ActiveCampaign offers tons of automated features you can rely on, from email automation to live chat. It’s a wonderful all-in-one lead generation tool to improve your marketing and capture customers and consumers. Use it to build a landing page that entices an email sign up or simply use it as a live chat to answer questions and help consumers to feel confident about buying your product. Perfect for both sales and marketing, ActiveCampaign is perfect for startups who want to hit the ground running and need an all-encompassing lead generation tool. Luckily, it’s user-friendly too!
Getsitecontrol may not have a plethora of automation tools like ActiveCampaign, but they do have a variety of widgets like forms, popups and an extensive collection of templates to get you started. Create a targeted email opt-in popup to capture emails and customers. You can even create a split test popup to determine which is more effective for your consumer base. This lead generation tool is a very easy-to-use on-page lead generation tool that can begin to capture emails that lead to loyal customers and more.
Connect to your customers right on site with JivoChat, a live chat-based lead generation tool. JivoChat is a pretty handy tool for businesses that want to target existing traffic. You can use it to offer a way for customers to directly connect and chat with a representative and get the live support that they need. When a customer is hesitant or has questions about a product, warranty or more, a quick chat may be all they need to gain their trust and confidence and turn them into a long-term paying customer. Non-distracting and accessible, add a JivoChat chat window into the sidebar of a website just like that!
Hubspot Sales Hub
Hubspot is a fantastic all-around CRM software tool that offers a wide range of services from marketing, sales, and customer service. The Hubspot Sales Hub, in particular, provides lead generation tools that take advantage of the data, integrating it directly within the platform. The Hubspot Sales Hub allows companies to set up automated email sequences and sales processes to hunt down leads and close more deals. Lead scoring, conversion routing and sale forecasting tools are just some of the advanced features you can expect with this handy-dandy lead generation tool. While this fancy Hubspot tool is intended for teams, it’s also offered in a free CRM tool version for individual salespeople and smaller companies looking to bootstrap their business.
Albacross is a wonderful lead generation tool to help you analyze and hone in on your ideal buyers. This way, you can tailor marketing activities along the buyer journey, which leads to greater conversions. Albacross not only identifies potential leads in real-time and monitors their site navigation habits, but also gathers data on their demographic so you can create better messaging that attracts them. This powerful lead generation tool is fully GDPR compliant with global regulations and offers firmographic, behavioral, and technographic data points so you can target your audience to a tee.
If you are looking for attractive and useful landing page lead generation tools, Leadpages has tons to offer. Leadpages can help you design beautifully optimized landing pages with simple templates and a drag and drop builder. Landing pages aside, it also offers ways to integrate popups, alert bars and much, much more so that you can up the ante on your lead conversions. A/B testing helps you understand what landing page is working and an analytics dashboard guides you through the process with real-time conversion tips.
Last but not least, OptinMonster makes a great lead generation tool. After a quick user-friendly setup using one of their 97+ customizable templates from popups to floating bars and full screen overlays, you can bring A/B testing to eliminate the guesswork and hone in on your target audience. OptinMonster offers some proprietary software such as Exit Intent® technology, which can personalize campaigns based on visitor behavior and OnSite Retargeting® and personalization that tailors an offer to a specific audience like new or returning visitors. Enterprise-level page targeting is also another feature that can come in useful to segment leads.
Advantages and Pitfalls to Avoid
The Advantages of Using Social MediaSocial media outreach is an essential component of a marketing strategy for many brands. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and many others offer an accessible way for brands to reach their audience. What are some of the advantages of using social media? Let’s explore!
It’s a Direct Connection to a Wider Audience
Popular social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram have many Monthly Active Users (MAUs). Facebook alone has 2.9 billion MAUs, so it is usually the first social platform brands turn to. This can work to a brand’s advantage, getting as many eyes on your products and services as possible. Furthermore, it offers a direct connection that serves an audience’s curiosity and makes them more familiar with products and services.
Influencer Marketing and Paid Ads Are More Affordable
Influencer marketing and paid advertising offer brands a more economical approach to reaching said audience. You don’t need a big celebrity; a micro-influencer with a large following of your target audience will do the trick. It’s a great way for newer brands to make their name known. Not sure where to find an influencer relevant to your brand? Check out some of the top influencer marketing platforms like Upfluence, Grin and CreatorIQ and filter for your niche. Paid ads can also be tailored to slide into the social feeds and generate loyal followers who may eventually hit that “buy” button.
Social Media Points Increases Shop Page and Website Visitors
With a community of followers, a brand can alert them of promotions, sales and other offerings that lead them to a website and more importantly, a shop page! Whether the brand sells home decor or fine jewelry, a captivating image of the latest products can entice followers to pay a visit to a site, driving traffic and generating sales.
