WHY READ THIS BLOG POST?
2018 is the year of FOCUS. It’s time to stop wasting time on activities that deliver diddly-squat to your business. These 10 ecommerce tips will help you become more productive, drive more sales revenue and also make your customers love you, that little bit more. Check them out.
“To do the impossible, you need to ignore the popular.”
Tim Ferris, Author of the 4 Hour Work Week
Ecommerce Tip 1. Focus on ‘business critical’ activities
We all love to spend time on the things that we feel confident doing, like posting on Facebook, uploading images to Instagram, creating pretty homepage banners, etc. These are easy and fun but do they actually bring in any revenue? Do they pay the bills? Errr…….no.
The reason you love these activities so much is because they are in your ‘comfort zone’. Your comfort zone is the killer of business productivity because it doesn’t push you, it doesn’t help you push boundaries and find new ways to do stuff. If you want to make money this year then it’s time to be ruthless. For every activity you carry out for your business, ask yourself:
Does it bring in any money? YES or NO?
If the answer is NO, ditch it or give lower priority.
Ecommerce Tip 2. Spend more time on getting more revenue from your existing customers
Your existing customers are your ‘low hanging’ fruit so stop chasing the new ones every time. They’ve already bought something from you so they’ve already overcome the biggest barrier to a purchase – TRUST!
It’s time to be smart about your marketing and target the people who already know who you are and to learn more about them. You need to build out the intelligence you have on them so you know what makes them tick. If you don’t already have a detailed customer persona then learn to create one. It will help you to sell a lot more.
Create a survey using Survey Monkey and send it to your customers with questions about their likes, dislikes, problems, bugbears and requests. Make these relative to your business and products obviously!
Once you have this ‘extra intel’, you will be able to tailor your marketing communications and even create or source products that better suit their needs. If you bend-over-backwards to give them what they want then you’ll find they are more loyal to you and will spend more with you.
Ecommerce Tip 3. Spend less time on social media
Social media is a time-sucker! Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but it’s often a waste of time, even if you once had a larger following.
Facebook has changed its algorithm so you only get a 4-6% organic fan reach with standard posts. In fact, the larger the following the worse the reach. Instagram is owned by Facebook so that will be going the same way soon. With Twitter, a tweet last just 30 seconds and is only seen by a handful of people. Pinterest is becoming more difficult to make an impact too.
So why bother fighting a losing battle?
It’s time to cut back on social activity to around 10% of your time and go all-in on your own platform (your ecommerce store) to make it the best it can be. You need to make it a place where your customers actually want to hang out, even when they are not buying. Make it a useful, engaging place to visit and you will find they come back again and again.
More repeat visits = More sales.
Ecommerce Tip 4. Be relentless about collecting email addresses
Collecting email addresses isn’t sexy…….but what you can do with them is!!!!
97% of people will visit your site without buying. That means, if you don’t collect an email address, you’ve wasted 97 opportunities in every 100. Ouch!
Email marketing is hugely powerful. Campaign Monitor reports that email is 40 times more effective than social media at generating a return. How can you argue with that?
It’s time to focus on collecting email addresses at every opportunity. I want you to install pop-ups and sign-up forms on your blog posts, on your homepage, on your Facebook page, collect emails at events, insert sign-up friend referral forms in with your orders and any other way you can collect an email. Check out SumoMe because it’s an awesome email collection tool.
Then, think of create ways you can get people on your mailing list. Yes, you can use discounts codes but you can also use freebie coupons, targeted prize draws, partner promotions, pre-launch notification waiting lists, free training guide downloads and even encourage people to sign up to a free webinar.
I want you to treat collecting email addresses like ‘an obsession’. It’s your number one goal in 2018.
If you grow your email list then you grow your sales and your business. Simples!
Ecommerce Tip 5. Convert sign-ups into ‘hot leads’ with a ‘Welcome Series’
When your customers sign up to your mailing list, what do they get? A single email with a discount code? An ugly ‘confirm your subscription’ autoresponder?
What else? Do you deliver any value to them?
An email welcome series is a set of emails that welcomes, engages, excites, educates and turn your sign-ups into ‘true purchasing fans’. This is your chance to prove that you are worth their attention, to add value to their lives and that you are worth keeping in touch with.
And the best part? It’s all automated. You simply set it and forget it (well, almost).
Of course, the content of the emails needs to be relevant to your recipient. They’ve given you their permission to send them emails so you need to take that opportunity and provide them with non-salesy content that will keep them interested in what you have to say. Yes, selling is part of the strategy but not before you’ve proven your worth. Once you’ve done that, they will be ‘warmed up’ and happy to buy from you.
Many online stores skip this step because they are too focused on closing every visit with a sale. The reality is, that customers take time to make a purchasing decision and you need to earn it. A welcome series (a marketing funnel) is the best way to build a relationship with them and warm them to the sale.
My tool of choice is Active Campaign. This lets you set up different welcome series campaigns based on how the person signs up.
Ecommerce Tip 6. Improve your out-of-the-box experience for better loyalty
When a customer receives your product they shouldn’t just be excited, they should be WOW’d too!
Every time someone opens the box containing your product you have the opportunity to make an ‘average event’ something special. Regardless of whether you sell drawing pins, phone cases, wallets or soap, you want to create a first impression that sticks in their mind.
