If you feel overwhelmed by online marketing and you want to run a successful eCommerce business, you are in the right place. This page will teach you how to set up a simple marketing strategy for your eCommerce site. Specifically, you will learn the art of inbound marketing for your eCommerce business.
If you don’t know what “inbound” is; please don’t fret! It is the easy process of reaching out to your ideal audience using different forms of content creation. Content is any information collated and published on your website. For example, an eBook, blog post, or podcast episode would each be classed as one piece of content.
You might think that content marketing requires heaps of time, energy and money. Especially if you have created your own product and want to sell it online, finding time to market your brand at the same time as manufacturing orders can be difficult... to say the least.
You might feel tempted to listen to the little voice in your head that says this online marketing lark is going to be too much hard work! That same voice whispers a bunch of lies about how cheeky it is to ask for sales and promote your product. Here’s the truth: inbound marketing is about building a relationship with your ideal clients and serving them without rival. Forget all other confusing strategies, algorithms and techniques that you cannot understand. This is about learning what makes you stand out from the crowd. What experience can you give your customer that will make them feel exceptionally, exceptional?
My advice? Treat this web page as a marketing blueprint. Complete each section and you will have a full-bodied marketing strategy, that generates high traffic. If you are more interested in turning traffic into sales, click to read my step-by-step training that will help you sell more. (Link to engage pillar page.)
Here, you will find out how to promote without being pushy or salesy. You will learn how to get from zero to marketing hero! Emails, blogging, writing copy - you will know it all. I can help you enjoy the process of marketing, engage with it, find joy in it and have confidence in your ability to do it well.
This blueprint is ready for you to use and flesh out.
Take it section by section, focus on what appeals to you most and keep coming back to these 6 areas to develop them - marketing is not a one time thing it is about consistently making content.
Instead of having to strive to get your brand known, with these 6 sections you will be covered. Saves you from a painful process. Saves you from confusion and generalised marketing workshops. Saves you from feeling salesy and pushy.
Getting stuck in heavy road traffic sucks. Yet high volumes of web traffic are very much welcomed, when it comes to your eCommerce store.
Web traffic is the amount of data and visitors sent to a website of any sort. In times passed, marketers used to find ways to bang the drum louder, turn up the microphone and SHOUT as loud as they possibly could, to get their brand noticed.
Nowadays, marketing is not about shouting, screaming and breaking the crystal glass with your voice.
Inbound marketing is not a microphone. This lesson is the first you must learn if you want your eCommerce store to generate high traffic volumes and sales.
The purpose of inbound marketing is not to amplify your good works as a business. It’s not based on who can shout the loudest. It’s not a method of manipulation, making people buy something they don’t want.
If anything, marketing is about attraction. It’s about making friends, building community and serving the socks off your ideal customer!
Inbound marketing is anything but a microphone. Inbound marketing is humble, it is giving away what you know about a product or service, free of charge. It’s about getting real with customers and showing up when they need you most.
Inbound marketing is the most holistic approach out there - it doesn’t change. You can adapt inbound marketing to suit new technologies - such as Facebook Live - but at its heart, inbound marketing is about generating helpful content, for the people that you want to do business with. If you don’t feel comfortable asking people for money in your business, don’t worry. This strategy will save you from coming across as pushy, feisty, loud and intrusive.
OK, so the reality is: 4.6 billion pieces of content are created every day.
That means, you can’t write one lone blog and hope for the best. My suggestion will always be to find and focus on your ideal persona. What does that mean? Simply put, you are going to have to create a fictional version of your ideal customer. You will have to research their needs, write content that speaks clearly them and then meet them where they are at (on the correct social media platform, podcast, blog, community group etc.)
To learn more about inbound marketing, check out my blog: What is Inbound Marketing For Your eCommerce Store?
In order to attract the audience YOU want, you need to first KNOW your dream customer and second WRITE their story. You need to talk about the things they are interested in and reach out to them, in the midst of the problems they are facing relating to your brand.
I can’t remember who first said it, but one of the most powerful phrases in the entire universe is “me too.” People like to know that they are not alone, they are not misunderstood. They belong in your community, using your brand - and you need to make sure that is where they feel seen and heard. Make sure your copy matches your brand.
Creating a customer persona is as simple as you make it.
Step 1: Create a Survey
Don’t make the mistake of guessing who your ideal clients are. This is an extremely expensive mistake to make! I have set up 18 eCommerce businesses over the years and the businesses that have failed did so because marketing was not aimed towards a specific clientele. Nobody knew what I was trying to say because I simply was not speaking the language of my customer.
