In today’s digital world, the term “setting up shop” takes on quite a different meaning from the traditional interpretation. E-commerce makes it possible to sell most goods and services online, so brick-and-mortar storefronts are now less of a requirement for some businesses.
There are effective, tried and true tactics that all businesses can use in order to connect with, engage and win over customers without bringing them to a physical location. If you do have a physical storefront, you still need to brand and market yourself online to attract (and retain) the customers who are searching for your products and services.
Follow these six digital marketing tips to bring in online business:
1. Website Optimization
When it comes to doing business online, think of your website as your digital storefront. No matter what happens on social media, review sites, or other places online, your website makes an important impression on potential customers about your brand. First and foremost, make sure it loads quickly and efficiently on all devices. Slow load times will result in impatient customers bouncing and going to another site. It is well worth it to invest in good user interface (UI) design, visually appealing graphics, and a site that is easy to navigate and optimized for the entire buyer’s journey.
Finally, focus on optimizing your website for mobile. That means investing in responsive mobile design so that your site will adapt and respond to the device and screen size the shopper is using. Just because customers can see your site on their phones, that doesn’t mean it’s mobile-friendly.
- Does your page content respond to fit the screen?
- Does your menu collapse, and does all of your content play or appear the way it should?
Mobile purchases will account for 27% of all e-commerce purchases by the end of 2018, so you want to make sure your website is set up for an easy, convenient customer experience.
2. Targeted Messages
To market your e-commerce business effectively, you need to understand your audience so that you can show up in the right places and target your message strategically. Developing Buyer Personas for your target customers can help you think through factors such as age, location, socio-economic status, shopping behaviors and lifestyle trends of the people that make up the audience you want to market to. You can then determine where they spend time, find entertainment, research products and conduct searches online. Market your brand where they are, in a way that acknowledges your role in their needs and interests, and a tone and creative approach that they will respond to.
3. Produce (and Share) Helpful Content
One of the most effective ways to get consumers interested in and engaged with your brand is by developing, promoting and sharing useful content. The goal is to be helpful—but if you showcase your industry expertise and position as a market leader at the same time, that’s an added bonus.
A great place to start is to blog on a regular basis. Just make sure that your content is truly valuable to readers, or you won’t get many views or meaningful engagement. And once you have content, share it on social media. Stats show that one in three shoppers use social media when researching a product or service online, so you want your content to be front and center when they do.
4. Explore Visual Marketing
With the rise of platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, Periscope, YouTube and Facebook Live, visual marketing is more important than ever. According to Google, more than 50% of online shoppers research videos of products before purchase. And just because you don’t have a physical storefront, that doesn’t mean you can’t capture video of customers, staff, your products or solutions in action or other visual stories. But with stiff competition for eyeballs, you’ll need to cut through the crowded social feeds with attention-grabbing graphics and videos. Think about where your customers are searching (based on your target personas), and adapt a visual approach to what will be most effective.
5. Make Things Personal
When it comes to digital marketing and social media, consumers want a personalized approach. They’re tuning out spam and generic emails, and instead expect personalized content and offers that are tailored to their needs. For example, you may want to analyze customer behavior on your website, and email market related products that they’re likely interested in. If someone is browsing items on your website, there’s potential to act on the intelligence you gather about their search and page views. You can follow up with a personalized email, recommending products or content related to their activity.
Having a physical brick-and-mortar store isn’t essential to running a successful business anymore. However, today’s consumer habits mean that you will be more reliant on marketing your business online. Make sure to commit to things like website optimization, developing valuable content, leveraging the power of visual marketing and finding new ways to deliver personal value to your customers.
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