Making e-commerce work for you is not always easy, but it is an incredibly effective way to sell. If you’re struggling to get customers, this post will help you. It all starts with compiling a solid marketing strategy, understanding how to attract your customers with words and creative methods, and then making it worth their while to shop, shop some more, refer a friend, and return another day.
Whatever season your business is in, the following tips are applicable year-round. Just put your own brand spin on the ideas that stand out to you. Test, review, optimize, repeat.
Creating a marketing strategy to attract customers
Marketing for e-commerce is not a random game of luck. It’s a bit of art mixed with a bit of science — there are formulas, proven methods and processes that work, but there is also a huge element of creativity that goes into it. The magic is in finding the sweet spot between strategy and the unique factors of your business.
To create an effective marketing strategy, review the following areas to see whether you have sufficient clarity and updated information to work with:
- Why do you do what you do and offer what you offer? What drives you?
- What is the problem you are solving for your customers?
- Who is your ideal (and most frequent) customer? Why? Do you have more than one ideal customer?
- Where do your ideal customers hang out online, i.e., which social media platforms do they use?
- What do you do/offer differently to your competitors?
- What do your repeat customers say about your business? What do they love about it?
If you have the answers to these questions, now apply them to the following online areas of your business:
- Do your website copy and emails speak the language of your ideal customer, addressing their needs, concerns, problems, and the desires that drive them to buy?
- Does your online content marketing make it clear what you’re offering and what the main benefits are?
- Do your customers engage with your online content? If so, what types of content gets the most engagement that results in sales?
Next, look at the numbers in relation to the above questions. Review the click and purchase rates of your email campaigns, ad campaigns, sales pages, and landing pages. The numbers will tell you a story, giving you invaluable data on which parts of your messaging have been most effective so far for your e-commerce site. Eventually, you’ll be able to identify some patterns and use these to optimize your marketing strategy and new online marketing campaigns going forward.
How to attract customers with words that guide them
Let’s get into some more detail. Now that you’ve done a review of the bigger picture of your marketing and what’s working versus what isn’t, it’s time to look at the words you’re using.
This is an essential check to do on both long- and short-form copy of all your e-commerce site, but especially short copy — things like the copy on buttons on your website, landing, and sales pages; captions to your social media posts and paid ads; headlines of your content; subject lines of emails.
Short words to attract customers online
You want to use enough words — not too many — to communicate a clear, compelling message. Lead the customer to what they want, show them how to get it, and then encourage them to get it — all is simply as possible.
Tell them what they’re getting a headline, show them with an appealing visual, then help them act on it. Without calls to action — words that tell the customer to click, buy, get, look, read more, check it out, add to cart — you will lose on sales.
How to get your online shop noticed
Getting your online shop noticed does not have to be as hard as you think. Here are some actionable methods you can delegate to your team in order of priority. Change it up as needed depending on whether you are launching a new product, running a sale or competition, or looking to raise more brand awareness.
1. Use organic growth strategies
This is where you do some keyword research on your business niche, product niche, and your ideal customer to come up with a list of relevant keywords. Use them to optimize your website, landing pages, sales pages, and social media content for search engines — aka Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Invest in creating informative, value-adding long-form content such as blog posts that are also SEO-optimized. It will take at least 3-6 months to see increased traffic from this, but in the long run it’s worth it and Google will pick up on it.
2. Use paid SEO strategies
You can also use Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns in combination with organic SEO to get more results faster. This is where you spend an allocated amount to help your chosen keywords rank higher. It’s best to only implement this once you have some data on which keywords are worth spending on. For paid ad campaigns, artificial intelligence (AI) tools like Adbot can be a huge help in running analyses for you, saving you hours of time.
3. Create strategic collaborations
Collaborations are powerful. There is far more money in collaboration than in competition. Consider building relationships with relevant micro-influencers whose target audience has a relevant overlap with yours. For instance, if one influencer has a following and her content is largely about pets and favourite pet products, your company could partner if your offer is about something like pet health insurance or premium quality pet foods.
Partner with other companies so that you can both grow and expand your reach to more potential customers. There are many ways for everyone to win!
4. Reach out — do some PR
If you are rebranding, launching a new branch, department, product, or service, it’s worth looking into some PR efforts. You can send out press releases to various online and print media outlets, including your local community paper. This is helpful for raising awareness of what’s happening in your company. Other options include being a guest on relevant podcasts and radio shows.
5. Make sure your landing pages are user-friendly
This may sound obvious, but take a second look at your landing or sales page and pretend you are a customer. Let someone else who is completely not in your industry test it. Is it easy for them to know “yes, this is for me”, to go through a logical content sequence and buy? Can they get what they want in less than 5 minutes without having problems? Make it as easy as possible for your customer to get near-instant satisfaction.
6. Encourage referrals, reviews, testimonials as standard practice.
Now that you’ve made sure it’s easy for customers to get what they want, lean on that and make it a standard practice for automated emails or messages to go out after a purchase, asking for a review and referral. You could also incentivize it with a small discount coupon. New customers are far more likely to buy if they see positive reviews and/or are referred by their friends and family.
How to bring customers to your online store
By now, people are talking about your business and should start coming. Make it easy — include links in your social media profiles, company profiles, regular posts, etc. Make sure your links are working and take your customers to the right page. If you’re doing strategic collaborations, again, encourage partners to share your links.
On social media, create quick, simple, and clear social media content with a call to action to encourage viewers to go to your online store. If your content is genuine, fun, relatable, and offering value, people are going to look for your store. Help them find you!
Suggestions to improve online shopping
Once customers are looking around your online store, help improve their online shopping experience by:
- Categorizing related products together.
- Creating sub-pages on your site for each category of product/service or categorize your offerings by two or three types of ideal customer.
- Offering relevant bundle deals of your most popular products.
- Sharing product ratings, reviews, and testimonials wherever possible.
- Helping them to easily find content that answers their more detailed questions about a product’s specifications, features, and benefits.
How to get customers to buy more
Yay, customers are buying! But how do you keep those wallets opening and those cards swiping? Here are some more ways to keep the money flowing:
- Give your customers a discount voucher or offer free delivery on their first online purchase.
- If a customer hasn’t returned to your online store in a while, send a discount voucher to them via email.
- Incentivise referrals, giving customers a small discount for each one that signs up with your business.
- Add subscription offers or membership options that give customers more exclusive benefits, discounts, sneak peeks, free trials of new products, etc.
- Do relevant seasonal promotions with your own spin on it. The more creative, the better.
- Use a funnel structure to your sales to upsell additional products while the customer is busy with a transaction. Lead your customers from one product to another one that may apply to what they are looking for. Remember, you’re offering value, and it benefits them to go all the way through your sales funnel.
Bonus tip: Creative ways to attract customers
The most creative approaches you can use that will be effective come from looking at what the competition is doing and asking yourself what’s missing. How can you do it differently, better, offer more, faster? What can you change about your marketing message that’s lacking in your competitors’ marketing?
Is there a trend you can use to make your offer extra relatable and compelling? Sometimes sheer originality and a bit of humour can take you further than you expected. Don’t compete by lowering your price — that boat will sink fast. Real value is worth some hard-earned cash. Go get yours!
Heideli Loubser is a copywriter and a content marketing strategist helping you grow your business. She is also a small business owner, and solo homeschool blogging mom of two kiddos. When she’s not wielding her powerful pen to help small businesses, she enjoys gardening, painting, caffeine, and dark chocolate in large amounts.