Want better results from you e-commerce campaign?
Then this is the guide for you.
In it, I’ll cover seven of my favorite strategies proven to boost e-commerce sales.
E-commerce Strategy #1: Get the Customer to Invest with a Personalized Message
Personalization is pretty quickly becoming the new standard in online marketing.
We’ve seen it in email marketing for some time now, in the form of messaging based on website behavior and specific interests and topics.
But did you know personalization can be used to boost e-commerce sales as well?
Even if you’re not consciously aware of it, you’ve probably seen it in action.
Take big guns like Amazon and Netflix.
You know how every time you go to a product page on Amazon, it recommends items that are commonly purchased together?
Or on Netflix, how one of its major categories is “Recommended for you?”
That’s personalization in action, and it works because it shows people things they would like but are unlikely to find all on their own.
But there’s a lot you can do with personalization beyond product recommendations. Think tailored live chats or location-specific offers.
Or, try one of my favorites.
I did this on a site recently and saw some pretty awesome results.
Instead of serving them a personalized message, I had the user enter their own message to send to a friend.
And here’s where the genius of it comes in: once they save the message, they’re kicked into your funnel.
The next screen tells them that their message is saved, but in order to send it, they must enter their email or complete checkout, depending on what your goal is for this specific campaign.
At this point, the user is invested. They spent time crafting their message, and rather than lose it entirely, they’ll happily exchange their email address.
I like to include this step as part of the checkout process to cut down on cart abandonment.
So say a user adds something to their cart and clicks to view. That’s when they’ll be prompted to enter their personalized message. And in order to send the message, they have to complete the purchase.
It’s a sneaky tactic, yes, but it works.
In fact, this strategy alone increased conversions by over 45%.
So here’s my goal for you: use this tactic to increase conversions by 20%.
E-commerce Strategy #2: Do an Influencer Outreach Campaign
Another (not so secret) e-commerce strategy? Influencer marketing.
Influencers are the latest internet sensations, and their power over followers is undeniable: 49% of people say they rely on recommendations from influencers when making purchase decisions, and 40% of people say they’ve purchased an item online after seeing it used by an influencer on Instagram, Twitter, Vine, or YouTube.
So if you want to make more sales? You need an influencer on your side.
Here’s how you find them.
First, if you don’t have one already, you’ll need to set up an account in BuzzSumo (they offer free trial period).
Once in, type a keyword related to your products or services into the search bar.
For example, let’s type in “shoes.”
Select the Influencer tab from the top menu. This will show you a list of all the top influencers in the shoe niche.
From the list that’s generated, you want to choose a list of 20-100 micro influencers.
Micro influencers are those with 5,000-15,000 followers.
So take a look at the top Influencers BuzzSumo pulled – Nike and FootLocker. Both have millions of followers, which makes it pretty unlikely that they’ll respond to your brand.
So let’s refine our search. Over in the left-hand sidebar, you’ll see options to narrow your search down to Bloggers, Journalists, Regular People, etc. Play with the different options until you’ve generated a solid list of micro-influencers.
Once you have your list, put together a small package that includes a free sample of your product and a one-sheet that introduces your company.
Your one-sheet should look something like this:
Make it short and sweet, while addressing the fact that a.) you know and appreciate their work, b.) introduces your product, and c.) asks for a social share.
Your goal here? To get 40% of influencers to post about your product.
Then, you can use those posts as social proof.
The breakdown will look something like this:
- 40% of influencers will do a post about your product (40 out of 100 you send your package to)
- 50% of each influencer’s followers will see that post (so if the influencer has 10,000 followers, 5,000 will see the post)
- CTR of followers is 20%
- Conversion rate: 5%
- Revenue: 1 product sold
So say you have a product that costs $100. If you send 10 products and each influencer has around 10,000 followers, your revenue from this campaign would be $200,000.
Not too shabby, right?
E-commerce Strategy #3: Media Buy Blitz
A media buy is essentially you paying for your product to be advertised on a site.
But for our purposes, I’m talking specifically about a kind of media buy called a Sponsored Post.