The truth is: you need to be open to customer feedback. You need to reach out, ask them for information, ask them to help you to help them.
You might think this is a pointless exercise - or maybe you think that nobody will respond. But you couldn't be further from the truth! Customers love connection! Reach out, find out their age, gender, likes, dislikes, lifestyle and pretty soon you will be speaking their lingo, meeting their needs and gaining a stellar reputation plus sales.
Step 2: Set Up Interviews
There is something about meeting with your customer face to face or over the phone. When you initially survey your ideal clients, add a final question asking if you can catch up with them over the phone. This way, you will get to have one on one communication, break down any barriers, discover the way they talk, what their number 1 priorities are.
Step 3: Categorise Your Results
As an eCommerce entrepreneur and consultant I have seen what happens when brands fail to create their personas and understand their key audience. Oftentimes, brands totally discard any thought for who their customer might be - instead, they just talk about how great they are, as a brand. This method will not land huge sales for your online business.
Once you have spoken to your ideal customer, you then have to categorise the information you have received. Look to come up with a few character personas - these people may be different ages, or have different circumstances. For example, if you sell toothpaste you may cater to a couple of different personas - teenagers with braces or adults with sensitive teeth. Write both personas down separately and make sure you tailor individual content to each persona you create.
I hope you know by now, inbound marketing is not about simply driving a wealth of traffic to your website, it is about driving a wealth of traffic to your website of people that actually want to buy.
Don’t skip this part if you want to increase quality traffic to your website.
OK, so you have an incredible product.
You know and understand your customer personas.
Now, you need to know the secret for making awesome content.
“What is content?”
Reminder: content is publication whether it be written (a blog post, eBook, pillar page,) or audio (podcast) or perhaps video (vlog, tutorial.)
“How often should I post content?”
You should choose one type of content to publish on a weekly basis. In general, the purpose of your content will be to educate your reader. For example, if you sell a range of bakeware goods, you can educate your audience how to use the utensils, publishing recipes, tips and tricks for your baking journey.
You can email your content direct to your customers. For more about email marketing read my blog post: Everything You Need to Know About Email Marketing For Your eCommerce site.
“Where do I start?”
Research. Always start with research.
By now you will already know your customers, and you might have a set of ideas gathered together about the kind of content they want to receive from you. They might want to know more about your product, they might want to understand what is the right option for them. For instance, one of my eCommerce companies, Jersey Beauty Company, posts a blog educating potential customers about skin health and skin concerns they are currently facing.
Other than talking to your customers, you can also do a bit of SEO research, which involves finding out what words your customer is using to search for your topic in Google, or on Youtube. You can start by typing your topic in google and viewing the suggested searches.
Many eCommerce owners struggle to write copy. But if you have completed points 1-3 on this page you should now be all set to write well. Here are 3 tips for putting your content together:
The real reason that most eCommerce business owners struggle to compile copy - that is a form of marketing text - is simply because they know the product too well. They are too caught up in the detail of their product. Have your persona and your title in front of you and simply write what you know. Don’t try and be clever! Use the most simple vocabulary.
When in doubt, write it like a letter. Dear persona name, how are you, what do you think about this…
Don’t pretend to be someone you are not. If you are writing, it is always more personal to do so in the first person - pick an expert amongst your team and write as though you are that person. Use images to reach out and connect with your audience. If the expert is you - brilliant - grab a notebook and a pen and jot down past stories of your successes and failures in your chosen industry. For example, with my skincare company we sign our email sequences from the customer service team and use humourous stories about their skin successes and failures.
As well as text, your content needs to be image-focused. For my best tips on hiring a graphic designer click here. Marketing Blog 4: When Should Your eCommerce Business Employ a Graphic Designer?
If you are in your first year of trading as an eCommerce business, it is likely that you have dabbled in social media marketing! Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat are some of the channels that you may have opened up a business account for.
After personally coaching many people trying to improve their social media marketing, I’ve learned that if you are going to start anywhere to increase your volumes of traffic, you should start by creating content and collecting leads (email addresses.) Create new content, weekly, and look to build your email list. That is the priority here.
Why do I choose to draw a hard line? Too often I see eCommerce business owners spending hours and hours of time on social media channels, such as Facebook. They will give away free advice and build up a social media following. Yet, they will complain of having a small email list and zero customers.
