For eCommerce store owners, attracting new customers in order to grow their business is a constant challenge. If this is you, you might have come across the term “growth hacking”. But what does it mean?
In a nutshell, growth hacking is a marketing system that focuses on driving growth for a business. In the context of eCommerce, “growth” means not only more customers and more sales. It encompasses removing the boundaries of marketing to attract more engaged customers – those that stick around for longer and buy more often.
While classic digital marketers tend to focus on customer acquisition, the growth hacker’s North Star is increasing the average order volume and customer lifetime value.
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So how do you keep growing in an increasingly competitive eCommerce landscape, especially during challenging times such as those we’re now in? Read on to learn my top growth hacking tips for eCommerce store owners to use in 2020 and beyond.
Leverage reviews, testimonials, social proof, and FOMO
Did you know that around 91% of consumers read online store reviews, and 84% trust these reviews as much as they trust recommendations from friends? Reviews are powerful because they rely on the psychological principle of social proof. In other words, people are more inclined to do something if they see others doing it. In this case, they’re more likely to buy your product if they see that others have purchased and loved it.
If you’re not making full use of reviews and testimonials on your eCommerce website, you’re missing out. Here are some ways you can make the most of them:
- Add a reviews section on individual product pages.
- Include a testimonials section prominently on your homepage.
- Use reviews or testimonials on any landing pages for specific campaigns or sales.
- Create your Google My Business page and ask your customers to leave you a Google review.
Your prospective customers need to trust you before they’ll buy from you. The best way to gain that trust? Let your happy customers speak for you!
Another great way to drive sales is to capitalize on Fear of Missing Out, or FOMO. This is a phenomenon that states that if something is perceived to be limited or in short supply, people want it more. You can leverage FOMO by using limited-time offers and letting customers know when a desired product is close to selling out. Have you ever seen a sales promotion with language like, “only 5 left”? That’s FOMO in action. Amazon, Booking.com, Expedia, TicketMaster and AirBNB have all increased their sales with FOMO messages.
Here 2 examples:
Turn low-stock into FOMO
Use purchase frequency to create FOMO
Write guest posts on relevant sites
Does your eCommerce store have a blog? If not, you need to set one up. Blogging is essential to any robust content marketing strategy in 2020 and you’ll be missing out on valuable SEO benefits and new leads if you don’t use it.
If you already have a blog, have you thought about writing guest posts for other relevant sites in your niche? Guest posting has several benefits:
- It builds backlinks, which improves your search engine rankings
- It establishes you as a trustworthy authority in your area of expertise
- It brings new prospective customers to your site
Therefore, why not reach out to a few relevant sites? Target those that have a Domain Rating of 50+ and get high monthly traffic for best results. Even a few posts on quality sites can make a real difference.
Hyper-personalize your sales funnel
Personalization is king in effective marketing. Your prospective customer wants to feel as though you are speaking to them specifically. In fact, according to a survey by Marketo, 66% of consumers expect their interactions with a brand to be personalized. One of the best ways to drive more sales than ever before is to start hyper-personalizing every stage of your sales funnel for an existing customer experience.
Here are some of the best ways to do that:
1. Dynamic product ads
Use dynamic product ads to serve the most relevant products to your customers based on their interests and browsing habits.
2. Segment Your Customer Base with Behavioral segmentation
Create a target customer segment and personalize your online customer journeys.
There are 4 level of segmentation:
Behavioral Segmentation is a key component of most effective and profitable eCommerce strategies. Leverage behavioral data and identify how your customer interacts with your business.
With segmentation you divide customers into segments depending on their behavior patterns when interacting with a particular business:
- Their attitude toward your product, brand or service;
- Their use of your product or service,
- Their overall knowledge of your brand and your brand’s products,
- Their purchasing tendencies, such as buying on special occasions like birthdays or holidays only, etc.
There are 4 types of behavioral segmentation:
Many professional email services offer sophisticated segmentation & automation functions. When a customer joins your mailing list, segment them according to relevant demographics and their behaviour or occurring events. Depending on the context you might segment according to age, gender, geographical location, or some other factor. Market to the different segments accordingly.
Most common eCommerce email segmentations are:
- Weather-based Upsell / Cross-sell
- If a change occurs in a specific custom field, send highly relevant content.
- Send personalized information based on the specific page one visited.
- If your subscribers skipped or missed the offer page, send them a reminder about the offer.
- Does your customer qualify for a change in status? Use this automation to send a relevant email campaign.
3. Interactive Quizzes
Use an interactive quiz to learn more about your customers’ needs and preferences so that you can market to them more effectively.
Interactive quiz to engage customer and learn more (Source)
4. Conversational Marketing with AI
Let chatbots personalize sales and marketing communication and build deep relationships without lifting a finger
Example: Re-Market to Cart Abandoners with a Chatbot
Many customers will put items in their shopping cart and then fail to check out. This is simply a fact of ecommerce marketing. But you can capture some of those sales by reminding customers of the items they forgot to purchase or had second thoughts about. You can also make the deal more tempting with last-minute coupons and offers.
5. Image Personalization
Delight prospects by personalizing images in your emails, social outreach, website.
Our brains are hardwired to process images in milliseconds, adding personalization creates pattern that interrupts and captures visitor attention and increases conversions
Example for Image personalization in Emails
The placeholder gets replaced by the name of your customer with your handwriting. The effect? It’s magic.
6. The little things count
Take care of the little things, like using the individual’s name in both the subject line and greeting of every sales email. According to Campaign Monitor, customers are 26% more likely to open an email with a personalized subject line.
The evidence is clear. Personalization matters to customers, and it works. So stop sending generic marketing communications today, and start personalizing. Your sales numbers will speak for themselves.