Pitfalls to AvoidWith all the advantages that social media has to offer to grow a brand, it’s still a good idea to know what kind of pitfalls to avoid. Here are a few snags and snafus that can trip up a well-meaning social media marketing plan.
Not Researching Your Target Audience
Yes, one major advantage of social media is that a brand can reach a wider audience with multiple accounts. Still, you have to start somewhere. If you ignore data-driven details and metrics that help define your target audience, all your social media posts will fail to capture the attention of those that matter – your customers and clients! So, learn how to make your brand appeal to your audience from the get-go.
Being on Every Social Media Platform
New social media platforms are popping up practically every year: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and the latest Snapchat and TikTok, among a few. If it seems overwhelming, you’re not wrong. But there’s an easy solution. Instead of trying to blanket them all and stretching the marketing department too thin, focus on the social media platforms that your target audience uses most. For example, Pinterest offers interior designers and homeowners a way to pin furniture and decor. Also, remember to align the style and tone of voice to the platform. For example, LinkedIn readers will appreciate a more professional angle.
Becoming Over-Reliant on Automation
Once your brand markets itself to its target audience, don’t forget to connect with followers on a more personal level. Automation offers a modern convenience of posting consistently, but real engagement begins when a brand replies to comments and answers questions, even under an influencer’s social media post. So hop into the brand accounts – on a weekly basis at least – to get involved with your followers and build that trust factor.
Discover the Best Social Platform for Your Brand TodayTake advantage of everything social media has to offer. Join a social media platform – or two or three – and begin promoting your brand today. Research your target audience or simply learn more details on who that audience truly is. Just remember to avoid some of the common pitfalls mentioned above and align your message and tone to fit your brand.
You’ve built your email list to a point where it’s time to automate. But how do you do it?
The nuts and bolts of process and procedure are great, but you need to start with a strategy. Simply sending the same message to every customer, or potential customer, on your list isn’t enough.
As nice as one-size-fits-all is in theory, in practicality, it’s not very effective.
So what does work?
Define and Segment Your Audience
If you want to tailor your approach, you’re going to start by thinking about what separates those on your list. A customer that made a purchase last week is different than a customer that made a purchase last year is different from a potential customer who hasn’t made a purchase at all.
Once you’ve created a few segments, you can begin to tailor your outreach approach and to set up automated triggers for email outreach. For instance, if your segment is those who’ve made a purchase between 10 and 90 days ago, you might consider sending an offer for free shipping or a discount code.
Collect Data During Sign Up
They got on your list somehow. Presumably most had to fil out a form and give you their email address. But that’s not the only thing you can ask for. Here are other pieces of information that you might find useful:
A/B Testing and Analytics Are Your Friend
Dive into all that data that’s right at your fingertips and begin by texting different email strategies to see which get you the best open, click-thorough, and purchase stats. Don’t hesitate to test in parallel, either. Got a message going out? Create two versions to determine things like the best subject lines, whether emojis help or hurt, or whether it makes a difference if the email comes from a generic or personal email address. Once you’ve sent those parallel messages, take a look at the stats and use that to build and refine your strategy.
In a world that’s ever-changing, more and more quickly, this isn’t a one and done prospect. Revisit your assumptions and test again. Continually be building your strategy and pushing back against what you think you know. What worked in 2019 probably isn’t the same as what will work in 2022.
Create Automated Message Flows
Once you’ve got a good handle on what works on whom, it’s time to actually devise your email strategy. You can start by creating workflows – series of emails that push a customer to your desired outcome. What might that look like? For a new customer who’s just joined you list, it’s a welcome series of 2-3 emails that establish your brand/ mission and invite them along on your journey. For someone who’s abandoned a cart, it’s a series of email tempting them to return to finish their purchase.
Other ideas include a birthday series, an order and shipping series, purchase follow-up, and reactivation for customers who’ve gone quiet. And, of course, you should be tailoring these workflows to your specific business and audiences, and you should be testing various messages and strategies within your emails.
The result? Better ROI. Higher conversion rates mean more business and really, that’s the whole goal.
Celebrity sells, and even with your best efforts at focusing on conventional strong points for growing an e-commerce business, it may be time to cash in on the notoriety of big names.
That’s the reality for a lot of merchants, but not all. Your store might realize a so-so benefit from investing in this trend. Let’s look at the pluses and the minuses.
Influencer marketing typically harnesses the high-profile status of well-known (and sometimes surprisingly not so well-known) “influencers,” meaning people with immense followings on social media. Endorsements, product mentions, personal stories – they all attract interest. Whether it’s a big name like Kardashian, or a Johnny-Come-Lately who has grown a big audience and mass presence through clever marketing, leveraging this type of sales strategy can be lucrative.