Here’s the problem: you need to make social media work for you and your business. Don’t look to adapt to algorithms and master the matrix right away. Take a step back and ask yourself “how can I use social media to get an email address from a potential client?” Once you have an email address, you can then contact them directly, and nurture them to the point whereby they become a customer.
I am simply saying this: social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the ideal virtual places to meet potential customers and exchange details!
You have to look at about social media through long-term lenses. Short term, you could try out a few current tips and tricks to build a Facebook following. But who knows when Facebook will change algorithms? Who knows when the current tactics will fail? Long term, look to collect email addresses so that you have direct access to a bunch of customers that you can reach out to, in your own way. Collect as many leads as possible, that is my advice.
When deciding which social media platform to choose, begin by thinking about which platform will attract your ideal client. For example, Snapchat is mainly used by people in their teens or twenties - so if you have a brand that is targeted to teenagers, start by signing your business up for Snapchat.
What Should You Post on Social Media?
Regardless of platform, you should look to serve your ideal customer in every single post.
Don’t post about how great YOU are, tell them about the content you have created that will help YOUR IDEAL CUSTOMER overcome a pain point or problem. The point of content marketing is to treat your ideal customer as King or Queen and serve them with all the knowledge you have about your industry or product.
Here are a few examples of posts that brought us heaps of engagement - and more importantly - clicks and customers!
Jersey Beauty Co
What if we told you there was a new product specifically developed to treat your under-eye circles? Well there is! We find out all about Dermalogica Stress Positive Eye Lift with skin therapist Emma.
Jersey Beauty Co
Popcorn packaging?! Yup. It’s 100% biodegradable plus it makes your Jersey Beauty Co orders look simply amazing. Why not let Tom send a Jersey Beauty Box to your loved one this January. Add delivery instructions and we can even send a lovely hand-written card.
Jersey Beauty Co
What causes open pores and what you can do to treat your skin. Advice from a skin therapist below.
Each of these posts looks to serve the customer. Rather than saying “we have created an incredible product, look how great we are” my beauty Co has explained the reader benefits of clicking a social media post. When they click, they will be taken to a blog post or a page on the main beauty site. There, they will be asked to give their email address in exchange for more content. Friend, this is how you make social media work unto your advantage.
OK, so I’ve already told you that it is better to create content and collect email addresses. ‘Gaining likes’ and ‘comments’ on social media should not be your primary goal, when it comes to advertising.
Now, here’s the real deal: the truth is, in order to ‘show off’ you content, you must consider paid advertising.
Paid advertising is where you create an advert to display on a social media channel such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or Google. Every time someone clicks that advert, your business pays a fee to the platform on which you choose to advertise.
It is easy to make excuses as to why you can’t afford to pay for advertising, especially if your eCommerce store has been in business for under a year. But you have to understand: marketing is about service, it is about communicating clearly in order to attract the customer of your dreams. It’s about meeting your ideal customer where they are and helping them to overcome a problem. And the best way to communicate and connect with your customer is by paying to appear on their social media platform.
The truth is, you could schedule a wealth of organic social media but it might not be seen by viewers. Paid advertising is a key way to make sure you pop up in their search results, on their newsfeed, on their Pinterest board - the places they hang out.
What Should Your Paid Advertisement Look Like?
Your paid advertisement will likely contain a piece of text and a link. It’s your job to convince the reader to click the link, using the text. On some platforms, you will be able to add an image or video to boost the likeability of your advertisement.
I don’t know if you have picked up on this yet, but I am a big fan of bringing encouragement into marketing. I want to make social media marketing fun again and my hope is that you will join me!
Look to solve your audience problems, address them in every advertisement you run. But don’t be boring! Try using video to show how your eCommerce business can solve problems for thousands upon thousands of viewers. Dance, sing - do something that will catch the eye of your ideal client whilst they are browsing their favourite social media platform. Remember - your dream customer is likely scrolling through Facebook as a way to relax, or searching Google in their spare time. They don’t want to read loud demands. They look for fun and entertainment. Add creativity to your paid social media advertisements.
If you want tips on how to run a successful eCommerce promotion, click to read my blog post: 3 Ways to Run a Successful eCommerce Promotion.
By now you should have learnt:
I know from experience that most people will measure their marketing success on social media ‘likes.’ Or sales. The truth is marketing is about attracting people to your website, converting visitors to sales is a whole other ball game, which I have written about here.
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