March 19, 2014
For many marketers and business owners, the first thing that comes to mind when promoting on-line stores is Google organic search. Let’s take a look at Google’s search results for a key phrase: “buy iPhone 5s.”
What are the chances of selling the iPhone solely by trying to appear on the first page of the search results? None. We have to admit, this is a typical situation for eCommerce sites.
Let’s take a broader look around at the opportunities for integrated multi-channel marketing for an online store.
Comparison shopping engines
According to Consumer Features research, 52 percent of users regularly use price comparison sites when making purchases online. The main goals of these users are:
- 85 percent — bargain hunt to get the best deal;
- 83 percent — compare prices;
- 79 percent — save money.
Volusion measured the ROI of site comparison sites and it equals $3.70 for every $1 invested.
There are lots of price comparison sites both free and paid. These are the most popular:
- Google Products Listing Ads
- Bing Merchant
- Amazon Products Ads
Here you can review recent research on different price comparison sites’ effectiveness.
There are also niche price comparisons sites, for example:
- StyleInView – fashion sites comparison;
- PopSugar – another fashion sites comparison;
- Acsearch.info, mcsearch.info and CoinCommunity – niche sites on vintage coins.
Organic and Paid Search traffic
Nevertheless, search engines continue to bring substantial traffic and revenue. These are the indicators worth exploring:
- First you should analyze Google Analytics organic traffic revenue to see if it is profitable enough to invest in further as well as to evaluate the dynamics in revenue over time.
- Check site’s rankings and traffic dynamics in SEMRush:
- Ensure the following basics are set up on the site:
- Correct sitemap is set to speed up new inventory.
- Titles and product description contain the name of the product, ideally with keywords such as “buy” and “price.”
- Product filters have unique URLs (for example www.site.com/tablets/ipad/ ) and product pages contain unique content optimized for relevant searches.
- Ideally, the owner should invest in as many unique product descriptions as possible. These investments will pay off greatly.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to improving your site. The larger and the more reputable an online store is, the better the results that can be achieved simply by improving the site structure and content. Usually, if we talk about an online store with a wide range of products that have already been in business for a couple of years, you can expect a 30 to 50 percent increase in organic traffic through internal optimization alone.
- Determine the link earning strategy and PR strategy.
- Find a community that your costumers visit regularly, prepare and publish decent content there (Facebook Graph Search, which we will discuss below will help you understand what your customers and your competitors’ customers interests are).
- Ask bloggers to test drive your goods or review your shop.
- Try to get into publications and blogs that write on the subject relevant to your business. Their task of creating interesting content is not easier than your task of content distribution and promotion of your online store is, so this can be a mutually beneficial arrangement.
Paid search traffic
- If you haven’t set up remarketing yet, do it today. It will allow you to engage those visitors who left the site without accomplishing a particular task (adding products to the cart, started purchase process and didn’t finish, bought a product, but didn’t buy any accompanying products, etc.)
- Dynamic remarketing is another powerful tool, when the user is shown several different products that he recently reviewed (if you ever booked hotels on Booking.com then most likely you have seen the banners with the hotels you recently viewed displayed on other sites)
- Arrange campaigns and ads groups based on the location, language, product categories and landing pages. Even now there are some accounts where ads simply direct the user to the main page.
- Set up automatic synchronization of inventory, prices, in stock availability with your PPC campaigns. This can be done automatically.
- Use Google Merchant Center.
Facebook provides great opportunities for brand promotion. And the sexier your products are, the more opportunities Facebook gives you.
Dreamland’s strategy is quite simple. They post a picture of a beautiful piece of jewelry with a simple engaging question and product URL three to four times a day. Every post gets several hundred likes, a few dozen comments and lots of sales.
The company’s page on Facebook is growing by leaps and bounds.
To enhance the impact of Facebook you can develop so-called ‘activation,’ a small Facebook activity that engages the user, invites him to participate in a contest or a game and, thus, like the page. Development of the “activation” is similar to the conversion rates optimization for a website. Its goal is to make people trust the brand.
Facebook Graph Search
Don’t miss out on this powerful Facebook tool that is still not widely known. With the help of Facebook Graph Search, you can find out which Zales fan live in New York who also like to play poker:
You can go even further. With the help of a simple script, you can export Facebook IDs of your target audience and run separate promo campaigns on Facebook for them. You can target your competitors’ audience, offer free goods, thus converting them into a loyal audience. A more advanced option is to form micro audiences (50-100 people). This way, you can achieve an incredibly low cost per click with precisely targeted ads.
Customers who watch product video reviews buy 144 percent more. Videos are not only useful for conversions.
By organizing all of your videos on a YouTube channel and optimizing them for organic traffic, you can substantially increase traffic and sales. Try creating a celebrity strategy. For example, you can hire a good-looking/charismatic presenter and overtime he/she becomes a celebrity by promoting your products.
Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram
Maximum attention should be devoted to Facebook but, if there is a chance, you shouldn’t forget about other marketing channels: Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.
Twitter offers companies the opportunity to do Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts with the following targeting options (show ads of your choice in the news feed or in the search results):
Also, you can target by devices (iOS/Android/Desktop) and by gender.
At the moment, Pinterest is still experimenting with promoted pins, therefore, it is going to be difficult to boost with money any marketing activities there. Nevertheless, you should invest the time to set up an account and keep it refreshed. Many brands manage to create communities (for example Zales has about 27,000 subscribers on Pinterest).
It is similar with Instagram. Set up an account and keep it alive — invest minimum time, even large internet-stores have small communities (Zales has 6,400 followers)
Your client base is the best source of repeat sales. Here are a few ideas of quick fixes:
What can be easier than adding a small block “You may also like…” in your “Thank you for your purchase” message.
- VIP — customer, above a certain number of purchases
- Regular review of certain goods without a purchase
- Client has not visited the site for a long time
- Offer to leave a feedback about the purchased product
- Promotional e-mails 20-30 days before the holidays (Halloween, X-Mas, Valentines…)
For example for “Subscribers” (users who registered, but didn’t make the purchase) you can run the following message campaign:
- Thank you for registration (a few minutes after the user left the site)
- Activation bonus, limited time offer (next day after the registration)
- Second activation attempt
- Transition of the subsequent messages into an information channel (for example fashion news)
You should determine the segments and series of messages for each of them.
The times has come when eCommerce marketing is no longer complete with just SEO. Nowadays, online stores have a great range of tools for site promotion and, by combining them, you can get great results. Constant work on improving conversion, increasing customers’ life cycle by using e-mail marketing, promoting your site with Facebook Graph Search and YouTube, attracting traffic from Google Merchant Center and AdWords while keeping in mind organic traffic, can diversify you marketing channels to a great extent and protect your business from unexpected abrupt changes.
Roman Viliavin is vice-CEO at Promodo Company. An unconventional thinker and a candidate master of chess, Roman has been working in the field of search engine optimization since 2005 and is a participant and speaker of all major events in SEO business. Roman has successfully completed dozens of projects and gladly shares his experience with the SEO community via articles and various online and offline publications. Follow Roman on Twitter and Facebook.