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In the wake of the #Coronavirus outbreak, businesses are facing the heat due to quarantine restrictions, travel bans, event cancellations, and so on. We have compiled a list of seven tips to help you prepare a crisis marketing strategy .
To help you do that, let’s look at seven pointers to help you tweak your marketing and communication strategy during a crisis.
1. Assemble Your Crisis Management Team
While it’s impossible to anticipate when a crisis will hit your business, you can ensure to take the right measures so that you can swiftly manage it when it occurs. That means you need to have a crisis management team in place that will be responsible for the communication that goes out in public. The team should ideally consist of a few executive members and in-house PR or marketing people. It helps to work with a PR agency in case the in-house personnel doesn’t have this kind of experience.
You should also have in-house spokespersons in case you have to interact with media or publications. Also, conducting training sessions for spokespersons ensures that they can appropriately answer any queries that might be asked.
2. Protect Your People
During the early outbreak, it’s difficult to communicate the correct information because new data and events might make the present practices obsolete. Also, the scare might create room for misinformation. Therefore, it’s mandatory to protect your employees. This can be done in the following ways:
1- Make commute optional, if possible. Many tech companies have adopted the route of remote working. To conduct meetings, they largely rely on communication apps like Slack or Skype and Zoom for video conferencing.
2- If you are a brand where you have to interact with consumers such as retail or hospitality, reduce the daily working hours. For instance, many luxury malls in China reduced their operating hours after the Coronavirus started to spread.
3- Create a wiki page where employees can find essential information regarding the crisis, updated work policies during the crisis, and so on. It’s highly likely that since conflicting information and rumors would be doing the rounds during such periods, an official wiki becomes a trusted resource for employees to get the information they need.
3. Evaluate Various Possibilities and Create Communication Plans
As an organization, you also need to communicate with your stakeholders, such as investors, suppliers, and vendors.
Assess and evaluate various possibilities that may happen due to the crisis (COVID-19 in the present scenario), and how they may impact the organization and its stakeholders. Develop holding statements or response modules for every possible situation so that you can communicate with your stakeholders on-time.
Holding statements should cover the crisis/scenario and the steps your brand is taking to tackle/manage the situation. It should be empathetic, action-oriented, and should steer away from speculations and unverified updates.
4. Pick the Right Communication Channels
You need to choose the right communication channels to deliver information. Similar to an internal wiki, you can dedicate a webpage on your website to post updates regarding the crisis and how you plan to manage it. Let your stakeholders know if someone from your organization is infected with COVID-19 and what precautions you’re taking to prevent it from spreading.
The crisis management team should connect with media houses and publications to address any potential rumors. Along with your official website, emphasize on social media and email newsletters to consistently communicate information. Up your social listening game and proactively respond and reach out to customers to reply to their queries, complaints, and seek feedback. Ask them what they need and want, be open to online shopping and home deliveries, now more than ever.
5. Develop Marketing Contingency Plans
It’s not enough to simply have a well-defined communication policy. In times of a crisis, the market is volatile, consumer behavior is unexpected, and the business, in general, will face sudden fluctuations. Therefore, evaluate the current market scenario and predict short and long-term market behavior and plan your marketing activities accordingly. For example, Puma has taken a serious hit in China due to COVID-19 and had to close more than 50% of its stores, but they are working under the assumption that the situation will normalize in the short term, and the company will be able to reach its annual revenue goals.
Simultaneously, you may also need to identify and work with other vendors and suppliers to balance your supply chain. This would also mean the reallocation of certain budgets to other essential marketing activities in the short run.
6. Find Alternatives to Deliver on Your Promises
The primary industries that are adversely impacted by the Coronavirus outbreak are events, retail, hospitality, and SMBs.
To prevent the spread of the virus, many event organizers have decided to either cancel or reschedule their events. Another alternative to this is to make it a virtual event. There are a plethora of applications available that can help you run the event digitally. You can optimize this by introducing online discussion tools before and after the event to enable the participants to continue the dialogue, for example, by informing and engaging users on Twitter or LinkedIn. Retailers can even double up on e-commerce efforts, but be mindful when communicating about it.
7. Prevent the Spread of Misinformation
There’s naturally fear among people when a crisis strikes, which paves the way for misinformation. In the early stages of the crisis, news, many times, may not be most reliable due to the lack of facts available. Therefore, organizations should evaluate their news sources and news itself before communicating with customers and making decisions.