A sponsored post is really exactly what it sounds like: a post that your sponsor (or pay for) to run on someone else’s website.
And the most important part of running sponsored posts? Is finding the right websites to place them on.
For that, we use a little tool called SimilarWeb.
SimilarWeb is an online competitive analysis tool that provides traffic and marketing insights for any website.
To find the most effective sites for your posts, you want to look first at any sites that have referred to your competitors.
So launch the site and type a competitor’s name into the search box.
SimilarWeb will then pull a report that shows you all the traffic pointing back to that site.
Then, you can take the list of referring traffic and create a list of sites to reach out to ask them the cost of a sponsored site on their site.
For reference, most run between $5,000 to $50,000. With that, you’ll get:
- An article written about your product
- Promotion on social media
- Mention in their email newsletter
So, if you decide to go this route, here’s what you can expect your business model breakdown to look like:
- You spend $20,000 on a media buy
- The site gets 20 million visitors
- 30% of those are relevant to your product (for example, 30% are women from the US and that’s your target demographic)
- 10% of that 30% see actually see your post
- Which leads to a .5% conversion rate
- That results in 3,000 transactions
- If your product costs $100, you’ll make $300,000 in revenue
A media blitz like this, especially around times like holidays when sales are spiking, will result in a huge number of sales.
E-commerce Strategy #4: Launch a Targeted Ad Campaign
Advertising should be part of any e-commerce campaign.
Which means that hopefully, you’re already familiar with and using ads to push your products.
But what I’m talking about here is using some of Google’s AdWords new features to launch your new campaigns.
Those new features include:
- Promotion Extensions – Use this to highlight any special promotions you’re running in your AdWords ad
- Message Extensions – This allows users to text you straight from an ad; giving them the option to text increases the odds that they will interact with your business
- Price Extensions – Pre-qualify users by display your product’s price in your ad. If it’s out of their price range, they won’t click the ad.
- App Extension – If you have an app available, the app extension will encourage users to download
Next up, we have life event targeting.
Life event targeting allows you to run ads to users who are going through major life changes, rather than the typical demographics or interest targeting.
As of now, AdWords lets you target your audience by the following live events:
- About to graduate college
- Recently graduated college
- About to move
- Recently moved
- About to get married
- Recently got married
This is an incredibly effective option for anyone who sells a product that aligns with any of the above events.
So, if you sell furniture, targeting to those who are about to or recently moved would be a great way to get your product in front of a qualified audience.
To drill down even further, you can layer other targeting options on top of the life event to further target by age, marital status, income level, location, etc.
And that’s not all.
Another new feature you’ll want to try is In-Market Audiences.
This is a way to target prospects that have shown interest in a product you’re selling based on their browsing behavior.
So if you sell televisions, you could target users who have recently been browsing TV’s on various sites across the web.
This is a way to target people who are already towards the top of the sales funnel, and therefore having a much higher chance of actually making a purchase.
With all of these different ad options available, businesses are now able to target users at all stages of the buying cycle by interest, intent, and action.
- Interest targeting:
- Consumer Patterns
- In-Market Behavior
- Life Events
- Custom Intent (this one lets you bring your search keyword list to YouTube and reach users who have searched for those keywords before. It’s brand new, and Ignite has access to it because we’re a Google Premier Partner.)
- Custom Match
- Similar Audiences
But your ad options aren’t limited to AdWords.
Facebook is another channel you should be using to increase your e-commerce sales. And when it comes to Facebook, remember to:
- Run remarketing ads
- Run Lifetime Value ads
- Create Past Customer Audiences
- Create Lookalike Audiences
- Pick your best ad for Instagram
Take a look at this example from Allbirds shoe company.
If you’re an avid Facebook or Instagram user, you’ve probably seen them all over the feeds.
They’re a perfect example of using a creative and clean format (mini-videos) to push their ads all over social media.
And take it from me, their model’s working.
E-commerce Strategy #5: Create a Series of Offers and Promote Them With Sumo
If you’re not familiar with Sumo, it’s time you two were introduced.
Sumo is a pop-up conversion optimization tool. With it, you can capture email addresses and run pop ups on your site, targeting people by URL, page, device, referral site.
