Simple ways to develop a strategy to grow your ecommerce business

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Want some simple tactics for ecommerce business growth? We’ve got some great tips and a really practical way to create your strategy.

Let our founder Sarah guide you through multiple ecommerce business strategies that you can implement right away, in her latest video.

We’ll also be covering marketing tips for beginners who want to implement new strategies, plus we’re taking a look at answers to Frequently Asked Questions when it comes to growing an ecommerce business.

Scroll down for the transcript if you prefer to read rather than watch, and as always, feel free to share this with any small business owners you know who may benefit from our top tips.

We’ll have a new episode each week, which will appear here & on our YouTube channel (if you subscribe there you won’t miss one).
 
Got questions about anything in the video? Drop us a line or give us a call at Fastnet HQ.
 
 
 

Video Transcript:

So we all know that running an ecommerce store can be hard. There’s huge competitors out there dominating the market place. You can feel like really small fish in a very big pond. But don’t worry, in this video, we’re going to cover all of the things that you, can to scale your ecommerce store online.

We going to ensure that your strategy is well set up to reach your perfect audience and to scale your online sales.

So for the best advice about how to grow your online brand quickly and profitably, subscribe to my videos.. ring the bell… we post a new video every Thursday. I’m Sarah, founder of The Fastnet Agency, and we help adventurous, ambitious up and coming ecommerce brands to leverage digital marketing to make sure that their store stands out online.

Ok, so before we dive into the actual strategy, I want you to start thinking about your marketing as a funnel. Now, the reason we call it a funnel is because funnels are traditionally a v-shape. They are wide at the top and they get narrower as they come through. And this is how I want you to think about your marketing.

So at the top of the funnel I want you to think about how you can reach as many people that could fit into your kind of perfect customer avatar as possible. If you want to know how to try and define your customer, avatar & your niche, I did a video which will be up in the corner of the screen (this side!) that can give you an overview of how to do that.

In the first instance, we’re looking at the top of the funnel, and this is all about trying to attract as many people ,and to put your brand in front of as many people, as possible. Now, once you’ve got people aware of your brand, once you’ve got them engaging with your brand a little bit, the middle of the funnel is all about building trust and authority.

Now especially when you’re looking to sell online, you know people are sceptical, especially of smaller brands, if they haven’t heard of you before, they don’t want to hand over their precious credit card details and find that they have been ripped off.

And of course, you know, unfortunately, in this day and age, it’s happening more and more, so the middle of your funnel is all about building that trust, building that rapport, getting people to understand who you are, what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and to give information about your products and how they can help your customers.

So I want you to think about the messaging that you can put out as part of the middle of your funnel. And finally, we’ve got the bottom of your funnel. So we’ve nurtured our potential customers, now they are ready to buy.

So really, the bottom of your funnel is about removing as many barriers to purchase as possible.

So this is all about making sure that they move steadily through the checkout process… It’s about picking them back up if they drop out of the checkout process, for whatever reason, and then, once they’ve actually made a purchase, it’s about getting them to come back, because we all know it takes time, it takes effort to acquire a customer, so we want to make sure that they spend as much as possible with us.

So the bottom of your funnel is about removing barriers to purchase and it’s about making sure that they repeat purchase. Now in this video we’re going to discuss some tactics which cover all three aspects of your funnel, so we’re looking at top, middle and bottom.

So, let’s start with the top of your funnel. Now, the top of your funnel is all about methods of discovery. How are you going to get people to discover your brand? And we’re going to focus on the online space.

Now, you might bump into them at a trade show or an event or something like that, but for the purpose of this video, we’re going to focus purely on allowing people to discover you in an online audience. So there are various methods that you can concentrate on in order to get your brand in front of as many people as possible.

So the first thing that I want to discuss with you is SEO. Now, of course, if you’re running an ecommerce store, you know it’s largely based around your website, so your website has to be well set up for SEO or ‘search engine optimisation’.

Now this is not the most exciting or glamorous of topics, but it is essential. So basically, search engine optimisation is making sure that Google and other search engines can find your website for your keywords. Now anybody that knows about this topic, will know that that’s a very simple explanation for something that is actually reasonably complex.

But the main thing that you can do in order to make sure that your website is going to be performing as well as it possibly can, is to make sure you are very clear-minded about the keywords that your customers are searching for.