There’s still not enough clarity on COVID-19, and organizations need to be on their toes to ensure that employees, stakeholders, and customers are adequately informed. Even though the intensity of the crisis may lessen in the future, organizations should revisit how they addressed the crisis management challenge and improve and update the strategy to remain prepared.
What measures and strategies have you taken to communicate with your stakeholders and customers? Let us know by commenting below.
Our world is facing a very serious challenge with the spread of the coronavirus, but there is hope on the horizon.
Businesses have been greatly impacted as the economy has taken a hit. Grocery stores have been left with empty shelves while restaurants are like ghost towns.
As a business owner, you’re likely looking for ways to survive the wave that has people shifting their budgets.
Try to Stay Positive – It’s Going to Get Better
If you’re following the constant news updates about the coronavirus, you’re likely wondering if we’ll ever be able to leave our homes again.
But this situation isn’t going to last forever. And your business isn’t closing.
As the medical experts said, “it’s going to get worse before it gets better.” But don’t overlook the end of that quote: It’s going to get better.
Top 9Digital Marketing Ideas to Consider During the Coronavirus
1. Connect With Your Customers on Social Media During a Critical Moment
We’re all dealing with the impact the coronavirus outbreak has had on our lives whether you’ve tested positive or not. We’re all taking precautions. We’re locked in our homes and our kids aren’t in school. We can’t visit our friends. We can’t eat at our favorite restaurants or go out to the movies. Sure, all minor conveniences but jarring nonetheless. This is a time to really show empathy to others and help out where you can. This is a time we all need to be sensitive — and not too salesy or pushy — but it’s a great opportunity for your brand to stand out during a difficult time. More people are on social media now while stuck at home, scanning for updates and trying to stay connected in a suddenly isolated nation.
Also, use your business to contribute to area food banks or assist the elderly with their grocery shopping. And promote your good deeds with social media marketing to help build your brand.
“It’s a unique opportunity for brands to unite together!” “Our communities need each other now more than ever. People need support, understanding, education, resources. Social media can provide just that and can be extremely powerful if it’s done correctly.”
2. Make Sure Your Business Can Be Found Online
In case you haven’t noticed, more people are online right now than in their cars or walking the sidewalks. Search traffic has increased significantly over the past week and will continue to climb as we hunker down. We’re all glued to our computers and phones looking for updates within our community. We’re also looking for entertainment and ways to pass the time. For many, that includes shopping online.
Anything online right now will be consumed more than ever before. This is not the time to be hidden online. You should be using search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to climb to the top of Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) so your business can be easily found. This is not a time for a business to go into a shell and poke out your head every few days to see if the sun has come out.
“People still place orders and need things even when at home,” “A lot of people still contact companies during work hours, and that is not going to change just because they are home. Your competition may adjust but that doesn’t mean you have to stop everything and lose sales.”
3. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising is a Smart Move Right Now
With more people at home in front of their screens, it’s a great opportunity for businesses to use PPC marketing to connect with their customers and gain a competitive advantage. Oh, and it’s a great chance to save some money within your digital marketing budget.
On average, cost-per-clicks have decreased by 6 percent across all verticals since last week. And CPC is likely to continue to decrease in the coming week, reducing the amount of money an advertiser pays a publisher for every ad click. That gives your business another opportunity to scoop up that lost market share from others pulling back during this time.
“It’s a great time to continue your digital marketing as other advertisers may go offline at this time,” “and businesses can capture traffic and conversions because of reduced competition. We have clients’ best interests in mind and work to provide solutions to maintain exposure while prioritizing budget spend during these uncertain times.”
4. Stay Ahead or Jump In Front of Your Competition
SEO helps your business increase organic traffic to your website and move past your competition. You want to be on the front page of the Google SERPs — and at the top of the list — so that when your customers search for certain keywords you’re the company they end up calling. To climb to the top of the SERPs takes time and strategic optimization strategies. If you don’t continue to optimize your website and content daily, you lose valuable ground in the search results and your freefall could cost your business thousands of dollars in lost revenue.
“It’s important to stay ahead of the curve and do whatever is possible to keep your website updated and optimized,” “The level of competition within businesses will probably increase in the near future and it’s also important to remain competitive with your digital marketing strategy to help your site rank higher than competitors.”