Focus on CRO
There’s no point in attracting thousands of visitors to your website if you cannot convert them into customers. Therefore, while lead generation and driving traffic matters, conversion rate optimization – or CRO – is a big part of getting the results you want.
CRO is complex and could take up an entire article by itself. Here are a few top tips to bear in mind:
- Try out different wording for your call to action (CTA). In one experiment reported by VWO, a simple change to the CTA garnered 62% more conversions for their client. You could even take this further with personalized CTAs.
- Tweak and improve your checkout process. It should be as seamless and quick as possible.
- Reduce your shipping costs. Better yet, make it free!
- Make sure your product images are the absolute best quality they can be.
- Use a live chat plugin on your site to answer common customer questions.
The trick to CRO is to try things out and monitor the results. By running AB tests, you can try out different versions of each aspect of your site to see which gets the best results.
Create a referral program
A referral program is simply a program that rewards customers for sending new business your way. For example, you might offer a discount code, freebie, or points on a loyalty scheme to customers who refer a friend when that friend makes a purchase.
Here’s how Graze, a British retailer selling healthy snack boxes, does it:
A referral program has an additional benefit: when your customers get their rewards, they’ll feel positive about your brand. This will help you retain customers and build loyalty.
Work with influencers and Brand Ambassadors
Influencers have a lot of power. According to Moosend, 93% of marketers use social media influencers as part of their marketing strategy today. What is an influencer? The clue is in the name: an influencer is anyone who has the power to affect the behavior of their audience. In the context of eCommerce marketing, an influencer can drive customer purchasing behavior.
When you work with an influencer, you essentially pay them to promote your brand on their social media channels. Youtube and Instagram are particularly popular with influencers, but they may also use Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, or other channels.
The form the promotion will take is decided between you and the influencer. For example, they might post pictures of your product with a special referral or discount code, write a review, make a video of them talking about your product, or post a story about it.
The number one key to good influencer marketing? Leverage marketplaces and platforms to find the right influencer. They must cater to an audience that’s relevant to your niche. For example, if you run a store selling makeup, you might partner with a fashion and beauty influencer. If you sell workout gear, you’d work with a fitness influencer. And so on. They should also fit within the demographics of your core target audience.
Once you’ve chosen an influencer you’d like to work with, audit them before you reach out to them. Assuming they’re open to the partnership, you can then negotiate on a price and terms.
You’ll also most likely need to send them some sample products to try.
In the above example, influencer @themermaidpolish has partnered with cosmetics company Pueen to promote their nail polish. Notice that the post is marked as a paid partnership. Influencers should always mark paid posts as such to stay on the right side of advertising laws.
Podcasting has exploded in popularity in recent years. But did you know that it’s a brilliant way to attract new customers and drive sales for your eCommerce store?
The trick to podcast success for eCommerce growth is the same as for any other kind of content marketing: offer value to your audience. Whether you’re interviewing prominent figures in your niche or sharing how-to tips, ensure that every episode provides relevant, useful information to your listeners.
A word of caution: your podcast should not be purely promotional. While you can direct people to your eCommerce store and mention relevant products, your listeners won’t stick with you if it’s just a sales pitch. We all love stories and storytelling techniques work best to gain your listeners attention
Starting a podcast is relatively easy and not too expensive. To start, all you need is a good microphone, an editing software solution, and a subscription service where you can host it. There are many tools out there like bounceapp to record, edit, and publish your podcast in high quality or you can outsource that to professional sound engineers.
Use retargeted advertising
Retargeted advertising is a way of advertising to customers who have already visited your website. You can target ads depending on behaviors. For example, you might target one set of ads to customers who visited your site but did not buy, another to those who put items in their shopping cart but didn’t check out, and yet another to those who have bought from your store before.
There are several platforms you can use to do retargeted advertising. Two of the biggest are Google Ads and Facebook. Setting up your first retargeting campaign is fairly easy. It involves adding a tracking pixel to your website, setting the audience parameters you want to use, and defining your maximum budget.
Here’s an example of a retargeted Facebook ad:
Retargeting works on the proven principle that customers generally need several reminders before they buy. By retargeting ads to them, you keep your brand in the forefront of their minds.
Hyper personalize your social media remarketing
You can even hyper personalize your remarketing Ads on Facebook, Instagram, etc.
I had a sleepless night, when Ian from Hyperise reached out to me and showed me this feature.
If you want to shine above the noise and delight your customers like no one else does, then you should definitely go for it.
Use video content
Video marketing is incredibly powerful. In fact, it is expected to make up over 80% of all internet traffic by 2022! Therefore, if you’re not already using video content as part of your eCommerce marketing, you should think about starting.
Here are a few ideas for eCommerce video content to inspire you:
- Offer informational or training videos as lead magnets to encourage sign-ups to your email list.
- Start a Youtube channel where you talk about topics relevant to your niche.
- Use video to produce product demos or how-to videos.
- Gather video testimonials from customers and splice them together into a montage.
- Create a storytelling video featuring your product.
For an example of story-selling in video format in action, take a look at this fun video from Ben & Jerry’s, featuring “Leena the Lactose-Intolerant Employee”:
Your video content does not necessarily need to be professionally filmed and edited. On-the-fly video content can be just as powerful, particularly for social media. Most smartphones can shoot a good quality video nowadays.
There are numerous ecommerce growth hacks you can use to increase your eCommerce sales this year and in the future. Of course, you don’t need to do all of them at once, and you probably should not try to. Instead, choose just one or two strategies, to begin with. Once you’ve perfected those, you can always scale and try out different ideas as well.
Good luck with growing your eCommerce store!
Eduard Klein is an international digital growth marketer, blogger, and entrepreneur with a global mindset. He guides people through the process of starting and growing a digital business, and to ride the wave of digital technology and marketing without getting swept away.