I think growth is a word we use a little too much in our industry. Growth tactics are numerous and the danger of overusing it is that people start to think there is a magic formula for success. The essence of a successful business is innovative, selective, visionary, unique, needed. Your business must satisfy a need otherwise no amount of marketing that you do will grow it.
Step back for a moment and consider how your business is truly unique. What does it bring to the marketplace that the marketplace needs? Once you have that you know your angle which brings me onto my first growth tactic. Here are five that are guaranteed to grow your eCommerce business.
Specialise Or Drown in a Sea of Competition
It is a very simple and somewhat benign word but it holds a lot of weight. I am an SEO so I help a lot of eCommerce stores every single day. Marketing isn’t getting any easier and I say the same things to clients:
- You must have a multi-channel marketing approach that utilises social media, PR, SEO and Paid Ads if you have the budget for them. You cannot cut corners – the more you do the more your business will thrive.
- Have your unique selling points front and centre and keep an eye on competitors undercutting you on price – you must know how the rest of the marketplace is performing and where you sit in comparison.
Ultimately, the businesses that do well are the ones that tap into a specialist area. You can either go general with the mindset that you are on the same platform as some huge brands. Or, you can specialise and really own your corner on digital channels. Your brand becomes synonymous with a specific strand. Once you have that space you grow out from there.
You can also specialise with your marketing campaigns. Make your campaigns narrow in the message they contain and the audience they target. If you have a landing page, a blog post, a couple of videos, some social posts and an email campaign really driving a niche to a specific audience you will grow that area well. This is targeted marketing and it is how all of the platforms you use daily are used best.
Make The Most of SERP Features
There are sixteen SERP Features that you can optimise to get a lot more out of your SEO. Those features are:
- Featured Snippets
- Local Pack
- Site Links
- Carousel Results
- People also Ask
- Top Ads
- Bottom Ads
- Knowledge Graph
- Top Stories
- Shopping Results
- Knowledge Card
These are all essentially boxes or features that are added to organic search results. The more you can populate with quality content the more you will catch your audience’s attention.
There are a few that we are more fixated on as eCommerce store owners than others. If you have a brick and mortar store then you know the importance of the local pack (sometimes now called the 3 pack) for driving footfall. Most are now aware that YouTube is given preferential treatment by their Google owners so well optimised video titles can appear really well for niche search terms. Site link extensions can help you navigate websites and are triggered by brand terms. AMP is either adopted or not but can you greater website speed and preferential mobile rankings.
The knowledge, graph, knowledge card and People also Ask sections are reliant on your tailoring your content to appear for those. Ads rely on budget and an Adwords campaign, as do Shopping Results. Though this blog will not discuss them all it is imperative that you are aware of them and a simple Google search (ironically) can reveal what they are and how you can adapt them for your business.
The bottom line here is that if you can fill as much of the SERP real estate as possible then you will increase your presence (impressions) and ultimately if your content is good your click-through rate. Your number one priority as an eCommerce site owner is to be noticed.
You might miss a quirky organic coffee stand hidden down an alley next to a tattoo parlour. If that same coffee stand has flyered the town, ran an event with the tattoo parlour, advertised in the local paper, had great reviews and established a fresh presence on social media – you are less likely to miss it. SERP features are your opportunity to set out your store and maximise brand awareness.
Video Marketing is Still Dominating
Yeah, I know! Not video again! But the fact is it is one of the biggest areas of marketing for you to optimise if you want a big return. Let the stats convince you:
- 45% of people watch more than an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos a week
- More than 500 million hours of videos are watched on YouTube each day
- One-third of online activity is spent watching video
- 92% of mobile video viewers share videos with others
- Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video users
- 64% of consumers make a purchase after watching branded social videos
- Video drives a 157% increase in organic traffic from SERPs
If you want more impressive stats then visit the fab article that compiled the ones above – many thanks to WordStream for a compelling piece!
The fact is many of your users are visual learners. That means that they like to process information visually. Video is the perfect medium for getting across your message.
How Can You Use Video Marketing?
There are three ways I would be all over video if I were you:
Product page videos – They are time-consuming and you might need you developer to upload them BUT people buy when they see that video of the product. They feel closer to it. You create a more intimate, offline like experience for them, so they feel they know exactly what they are buying and hit that buy button.