What you don’t want to do is halt an SEO campaign. That can be a critical mistake for your business. Your leads and revenue will suffer. But if others choose to pull back on SEO, it’s also a perfect time for your business to push even harder to surpass your competitors.
“Competitors may be stopping their campaigns because of their fear of what is ahead or their current situation,” “This is a great time to strengthen your campaign in order to improve your rankings and potentially outrank competitors.”
5. Prepare Your Business For the Bounce-Back Surge
As we noted earlier, the coronavirus outbreak should fade (just as it has in China) after a few months. That’s when normalcy returns and consumers’ spending habits stabilize. You have to remember that SEO is more of a long-term strategy. What you do today for your SEO campaign will affect your organic search traffic two months from now. Pausing your SEO campaign now could have a detrimental impact on your revenue potential two months from now when the coronavirus starts to become a distant memory.
“As SEO professionals, the work we do today will affect the results months from now,” “If you stop the momentum now when the market starts to rise you won’t see the results you want. Anticipate the low times, prepare and press now while others are letting up. The results will be in your favor when you will need it.”
6. Unique Circumstances Provide Opportunities for a Special Offer
During this uncertain time period, you have the opportunity to show support for your customer base by offering special discounts that will keep your revenue flowing. Identify your product-market fit and create a special offer. Many people are at home browsing, looking for discounts to save money during a time of unrest. It’s a great way to engage with your customers and keep a steady stream of revenue that will keep your doors open. You can push out your special offers through pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and social media.
“Be prepared to jump into action with new strategies to help your brand come back to a ‘healthy market,’” “The preparation should start today.”
7. Local SEO is now More Relevant
We’ve all reduced our travel and are staying close to home. In the rare times when we do leave our house, we’re looking for nearby destinations for services and supplies. So you want to make sure your business is using local SEO strategies to optimize your website for “near me” searches. You want customers in your geo region to be able to easily find you online so they turn to you first. At a time when we’re all looking for more convenience, this gives your business a chance to provide assistance during a critical time for families.
This is also the perfect time to start an Amazon marketing campaign to take advantage of the eCommerce surge.
“Now is a perfect time for eCommerce businesses to leverage digital marketing,” “There has been a massive influx of consumers shopping online with recent events, causing businesses such as Amazon to hire nearly 100,000 new employees to prepare for the increase in business. Utilize digital marketing now to stand out.”
8. Be Prepared to Pivot as a Business and Inform Your Customers
In a fluid situation, your business should also be fluid. This is a time that you should find ways to connect with your customers like never before. It shows empathy and keeps you relevant at a time when your business may have been impacted by people staying at home. For instance, restaurants are shutting down right now because customers aren’t dining in. You should make sure you’re offering free delivery services. Just the other day, a local Dallas restaurant emailed offering three ways to get their food into their customers’ hands: delivery, curbside ordering and parking lot pickup. Also, let your customers know you’ve increased your sanitary practices and how you’re doing that specifically.
But other businesses should pivot right now, too, as we stay in. Gyms have closed their doors in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but why not offer online workout classes right now? Dentists could offer online consultations. Grocery stores should offer free curbside pickup. All of these opportunities can be boosted with strategic social media campaigns.
“Since people are forced to be quarantined at the moment, there will be more eyeballs than ever before online so people will be consuming more digital marketing on all fronts,” “People will be looking to social media especially for updates on closures, new procedures for businesses and news. They will also be looking to see how brands and businesses are reacting to the current business environment. Now is probably the most important time to be visible digitally because other forms of traditional marketing will be stalled.”
9. Don’t Fall Victim to the Panic Move
How much toilet paper do you have at your house right now? If your answer is a closet full, you’re likely one of the people who flocked to the store when the coronavirus hysteria started to accelerate over the weekend. That’s not how you want to react if you want to implement a smart digital marketing strategy. You never want to make a panic move. You always want to use metrics and analyze all of the data you have available before making a decision.
Knee-jerk reactions usually don’t end well in digital marketing. Take caution when quickly reacting to a sudden shift in the economy or market.
“The economy isn’t stopping,”. “Homeowners still need home service providers. People still need goods and services. Money is still changing hands and consumers are still relying on Google to find people to do business with.”
“It is a great time to go back to the roots, using some of your hours on your current service contract to revise your marketing strategy with your specialist.”
