If you’ve started an online business, chances are you did so with the intent of making money. Why else, right? But in order to make the most profits from your web-based business, you will have to utilize the best combination of marketing, sales promotions, and optimization. Below, I’ve have listed some tools and ideas that have been very helpful to me in the development and marketing of many eCommerce sites. With these tools you can undoubtedly increase sales and customer retention, and make sure your company is performing at peak potential.
I’ll state the obvious first; Google Analytics is one of the most widely used tools on the market, and one every business owner should have in their arsenal. Installing Analytics on your website has tons of benefits, and there are a few features that are imperative for anyone engaging in eCommerce. For instance, in order to see which channels are functioning at peak performance and which ones may be lagging behind, it’s important to identify the conversion funnels inside Analytics and to create events.
Until very recently I would have listed Wibiya, but since that product has been discontinued a close second is Bumpin. If you are like most business owners, you may not have heard of or used Bumpin in the past. But this useful tool is important for anyone engaged in eCommerce. Bumpin operates by allowing a website owner to place highly customizable widgets on their site designed specifically to increase customer engagement and retention. These customizable widgets provide users with the ability to promote sales, amplify social profile attention, increase traffic their blog or other social media.
Recently, Topsy shocked many in the industry with its purchase by Apple for a hefty $200 million, thereby securing their spot as a major social analytics force. Their platform boasts a wide assortment of options like the identification of influencers, specific keyword trends, and with a small bit of ingenuity, it offers the capacity to critique the performance of your competitors’ social media.
The cornerstone of success with any website is email marketing, and this is especially true for those customers that list email as their preferred contact method. The usual rate of email exchange in marketing is 72% or higher than search and a whopping 323% higher than social media, and this means those companies that aren’t using email as a way to contact customers are really missing out on a great opportunity. MailChimp is one of the best platforms available for utilizing email marketing.
If you want the ability to bring back the attention of those folks that visited your site but didn’t make a purchase (or even those that didn’t make a large enough purchase), then you really must look into AdRoll. Adroll is paving the way as the foremost retargeting platform, and it does a fantastic job of explaining why past efforts of using AdWords for this task might not be your best bet. I personally love how user friendly the admin area is as well as the cross-channel consistency across both Search and Social platforms.
Even though AdWords doesn’t have the best conversion rates, it is still considered by many to be a very effective way to track traffic to the site and any sales promotions. You will ultimately have to make the decision on what is the most effective way to promote your business whether it be by means of search, display, or both, and the best way to do that is by having a great search strategy. A word of caution for those new to eCommerce, AdWords is easy to set up and extremely difficult to dial in for profitable conversions. My advice, don’t dabble — get an expert.
I know if I am comparing a product at 2 different sites, one of the most important things that will sway my opinion on which company I buy from is the cost of shipping. If you want to make sure visitors buy from you and not from a competitor, you need to offer free or flat rate shipping. And make sure that you put the shipping discounts where people can see them easily. Many times customers are lured to sites just with the use of the words “free shipping” or “flat rate shipping.” Ecommerce platforms such as BigCommerce make setting up coupons, shipping discounts and special rules very easy.
In order to succeed in business, you must have one very important thing, customers. And to keep customer loyal, you must resolve any issues they have quickly, and with high priority. That’s where ZenDesk comes into play. It gives you the ability to handle customer issues even when you might not have the budget for in-house customer service agents. It has very reasonable plans starting at just $1 a month, and it offers customer solutions through nearly every channel possible. Without a doubt, ZanDesk is the best way to handle all of your customer service support.
While some businesses use Hootsuite, I find that SproutSocial is a much better social media monitoring platform. It boasts a wide array of options that Hootsuite doesn’t offer, all of which are user-friendly. For those that are very active with social media like Facebook, you will find that this particular platform offers great returns on the little bit of cash that you put in up front.
Online Conversion Insights
When trying to optimize and classify areas of your funnel that might be problematic, one of the key steps is to know your conversion process. It is helpful to know the conversion rates of your competitors, as well as the number of your customers that are shopping on competitors’ websites. In order to assess site performance, you must target your conversion rate. Otherwise, an opportunity to improve the performance of your site and one-up the competition can be lost. With Online Conversion Insights, you will be able to use the tools available to give you the ability to take care of all of these issues.
When Google Analytics doesn’t suffice, many site owners realize that they are not able to afford some of the premiere analytics packages on the market. But with Lucky Orange, you are able to take advantage of affordable analytics solutions with an abundance of options not available from Google Analytics. These are things like visitor “heat maps”, visitor recordings, and form analytics, all of which are must-haves for any business wanting to get a better grasp of the way visitors relate to their site.