So for example, I could choose to run a tailored pop up to users who come specifically from Facebook.
It’s a super sophisticated, very cool tool that I highly recommend you take a look at if you haven’t already.
Use it in conjunction with your content marketing to push users through to your product pages, or as a way to collect email addresses based on specific interests and send them relevant, personalized emails.
And – especially around the holidays – you can use Sumo to add in features like a countdown timer to your pop-up.
Countdown timers, as I’m sure you’re aware, are an easy and awesome way to create a little urgency for your buyers.
So if the holidays are approaching, create an offer for a special discount – but include a timer with it so your customers know the clock on that offer is ticking.
Or, use it to run pop-ups for segments of your websites.
Take shoes. Create a special offer just for the shoes you sell and use Sumo to run pop-ups advertising the discount, so when someone visits the shoe segment of your site, they see the pop-up.
But here’s the deal: if you do run a pop-up, your real goal is to direct users into a specific funnel.
Always think about the pop-up and the messaging you plan to run, and make sure it aligns with the funnel you want your users kicked into.
If I’m running a pop-up on my blog post on the 10 Best Nike Running Shoes of 2018 for women, I want to make sure that pop up directs them to Nike shoes category of my site and gives them a coupon.
So remember: pre-pop up, have a goal in mind. Then, create a message and creative offer that will help accomplish that goal.
E-commerce Strategy #6: Get a Little Crazy With CRO
For anyone new to e-commerce strategies and optimization, CRO stands for conversion rate optimization.
And when it comes to e-commerce, there are plenty of little tweaks you can make to increase your conversions.
Take, for example, the bell icon.
You’ll see it on plenty of major websites like Expedia and Facebook, and what it does is send personalized messages to the user.
I recommend you use one on your site to push any sales or promotions you’re running. That way, when a user navigates to your site they’ll have an alert waiting for them.
You’ll be surprised how effective that little strategy can be.
Another one? Create scarcity.
It’s basic human psychology that we all want what we can’t have, and it makes for a highly effective marketing tactic.
If you can make your users think they might miss out on your product entirely, they’ll be far more likely to pull the trigger.
Take a page out of Expedia’s book: they’re the king of letting users know there’s only x amount of rooms left at the hotel they’re looking at, or that 200 people are also looking at the same room.
Users get nervous thinking the room might vanish, so they book it. Tada – the scarcity principle at work.
And you can absolutely use it on your own e-commerce site. Try creating a pop up for a product page that says “45 people have bought this product this week!“ Only 3 units left!” or “99 people are viewing this product right now!”
Want more ways to increase your conversion? Check out my post on ecommerce optimization for more ideas.
E-Commerce Strategy #7: Ramp Up Your SEO
As an SEO company, I can’t not mention this one.
If you really want to see the best results going into the holidays or launching a new e-commerce campaign, you need a strategy to really ramp up your SEO going into it.
Not to worry; I have a full set of guidelines for you here.
- Start 3 months before your big sale
- Determine your top revenue drivers and align with inventory – so you would take the products that make you the most money, say it’s a surfboard, and make sure you have enough inventory to fulfill all incoming orders.
- Refresh your top pages every two weeks – this will help your content continuously rank higher in the search engines. Try to create a system and schedule of adding:
- New copy
- Build hubs of content – this one’s all about quality. The higher the quality of your content, the higher it will rank, and the more people will come back to your site. Ultimately, you want to be a hub for any and all content related to the products you sell.
- Build multiple links to important pages each month
- Send out a series of press releases and promote categories and products
- Sponsored posts help – head back to strategy #4 for a refresher
- Guests post help – for more on that check out my post here.
- Promote your important URLs and drive social traffic to them
Bonus tip: treat your new campaign like a product launch.
All rules apply. If you’re not familiar with them, I have a complete guide here to all the pre, during, and post-launch steps you’ll want to cover.
Wrapping Up E-commerce Strategies
There you have it: 7 e-commerce strategies that will skyrocket your sales.
These are some of my favorite strategies and have proven results, so next time you launch a campaign, make sure you give this list a look.