If you have any questions about how Business Relauncher’s full-service digital marketing agency can help your business grow, please contact us online or call us at+442033974709
On average, businesses should expect to pay $1-$2 per click to advertise on the Google search network. On a monthly basis, the average small and medium-sized businesses spend between $9,000 and $10,000 on PPC
“You have to spend money to make money.”
At some point in your life, you’ve probably heard this tired adage.
While it’s neither novel nor iron-clad, it’s kind of the mantra the pay-per-click industry lives by. And hey, if the money you’re spending is PPC money, there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to make money on that spend.
When you consider the costs of delivering a product or service, a 2-to-1 return is not awesome. We know that. But smart, data-driven marketers can typically do much better than average with their campaigns.
Achieving an excellent ROI on your PPC spend is very doable, so long as you’ve found a good partner to manage your ads and you have a good understanding of what you’re paying them to do and, of course, you’ve got to be able to track those leads and sales. So if your business is working with a marketing agency to manage your PPC campaigns, just how much should you be paying?
We jumped on the phone with our friends at New Orleans-based Search Influence to get their perspective on the topic.
Search Influence has been helping businesses succeed online since 2006. The team at Search Influence makes marketing accountable for businesses across a wide range of industries and sizes. Tracking and accountability have always been central to Search Influence’s work with clients.
Common PPC agency pricing models
Before we answer the “how much” question, it’s important to be familiar with the different pricing models that PPC management agencies use for billing.
Here’s a brief overview of the three most common PPC pricing models:
Percentage of ad spend pricing
If you’re shopping for help with PPC, you’ll probably see a lot of agencies using a “percentage of spend” pricing model. Under this model, clients pay agencies a pre-determined percentage of their spend on the ads that the agency is tasked with managing.
Typically, the agency’s percentage will shrink as its workload increases, but this isn’t always the case.
Good for: Companies with a larger or growing ad spend, given the percentage reduction that comes with a total budget increase. Many agencies that use this model will require a minimum spend.
Not great for: Smaller companies with tiny budgets. Minimum spends are often associated with this model, so if your budget isn’t big enough, you’ll likely be stuck with some hefty fees to make it worthwhile for the agency to work with you.
Management fee + percentage of ad spend pricing
Many mature marketing agencies will charge a management fee to cover overheads related to the PPC ad campaigns they’re managing for clients. Like the first example, this pricing model also uses the percentage of ad spend as its baseline, just with an additional fee.
This model is going to be less prevalent among legacy media companies and commodity PPC houses. More complex campaigns are seldom static, because even small businesses have to consider seasonal marketing and promotion needs.
Good for: Customers who want transparency and ultimate ownership of their accounts. When you’re paying a management fee in addition to percentage of spend, it’s harder for the agency to justify holding accounts as “proprietary.” This model also ensures there is a budget available for A/B testing, as well as advanced conversion tracking both online and by phone, text, etc.
Not great for: Very low-cost accounts. Very small businesses are best served with automated platforms for which a pure percentage of spend makes sense.
Flat fee pricing
Some agencies will charge a flat, pre-determined fee after settling on a scope of work and calculating the static costs related to managing the client’s PPC campaigns. Some businesses prefer the straightforward nature of this model, so long as the activities and services included in the scope are clearly defined.
This is most often a simplification of the management fee plus percentage model, where the value that would accrue per the percent of spend is factored into the flat fee.
Good for: Relatively static campaigns and clients who want fixed expenses each month.
Not great for: Dynamic campaigns. Many businesses are seasonal and/or use specials to drive business. In these cases, both the management burden and the ad-spend will need to be more flexible.
In addition to the three PPC pricing models mentioned above, on occasion, you may see a “performance-based pricing model.”
Under this model, most businesses are paying for lower-funnel actions –– think inbound calls, emails, form conversions, trial signups, demo requests, and the like. Some agencies also set up a commission rate with this model and collect a small percentage of revenue from closed sales, if they can claim responsibility for lead origination. This is most commonly seen in e-commerce and referral-based business models, and is also known as a “CTA pricing model.”
A look at today’s PPC rates
Using the framework of the pricing models above, let’s take a look at the costs associated with each. The rates shared below represent middle-of-the-road pricing in the PPC world.
Percentage of ad spend: 15-30%
While it isn’t incredibly common for agencies to charge rates as low as 15 percent of total ad spend, big media conglomerates can offer such terms to promising accounts by utilizing kickbacks, or performance incentives. Most agencies charge upward of 20 percent to manage PPC campaigns.
