A good business website is like a storefront. The best-designed sites are inviting and well organised. Even better are sites that highlight your products and services with more sophisticated online sales tools. But before all this can take hold, you need to let the world know your online store is open for business, and that requires good marketing practices. Here are five ways to use marketing to drive online sales.
Get found on Google: Help your customers find you with SEO
Also known as search engine optimisation, SEO is the practice of telling Google, Bing, and other search engines what your site and store are about in order to drive sales to your website and increase traffic through Google. It’s an invaluable tool. According to a 2019 study by BrightEdge, just over half of website traffic (53%) can be traced to organic search queries.
Say that you sell all-natural ginger beer. Your site should have lots of content that includes the phrase “all-natural ginger beer.” And it shouldn’t sound forced. Instead, it should read naturally and teach your visitors something about the product they’re investigating. (For example, did you know as early as 500 BC, ginger was used as a medicine and for flavouring food in China and India?) SEO can be difficult to get started on, but once you understand the basics, it can be one of the best engines for driving online sales to your site.
Social selling: Engage with customers where they are
Social selling is leveraging social media to discover, connect, understand, and grow sales prospects. You’ll want to connect with customers where they hang out online. But to do that, you first need to identify who they are and what they respond to best. Set up business profiles on all the major social networks and then test for engagement. For example, if you’ve been getting the most engagement on LinkedIn over other platforms, professionals may be your target audience. Regularly post both new and relevant content, or reply to posts from those who could benefit from your products — it can help to organically build your online sales pipeline.
Email marketing: keep them coming back
Email marketing is a digital marketing strategy involving sending emails to prospects and customers. Email marketing has been around a long time, and for good reason. It’s one of the most effective ways of connecting with leads and turning them into customers. Finding your ideal customers is tough. But keeping them is easy if you’re willing to put in the effort to connect regularly. Develop an opt-in email newsletter that you distribute on a schedule and includes online sales offers that don’t appear anywhere else. That way, readers have ample incentive to click.
Results can vary, of course, but according to SaleCycle, 59 per cent of respondents say marketing emails influence their purchase decision. Take the time to investigate an email marketing service if you aren’t already using one.
Mobile optimisation: Be ready at the right moment
You’ll lose online sales if your website fails to deliver a good experience on smartphones and tablets. According to Internet Retailer and Adobe, mobile devices accounted for roughly one-third of online sales during the 2018 holiday shopping season.
Make sure your site accounts for mobile visitors with responsive design and simple navigation that’s helpful to those working with a small screen. Also, provide links to maps and opening hours if your business includes physical locations. Having a responsive and reliable site will keep your visitors from leaving and help increase website traffic and improve online sales.
Close the sale: How to boost online sales
Lead generation is a crucial first step for growing your online sales business, but it doesn’t do you much good without the right tools for closing sales. Your online store should work fast and give buyers rich options for completing a purchase wherever and whenever the mood strikes.
Say you’re an artist. Having a rich online portfolio and online store for selling existing work is great, but what if you’re at a show? Adding mobile payments (make sure you can accept EMV chip cards) can make it easy to sell profitable commissions on the spot, capturing revenue you might have missed otherwise. Do that often enough — whether you’re selling art, books, crafted pieces, premium coffee, or something else entirely — and growth in your storefront and online sales will soon follow.
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