Many ecommerce businesses have reached the point that they have set up a presentable functioning website in a convincing niche. But they do not know how to go beyond that point and truly exploit the potential to its maximum. While there cannot be a how-to guide for success, it is important to get all your basics right.
Most helpful online articles focus on identifying the right niche. What I am attempting today is to target businesses that have crossed that stage and would like to go further.
The New SEO
Do the terms "Panda," "Penguin," "over optimization penalty," "poisonous backlinks," "keyword anchor text," and "keyword spam" mean anything to you? Well, they should. All of them indicate that SEO has changed. It is not only about extensive anchor text link building.
With Google dramatically increasing its emphasis on content quality, and its renewed aversion to SEO, you can no longer artificially optimize your website for search rankings. Today SEO has become all about developing a valuable website for your users. As Google starts including social signals and navigation-behavior into search results, the troubles of the true ecommerce professionals have actually reduced. Now they can focus on increasing user value while ignoring the much-touted array of schemes designed to hoodwink Google.
Get Your Product Strategy Right
Getting your product strategy right involves the following:
- Choosing to be a niche player in a niche that you feel convinced about.
- Presenting your products in a way that makes a compelling case to your target audience.
- Having an adequately large range of products so that customers can make related purchases on your website itself.
- Pricing your products such that customers find your offering attractive, without getting to the point where you bleed yourself.
- Offering multiple payment and delivery options.
- Presenting a credible reverse logistics process that make customer feel secure in the fact that you will take care of them post-sale.
Get Your Content Right
I have often repeated that content marketing is one of the most potent and cost effective marketing strategies for ecommerce businesses. But getting content right is more than just about writing articles and posting on your blog. At the core of every ecommerce website is a product description page that usually includes an image. Above all, you need to get page right.
As ecommerce professionals, we should not be so arrogant as to assume that we can actually generate content that will compel people to buy. This is where a strategy for user-generated content can be quite helpful. A credible user review is a significant influencer, one way or another. Encourage users to leave comments, reviews, and feedback. Participate in the conversation to present your point of view.
Get Your Marketing Right
Ecommerce marketing at its core is no different from classical marketing. But the online component creates some unique opportunities and challenges. For instance, today it is conceivable that you could have thousands of affiliates reselling your offering on a purely variable pay basis. Likewise, the social aspect of online existence presents unique situations for social marketing and online reputation management. Depending upon how well you do on these counts could make or mar your chances to engage and retain customers.
The online medium is a primarily visual medium. Hence you get the opportunity to engage in some slick visual marketing.
Basic strategies for business development have not changed over centuries. But technology, information, and changing customer behavior have necessitated altering one's tactics. With pay-per-click advertising the marketer can exactly measure the effectiveness of ad spends. This was not possible earlier. Likewise the marketer from a decade ago could not have dreamt of marketing strategies such as behavioral targeting or marketing based on analyzing the clickstream.
While these new tactics initially present new opportunities to exploit your niche, eventually their use becomes so widespread that those who miss the boat have to close shop. The clichéd marketing challenge of "having to run fast to at least remain in the same spot" has now come true.