When considering a proposal that uses this pricing model, the main thing you’re going to want to ask is what’s included: Will the agency be updating ad copy? Building landing pages? Rotating ads?
Some agencies roll these PPC service offerings into a buffet model, while others are more a la carte or pay-as-you-go, where each activity is itemized as its own line on a monthly invoice.
Another variation of the percentage of ad spend PPC pricing model includes a setup fee, which you’ll find to be pretty common. Agencies charge this fee to cover important activities like landing page implementation, lead tracking with forms, calls and creative for display and native advertising.
Search Influence adds some color to the additional costs in their post,”
Percentage of ad spend + management fee: 15-30%, $500-$5,000/ month
Monthly management fees are flat and fixed and may be assessed in association with activities like ad copy updates, ad rotation, and landing page creation. Depending on the workload related to managing a particular company’s PPC campaigns, a management fee can span a pretty wide range: Typically no less than $500 a month, and up to $5,000 a month or more.
How much should you pay an agency for PPC services?
The answer to this requires you to answer a separate question: How hands-on do you want to be with your PPC management?
In Search Influence’s experience, the typical small-to-mid-sized business decision-maker simply wants to see a lift in inbound leads from activities like PPC — you might be able to relate. A lot of times, the details are tiresome and pull you out of your sweet spot.
If that’s the case, a pricing model based on the percentage of ad spend probably makes the most sense. But if you’re looking to tinker and get hands-on with your PPC ad spend, you’ll need to look for agencies that itemize their services so you can carefully manage your budget.
Most of all — as a buyer of marketing services, whether organic or paid — it’s critical for you and your agency to clearly discuss and agree upon goals and timelines before you get started.
Step one is always about getting clear on that very thing: Where do you want to go?
How do you start a digital marketing agency with no experience?
There have never been more opportunities to strike off on your own in the digital marketing space than there today. But how do you actually do it? Where do you start, and how do you scale?
The secret to starting a digital marketing agency with no experience is to have an actual strategy, grow organically as you learn, and deliberately build word of mouth with a specific type of client. It’s about taking aim vs. shooting randomly and hoping something lands.
There’s also a major misconception that starting a digital marketing agency has to mean a HUGE process that requires building a massive company and doing “all the things” and taking all the clients.
In reality, a digital marketing agency can be just…you. It’s not about the pricey software or offices or employees. It’s about determining who you help, how you help them, and then actually doing the work.
The business model of an agency is fairly straightforward. Sure, you can tinker around the edges about whether to bill by hour, by week, by task, or by project. But at its core, you are providing specialized knowledge for a fee. An agency of one and an agency of 10,000 work in basically the same way.
With that concept in mind, here’s how to start a digital marketing agency with no experience.
1. Set Your Business Goals
Before you decide to do anything, you’ve got to do some planning. What do you want the business to actually look like? What’s the end goal? The vision?
Starting your digital marketing agency without some sort of direction in mind is like trying to get to a new restaurant with no address and no navigation. You end up lost, taking wrong turns, and probably not having much success.
If you’ve observed the industry for any length of time, you’ll notice that agencies with conflicting goals run into trouble often. But the ones that stick to their vision do well.
Some agencies want to maximize prestige. They focus on recognizable clients who are willing to do interesting work. Some agencies want to maximize profits. They focus on boring but high growth, high opportunity clients. Some agencies want to maximize freedom / autonomy. They focus on low maintenance, consistent clients. And some agencies want to maximize business value. They focus on internal operations, cash flow, and strong branding.
There is no correct goal – except to choose a specific goal and stick to it no matter what.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to starting a digital marketing agency. There are big agencies, small agencies, agencies that focus on just one part of digital marketing (like search engine optimization) and full-service agencies who do everything from design and development to paid media, local marketing, and SEO.
It’s up to you to decide who you want to serve and how you want to serve them.
What To Consider
Do you want to serve local clients, or go outside of your local sphere?
Are you focusing on a specific industry?
Do you want to offer a specific digital marketing service, or a variety of services?
Do your clients need to be within a certain budget?
Are there services you don’t want to offer? Niches you don’t want to serve?
What To Avoid
Avoid trying to have something for everyone. You know what they say about a jack of all trades… you’re a master of none.
