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How to Grow Your E-commerce Business in 2020

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In the past five months, e-commerce has noticeably increased. It was already steadily rising due to life moving more and more online, but the Covid-19 pandemic has caused it to grow even faster than expected. This rapid surge has left many businesses in a position where they need to develop a stronger web presence – and fast! – or in a position where they’re flooded by consumer demand and using all their resources just to keep up.  In this article, we’ll tackle the first subset of businesses: those trying to develop a stronger web presence to capitalize on all the e-commerce growth.

It’s a given that if you want to increase your growth as an e-commerce company, you need to increase your sales. But you obviously can’t just wave a magic wand to do that. If you want higher sales volume, the first thing you need to do is attract more people to your website. And we all know cutting through the noise and clutter online can be a major challenge. 

That’s where Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) comes in to play. 

SEO refers to the keywords, related keywords and long-tail keywords you use on your website. The more you optimize your site for keywords, the higher up you can appear in the results of a Bing or Google search. For example, let’s say you’re a company that sells protein bars online. Each and every page of your website should intentionally be populated with the keywords people use when they search online for protein bars. If you’re having trouble honing in on what those keywords should be, try a site like Ubersuggest. It’s free, and it will help you generate a list of keywords. In the example above, when “protein bars” was inputted to Ubersuggest, a list of 540 keywords and long-tail key words (or longer phrases people search) popped up. The list included things like: protein bar, protein bars, protein bar one, quest, Costco, Kirkland, low carb, healthy, protein, vegan, and so on. Ubersuggest even gives ideas for particular types of content you could host on your site using keywords – like protein bar recipes ideas.

READ MORE:   Are You Leveraging Content Marketing KPIs?

We Got Them Here, Now Let’s Get them to Stay 

Once you attract people to your site, the next hurdle is keeping them on your site so you can entice them into making a purchase. If your website looks dated or it is difficult to navigate, you can safely bet new customers will click away faster than you can say “e-commerce.” The bad news is: if people click away from your site quickly, the search engines punish you by lowering your ranking in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). It is therefore imperative that your website be attractive to the eye so people stay on your site as long as possible. Ways to hold the attention of new customers include using high quality photos and videos and minimizing clutter. 

Further, you want your site’s content to be easy to digest and relevant. It would behoove you to look at competitors’ websites to see the type and quantity of information they include and follow suit. Back to our protein bar example: if your competitors all have beautiful photos of their protein bars, a vibrant color palette, great videos, and great articles about the health benefits of their particular protein bar, you will need to post similar content if you want to stand a chance at keeping customers on your site. 

Here’s an example we use on one of our top-performing product pages, called the Brondell Swash 1400

You can see on the page we include:

  • High Quality Photos
  • Video Walkthrough 
  • Reviews on the Top
  • Production Information 

Another great way to hold peoples’ attention on your site is to include any awards, badges or seals of approval you’ve earned. These marks of cachet can go a long way in building trust with a new customer. Another way to earn trust and keep people on your site is by posting customer reviews and testimonials. These could be Google Reviews, Yelp reviews, or testimonials.

How Do You Make These Improvements? 

Now that you know how important it is for your website to look great and have amazing content, you might be thinking: Okay, I’m sold. I need to re-design my website, but how do I do that? I’m no web designing guru! Don’t despair. You can always hire someone else to take charge of your website’s redesign. Or a more middle-ground approach could be to use the services of a company like Squarespace or Shopify – which provide you with various templates to choose from and require minimal web design knowledge. 

The nice thing about a service like Shopify, for example, is that it helps ensure a potential customer’s checkout experience on your site goes as smoothly as humanly possible. According to various market research firms, 70% of online shoppers begin a shopping process online, then abandon their carts due to some sort of “friction.” Things that cause friction at checkout include suddenly revealing hidden costs, forcing shoppers to register for your site in order to complete the purchase, and a checkout process that is simply too long. Knowing what causes friction, your goal should be to devise a checkout process that is friction-less, while still getting you the information you need.

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A great example of an extraordinarily fast check out process is the Amazon “Buy now with 1-click” option. It literally couldn’t be easier – which is part of what has made Amazon a trillion-dollar company!  If a one-click option isn’t something you can feasibly do, consider putting a progress bar at the top of your site during checkout so customers can track how far along in the process they are. Another useful tip is to de-clutter your checkout page so that users have as few distractions as possible to entice them to click away. Easy checkout = more sales!