Now, keywords are those words that people type into Google, and those keywords could also make up phrases, and most of the time, when we look at phrases, we look at questions so certain questions might be, ‘How do I do this?’ Or ‘What do I do with that?’ Or ‘How can I produce this?’ And these are the sort of questions that your customers are asking.

Then you can produce content in order to answer those questions, and that content can get picked up by Google, and that puts you in front of more people. Now I’ve done a far more long-winded video about how you optimise your website… I’ll include a link to that at the end. It’s always going to be a long game, and it’s always something that’s going to take you time.

You want to be at the top of Google, but guess what? So does everybody else. So it is going to take time and effort and perseverance and potentially a fair bit of money to get your website performing well for all of your keywords.

So you could give this a little bit of a boost through some PPC or ‘pay per click’. This is where you pay Google to push adverts on their search pages and various other locations to promote your brand when people search for particular keywords.

Now the advantage of this is that you know that these people are hunting for your product. We know they’re searching for it because they put it into Google and your brand has come up in front of them. Now, the various ways you can do this, you can do a traditional advert, which is where you see those adverts appearing at the top or the bottom off the initial search page on Google.

You could also do a Google shopping advert, which is where Google pulls up items that match the criteria of what somebody searched for, so those are both options in terms of your PPC. Now, the advantage of this is that you push money in and Google produces the results for you and you can track all of those online, so you can start to optimise it in order to make your PPC campaigns as efficient as possible.

The downside of that is that obviously the money you’re investing is on short term gain, not long term gain. So I always recommend a mixture between PPC and SEO. PPC is a very easy win, but it involves you continuously pumping money into it. When you stop putting money into it, the adverts stop appearing. It’s a simple as that.

Whereas SEO is definitely a long term game. You’re not gonna get quick wins through this, it takes a long time to get your site well-optimised for SEO, but because it takes a long time, that means that actually, if you have been working on this for a number of years, you will have an advantage compared to newer entrants to the marketplace.

And it also means you’re not continuously pumping money into it –  once you’ve got it into a good situation, you still have to work at it, but you’re not having to pay money every month in order to have it appearing at the top of the search engines.

Ok, so the obvious place that your customers are going to be looking for you is on social media, now, actually, I’m going to correct myself there, people aren’t necessarily looking specifically for you on social media, not in the same way that they are when they punch a search term into Google, but what they are doing is actively using the platform and scouring through their feed, looking for things that are new or interesting.

This is a really good opportunity to reach those people that aren’t in ‘hunt-mode’, the same way that they are when they’re specifically typing something into Google. Instead you’re looking for people that might just have an interest in what you’re doing.

You’re reaching those people that don’t actually know they need your product yet, but will potentially be interested in it. So it’s a really useful tool, it means that you can basically put your product in front of somebody that doesn’t even know that they need it yet, So social media is a fantastic resource. Now we primarily work with brands with Facebook and Instagram.

You can get a lot of traction out of organic growth, organic meaning that you don’t pay for adverts, but also paid ads on these platforms are obviously a really useful tool as well, and I’ll be doing a video shortly all about paid advertising on Facebook and Instagram, so take a look out for that.

Now, the main thing you’ve got to remember with all of these kind of discovery tactics, all of this top of funnel activity is you’ve got to make sure that you are providing value. People will become more inclined to sell as they move down your funnel initially, if you just try to sell to them, chances are, you’ll lose them.

They don’t want to buy at that stage, they are in ‘discovery mode’. So, really, what you’re trying to do with the top of the funnel is to give information, give advice, give value, provide, you know, that little bit of information that helps them to make a decision and actually helps to inform them that your product is the best choice for them. But in a ‘non-salesy’ way.

So bear in mind, top of funnel, it’s all about them discovering your brand, is all about them discovering what you are about, all about discovering what your products will do for them rather than a specific direct sale tactic. So keep that in mind in terms of your content.

So let me know, do you run an ecommerce store? Have you thought much about you know, the various aspects of your funnel? You know, what do you do to drive sales? I’d be absolutely fascinated to know if you’ve got any problems that you’ve come up against…that you don’t know the answer to… I’d be equally interested to know that, I’d love it if you could pop a comment below, & I really look forward to hearing from you.