To do this, you don’t even need to spend money. You create a special experience with just a few simple touches that show you’ve invested time, effort and thought.
For example, you can include a short, handwritten note that simply says ‘thank you’, showing your gratitude. Or maybe a small unexpected gift that shows you appreciate their business. Or even gift wrap their item with a thank you card and sample of another product. You even create custom packaging that tells a story when you open it.
Whatever way you choose to impress your customers, make it count. Go the extra mile and they will be all over social media with praise, become advocates and also come back for more when they need to. It’s the little touches that go a long way and make this a brilliant addition to your ecommerce artillery.
Ecommerce Tip 7. Be more approachable
You might have a telephone number, live chat and an email contact form on your site, but when was the last time you actively asked your customers for their thoughts? Most companies simply keep their head down because they don’t want to risk the possibility that a customer may come back with something negative. In reality, this very rarely happens.
I’ve had great experiences when I’ve actively gone out to my customers asking for feedback, comments and suggestions on how to improve my products and my services. Yes, there were a few niggles but I always managed to turn this into positive experiences and often sold more in the process.
Customer feedback is one of the only ways you can truly improve your business. Without the direct feedback from ‘the front line’ (your customers) it’s very difficult to make any impact that will improve their lives. You need that ‘first hand’ unbiased perspective.
A good way to do this is follow up dispatched orders with a request to review your product AND your service. This is an obvious one but many stores still don’t do it very well. You should also add a few lines at the bottom of every email you send out, asking for feedback and letting your customers know you are there for them. Going one step further would be regularly posting a request for feedback on your social channels.
Trust me. This strategy can be enlightening and highly valuable at the same time.
Ecommerce Tip 8. Test Email Subject Lines before sending
When you create an email broadcast you probably put a lot of thought and effort writing your copy and choosing the right images. With all that effort, wouldn’t you want to improve the number of eyeballs it’s seen by? I know I would.
Testing your email subject line is quick, super-easy and takes very little effort. You simply create your email that you want to send and then choose the option to A/B test the subject line.
Most of the leading email broadcast platforms will do this and allow you to send an email with each subject to a small percentage of your audience (maybe 10%). Once you know the version that works best then you run with that one.
This strategy can have a huge impact on the success of your email marketing, regardless of the size of your list. A simple A/B test takes a little extra time but it will give you science to back up your send.
For example, you can test long and short subject lines, subject lines with numbers in them, personalised subject lines and even ones that ask a question. The truth is, you don’t know what works until you test it. Remember, more eyeballs, more clicks and more sales.
Ecommerce Tip 9. Make Your Emails Personal
We all take more notice when someone calls our name or when something is tailored to our needs. The online world is no different. Your customers will respond better to something they are interested in or if you simply include their name in the subject line and the email. If you want to go one step further (which you should), you can tailor the content to their interests or preferences based on the information you collect from them using Survey Monkey.
It’s time to micro-target your customers. The one-size-fits-all approach is marketing is dead. Even if you have a small, niche audience, they will still have different preferences and needs.
2018 is the year of making things personal and I guarantee it will have a hugely positive impact on your ecommerce store. If you go that extra mile to learn more about your customers and use it to improve their experience of your brand, you will have a loyal customer for a long time.
Ecommerce Tip 10. Create content that solves your customer’s problems
A blog? A blog? Urrgghhh. That’s the reaction I get from many ecommerce store owners. In fact, a blog is one of the most powerful tools in their (and your) marketing arsenal. It’s also FREE to use as much as you want!
Writing a blog post is a pointless exercise if it doesn’t serve a purpose. But rather than just writing about how great your products are, why not create content that solve the problems of your customers? And believe me, they will have problems you can solve.
You can also use your blog to provide expert insight. Maybe share the latest trends, review complimentary products, provide opinion, interview experts, interview customers, deliver tips & tricks, expert guides, advanced training, etc. This can be delivered in a simple blog post, a case study format, video, audio or even on an infographic. The possibilities are endless.
In 2018, I want you to make your blog an expert resource that delivers the very best information for your customers. I want you to create content that solves their problems, that really helps them, that interests them and that gives them a reason to come back to your site.
Ask them what they want to see. Let them guide the content you create so you’re not wasting your time.
The better the content, the more clickable it will be when you share it on social media and it will also add a new dimension to your email marketing when you include it in your newsletter.
2018 is the year to make your ecommerce store smarter!
I hope you found these 10 ecommerce tips helpful? They are not ‘rocket science’. The are simple and effective ways to streamline your activities and where you will gain the most opportunities to grow your sales and your business.
2018 should be the year you get closer to your customers. You need to make it your goal to learn more about them and to deliver value, without expecting anything back in return. Your store should be more than a place to buy stuff. It should be a resource of expertise in your niche.
You can also achieve a lot more by investing more time in email. Remember, it’s 40 times more effective than social media. Make collecting email addresses and email automation (a welcome series) a priority. Email is the tool that can open up your business and take it to the next level without any financial investment. It just takes some thought and creative juices.
On a final note, don’t spread yourself too thin with activities (like social media) that do not directly impact your sales. Be ruthlessly efficient and focus on what will directly get paying customers through your checkout. If it doesn’t do that then it’s not a priority.
Go and dominate 2018.