One huge point about your website to keep in mind: your site needs to work equally well on desktop and mobile. Many e-commerce businesses forget about how their site loads and looks on mobile, which is a big mistake. Especially given that in 2019, almost 2 billion purchases were made via mobile. Further, 95% of e-commerce customers report doing research on their devices prior to making a purchase! So it is well worth your while to ensure your site looks great and loads quickly on all devices.

Let’s Not Forget the Videos

Another thing that can help your e-commerce business grow is starting a YouTube channel. YouTube is the #2 search engine in the world. That means having a presence there is worth your time and energy. Plus, videos – specifically product videos – help potential buyers better understand your products and services. According to marketing guru Neil Patel, viewers are anywhere from 64-85% more likely to purchase products after watching product videos. So consider making a How-to video, or a product review, or a testimonial, or a product comparison. Another quick example to show how we put this in practice, we have a YouTube channel for all our users to reference, but we also include an easily accessible video library on our website that users can look through when evaluating different product. 

A bonus for your efforts: Google – which incidentally owns YouTube – prioritizes websites that have video in their SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Which means having videos on your site, preferably hosted on YouTube, is a great way to raise your rankings in SERPs. And remember, the higher up you are on those results pages, the easier it is to get customers to your site.

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Social Media & Email is Always Great

If you have money to invest in advertising campaigns, another strategy to consider to grow your e-commerce business is to allocate money for either a social media campaign, an email marketing campaign or both. Over 2.6 Billion people use social media, and on average, they use it for 2.5 hours per day. Further, 94% of companies who use social media for e-commerce pay for social media advertising – the biggest two spends being Facebook and Instagram. It is therefore likely that your competition is spending money on social media, so you probably should, too. Email marketing is also a great tool to reach your customers since studies say almost a quarter of online sales are generated by it. Consider either organizing your own email campaign or using a service like MailChimp to organize one for you.

In conclusion, if you want to take part in the e-commerce growth that is happening all around us, start by looking at your website. Make sure it looks attractive, make sure your content uses plenty of keywords for SEO, and double-check that the checkout process is friction-less. Consider starting a YouTube channel or investing in a marketing campaign via email or on social media. And last but not least, remember the power of word of mouth. If you treat your customers right, provide them with a great product and an excellent shopping experience, they will spread the word – and that will lead to the continued growth of your e-commerce business.

Jensen Lee is the Founder and Managing Member of bidetsPLUS, an online retail store specializing in bidet toilet seats. Prior to bidetsPLUS, Jensen held management positions in technology-related fields, in both the U.S. and Europe. He has held the position of Product Manager of Global Network Services for British Telecom. Most recently, he held the position of Executive Director of Product Marketing at AT&T Interactive, AT&T's internet advertising division.

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Marketing

Video Marketing Strategy to Increase Brand Awareness

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With the popularity of video ads reaching its peak, it has become essential for all the companies and brands to opt for videos like animation, explainer videos, etc. to improve their overall conversion rates. Apart from companies and big brands, even small businesses are also including videos in their marketing strategy.

Videos are considered to be a highly efficient form of promoting products and services. Because of this, the demands of creating videos, and editing has also become popular in the market. With the increasing usage of social media platforms, videos are the best possible way you can keep your audience engaged.

According to a report, it shows that about 83 percent of the businesspersons are using videos for marketing their products and services. Another study suggests that people spend about 2.6 times on websites that have videos when compared to those that don’t have. It is expected that by the year 2022, this industry will grow to about 28 percent or even more.

Why must you opt for videos to promote your brand?

According to a marketing survey, about 53 percent of people like to buy products or opt for their services after seeing promotional videos on various social media platforms. This report also says that about 66 percent of millennials love to watch videos on social media and then buy products if they find that the videos are engaging and are making sense.

Image Credit: Smart Insights

When it comes to individual marketing sections, the companies selling household goods are making the best use of videos that are being posted on various social media platforms. It is proven as per a report that states that these companies are making an ROI more than 159 percent per year by posting these videos on the required platforms. 

When healthcare and beauty products are taken into consideration, it is proven that these industries had made over 99 percent profit in a given year when they used these video marketing techniques.

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If you are running a business, by going through these facts and figures, you can understand the demand for a video that the market has in today’s world. This will give you a brief idea as to why you must opt for the video marketing strategies and include them in your company’s marketing agenda in the upcoming year.

Reasons why you must use the video marketing methods

With over 63 percent of companies across the world already opting for video marketing services, you can also use these tactics to establish your company as a brand. However, you will have to keep certain things in mind while opting for such methods to promote your brands, products, and services in the market. You can make use of the various online tools available to create a high-quality animated explainer video.