Avoid direction hoping. Pick a direction and see it through until you have enough data and experience to make a decision on changing directions.
2. Define Your Target Audience
The irony of all ironies is that usually, marketers are horrible at marketing themselves, mainly because they don’t go through their own steps.
If you’ve done any marketing before, then you know one of the first things you do as you develop your marketing strategy is get clear on your target audience. The same applies for starting your digital marketing agency.
Once you’ve decided on who you want to serve, it’s time to dive a bit deeper. What are they struggling with? How do you help them with that problem?
Outline the wants, needs, likes, dislikes, habits, and information of someone you think would definitely be an ideal client for your agency. Outline what their marketing needs are, what their goals are, and how you can help achieve those goals through the service(s) you’ve decided to offer.
Don’t just armchair imagine this. Ask potential customers what they struggle with when it comes to getting the word out about their business. What do they wish they could get some help with? What do they look for in a digital marketing agency?
Make 2 to 4 very specific personas. Remember that your initial market is not your total market. Even if you start out by targeting a very specific geographic area or a very specific customer doesn’t mean that you can’t expand. It’ll just give you more focus.
What To Consider
Get specific. It’s better to start small and scale (i.e. being a digital marketing agency that helps local dentists get more clients through organic search) than try to help everyone and get lost in the noise (i.e. being a general marketer who can do anything for any business).
Remember that your initial market is not your total market. It just gives you focus.
What To Avoid
Avoid businesses that don’t align with your overall business strategy. Sure, it’s great to get work in the beginning, but remember… pick a direction and stick to it. If you don’t offer a service, don’t offer it – even if it means turning down a little bit of money at the beginning.
Personas aren’t just for marketing strategies. Have 2-4 for your own business direction so you know who to say yes to and who to say no to.
3. Build an Online Presence
Once you have an idea of what type of agency you are, who you serve, and how you serve them, it’s time to think about how you’re going to present this information.
This means building your online presence through your website and social channels.
Setting Up Your Website
You don’t need to have a full-blown website to have a digital marketing agency. But given you’re helping people get seen online, you should have some sort of online presence.
If you are going super-lean, you can use a Facebook page, Yelp profile, or a few focus (aka “landing”) pages (more on that in a minute). But going without a decent looking website will put you behind the curve and place limitations on what you can do with your brand & marketing.
I recommend setting your own website up with a common, well known software like WordPress and hosting it on your own hosting account**.
That route will give you a good technical foundation with fast, simple setup and access to other business tools like email and digital storage. It will also allow you to implement a customized off the shelf design – “themes.” Themes allow you to have a website that looks good enough to make a sale without spending months and lots of money on a 100% custom design. Creating a website on something like WordPress also allows you to implement a 100% custom design when that time comes.
**Note – self-hosting WordPress does have a learning curve. For a long-term website with a business that has resources, it’s worthwhile. But – there is absolutely a role for a hosted website builder for many businesses – especially if your business will focus on clients who use a specific platform (like Wix or Squarespace or Shopify). I have a guide to selecting a good website builder here.
Setting Up Focused (aka “Landing”) Pages
As I mentioned above, a few high-quality focused pages on your website can get you a long way. In addition to your Home page, About page, and Privacy page, you need landing pages to address specific needs.
When I say “landing pages” – don’t think of anything too complex or anything that you would need to A/B test. I’m simply referring to pages that visitors can land on from a search engine or an ad and find exactly what they are looking for. I like to call them Focused Pages rather than Landing pages.
Why? Here’s pro tip that few website owners will admit to: nobody cares about or even sees your homepage.
Your homepage is for people who already know you who are. For businesses in a single specific service, you can use it to “rank” for your main industry term.
Landing pages go beyond your homepage.
Landing pages are for new (or returning) visitors to land on and convert. Before you build out all your website pages, you should develop focused landing pages that sell to one or all of these buckets:
Service specific – These pages should promote your services. But, they shouldn’t be generic. You should make them either focused on the problem that your service solves (ie, no website traffic) or focused on the application of your service. For example, it’s one thing to offer “SEO” – it’s another to make websites more crawlable, more relevant, and more visible in search.
Geography / Demography specific – These pages are all about the location service & logistics of obtaining your agency’s services. Even though your work might be global, your clients’ are likely not global. They will pay for someone who understands their local market. Additionally, if you have a keen understanding of a demographic (ie, college students), then you can focus on that as well.