So we’ve mastered the top of our funnel, we know how we’re going to attract people into our funnel, so now we’re going to look at the middle of the funnel. So the key thing here is that we shouldn’t just focus on the sale. This is definitely more ‘sales-y’, we’ve definitely got people hooked now and we’re looking at driving them from just being aware of our brand to actually purchasing, but we don’t want to be too heavy on that too early.

We’ve got to make sure that we’re still engaging in building that trust, building that authority and being helpful towards our customers, so when you’re looking at your landing pages, when you’re looking at how your site is designed, make sure that you’ve thought about all of the questions that your customer might be asking all of the things they might be considering.

Make sure that you give him loads of information to help them make the right decision for them when it comes to buying your product. Now, emails are probably one of the most valuable things that you could gather at this stage. If you’ve persuaded somebody to go to your site and you haven’t managed to get a sale from that person, the next best thing you could get is an email address, and there’s various different ways that you can do this, you know, we can do it with pop-ups, which encourage you to put your email address in, in exchange for a code which gives you a discount at checkout or free shipping….

We can also do it on a value basis, so what does your newsletter contain? If that contains some really good value that we think your audience might be interested in, then you can do a pop up & give them a really good idea of the value they’re going to be getting from your newsletter. If you’re a bit.. don’t quite like the idea of pop-ups, & I know some people find it annoying, then you can obviously produce calls to action on your various landing pages and home pages, persuading them to sign up to your newsletter.

But definitely, if you can’t get that actual sale at this stage, you need to get that email address, and what that allows you to do is to nurture that contact, nurture that potential customer until they’re ready to buy.

The other thing that you can do once somebody’s visited your site but perhaps haven’t committed to a sale is you can re-target or re-market them with advertising. Now this is where we place a Facebook pixel on your site, you can do it with Google banner ads as well, and basically what we can then do is deliver adverts, paid adverts, which are optimised according to the pages that your customer, or your potential customer, has gone to, or the things that they have interacted with in order to enhance their experience of your brand.

So say, for example, they’ve gone to a particular product page. You could then start to deliver more information about that product, or you could show them other products that might be related to that, that they could potentially be interested in. So remarketing or retargeting..

The two terms are used interchangeably, is a fantastic way to nurture those middle of the funnel contacts. The other thing is once you’ve got somebody’s email address, if they do then put something in their cart and then don’t checkout, don’t complete their checkout, you can target them with abandoned cart email sequences.

Again, a really good tactic for the middle of the funnel. It means that it reminds them of what they potentially wanted to purchase. You can also do some incentive-led emails as well, so ‘checkout today and get 5% off’ or something along those lines… But it means that you’re not losing those people that have come really close to purchasing but haven’t quite made it yet.

And the final thing with the middle of the funnel that I really want you to give some consideration to is whether there are any physical barriers on your site to stop people from making a sale. So, you know, is your site mobile friendly, for example? Can they use it easily on a mobile phone? Does it work well when you click through from Instagram or from Facebook?

Sometimes they use their own browsers, sometimes that can slightly skew websites, it’s definitely worth checking. You want to make sure that the checkout process works smoothly, that people aren’t dropping out because they can’t enter their card details or something’s not working. So making sure at this middle of the funnel that you’ve got no barriers to stop people from purchasing is really important, and making sure that you’ve got all the right trust measures in place….

You know, you’ve got a securities SSL certificate on your site so people can see that it’s secured to checkout, you’ve got clear reviews and testimonials so people know that you’re safe to buy from all, of those things that build trust and show that they’ve got a safe shopping experience.

And then finally, we’ve got bottom of the funnel. Now it’s expensive to get a customer as we’ve already discussed. You know, you’ve potentially paid for adverts to get that customer… You’ve spent ages on SEO to get that customer, you’ve produced some great content to get that customer, you know, you’ve invested in that person and so you want to make sure that they spend as much with you as possible over their lifetime.

Now, the initial way to get them to spend more is to make sure that you’ve got some really good upsells as they move towards the checkout. So if they’ve bought something and you know that, say, for example, if they’ve bought some, say they’ve bought some outdoor gear, they bought a hat, for example, you might want to upsell them by selling them a scarf and gloves to go with it, things that are obviously going to be related to the sort of products that they’re buying.

