There are currently 7.1 million online retailers in the world, so there’s no doubt that the online business game is quite a competitive one.
Whether you’re still planning your online store, you’ve just launched it or you’ve had it for a while (and know it could use a little revamp), the tips we bring you in today’s article are sure to give your visibility, traffic, and sales the boost they need.
So, why not take some time to revisit your digital marketing plan and figure out how you can start benefiting from our top strategies for online success?
1. Invest in SEO
68% of all online experiences start with a search engine and if you want potential customers to easily find your business while researching online, you need to invest in search engine optimisation (SEO).
Doing so will help:
- Boost your leads
- Increase your conversion rate
- Build brand authority and awareness
- Ensure mobile responsiveness
- Improve website speed
- And much more!
There are three main types of SEO that you should consider when creating your plan:
- On-page SEO, which relates to your website content.
- Technical SEO, which relates to the behind-the-scenes of your website.
- Off-page SEO, which relates to the relationships your website has with others.
While it is true that SEO can be a complex topic to grasp, there are certain tactics that don’t require much technical knowledge, and that after reading one or two high-quality resources, you’ll be able to handle.
2. Create (and Regularly Feed) a Blog
While we’re on the topic of SEO, one thing you want to do is create opportunities to naturally include more relevant keywords on your website, so that it ends up ranking higher, and creating a blog is the perfect way of doing so.
Furthermore, you’ll be providing your audience with valuable insights on your industry, which will allow you to boost your brand authority, while also showing users that you’re not just here to sell, but to educate them as well.
No matter what niche you play in, there is always something worth writing about, from industry trends to evergreen tips and tricks, product reviews, how-to guides… you name it.
? Pro tip: Human beings love visuals, so why not turn your blog posts into eye-catching, shareable infographics as well?
3. Use PPC Advertising
PPC stands for Pay-Per-Click and it is an advertising model where website owners pay each time a user clicks on one of their ads.
There are several types of PPC, which include:
- Search ads, which are most commonly created on Google. These are the search results to pop up at the top and bottom of the organic results on the SERPs.
- Social media ads, which pop up as we scroll down our feeds, in between posts of people and brands we are actually connected with.
- Display ads, which show up on Google partner websites:
- Remarketing, which are ads for a website (or even a specific product/service) that you’ve previously interacted with.
4. Build a Solid Social Media Presence
Most of us check our social media accounts several times a day and that represents a huge opportunity for businesses of all sizes, locations, and industries.
When it comes to social media, one of the most important things is that you make sure you are where your target audience is as well. There’s no point in posting on TikTok every other day when most of your potential customers are on LinkedIn.
Once you know where you should be present, develop a comprehensive social media plan that covers all the essential aspects:
- SMART goals
- Audience persona
- Competitor benchmarks
- Tone of voice
- Campaign ideas
- Metrics to track
? Pro tip: Want to ensure consistency on your social media pages? Create a content calendar on Google Sheets and get into the habit of drafting your posts in advance.
5. Participate in Forum Discussions
Nowadays, many consumers use online forums to ask questions and learn more about certain topics, and who says brands can’t partake in these conversations in order to promote their products or services?
Doing so isn’t only a fantastic way to build your reputation as a leader, but also of boosting your backlinking efforts.
? Pro tip: When you answer a user’s question, remember that you still want to provide them with useful information, and not just promote your brand. Make sure not to sound too ‘salesy’!
6. Start Using Email Marketing
Creating a community around your brand is a fantastic way of growing your customer base, but there needs to be some exclusivity to it, which you can’t exactly guarantee with social media or ads.
That’s where email marketing can come in handy.
The trick when it comes to this strategy is in developing an effective lead nurturing plan, as to grow your contact list as much as you wish, and then deliver everything you promised to.
From exclusive discounts to weekly tips, free long-form resources, sneak peeks into new products or services – you need to make it interesting and valuable enough for users to subscribe (and remain subscribed).
7. Create a Chatbot
People are always busy and they have millions of brands they can purchase from, all of them one simple click away.
This means that, unless you are quick to respond to their questions, they’ll move on to one of your competitors and, just like that, you lose a qualified lead.
Chatbots can help prevent this from happening, as they use automation to guarantee that you are always available to users (even when you’re not in front of your computer).
Two of the most common types of chatbots that online business owners use are:
- Website chatbots, which pop up when someone clicks on your website.
- Facebook chatbots, which are automated Facebook Messenger conversations:
8. Post Video Content
Did you know that 85% of consumers want brands to post more video content online?
This format is by far one of the easiest to consume, and by investing in it, not only will you be giving consumers what they want, but you’ll experience several benefits as well, including higher Google rankings, increased traffic, higher CTR, and more. It’s a true win-win situation!
There are three types of video content you can post, according to the primary goal you’re trying to achieve:
- Awareness, such as behind-the-scenes and interviews:
- Education, such as reviews, how-to’s, and Q&A’s:
- Engagement, such as vlogs and funny skits:
Besides scripted videos, it can also be worth exploring the world of live streaming, particularly on Facebook and Instagram. It is an excellent way of connecting with your audience at a deeper level and showing your brand’s personality in a more authentic manner.
