Are you ready to find your customers?
They’re out there. All you need is the right framework.
In his session at the International Ecommerce Day Conference, Dave Chaffey, Co-founder and CEO of Smart Insights shares some thoughts on how to develop the right digital marketing frameworks for your eCommerce business.
You’ll really love this…
But before we dive in, you’ve got to know that every aspect of digital marketing is tedious. Content creation, social media, SEO, CRO, you name it.
In fact, there’s no digital business model you should approach with a half-baked approach. Else, you’ll get mediocre results. You don’t want that. Do you?
In the world of eCommerce, there are several tasks that need to be done. Failure to do them would result in low or no conversions for your products.
Ecommerce is evolving quickly. Consumers are buying products online like never before, especially when they’re given a discount or free shipping.
According to Econsultancy, “8 out of 10 consumers will shop online more if offered free shipping.”
You need to be where your customers are. The truth is, they don’t have to find you, you have to be there for them. Become accessible.
That being said, the ideas we hold dear to our hearts years ago may not work today.
For example, one of the proven ways to reduce shopping cart abandonment in the past (say 2009) was by ensuring that navigation between cart and store is effortless.
Does it still work? Maybe.
However, in today’s eCommerce model, you need to collect data in order to know why people are abandoning the shopping cart. This is very important.
So instead of trying to fix something, get to know why they left the checkout page in the first place. Then fix the exact problem.
The reason for collecting consumer data before making changes is because you could alter what’s already working in a bid to improve conversions.
Digital marketing is broad. If you choose to focus on eCommerce, then you need to develop the right framework. This would act as a foundation; what you build your entire business, customer base, tools, and system on.
Build an agile, strategic approach to digital marketing
It’s no surprise that the web is a super rich source for finding ideas that will grow your eCommerce business. Just a quick search on Google, and you’ll be blown away by the depth of information there.
But don’t be deceived by free information.
Because in reality, information is not free.
If you want to create a true eCommerce business that thrives irrespective of the downturns, you need to build an agile, strategic approach to your business.
That’s a mouthful. So what does it mean?
Let’s break it down. We’re looking at the word “agile” and “strategic.”
As defined by Google, agile is relating to or denoting a method of project management, used especially for software development, which is characterized by the division of tasks into short phases of work and frequent reassessment and adaptation of plans.
In a nutshell, when you develop an agile approach, it means that you’re dividing your complex task into short and simple processes.
Moving on, the word “strategic” is a military word. It means to identify long-term goals and devise means of achieving them.
When we merge both together, we see an agile and strategic approach to digital marketing as the process of breaking a complex task into simple and easy to implement processes in other to achieve long-term goals.
That’s all. Do you want more evidence?
Okay, let’s consider the various digital marketing frameworks that you need to make this a reality. Let’s call them stages:
Stage 1: Exploration
Your greatest eCommerce asset isn’t your online store, your six figure earnings, and neither is it your number #1 top Google rankings. Can you guess what it is?
You guessed correctly. Customers. Care for them.
I’m sure you’ll agree with me that without motivated customers, you really don’t have a business. Your good looking website will eventually be forgotten if the right people aren’t visiting and referring friends, colleagues, and family members.
In this exploration stage, your responsibility is to understand your audience. Ask yourself this question: “what exactly do these people want?”
Why would customers visit your eCommerce website, and not your competitor’s?
Is it just to purchase your product?
I don’t think so.
Hundreds of thousands of loyal customers visit Amazon on a daily basis, not because they can’t find the same product elsewhere, but because Amazon takes care of them. You see, Jeff Bezos believes in customer service so passionately.
Interestingly, consumers feel excited and their ego rises when they tell their friends that the denim Jeans they’re putting on came from Amazon.
According to the University of RMIT University Australia, “You cannot manage a quality service organization unless you understand the nature of what you are providing, fully realize what your customers want from you and how they perceive you from the start.”
When you know what people want, then you’re ready to create the right content. And there’s a simple way to know what they want, even without asking them.
Here: When people ask what you do, take a little extra time to give them a clear picture.
Here’s a shocker. If I ask you what Zappos does, you’ll hastily tell me, “Zappos sells shoes.”
Is it really true that Zappos sells shoes? Maybe not.
Okay, I was just pulling your cute legs.
Of course, Zappos sells shoes. But the truth is, if you ask Tony Hsieh the same question, his response will be similar to this, “Zappos is a community that brings shoe lovers together. It’s all about delivering happiness to customers.”
See the difference?
If you’re selling digital cameras at your eCommerce store, don’t be deceived by that.
When you’re asked, communicate passion into the site. Tell people that you help photographers and travelers find the ideal digital cameras to take memorable pictures.
Once you have the right mindset of your eCommerce business, it’s easy to create content that people will love.
Producing compelling content isn’t so difficult. The underlying reason why 41% of B2B marketers struggle with it is because they don’t know what exactly the audience wants.
Many eCommerce marketers fall into the trap of creating any type of content relating to the product they sell. Don’t do that.
When you’re sure about your audience’s needs, you’ve found gold.
Stage 2: Decision Making
Who says do you need inspiration before making decisions for your eCommerce business? You don’t.
Decision making is critical for your growth. You’ve got to gird yourself as the manager of your own enterprise and decide the direction of your eCommerce business.
According to a three-month study of 100 managers by the Harvard Business Review, They found that managers who made decisions using best practices achieved their expected results 90% of the time, and 40% of them exceeded expectations.”
We defined “agile” earlier, and it talks about simplifying complex tasks.
Therefore, your decisions should be simple and easy to implement. As you follow customers on their journey, you need to take practical steps that will bring you results.
Don’t just say you’ll “promote your website.” Come on, that’s vague. It doesn’t mean anything.
Break it down.
You can choose to write 2 guest posts for Entrepreneur.com and Forbes.com and link back to your website. Better yet, capture email addresses of website visitors and engage with them.
After all, search and email marketing are still very effective eCommerce marketing strategies.
That’s a relatable and simple decision that even inspires you to get to work.
The moment you make a decision and follow through, although no one sees it, but you’re strengthening the framework (i.e., foundation) of your business against collapse or gradual failure.
Stage 3: Advocacy
You would expect me to have a stage dedicated to increasing sales. Did I omit it?
No, I didn’t.
The truth is that if you focus on understanding your audience through exploration, and making simple and consistent decisions that put you ahead of the curve, sales will naturally follow.
Here’s a scenario:
Do you write product reviews?
If you do, then you’ll agree with me that each time you focus on hyping any product and pushing people to buy it, more often than not, no one will listen to you.
But when you take the focus off making quick sales, and review the products with an open mind, and even pinpoint the ugly parts of the product (assuming it’s a software), your sales will soar.
In the advocacy stage of your digital marketing framework, what you want to do is dazzle customers with invaluable customer support.
Spend time listening to them on social media, your own blog, and take it upon yourself to respond to comments, tweets, and questions.
Once you’ve established yourself as the go-to eCommerce guy, it’s easy for these people to spread the news, tweet new products to their followers, promote your brand and purchase your products willingly.
For years, people have debated the importance of understanding the audience before serving them.
Some people (including me) believe that it’s more effective to understand who the audience is, and what they care about first.
Interestingly, there’s another group of eCommerce marketers who do the exact opposite.
They launch an eCommerce website and begin to reach out to an audience they think will find their products, content, and style useful.
All in all, if we look at the big picture, especially when you’re out to build a thriving eCmmerce business that has a strong digital marketing framework, you need to spend time studying your ideal customers and aligning your products and content for them.