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Tag: DIY Digital Marketing

Preparing your eCommerce Website for the Summer 2021 Shopping Season

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While eCommerce was already on the rise, 2020 was the year it took off. With more people stuck at home, especially during the summer vacation months, eCommerce websites experienced a surge of new customers and order volumes. With the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, still grimacing at the possibility of a ‘back-to-normal’ 2021 summer season, it is likely we are headed for a repeated state of affairs for eCommerce websites during the upcoming summer months. 

But where do consumers shop? – There are many options as new websites continue to pop up in the online retail ecosystem. The ones that take advantage of Customer Conversion Optimization best practices, are the ones that ultimately benefit from stay-at-home shoppers. 

Here are 4 ways to instantly boost your chances of retail success and elevate your eCommerce venture: 

Be wary of big eCommerce platforms

This is not to say that there is no benefit from doing business on big retail websites like Amazon, eBay, Etsy, or others. However, it is essential to understand how optimization and customer conversion on those websites work, which hurdles you face, and which strategies exist to overcome the obstacles you face. Shoppers on those websites are significantly more likely to purchase products listed atop their search queries. These products are typically there because they either are a part of Amazon Basic’s brand or belong to retailers who were first adopters in that space. Therefore, trying to place your products at the top of those search queries is an arduous task since you will be competing against Amazon itself and retailers who have already proven themselves through existing volumes of sales and customer engagements. Unless you are the first comer in your niche, you may instead want to focus on a different tactic: referred sales, aka “advocacy campaigns.” Adjusting your marketing efforts to work with influencers who can funnel their loyal followers to do business with you can yield much better results. The benefits are that you will not be fighting against big platform search engines and their AI-based optimization, and you will be outsourcing your conversion activities to a person who already has built up trust among the target group.

Moreover, affiliates create content that help with that other thing you should be doing: Content.

Yes, content is still the king.

However, it is also often misused in favor of quantity over quality. Consider what your shoppers are looking for. Yes, your products are “it,” but there are other pieces in what your customers are looking for in their conversion journey, and that is a combination of reviews, how-to’s, ideas, and other content that depends on what you’re selling. If you’re selling toothpaste, it may not be obvious. Still, an article on how else the product can be used (i.e., cleaning that engagement ring or removing soap scum) can lead to increased sales, especially with well-placed product links in the body. Content can also be repurposed to drive new website visitors from other platforms, including social media and other blogs. Content creates a hook for the consumer to become your customer and builds a relationship by turning your website visitors into repeat customers.

Evaluate what drives your summer sales and optimize it

There is a notable difference in what drives shopping behaviors across the different seasons. Fall has more back-to-school shopping activities, and winter takes the lead on buying big-ticket wish list items for the holidays. Summer is a different beast where shoppers are a lot more likely to be spontaneous, picking things up on the go as they traverse their more lackadaisical days. These purchases tend to be less in monetary value but happening more frequently and often with a sense of urgency. During this time, customers appreciate expedient fulfillment.

There are also many more chances to grow customer loyalty during the summer months than the winter ones. Even though customers may be buying a lot cheaper items, smaller items mean that they are a lot more likely to return to your eCommerce website if they had a great experience. So make sure that the checking out process is as flawless and straightforward as possible. If you see lots of cart abandonment, this is a telltale sign that you should revisit that portion of your website and soon! There is always room for improvement.

Consider how your existing products fit into social causes

Are your products ‘Made in America’? – Great! You should absolutely advertise that. What about products you sell that are made conscientiously? – You probably have some in your inventory, too. This might seem like a minor thing among the greater scope of marketing activities, but consumers are fond of certain social causes, and if you’re already doing good, why not also do well by promoting your products in these less-than-obvious ways. You might not care, but your customers do, and very often, they are more likely to purchase a product that aligns with their values than the product of a less savory competitor. Shoppers prefer to support small businesses, locally made products, ethically managed manufacturing processes, and various other social causes, so it makes sense to lean into what they value. This type of marketing builds trust, loyalty, and advocacy, promoting long-term success.

Whichever niche your eCommerce website belongs to, summer is a great time to elevate your success and improve your marketing flows. More people during this time explore new products, take on new hobbies, and are looking for easy solutions. Catering to these shopping interests will help you improve your sales, customer retention, and ultimately, customer loyalty.


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Customer conversion optimization: Where you should start and what you should do when you already have an established website

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At one point in your digital marketing journey – as you move past social media, SEO, content management, and all other affiliate activities – you will undoubtedly encounter something known as Conversion Rate Optimization (“CRO”). Among the digital marketing portfolio, CRO is arguably one of the more critical tasks, especially to those looking to streamline their activities and maximize their results. While traditional digital marketing focuses on raising brand awareness (and thereby driving website traffic), it provides little-to-no positive results without proper CRO management. After all, just because someone knows where to find your website doesn’t mean they will engage with it or even make that purchase (or do that one thing you want them to do). This is where conversion rate optimization is useful, which, when done right, raises the frequency at which your website visitors do those online things you want them to do – make purchases, sign up for newsletters, email you, and whatever else you deem essential.

“So, when should I start doing Conversion Rate Optimization?” 