Along with this, here are some of the best reasons why you must use video marketing methods and channelize your brand:

Videos improve your conversion rates and sales to about 80 percent:

When it comes to videos, making a useful video can fetch you some great improvements in your ROI. Adding a video that best describes your product and services on your web landing page can improve your rates of conversion to a significant extent. 

Regardless of the niche, your website is dealing with; if you can make an efficient video, you can increase your sales to a great extent within no time.

Studies prove that about 74 percent of the users love to buy products from your website if they find the video that you have posted is beneficial for them. So, start crafting amazing product videos on your website now!

Videos improve your ROI:

As discussed above, videos can increase your website’s conversion rate and sales to a great extent; it, in turn, helps you in improving the ROI of the company. It can offer you good returns without making a high investment.

Image Credit: Smart Insights

Although producing videos might not be an easy task, it can offer you good returns only when you come up with unique content and a fantastic plot. 

Make sure that you don’t come up with a vague plotline or create a low-quality video that might not convince your audience. So, collaborate with the best companies who can make an efficient video for you.

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Videos can help you build trust:

Trust is the main element that can help you in converting your audience into loyal customers. Building trust is not an easy task at all. 

You should have goals and objectives in place when you are coming up with a marketing concept. To build trust and create a cordial relationship with your audience, you will have to think from their perspectives and create a video that best suits their expectations.

You will have to provide your audience with exciting and useful information that they can rely upon. Videos are the best medium for you to share beneficial information with your audience and make it worthwhile. 

You can also ignite the required emotions with your audience. Make use of platforms like YouTube to learn new things and understand how to create a useful video. Also, you can promote your video on these platforms and across social media too.

Useful reading- why are videos so important in your marketing strategy. 

Video appeals to all the users who use Smartphones:

As the world is now shifting its focus towards Smartphones, you can use it for your benefit and make a good amount of money every year. 

About 90 percent of the people who love to buy products online use Smartphones. They decide to purchase products once they get to know about its specifications by seeing the videos.

As per experts, the usage of mobile videos has increased to about 233 percent when compared to a decade ago. YouTube reports state that the consumption of videos has risen to about 100 percent and will keep growing in the future years. As people love watching videos on mobile, you can create a mobile-friendly video and post it online.

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Videos explain everything that’s required:

If you are still following the traditional method of marketing using texts, then you are missing out on providing the necessary information to your audience. 

About 98 percent of users are watching explainer videos to understand the company’s business.

You can come up with animated videos and post them on your landing page. People can go through these videos and get an overall idea of what your company deals with. 

These videos are the best combination of entertainment, simplicity, and information. As these videos tend to explain everything about your company, you need not have to rely on texts or any other medium to promote your products and services.

Video is much more engaging for the buyers:

When it comes to buyers, they don’t have much time to go through the description of the products by reading it. 

If you are showing them a video that has it all, then you can quickly go through the specifications and features of the product, and decide faster if they want to buy or not.

Videos are the best way to communicate with your buyers efficiently and engagingly. You can drive forces into your content marketing by using videos.

Useful reading- 5 effective and timeless marketing tactics for local business. 

Conclusion

Consumers prefer to watch videos and decide if they want to choose your brand or not. If you’re going to make your conversion rates better, you need to make a compelling video. 

Whether you are dealing with B2B or B2C business, videos play a crucial role in deciding the fate of your company in today’s world. 

So, try to make a high-quality video with useful content that can help you to dominate the market quickly.

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Drive The Best Results With Email Marketing Automation

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Email marketing is a highly effective digital marketing strategy that has been around for a long time now. This is because emails let you reach your target consumers with your message 24/7. And most consumers check their emails daily. Further, email converts better than most other marketing strategies. And email marketing has an ROI of 4400%. 

Email marketing automation involves automatically sending emails to your subscribers and prospects, based on triggers or schedules. It provides a way for your emails to carry the right message, reach the right people at the right time- without repeatedly performing the tasks. 

 You need to link your email marketing platform with your website analytics to target audiences based on their preferences, behavior, and purchase history. After this, you can increase the relevance of your messages by personalizing the individual customer’s experience. 

Benefits of Email Marketing Automation

Email marketing automation allows you to 

Scale up your marketing strategy

Sending out an email series manually restricts the number of consumers you can reach. And if your customer base multiplies, your limited resources won’t be able to handle it. Here is where automation helps. Your platform will take up the duty of sending an email each time someone subscribes to you or performs an action that you have set as a trigger. 