Industry Specific – These pages should promote your expertise within specific industries. Even though marketing principles do not differ much across industries, clients want someone who can understand their perspective. If you know more than someone else about [X] industry, you should promote that. And if you can go deeper within a niche, then do that.
Now – the magic here is combining buckets & going deeper within each bucket. Until you are big & growing, going niche is your friend. Create combinations to make extremely focused pages.
“Digital Marketing for the Travel Industry” will not bring in your first clients.
“Facebook Marketing for AirBNB Hosts in Atlanta, Georgia” absolutely will.
The goal here is to sell to people at the very bottom of the marketing funnel – the customers most likely to convert and most likely to succeed. These pages will both rank organically – and you can use them for paid ads.
What To Consider
Detailed content content (like a blog) can take your presence a long way. Think about future functionality you may want to have on your site so you can choose a platform that supports it and don’t have to create something from scratch once you’re ready to implement it.
Practice what you preach. If you’re a copywriting agency, make sure your copy is up to par. If you’re a design agency, make sure your site looks like you can actually design something.
You don’t have to be everywhere (i.e. Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, WordPress, Facebook, YouTube). Pick your starting channels and expand later if need be.
What To Avoid
Avoid perfection. The goal is to have a online presence that shows you’re legit, but being an agency is about billable hours. Don’t spend more time working on your own presence than your clients’.
4. Get Visible (AKA Getting Leads and Clients)
Once you have a place to send people, it’s time to get some leads and clients.
Again, marketers are notoriously bad at marketing themselves. But the days of “build it and they will come” are long gone. You actually have to do something to get clients and start building your portfolio, especially if you’re starting a digital marketing agency with no experience.
Here are a few key steps to follow to get the word out about your digital marketing agency.
Word of Mouth / Referrals
Above all other marketing techniques, agencies thrive on word of mouth and referrals. In fact, many top agencies are past the point of direct response marketing. They grow exclusively on word of mouth. They know how to appeal to certain markets and what kind of performance it takes to get further referrals.
The focus of your landing pages will help word of mouth since you’ll develop a simple, straightforward reputation.
In order to get referrals, you’ve got to get clients to back up your reputation. Which brings me to…
Also known as hustlin’. This consists of all the tedious and tough pitching that you know you need to do… but don’t want to do.
Now, it doesn’t mean spamming. It means going directly to your market and doing appropriate outreach.
It means emailing and Facebook messaging people that you know might be interested in your marketing services (or know others who might be). And sending them to your landing pages to learn more about your agency or hopping on a call with them to talk about how you can help them. And again, the focus of your landing pages will help make word of mouth simpler. You’ll stand out when people remember you as “the [X] marketer for [Y] industry in [Z] city.
It means helping within industry forums. I got my first handful of web design clients after helping people on the WordPress.org support forums. I got my first ecommerce client after helping in the Shopify forums. I never pitched anyone directly, but this type of manual, hand-on work counts as direct outreach.
When you’re just starting out with no experience, direct outreach is one of the most effective ways to get clients quickly (which you can then turn into referrals).
Tap into your existing network, look for projects that you can knock out of the park, and continue to get your name out there without having to spend money on ads or wait for your inbound strategy to grow (more on that in a minute).
Yes, it’s true — Google Ads and Facebook can be expensive for a good return on investment, especially for the close to converting keywords that you should try to buy.
But if your serious about building a long-term marketing strategy for your digital marketing agency, then your goal is a bit different when using paid traffic.
You are buying data. Lots of data.
You should be doing a few things with your new traffic.
Look at what keywords are driving the best leads. Google Ads & Facebook give you this information. Try using modified broad match for your keywords. Many times customers are using a wider variety of keywords than you’d guess.
Run your ads very focused on geography, especially if you’re a local agency. If you have a landing page for a neighborhood, set up a campaign for that area.
Look at what landing pages are driving sales & calls.
Look at what areas are driving sales.
Test ad copy and figure out the right messaging. You can use this data to inform any print or display campaigns..
On Facebook, you can get *really* specific with your audiences. Do that. Create an audience of 100 who you *know* would be perfect. Make sure they know about you. Use the campaign to warm up any direct pitch.