Brand promotion videos – This is essentially a short and snappy video that demonstrates your unique selling points and makes your brand stand out to shoppers. You can showcase some products, orientate your brand with key buzz words (organic, free shipping, quality, quirky, handmade, trendy) and say something meaningful to your audience. You have to entice them, entertain them, educate them or convince them. So you must hook them and get your message and your brand firmly planted in the forefront of their mind.
Advice videos – This can be a great way to grip an audience, especially if you sell a product that needs a little explanation or has a lot of FAQs attached to it. Answer those questions and reach your audience by providing a solution to their problem. The more you can satisfy users the more you are likely to sell.
When it comes to video there is also one golden rule that you cannot break. You have to put a budget behind them and promote them on multiple channels.
Optimise the title on YouTube so that you rank well and even appear in organic search results based on the keywords you have factored into it.
Create a Facebook Ad using your video so you can encourage people to view it and also target your audience at a granular level. We know for a fact that the best Facebook Ads are the ones containing video because they convert better.
Send a link to people who are your online allies or might benefit from the video. You should have a circle of followers that are happy to promote your material and share it with their following. They need to see your videos. Monitor these channels so you can reply to any comments and see how well the video is received.
Cut your video down and promote across as many platforms as you can or do live versions for different platforms. Periscope, Instagram, Vine, Vimeo, Twitter – these are all platforms that you can share your video on and reach a wider audience.
Video will remain the front-runner of digital marketing. If content remains the Queen of marketing then Video is the King of content. The Queen still holds all of the cards but we will acknowledge the King’s majority share.
Voice Search is Upon Us
Voice is creating its own momentum right now which is why the digital marketing landscape is preparing itself for it. It is absolutely true that Google and predominantly Amazon products are gearing up for a voice-activated living space.
Whether we will fully adopt a voice led the world and start ordering products with a simple vocal request matters not. The fact is now is the time to prepare for that future. If you are ready then you will capitalise on the wave so let’s aim towards it as though it is a definite event on the horizon. At the very least there will be an increase in traffic to your website from voice searches.
All you need to do is create content for voice. That means long tail keywords and titles that are more phrase based than keywords in isolation.
Use tools like Answer The Public, topics in SEM Rush and Keywords Everywhere to find phrases and questions triggered by single keyword searches. Start typing ideas into Amazon, Quora, Google and see how they finish your sentences off. The words delivered are based on previous searches. This is moving you away from keywords in isolation and towards sentences, phrases, questions.
You are creating content for the future by considering how it sounds on the tongue. How would people ask Google, Alexa and bots a question? We type so much different to how we speak and that is what you need to consider.
The second step is to break up your content even more with subheadings. You need to have your content ready so it can be served to a variety of questions. Those subheadings will help Google champion your content for different searches.
Keep your pages bitesize and digestible. Alexa will be able to cherry-pick an answer from your page then.
The obsession over voice might be short-lived…it might not be…either way with those two approaches you will be ready!
Use Creative Tactics That Surge Growth
This might seem like an odd heading but stay with me. I am talking about:
They are all unique in their own way.
Discounts need to be short-lived and heavy on the promotion power. You must share them far and wide and emphasise that they will be short lived. It needs to be a great offer (not just a 10% offer that you hiked your prices up to cover!) Make them a rarity so people think they are a genuine and opportunistic bargain.
Promotions are where you promote a particular product or a seasonal collection. You push them to the fore with your social media, email and homepage banners. Change the whole landscape of your website with fresh imagery and a theme that champions that one collection or one product. Push Ads to them and encourage cross-sell with related products and follow up emails.
Competitions are often forgotten but they can be really helpful to grow your Facebook followers or just encourage website visits. Driving traffic to your website can help rankings and you will get a good chunk of new customers. A Facebook competition might encourage people to visit a blog and find an answer or decide which is your best selling product for a chance to win a decent prize. Again make the prize mouth watering so plenty of people are prepared to put the effort in.
Challenges are the one that takes a little thinking outside of the box. This is where you set your audience a challenge and reward them when they carry it out. This might be around filling out a form so you get some useful data, it might just be to visit your site at a certain time to read a blog and receive a 10% discount for the day. It depends on your product and your imagination but this is a great way to engage people with your brand.
The marketing growth tactic is not one of these in isolation but all of these in combination as part of your yearly marketing strategy. Factor them into your long-term plan so you are always being disruptive and giving your competition something to aspire to! You want to lead your market not look at other site’s marketing with envy.
Those five areas should give you plenty to do. If you want to be the boss of search and paid you need to be creative and bold in your marketing. Time is always the biggest inhibitor but I would urge you to find the time. Glory awaits!