? Pro tip: Host your videos on a third-party platform, such as YouTube, and then embed them in your website, landing page, or newsletter. Not only is this absolutely free, but it will make the management of your video strategy a lot simpler.
9. Partner Up With Influencers
49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations to make purchase decisions, so if you’re not using influencer marketing yet, it might be time to change that.
Now, we know what you might be thinking. Not every online business has the exposure or budget to work with people like the Kardashians or Liza Koshy. And the good news is, not every brand has to.
There are actually four types of influencers that online brands can partner up with, some more accessible and affordable than others, but all with great marketing potential:
- Mega-influencers: over one million followers
- Macro-influencers: between 100,000 and one million followers
- Micro-influencers: between 1,000 and 100,000 followers
- Nano-influencers: fewer than 1,000 followers (but a great level of influence in their community)
The two most important things when it comes to influencer marketing are that a) you choose someone who your target audience will resonate with and listen to, and b) you perform a background check on your chosen influencer, to make sure you’re not about to associate your online store with any controversies.
10. Encourage User-Generated Content
It’s clear that consumers trust influencers, but there’s one other thing they strongly rely on when choosing an online store to buy from, and that is user-generated content (or UGC).
This type of content is created by past customers and it comes in several formats:
- Social media posts (which you can, and should, repost from time to time)
- Youtube videos
- Case studies, Testimonials and reviews
11. Blog posts
- Posts and comments on forum platforms
The thing about UGC is that not every brand is big enough for consumers to be talking about them on a regular basis, but if that’s your case, it doesn’t mean you have to give up on this strategy completely.
What you need to do instead is encourage users to create these online conversations around your online store, which you can do by:
- Running social media contests
- Creating and promoting branded hashtags
- Asking new customers to leave a review after they make a purchase
- Rewarding people who post UGC
12. Create a Loyalty Program
82% of companies state that retention is cheaper than acquisition, and one of the best ways to keep customers coming back is by rewarding them through a loyalty program.
By adopting this strategy, you’ll be encouraging them to keep purchasing from you, which will obviously have a positive impact on your revenue, but you’ll also:
- Gather valuable information about your audience (which you can use to develop targeted campaigns)
- Attract new customers
- Show your current customers that you appreciate them
The most important thing is that you make sure your rewards, which can be anything from points to discount vouchers, event tickets, or sample products, are enticing to the specific customer you’re hoping to reach.
13. Use Advanced Product Filtering
One of your priorities as an online store owner is to make the purchase process as easy for your visitors as possible, and providing them with advanced filtering options is one way to do so, simply because it means they can find the product or service they’re looking for a lot quicker:
When creating your filtering system, it’s important that you use words that people would use to describe your products or services, making the filters as easy to understand as possible.
Plus, you should always test your filters as you create them. Not doing so might end up costing you many dollars without you even realising!
? Pro tip: Make sure you enable multiple filter values of the same kind. Most users will likely want to apply several filters while browsing through your products, and that’s something you need to consider.
14. Make Sure Your Website Is Mobile-Friendly
We’ve all opened a website on our smartphones only to find a poorly formatted page, and we’ve clicked off a website because of that.
Given that around 50% of all web traffic in the world is generated by smartphones, it becomes clear why you have to make sure your website is mobile responsive. After all, not doing is like giving up on half of your potential customer base, which is something no online store can afford.
If that’s not enough to convince you, the fact that mobile-friendliness is one of the top-ranking factors that Google considers when crawling a website should be.
15. Consider Investing in Social Shopping
We’ve discussed social media before and you know by now that it constitutes a great marketing channel for any business, but did you know that you can actually sell directly on social media?
Both Facebook and Instagram offer businesses specific features for them to set up a store within their pages, through what they call shoppable posts, which look similar to regular, organic posts, but allow shop owners to tag the relevant products.
? Pro tip: This is a fantastic opportunity for you to use the UGC that we mentioned before. Make sure you collect all the photos your customers tag you in and, after getting permission from them, reuse them as shoppable posts!
16. Create Enticing Pop-Ups
We know what you might be thinking: users don’t like pop-ups… at all.
However, that’s not always the case. As long as your pop-ups are strategically timed and placed, aren’t too intrusive, and actually add some value to your experience, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t use them.
Pop-ups can actually be excellent lead magnets, especially if you use them to make an irresistible offer.
? Pro tip: If a user closes your pop-up, it’s because they’re not interested – at least, not yet. Don’t insist by showing more pop-ups every time they click on another page, otherwise, you’ll risk being too annoying.
17. Guest Post in Relevant Third-Party Blogs
Last but not least, guest blogging is the perfect strategy for you to boost your exposure within your industry, but also to get more backlinks directing readers to your website and, like that, get Google to perceive you as an authority.
This can have an excellent impact on your link building and SEO strategy, but only if you know how to choose relevant websites to send your pitches to. In order to do so, make sure they:
- Are relevant to your niche
- Matches your target audience
- Appears to have high reach and engagement rates
There’s no shortage of digital marketing strategies that online business owners like yourself can use to grow their sales and profits like never before. Now that you’re familiar with 16 of them, it’s time to get to work and create the new and improved version of your digital marketing plan.
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