Conversion Rate Optimization can be divided into two strategies. The first strategy deals with tactics for businesses who are just starting their online journey. These businesses are either in the process of still developing their website or are at the start of growing their website traffic. Planning and executing CRO at this point of the journey should be integrated with the general web development and digital marketing activities, which you can learn more about here. In this article, however, we focus on the second strategy: for businesses that have been operating online for at least one year. And what do you know, January is the perfect time to start!

With the new year come new perspectives, resolutions, goal setting, and doubly so for businesses. Consider that you now have a full year of analytics that can help pivot you and position you to grow and improve your success rate. To do so, you need to look at your current conversion narrative analytics and start improving your weakest performers first.

“So, how do I identify which analytics matter most?”

There are a lot of data points available to you, but for this process to work well, you will need to focus on the “big picture” first. Think of how your customer journey works.

  • First, a person finds you and visits your website – this is the part where you work to win the person’s attention and direct them to your digital real estate where the magic can happen.
  • Then the person converts into a “lead” – they are now open to more marketing and so this is where you start engaging with them and building trust that will lead to a sale.
  • Finally, the lead converts into a “sale” – and now your focus turns on making them a repeat customer and possibly a brand advocate, leading to move visitors and leads. 

What these three journey pitstops translate into are the three overarching metrics that you will want to work on improving: (1) website traffic; (2) lead generation; and (3) creating customers.

I. Improving Website Traffic

Website traffic is an integral part of any CRO journey. There are no customers to optimize for if there are no website visitors, so if you are struggling with getting visitors, start here. Online traffic is generated by one of three methods, including organic means (search engines and yellow pages), paid traffic (online advertisements), and social traffic (also called advocacy traffic). Take a look at which activities you are already engaging in (if any) and consider how much time, effort, and money you are already investing into these practices – are they getting any results whatsoever? If you’re already doing these things and the results are stagnant, then re-evaluate your approach, do some experimentation and amend your practices in the direction which generates better outcomes. For example, try different Calls to Action, work on your copywriting, apply different targeting, use other hashtags, and so on. If you are not already doing any of these activities, now is the time to start. Of course, there are tradeoffs to each approach. There are practical differences in how much time and money you can potentially spend. If your business is still in its revenue building stage, consider using social media and improving your SEO – both can be done practically free but will require more intensive time investments. However, if you are comfortable spending money, using online advertising can generate results faster, but you need to be prepared to spend money, and it is not cheap. Whichever way you go about improving your traffic flow is solely dependent on your preferences, but you must take an active lead in this part of your CRO strategy.


II. Increasing Leads

Another problem that often bogs down your conversion rate is lead generation. You may have ample website traffic, but little of that traffic stays on your page or does anything. It’s almost as if visitors are passing through, which is a problem you do not want to have. Of course, there still may be some website visitors that funnel through into the final sales activity. Nevertheless, you want to consider lead generation as an essential step, which creates long-term quality clients rather than one-time customers. A website visitor becoming a lead means they are open to more marketing but are still on the fence about doing that sales activity you want them to do. Unlike one-time customers, these leads are more likely to re-engage with you and continue to follow up when appropriately managed. Not putting effort into lead generating activities exposes you to problems further down the line and makes the conversion process less efficient, more expensive, and less fruitful. Without lead generation, you likely will not have repeat visitors – after all, why would a person revisit your page if they were not interested in engaging with it in the first place. This also means that it will be harder for you to pry your customers back, away from better-performing competitors, especially if they already felt you were not a fit. 

There are a couple of reasons why this may be happening, but they all lean into how you tap into your visitor’s emotions. For example, visitors are more likely to trust a website that has a sleek and appealing design, that is intuitive and looks like it’s constantly being updated. Good design communicates to your visitors that you care and are attentive. Take a close look at your page and ask your social network to give feedback – you’ll be surprised what you can uncover. And don’t be defensive; take criticism as an opportunity where you can improve! Another emotionally driven conversion variable is how quickly your visitors can find the information that caters to their specific needs. If a customer clicks an ad for a particular product but is then taken to the general homepage, they will be put off from searching the entire website and will leave. It may be easy for you to find everything on your website, but you also have bias and experience given that you developed it. Visitors are less patient, so make it easy for them and be transparent. Giving your website visitors transparent visual, informative, and navigational cues sells them on the idea of continuing to engage with your site, provide personal information and receive more digital marketing materials from you. Tap into this trust and use it to your advantage!


III. Creating Customers

You may have your website traffic and lead generation down but still, struggle with “closing the sale.” This means there is a disconnect between what is appealing to your customer and what you are providing. Just like lead generation, there is a heavy emotional component that drives this conversion rate. You’ve got a person to visit your site, you’ve convinced them to listen to you and engage with your materials, but that person is (yet) not convinced you can give them what they think they need. You may feel that you know what they need, but that needs to align with what they think and feel they need.

Approaching this step from understanding your customers’ point of view is the next step in increasing your conversion optimization. To bridge this gap, consider how your customer makes a purchasing decision. Are they coming from a place of frustration that your product can alleviate? Are they making an impulse purchasing decision that aligns with the holiday season? Are they making a planned decision that took months of consideration and budget balancing? Whatever their purchasing drive is, make sure that your website is designed to acknowledge and tap into their motives. Website copy and layout make the final push in the sales process of converting leads into customers.


Going through these steps several times will allow you to continually improve and optimize your customer conversion, leading to more effective use of your business resources and thus higher ROI between your marketing and sales.


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