of user generated content can be best bet for you. Here is the best example of BestBuy.com utilizing this opportunity by asking for product reviews from the buyers:

In other words, content marketing can become best marketing weapon for your eCommerce stores if planned and implemented properly.

#2 Data Collection and Decision Making

“He who wants to have pearls must dive below. “

~ John Dryden

Putting that age old adage in today’s context, he who wants to know customers up close must search for data. As the old age saying goes, if you want to know how to make customers buy and what excites them into a buying frenzy, you must first know their preferences.

Thanks to advanced web technologies like user heat mapping, Data Mining, etc. it is now easy to read customer behavior like a textbook. There is plenty of data coming in from various sources which, if segregated and analysed properly will help one find pearls, or in this case, customer behavioral pattern.

Once you have a clear picture of your customers’ preferences, fine tuning your online selling strategy to satisfy them is a task easily done.

Especially when you are marketing for specific festival, data provided by agencies on customer intent can play best role.

#3 UI/UX Design for All Different Devices

The year of 2018 will repeat like any other previous years, but with better design. UI and UX have become critical checkpoints for customers to like or dislike an online store. If your store has a brilliant UI that can deliver engaging UX, you are saved.

On the flip side, go back to drawing board and fabricate a new UI design that will delivery high on UX. keep perfecting it until the UX goes from being good to great. Be informed that missing falling short of delivering an upscale UX will cost you more than 38% of online customers (Source: Adobe). Recent study shows that the mobile sales has already surpassed the desktop sales and it is growing rapidly, you must optimize your UI for all different devices.

#4 Web vs Mobile App Version

Don’t ignore mobile app! Yes, if you are not having mobile app for your eCommerce business, you may loosing good amount of business. It will help you to stay connected with buyers with push notifications about your offers and exclusive promotion for mobile app users.

If you are having limited budget and want to manage A basic understanding of HTML and CSS can go a long way in maintaining and modifying your online store. Moreover, how long can you spend money hiring a web designer or a freelancer for every single modification?

A better proposition will be to learn few hacks in web development that will help you prep your website, both in terms of design and functionalities. Further, once you learn to code, you will be able to exercise more control over your marketing and SEO optimization.

#5 Shopping Ads + Dynamic Re-marketing Ads = Best Combination

If done right, eCommerce stores can reap several benefits from shopping ads. Although it seems to be complex on the onset, its functioning can be easily understood with some effort. Once you understand how shopping ads works and how its results can be measured you will see big improvement in conversions and can save on cost per conversions as compare to search ads.

Google shoppings ads iphone x

You can explore the various possibilities of display advertising through dynamic display ads, video ads, search network ads, display banners, etc. all of which can be done on your own using free and paid web tools. Some Internet platforms to try display advertising include eCommerce websites, high-traffic websites, blogs, video sharing websites, social networks, etc.

Pro Tip:

Start building remarketing list audiences based on different actions and serve dynamic display ads optimized for specific audiences. It can dramatically improve the view through conversions can result in better ROI. Here is the best example of how amazon is showing ads (Dynamic remarketing) of the product I visited recently.

#6 Email Marketing

Email marketing has the magic potion to lure back those customers who abandoned their carts mid-way. You can do email marketing in three modes:

  1. As regular promotions for ongoing sales offers
  2. Scheduled shooting of targeted offers to specific customer groups
  3. Re Engagement campaigns that will sustain the brand loyalty of customers

email marketing

Image Source

Now, the difficult part – should you outsource or do it yourself? In 2018, we suggest you take the DIY route. If you manage to do email marketing on your own, it will not prove to be cost-effective but will also help you pitch to your customers in a personal tone. Outsourced agents may not help you achieve that personal tone in an email pitch.

See how Petflow multiplied its conversions through personalized and targeted email marketing campaigns.

As you can see from above, they have set a fetching email subject line, a visible display of their product rating, a very prominent discount offer, product recommendations followed by real customer feedback. Now, as a customer can you resist ignoring this email campaign?

Steps for email marketing (When ecommerce store should shoot emails)

#7 Importance of SSL certificate for eCommerce

Norton, Symantec SSL Certificate, AVG Security and the other members of the online security industry are raising warning sirens about growing eCommerce frauds and scandals. If you thought cyber security is all about securing your data, you are wrong. It also has a marketing edge to it.

Your organic SEO ranking is largely dependent on your online store’s security. Google, since 2014 has been tweaking its algorithm to rank those websites with proper security higher than those without proper security measures.

That is why we recommend investing in a well-chosen SSL certificate that will encrypt your website. It will not only secure your domains and sub-domains but will also go a long way in boosting conversions.

Moreover, cyber security also earns customer trust. It gives them an assurance that their personal data is kept safe from hacker’s prying eyes. Displaying trust seals in your website will also help boost customer retention rates.

#8 Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization, popularly referred to as SEO is the cornerstone marketing tactic that is helping online businesses grab customer attention by the collar. SEO primarily revolves around the use of targeted keywords and phrases that customers commonly use for getting work done.

Why is SEO important for you? First of all, it is free! If you can create organic traffic to your website through SEO activities you stand to profit quite a lot in terms of marketing spending.

Secondly, it is highly productive. Google and other search engines have created a level field where in those web pages with the right SEO marketing tactic can rise above without any difficulty. eCommerce marketing should always have SEO strategy at first place as it drives the maximum traffic and sales.

SEO is easy to understand and master, thanks to tons of free materials available online. Right from scratch to advanced SEO techniques, you can master the Internet and make it work for you.

Pro Tip:

Traditional SEO technique will not help much when you are working to promote eCommerce website with 100s or 1000s of products. Here, formation of URL structure and categorization with highly targeted products along with properly utilization of canonical tags is very important.

#9 Video Marketing

“Forrester researcher Dr. James McQuivey estimates that one minute of video is equal to 1.8 million words.”

A video can convey a message better than a full-page article. Video production is ramping in scale across the digital marketing universe. Moreover, a video can easily communicate with a viewer easier than a written article or a designed graphic.

Video creation has become easier and affordable thanks to the many apps that are available in app stores and video sharing websites. In fact, YouTube itself offers a Video editor and Photo Slideshow creator with which one can create 1080p videos for marketing purposes.

Can it drive conversions? Unbounce reports that including video on a landing page can increase conversion by 80%. Now you know why video marketing is a skill you cannot afford to miss in the coming days.

#10 Social media marketing

Do you know? Social media has evolved as an entire marketing tool of its own. Social listening is the next Big Thing that will change the way we shop and browse for everyday things.

If you thought getting likes, retweets and favorites for your posts were nothing significant, think again. For an online brand like Amazon, eBay or even PayPal, social media is a powerful weapon to beat competition and to mark their own market share.

Here are some social media channels worth exploring to build your online presence in 2018:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • Quora

Users always find it compelling to share with their immediate social circles about their recent buys or wish lists. In such a scenario, social media can also double up as a virtual platform for word of mouth publicity. Stores that provide public sharing of customer purchases have a fair chance of winning more traffic & conversions.

Conclusion

In 2018, eCommerce industry is all set to sail into a higher turnover range. Is your online store prepped to take a share of the market? Most importantly, are you in tune to market your store better? These 10 online marketing tactics will boost your store’s presence way more than what you can do with a paid agency.

Start learning right away and put yourself on the launch pad to eCommerce success. Do not forget to keep in mind the needs and wants of your end users when you are scheming for new marketing campaigns. In the end, Customer is King.

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