It can be a really, really good way to increase the average spend at the checkout. And of course, if you can increase the average standard checkout by 5 or 10% for every purchase, that would have a major impact on your bottom line, so upsells are really, really important and definitely something you want to give consideration to.

But they can be annoying if they are not carefully thought through. If you just get something random that they try to upsell, that’s just annoying, it doesn’t really add to the user experience. On the other hand, a really carefully thought out upsell that genuinely compliments what that user is buying is not only an advantage for the store holder because they increase their average spend, but it’s an advance to your customer, it gets them a good customer experience because you thought about what they want, what they need and put that in front of them in a way that makes it easy for them to purchase, so definitely consider upsells as part of your bottom of your funnel strategy.

Now, the next thing you want to do is to make sure that these people have already bought from you come back. Now, that is what that email address is going to be really valuable, so you can start communicating with them, letting them know about other products they might be interested in, for example, giving them more information about the development of your products or the team behind your products, you know, all of those things that enable them to view your brand in a more holistic view and get an idea of the people behind the brand.

And that’s what really builds up that brand loyalty and that idea that they always come to you for your particular type of product or service.

So certainly nurturing existing customers and encouraging them to come back is really, really important, and some thing that again is going to drive up those store sales over time. Now, another thing that could be really useful for your bottom of funnel marketing is user-generated content.

So a really good tip here is to put in some sort of card. Maybe it’s a nice thank you card with their purchase when you ship that out to them, and provide them with a hashtag and your accounts on Instagram, for example, or Facebook so that they can take photos of your products, and then using your products, & post them.

Particularly on instagram, this works really, really well, so if you ship that product out for them, encourage them to create user-generated content about your brand and about their experience of using your brand.

And again, you can incentivise that as well, because people always like a good incentive to do these things, so for example, you could say, you know, post your experience of your brand on Instagram on be entered into a prize draw to win a £500 gift voucher or something along those lines that could also provide some great content as well, obviously, if you’re running competitions and incentives like that, so user-generated content is brilliant in terms of encouraging more people to come into your pipeline and also building that relationship that you have with your existing customers because they feel that they’ve bought into your brand then they’re much more likely to buy from you again.

User-generated content is also a really good way to take, you know, someone from the bottom of your funnel and encourage more people into the top of the funnel, so take that user-generated content, share it, re-share it, use it on your adverts, make sure that you’ve got good reviews and testimonials, and that, in turn, will then feed back up to the top of your funnel and encourage more people to join.

And yes, of course. we just mentioned testimonials, but testimonials and reviews are really, really important, so make sure that you’ve got an email sequence set up, which asks people to leave their review, that’s equally important, and again, you can incentivise it, you can give discount codes or something along those lines if people leave reviews…

Always worth looking at incentivising because actually reviews are really, really valuable to you and really, really valuable to your brand, and so giving a small discount in order to gather that valuable information is always worth it.

So make sure that you’ve got a sequence, a process set up to ensure that you get as many reviews from your customers as possible, and where you can, encourage them to leave video reviews…

A video review is always worth so much more than a written review because it’s less easy to replicate. The other way you can ensure that your reviews are considered to be independent is to use something like Trustpilot, or to ask them to place a review on Google itself, so that they’re verified in some way, so there’s various ways that you can ensure those reviews have maximum weight so that people really understand that those reviews are genuine and from your customers.

So now you have a clear overview of the various steps that you can take to build out your marketing funnel and develop a strong ecommerce growth strategy for your business. This really is just a whirlwind kind of overview of what you can do.

I will be specifically targeting each of these areas over the next few videos to give you a really in-depth understanding of how you can build out these various different steps on your funnel when it comes to growing your ecommerce brand.

So please do subscribe to my videos, ring the bell so you’ll know when the next one’s coming out, and we’ll go through together and look at how you can develop out each of these individual tactics in order to grow your ecommerce. brand. So if you found this useful, check out this video all about the tactics that we used to develop a really strong marketing strategy for your brand.

And there’s this video over here all about building out your customer personas and developing your niche, and this is really important, this is all of the sort of stuff that you need to have in place, the foundations that you need to have in place, in order to start building out this ecommerce growth strategy and growing your brand.

I release a new video every Thursday, so, as I say, ring the bell, subscribe, & I look forward to seeing you next Thursday.”

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It's also the name of our epic newsletter, full of great advice, tips and information to position your business for take off!