Personalize your customers’ experiences

Personalization appeals to customers. Studies say that 90% of consumers find personalized content attractive, and 91% of them are more likely to buy from brands that provide customized offers and recommendations. With email marketing automation, you can create and send a series of personalized emails that target the consumers’ interests.  

Increase your marketing team’s productivity

Automation eliminates the manual compilation of email lists and message scheduling. This, in turn, reduces repetitive tasks and time wastage. The time thus saved can be allocated to focus on more productive work, such as customer relationship building. 

Enhance your customer retention rate

Customers love hearing from you frequently, and when they do it, they want your messages to be relevant to them. Automation allows you to schedule periodic and personalized emails easily. This improves your customer retention rate. 

Email Marketing Automation Tools

NotifyVisitors

NotifyVisitors is an effective marketing automation software that lets you plan, organize, manage, and evaluate your marketing tasks. Its attractive email marketing automation features include segmentation, contact management, lead nurturing, campaign management, and marketing analytics.

 Its email segmentation tools are advanced, and let you group your contacts based on age, location, and online behaviour. Its marketing analytics tools provide you with the detailed data analytics of your marketing campaigns. It allows seamless software up-gradation and easy data migration. It has a Gmail extension, which allows you to work outside of your Gmail account. 

Contactually 

Contactually is an email marketing tool and CRM, designed especially for real estate professionals. It centralizes your contacts so that you can derive the most value from your business relationships. Its CRM platform collects contacts from various sources, including your website, email inbox, and social media profiles based on how you work (sphere of influence, current clients, new leads, etc.).

READ MORE:   Are You Leveraging Content Marketing KPIs?

It also gathers maximum possible amounts of information to lead you throughout your messaging. And you can intelligently schedule emails with its Best Time to Email feature. Other than email marketing, it also includes features for lead management, customer segmentation, interaction tracking, campaign management, and contact management. 

Contactually is user-friendly and super-smooth. It has a clean interface and helps prioritize your day’s schedule with its daily dashboard. It allows broker-level administration to boost adoption and increase agent productivity.  

Intercom

Intercom is a Conversational Relationship Platform (CRP). Its email marketing tool is designed for sending automated email conversations directly in an app. This is especially useful when you are instructing your users/customers on how to use your app. For it gives them the necessary assistance at a place they most likely would look for. 

Intercom’s email marketing includes other features like email auto-responders, CAN-SPAM compliance, list management, template management, event-triggered emails, A/B testing, mobile-optimized emails, drip campaigns, Dynamic content, reporting/analytics, and more. This tool is favored for its ease of use, and suite of features. 

HubSpot

HubSpot is a leading marketing automation tool across various tasks, including email marketing through automated workflows, split testing, lead scoring, Dynamic Content, drip campaigns, web visitor tracking, segmentation, analytics/ROI tracking, etc. Its suite of tools facilitates optimizing your marketing based on data, thus converting your visitors into leads. 

Its email marketing automation tool is easy to use. It allows the flexible management of lists. It has email templates, which can be customized with its drag and drop interface. The tool allows you to choose from many conditions, actions, and triggers to send apt emails to the right audience at the right time. 

BenchmarkONE

Formerly known as Hatchbuck, BenchmarkONE is another reputed sales and marketing automation solution. Its email marketing automation tool enables you to upload or create documents. It uses tags to optimize messages, just like Gmail does. You can create tags and allocate those to specific contacts based on their interests and the funnel they are currently in. 

It then allows combining emails into campaigns that are delivered as per the scheduled times. It monitors the customer interaction with your email, awards scores for their activities, reads the email, visits your site, clicks on a link, downloads a document, etc. You can direct further marketing efforts with your prospects as per these content scores. 

Marketo

Marketo is a top-tier overall automated email marketing solution. It is advanced, yet an easy- to- use the system. Its triggered email campaigns help you to move forward with assurance. These campaigns can be robustly designed based on more than 40 customer behaviors. It provides you with the flexibility to construct your emails to meet your exact needs. 

The tool’s market segmentation capabilities, Revenue Cycle Modeler, and SFDC integration simplify the process of identifying each individual’s stage of the buyer journey in your marketing database. This allows you to implement and run smarter marketing campaigns. 

E-goi

E-goi offers something beyond mere email marketing automation. It enables you to split your email campaign by sending out updates via voice message, SMS, or even fax. Its suite of email marketing features includes auto-responders, A/B testing, drip campaigns, image library, customer web surveys, template management, event-triggered emails, CAN-SPAM compliance, reporting/ analytics a lot more. 

