In the intervening decades since visiting a website meant typing in an entire internet address and navigating blindly, online usage has evolved largely into specific hits based on hyperlinks or search engine returns, and coming to rest on what marketers call a “landing page.” That’s a fancy term for one page within a complete website that delivers content a user has specifically sought. Simple enough.
The content on that page will ideally reflect the intent a user holds when he or she decides to visit it. If you’re an ecommerce vendor, it may return a product you’ve advertised somewhere in cyberspace. Still simple enough.
What’s not so simple is digging into the wealth of opportunities that open up when the landing page – or any of your pages – becomes a potential customer’s focus. Advertising strategy is more complex than merely linking a consumer demand with a consumer supply. Though it may be a proximate goal, ideally you will lure a user into your brand as opposed to a single product. Gauging the effectiveness of either your advertising or your web pages’ ability to gain an interested party is something that marketers quantify through “conversation rates,” or the percentage of site visitors who respond to externally located links and either make a purchase, subscribe to the site, or in some other way participate beyond a mere glance.
Wouldn’t we all love to indulge in the latest in saturation marketing, ignoring the costs and employing every agency, ad buy, and other strategy to put our businesses in a top position? Experience says the majority of ecommerce merchants face a more stark reality, carefully eyeing a shoestring budget and wandering in oblivion to find ways that make it work to their advantage.
Right out of the gate, it’s important to embrace and use the free marketing opportunities that come your way. Yes, we said free. With the ethereal rise of internet channels and a mind-blowing number of users (many from demographic categories you’d never expect to see), there is an impressive array of platforms that will work for promoting your business.
Social media should be your first consideration, with Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and other players lined up to connect consumers with products and services they desire. But investing rather than using free services carries a red flag. Pay heed to this important tip: not all opportunities are created equally. Pouring money into the coffers of entities who promise to drive “likes” to your Facebook page is a non-starter. Facebook users barely revisit pages of companies (or even individuals) that haven’t yet captured their interest. Add to that the increasingly vast expanse of pages, and you’ll discover that Facebook as a free marketing tool has prohibitive limits.
That said, Facebook ads can be a lucrative and inexpensive vehicle for attracting prospective customers. With the ability to both carve out an appropriate demographic and also customize your budget, you might see an impressive return.
The average consumer wants flexibility while shopping online. Why shop online if it isn’t actually more convenient than shopping in a store? Anyone walking into a store has the luxury of asking an employee about that store’s return policy while purchasing something. Return and exchange policies aren’t so easy to find while shopping online because they’re often hidden, sometimes intentionally and sometimes not.
It’s becoming increasingly apparent that consumers value clear return policies and enjoy the flexibility of “hassle-free” returns. A fair and easy to discover return policy can be the difference in earning a returning customer. Here are some keys for crafting a return and exchange policy that works in 2018.
The most important part of having a return policy is to make it visible for all who are looking to shop. Make it available from the main menu, as well as on banners throughout the site. To ensure that there is no confusion, the best way to reinforce a return policy is to send it along with a confirmation email after purchase. Ensuring that a return policy is visible is key to maximizing the chances of brand loyalty.
SEO rankings can make or break your website. Showing up one spot higher on a results list than a competitor can be the difference in a sale. It’s important to be aggressive in finding ways to increase traffic through optimizing a website. Revamping your website for an improved user-experience could require changing your URL structure, which could potentially harm your website’s rankings. It’s important to consider risks like this, which could appear harmful at first, with its eventual long-term payoffs.
The first step in improving optimization requires a cost-benefit analysis. By looking at where your web pages rank with different keyword phrases, you can determine how much room for improvement there is, versus how much momentum you could lose with major changes. SEMrush and Google Analytics provide insight into key metrics, and whether your traffic and rankings are trending up or down. Through careful evaluation, you will be able to determine the risks and rewards that are appropriate for your website. Below are two risks worth taking, followed by two that should be avoided.
The connection between human psychology and consumer decision-making dates back nearly to the beginning of commerce, so it’s no surprise that as consumption increases and competition for buyers flourishes, merchants are in a position to drill down to detail and understand two dynamics: first, what makes buyers tick? And second, how can we cash in on that?
Meeting expectations, marketers in the digital age have tackled these questions and come up with a catchy term. “Micro moments” is a phrase they use to capture the brief moment in time your product or service may cross the radar screen of a potential buyer. Virtually drenched with information and choices, consumers are overwhelmed to the point of tuning out, but as buying is a basic need, they leave open short windows of opportunity.
How does the 21st century ecommerce merchant respond to this phenomenon? The answer is complex, and yet somewhat simple. Enter Google, the premiere search platform that has all but left competitors in the dust over the last decade or two. Through its AdWords feature, Google targets sellers, luring them with updated offerings that beef up product placement opportunities based on what shoppers are seeking. AdWords, as explained here, is an auction-based platform for delivering search results based on criteria supplied by advertisers.