Influencer marketing is also a form of branded content; not a one-size-fits-all concept. It’s hard to deny the effect of social media on virtually all consumer demographics, making sites like Facebook (Meta), Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and various and sundry platforms a critical asset to market products you sell.
Experts estimate that U.S. marketers will engage in some form of influencer marketing to the tune of nearly 73 percent in 2022. Want more stats? An estimated 14 percent of 18-to-24 year olds and 11 percent of millennials made a purchase within the last six months, strictly driven by influencer marketing. The concept is anything but new, and dates back to celebrity TV ad endorsements from decades earlier.
In 2022, influencers might be successful bloggers who have grown a following over the years. Parenting blogs, fitness blogs, foodie blogs, and fashion blogs are common examples. Non-famous individuals have built large audiences with sheer creativity and relevance. And even better, people trust them.
How do you absorb the cost of influencer marketing? Particularly in light of an imperfect method to measure metrics for return-on-investment, it’s an important question. What once was “paid partnerships” has morphed into “sponsored posts.” And for the privilege of hopping on board, the unspoken industry standard is $100 per 10,000 followers. Deciding between quality and quantity is another consideration: are you seeking a broad reach, or does your product line(s) call for a more tailored approach?
As Instagram is considered the gold standard for influencer marketing, start there. Influencers usually offer a press kit with the details you need to make a decision. A typical Instagram sponsored photo post caption might set you back under $2,000 for an influencer with fewer than 100,000 followers. To get started, you should start slow and build up.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind if you’re pitching on Instagram:
Photo by Verena Yunita Yapi on Unsplash
Don’t be surprised if the lion’s share of blog posts and other venues devoted to offering tips on building and sustaining your ecommerce biz are directly related to marketing. It’s clear by now that the virtual world of shopping has expanded consumer options exponentially, which comes with its own Catch-22: yes, you have a built-in audience you’d never have as a simple physical store; no, you are not the only game in town. Crafting a smart, savvy marketing strategy is the only way to become a viable presence with a statistically significant customer base.
Thankfully there are innumerable useful hints on how to market an ecommerce business, and they range from commonsense to proven to edgy, new approaches developed after the phenomenon of online buying reached its multi-decade stage.
Following are strategies known to generate business and, more importantly, to keep it.
For a bevy of fabulous tips, facts, strategies, and overall info on the evolving ecommerce world, check out ecommerce specialist Namogoo. They are awesome.
The dizzying pace of futuristic strategies to enhance your online store has a somewhat new entry, and you might want to pay attention. Enter “augmented reality,” or AR, to the mix of methods for capturing and keeping a customer base devoted to revisits. This is a proven hack to showcasing the best of your product mix.
The definition of augmented reality is an overlay of computer-generated imaging over an authentic environment. In lay terms, it means AR picks up on an element in the real environment, then inserts objects related to it using varying levels of interactivity.
Sound complicated? It may, but as with any emerging technology, there is plenty of help to get you started. First, evaluate how useful it will be to your business. If your products are heavy on design (as opposed to strictly functional and generic), AR can make them come to life for potential buyers. All smart phones are equipped with AR-capable functionality. Beyond this, the visualization customers experience will put into context how the product will work in their everyday world. This is an ingenious invention.
Let’s talk numbers.
The perks of augmented reality are obvious. Whether you sell fashion, sporting equipment, home goods, or gardening tools, the ability to craft a moving image of how your products will appear in the real life scenario is invaluable. Furniture sellers may allow potential buyers to superimpose a sofa into their living room using AR over a smart phone, which saves them the trouble of imagination. You get the idea. It’s the next-level boost for remote commerce that is sorely needed.
But there are restrictions, naturally. Smart phone viewing scales down the actual size to virtual size. Though phone users are accustomed to this adjustment, it’s not perfect as a way to present your products. Counter this by getting tutored on a more streamlined, effective presentation.
Cost is another issue, as many e-tailers are budget-conscious. Complex apps for AR can be spendy. Consider this as part of your deliberations, taking into account the importance and likely success of capturing buyers through virtually real imaging.
There are other drawbacks, but also other definite pluses that aren’t mentioned here. Your best bet is to research, research, research. Start here for a comprehensive primer on how to make this technology work for you.
If augmented reality is not for you now, it may be in the future as your online store grows. Keep in mind its robust features and potential, and continue to study AR as its technology advances. But if you’re ready to take the plunge, there’s no time like the present.
Using video content to sell goods on social media.
The ever-expanding reach of Facebook as a town square for social interactions brings with it a prime opportunity to capture consumers, building a formidable customer base. Ecommerce merchants are learning more about its utility as they go along, both through personal dalliances in the social media realm and the due diligence required to stay afloat as an online seller.