E-goi is super easy to use and works with tags for contacts. It also offers incredibly good marketing segmentation choices. The tool is ideal for digital agencies, entrepreneurs, web developers, bloggers, and marketing departments. You can use it in English or Spanish. It offers a free version as well. 

LeadSquared

LeadSquared facilitates the streamlining of lead scoring by automating email marketing services and integrating them with sales activities. This increases the efficiency of your online marketing. Its CRM management platform combines email marketing, social media integration, segmentation, mobile access, document storage, lead scoring, a reminder system, and many more. 

LeadSquared is intuitive and extremely user-friendly. It empowers you to create different campaigns for different contacts and shoot emails at a single go. The reporting is accurate and informative. It provides you with an email opening and clicks rate. Further, when a prospect clicks on a link sent through email, his web browsing history becomes auto-linked to you. So, based on their behavioral data, you can target your prospects.

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How to Drive the Best Results with Email Marketing Automation?

Image Source: NotifyVisitors

Below given are a few tips to help you make your automated email marketing strategy more effective. 

Segment your contacts

Most email marketing automation tools offer segmentation features. These allow you to divide your subscribers based on specific criteria like their geographic location, product or service bought, product or service not bought, one-time buyers, frequent buyers, prospects, etc. Segmenting them likewise allows you to send them personalized emails, making them take action in your favor. 

Track responses

Each time you send an automated email, your customer responds in a certain way. Many email marketing automation tools empower you to track these responses. These responses include

  • Whether the email got delivered to the user.
  • Whether the user views the email.
  • Whether he or she opens the email.
  • Whether he or she clicks through to your website.
  • Whether he or she purchases the product or service suggested.
  • Whether he or she uses an offer.
  • And whether he or she continues browsing once they enter your site. 

By learning the user behaviour related to the above, you get to direct your next move accordingly. For instance, if you find that your recipients aren’t opening your offer emails, you should try a different tactic. Maybe a different subject line will work. 

Set up trigger emails

Trigger emails are those emails sent when your subscriber performs a particular action. The triggers for these automated emails generally include-

  • Welcoming /getting started with your service or product/ onboarding
  • Referring to a friend 
  • Abandoned cart 
  • Milestones such as join dates, birthdays, wedding anniversaries, etc. 

Offer discounts prudently 

Offering discounts do help in selling your products and services to a significant extent. For, these entice reluctant spenders to buy. However, overusing these can lead your customers to receive discounts more often, which will not be profitable for you. So, offer discounts in a well-planned and wise way.

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Automate drip campaigns

Some people become your customers only after interacting with your brand several times. Drip campaigns involve steadily “dripping” useful content about your brand, industry, or product to your prospects and customers. Automating email drip campaigns ensure that only those prospects who have shown interest in your brand receive your emails. They can be slowly led to buy from you. 

Link your emails with customized landing pages

To ensure a seamless transition between your email and your landing page. You can do this by matching your email with your landing page regarding content, design, and CTA. Such a consistency across your marketing materials makes the email receiver comfortable to click through. It also facilitates familiarizing your contacts with your brand.

A/B test your emails

A/B testing is not only for landing pages, CTA buttons, website photography, etc. but also for your emails. That is why you would have found that most of the tools that we presented in the previous section offer a feature for A/B testing emails. This would help you determine which email version generates higher conversions from your target audience. 

Combine automation with analytics

Email automation allows you to send personalized messages to each contact, a new visitor, a prospect, or a loyal customer. Customer analytics gives you data about how each customer interacts with your brand. By combining automation with analytics, you can polish the way you target each contact with that exceptional personal touch. 

Focus on building relationships

Email marketing automation tools empower you to keep a record of your contact preferences about interest, frequency of communication, incentives, etc. It also lets you know their behaviour across different marketing channels. This knowledge helps you deliver relevant and personalized messages to them. 

This also conveys to them that you understand them well and respect their tastes. This will build trust, which in turn will build relationships. Slowly, you will be able to gain their loyalty and turn them into your brand advocates. So, make email marketing automation a part of your customer retention strategies. 

Now that you got to know what email marketing automation is, how your business can benefit from it, what are the different email marketing automation solutions available in the market, and how to drive the best results with those, let’s conclude this write-up. 

Just like any other automation, email marketing automation can also free you up from many repetitive tasks. This would save you a lot of time which you can put to more productive use. There are many automation solutions available in the market for email marketing. 

Do choose one that would suit your needs. And once you are set to launch your email marketing automation, implement our valuable tips mentioned in the previous section. This will help you make the most out of your email marketing automation.  

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