One of the most common excuses for not doing more e-commerce marketing is “I can’t do it. It’s too technical. I might fail.” While marketing can be technical, it’s not the reason why online stores fail at it. They fail because they’re probably making one of the following e-commerce marketing mistakes:
1. You are only doing “sales-focused” marketing
Marketing is always an integral part of any business. You can’t sell anything without marketing. But with the constant flow of media and ads that customers experience, people can get tired of constantly being sold to.
Instead, create content that isn’t explicitly selling anyone anything. You should have the mindset of giving value to get value. It’s the inbound methodology of marketing, better known as content-driven commerce.
Content is not always for selling but also for giving value
Here’s an illustration. Let’s say that your store sells candles. You could write a blog post titled “5 Benefits of Lavender Candles.” That’s not a bad choice, and it leads easily into selling your candles at the end of the article, with a line that says, “Explore our range of lavender candles!”
But it’s still a little too sales-focused. For an article that gives more value than it sells, you could write a blog post titled, “Natural Ways to Fight Insomnia.” It would be an educational article that focuses on solutions for people to sleep, one of which is lighting a soothing candle while you prep for bed.
This article is more genuine and authentic because it has a more noble cause. Customers feel like they’re learning something real, not just being sold to. And even if they don’t end up buying from you, they’re more likely to think fondly of your brand the next time they need a candle.
Here’s how you should look at it: Customers want to buy but don’t want to be sold at.
Give content, get profit
One of the respected names when it comes to marketing is wine connoisseur and marketing behemoth, Gary Vaynerchuk. He has a TON of content. On his YouTube channel alone, he has thousands of videos, with more than two million subscribers. Being the smart entrepreneur he is, he knows that producing valuable content is great for your brand.
He is a very insightful man, so if you watch his daily vlogs, you’ll notice that he is just being followed around by a cameraman, waiting for a marketing idea to be dropped. And even that simple of a video concept is highly effective. Brands big and small are lining up to get Gary Vee for talks, advice and personal consultation.
Quality over AND quantity
But Vaynerchuk’s success isn’t just thanks to the amount of content he produces. It’s also about quality. When thinking about the quality you just have to answer these questions:
- Will my customers get value if I do this?
- What do they need related to my industry?
What are the questions they’re asking?
Create content for that. Be consistent. Regularly post content. This makes you visible to your target audiences. Decide on days of the week you would post content or a specific content type.
2. You don’t answer customers’ questions about you immediately
You only have 15 seconds to convince a visitor to stay at your store. You have to make those 15 seconds count.
Within 15 seconds, your homepage should answer all these questions in the customers’ mind:
Who is this brand?
Brand name, about page, tone and aesthetic
What do they sell?
Bestsellers, at-a-glance-product info, high-quality images.
Is it for me?
The why’s of the product. Why should I buy this, why should I buy this from you?
A very good example of this is a Shopify store called Death Wish Coffee Company. Let’s break the homepage down. You can see how they answer all the above questions and include CTAs: “Select grind,” “Buy now,” and “Shop” and “Subscribe.”
Always immediately answer these questions so people can instantly identify who you are and what you do.
3. Discounts as band-aids for low sales
Promos are a great marketing tool to stimulate more sales. It’s also the best way to introduce new products and services. But there are cases in which they might not be the best solution to boost your sales.
If you have low sales, check your data first. It could be that you need more marketing campaigns or you need to change your target audience altogether, or something else.
Constantly having promos can lead customers to expect a discount every time they buy from you. Which means they’ll never buy at full price, and your sales will be consistently low.
4. Forgetting the human aspect
People don’t want faceless, emotionless corporate machines. They want interactive brands. Customers unconsciously look for brands that value the human side of things. Here’s how you can make your marketing seem more human:
Always invite feedback
If you look at other articles that talk about e-commerce mistakes, you’re going to see email marketing almost always included on that list, and rightly so. You should definitely make it a point to get their email and send them newsletters. However, your communication with your customers shouldn’t end there.
Enable chatbots or simply let your customers know your Messenger is open to them. Encourage them to give you feedback, reviews or suggestions in any channel they feel comfortable with, and value what they say.
Customers enjoy time with your company as a part of a brand relationship. You can facilitate a relationship between your brand and your customers by putting out helpful or entertaining content and encouraging interaction on social media. Always leave your customers the option to react and comment on your content.
Establish a community, or join them there
Speaking of community, what’s EVEN more valuable than having a conversation/relationship with your customers is sparking a natural conversation through a community. In one of our recent podcasts, Dale Bertrand, President, and Founder of Fire&Spark, said that the homerun SEO strategy is to start a movement/statement or a mission.
If you have something you are passionate about, make it your brands’ message. The first brand that comes to mind is Tom’s and their One for One® campaign. This makes your brand more than just a name behind a product, or a channel which customers can get valuable content from, it’s their own space with like-minded individuals sharing the same passion.
5. Distractions --Oh look over there
No. Go over h… We’ve got 25… Here’s a video… Did you understand anything that happened? Of course not. That’s what the visitor sees and thinks if your marketing strategy is unorganized. Here’s what you can do to make sure your marketing strategy is helpful, not confusing or distracting:
Use media as guides
Your website can include multiple types of media that function as design or get visitors’ attention. But don’t include a type of media or a design element just for the sake of it. Instead, use them as guides to help visitors navigate through your site. Imagine a pathway that your visitor’s eyes will take on their way to purchase.
Be assertive without being annoying
There is nothing wrong with pop-ups and media that plays automatically. But if these interrupt the flow of navigation or startle the visitor, you might want to time them properly. Check your data. Use heatmaps such as Hotjar to see where customers stay and gauge if the media you’ll push will interrupt their flow.
6. Ditching your customers after they bought from you
Your customer’s journey should not end after the visitor becomes a buyer. It’s like leaving the customer without seeing their final form. You can convert customers into advocates. These are customers who will buy from your store repeatedly, get more customers for your store and even help other customers with your products all in one.
Form a community
A community only requires three things: people, commonality and interaction. Make your brand the center of commonality and interaction between people.
You can start by having a place where your community can gather. It can be a social media page, a forum or even a group chat channel. Then you can simply talk to your customers there, make announcements, have sales events, ask for their feedback, send out polls, etc. Make sure that interactions are encouraged and negativity will be regulated.
Get true fans
Kevin Kelly, the founder of WIRED magazine’s started the theory of 1000 true fans. He says that in order for you to do what you love for a living, especially in the field of art, you need 1000 true fans. But this could also be applied to online stores.
You don’t need that many customers for your store to be profitable, but you have to have the right customers. True fans are the right customers for your store. These people are usually the leaders of your community. They will be the ones to help you in promotions, take care of the community, defend you from bad press and much more.
So, throughout all your e-commerce marketing efforts, remember that you’re never trying to appeal to everyone in the world. You’re just trying to appeal to your 1000 true fans.