Whether or not you are enamored of video ads on Facebook and other platforms, be aware that others are. It’s a fast-growing strategy for branding, which turns into carving out a niche clientele and – well – selling to them. It’s that simple. It’s the Ecommerce 101 concept of conversions, or turning lookie-loos into staunch customers.
What isn’t quite as cut and dried is the creative elements of this growing technology. Those who lag behind in internet usage will naturally need some hand-holding to strike out with the latest in ad and marketing efforts. Luckily there is no shortage of help to be had, expedited by a quick Google search.
But the nuts and bolts of video presentation as a medium for advertising are not altogether different from using simple photography. You need your content to be fresh, compelling, and relevant to the type of audience likely to warm up to your inventory.
It’s not every day you read a blog post that promotes other blog posts. In the growing sector of ecommerce, the novelty factor is still in play, and merchants can use all the help they can get. Trading ideas may be a boon for both parties, as small fish rely on big fish, and big fish discover trending new product lines, marketing strategies, and fresh ideas from the relative minnows.
Some of the best and most useful ecommerce-related blogs both sharpen the focus of online selling and invite an expansion of old ideas. They recount what works and what’s been more duplicitous or unwieldy. They draw readers out of a place of isolation faced by many who move from in-person operations to digital selling.
Here are some of our favorite blogs that explore comprehensive facets of online merchandising, in no particular order:
Ecommerce Nation Blog
Geared to a global audience, this site delivers news, tips, interviews with industry movers and shakers, and an assortment of creative topics.
Greeted by a sweet little basenji, your first experience with Nosto’s current post goes beyond the dog-eat-dog world and ferrets out the reimbursement element of commerce. Though nearly a year old, its most interesting entry addresses multi-currency as a solution to cross-border selling. Finance-related concerns rarely age, and on Nosto you’ll find a menu of useful topics laid out in a nice interface.
True to its name, ECF dazzles with an array of news and information relevant to both small and big businesses. From advice on customer loyalty programs to personal wellness for the ecommerce merchant, and from unconventional email campaign strategies to cathartic humor, this site makes it fun to devote your energy to online selling.
Don’t be fooled by a title – Big Commerce is just as useful for the little guy. With a bevy of tips from veteran online merchants, this blog offers incentives for experimenting with both proprietary and unconventional ways to conduct business from start to finish. Its clean layout is easy to navigate; its content is inspiring enough to peruse for extended periods of time. Many like sites add tips on the best ecommerce business ideas, but BigCommerce follows through with numerous examples sourced from outside their domain.
Volusion’s blog, “The Ecommerce Authority,” is a veritable treasure chest of information and tips. With Black Friday around the corner, its multiple posts related to holiday sales makes it a worthy read. Add pieces on personal merchant stories, web page optimization, rating payment platforms, and running SEO tests, and you have a blog source you will want to bookmark.
Last week we introduced the topic of inbound marketing, a new approach to integrating the lifestyle aspect of potential and existing customers with meaningful content that can lead to a longstanding commercial relationship. For ecommerce merchants, inbound marketing holds enormous promise.
But it’s not as simple as its reverse strategy of outbound marketing. Sending emails, buying pop-up ads, and initiating contact at your chosen pace is waning as an effective way to win customers. Learning to work your marketing into the increasing online engagement of buyers takes patience, insight, a bit of technical know-how, and a sincere desire to improve the lives and livelihoods of everyone.
For newer sellers who may feel out of their league, here are some tips on how to make inbound marketing work for you.
Confused as you may be by the litany of jingo surrounding Everything Internet, there’s a term you will want to embrace: Inbound Marketing.
The “inbound” modifier sets forth an important distinction between the conventional idea of marketing employed by businesses for decades. It refers to a trending 21st Century concept of capturing both the lifestyle factor and the online engagement of customers and potential customers. “Outbound marketing” involves pop-up ads, direct-sales emailing, and anything produced as a proactive attempt to sell your brand or product.
With the proliferation of information made possible by online commerce, and the evolving comfort level of humans warming up to an increasing amount of time spent online, marketing strategies in current times demand more creative adaptations. Inbound marketing seeks to make your brand part of a consumer’s life, avoiding the tendency to disrupt their focus with unsolicited communications.
Analysts call this “interruptive marketing,” citing dismal results as consumers already inundated with an overflow of stimuli are more inclined to seek out their own personalized content that will lead to buying decisions. The advent of mass interruptive advertising and marketing has led to a greater demand for technology that blocks such content, and that demand has been mostly fulfilled.
Currently about one-quarter of web crawling prospective clients employ ad-blocking software. This is a disaster for any business still clinging to proactive, interruptive advertising. Worse, the traditional display ad on digital media shows a click-through rate of less than 1 percent among those who do not block ads.