Organic Search (SEO) Traffic
Organic traffic (SEO) still might not be the best next channel to pursue after paid traffic. There’s a great big wide world of paid and organic traffic sources, and if you’re working on building a portfolio and just get some experience, this is going to take awhile.
And yet, if you’re playing the long game, setting up your SEO strategy now can have huge payoffs in the end.
Google processes more than 3.5 billion queries per day. And for most queries, most of the clicks go to an organic result. And you’ll know from your Ads campaigns that clicks for competitive keywords can be quite expensive. That’s a cost you don’t have to pay if you rank in the organic results.
So I won’t hide my enthusiasm for SEO. It’s my specialty and is the giant battleship that will keep on going once it’s headed in the right direction.
When you are setting your marketing strategy for your digital marketing agency, you just have to know what it takes to get organic traffic and what it will take on your part to get it done.
Often you’ll just need a handful of really useful posts to prove your expertise. Don’t go after generic topics. Show off your specialty. Do a tutorial on tools that you know your audience is trying to use. Write about an issue that you know everyone is dealing with.
What To Consider
Your first goal when you’re starting an agency is to get clients. Billable hours drive everything (and is what will enable you to invest in other marketing efforts).
Some of your best leads can be in your own circle. Don’t discount the network you already have.
No one will know about your business if you don’t tell anyone about your business. You don’t need fancy business cards, a beautiful website, or even some elaborate marketing funnel. You DO need to tell people what you do.
You do have to walk the walk, but you don’t have to rely on your own area to build your business. If you do SEO and you choose not to use SEO to generate leads, that’s fine — but be prepared to speak to that with potential clients.
What To Avoid
Avoid being a generalist. Yes you need clients, yes you need revenue — but remember the business strategy you set upfront.
Avoid adding additional work without increasing the scope to “win” a client. If clients want additional services and you offer them, great! Let them know how that changes your fees. Earn respect with results, not with price or perceived responsiveness.
5. Define Your Growth Plan
Building a digital marketing agency doesn’t mean you have to become the next big company doing Super Bowl commercials. As I mentioned before, a digital marketing agency can be an agency of one.
You should however, have an idea of how you’d like to grow. Being a one-person company still doesn’t mean you have to do everything yourself. ShivarWeb is made up of exactly 1 person, Nate Shivar, but several amazing contractors help shoulder specific responsibilities. Employees are great once you have a solid book of recurring contracts, but contractors can help you bridge any gap.
As you start to grow, think about the teams, systems, and deliverables you want to have in place to help support your clients.
For your team, would bringing on a full-time copywriter help you sign two more clients? Could you outsource design work or administrative tasks that take up your time?
For your systems, do you have a written system for new clients? Even if you are solo, you need to have a written system that clients pass through. It should be something that you can set out in a contract. You can (and should) find examples for Master Service Agreements (MSAs) & Statements of Work (SoW’s) to build of of. Make sure you have an internal project management system – even if it just lives in a Google Sheet.
For your deliverables, do you have a way to show value to your clients? Do you have a way to gather feedback from them. If you are an SEO, then written audits, keyword maps, and written outreach & content strategies will help make the “magic” of SEO real for your clients. It goes the same for every type of marketing. What format will you use? Who can you talk to within the industry to get a base understanding?
Doing some advanced planning here will help you scale faster and easier than waiting to figure it out when the workload becomes too much.
What To Consider
There are certain tasks only you can do. What are those? Keep your focus there.
A bigger team doesn’t necessarily mean a better agency. Some of the best marketers I know run with a very lean crew.
Think back to your business vision. Do you have services you want to provide but YOU can’t do? Are there people you can hire that can cover a few different areas (i.e. a writer with graphic design experience)
What To Avoid
Avoid getting caught in the weeds. You can’t make any money if you’re sitting in your inbox for five hours a day.
Avoid thinking of outsourcing as an expense. Crunch your numbers and think value and reinvestment.
Avoid going the “cheap” route when hiring help. You get what you pay for.
Charge what you are worth. If you are making your clients money, then charge what you are worth…and make them even more money!
Conclusion & Next Steps
Starting a digital marketing agency with no experience doesn’t have to be a daunting process full of questions, unknowns, and hurdles.
If you want to start a digital marketing agency with going through setting it up your self, you can join Business Relauncher Partner program to start digital marketing ency in 30 days or less.
The lure of affiliate marketing is undeniable; who can resist passive income?
But to make that passive income happen, you have got to put in some work first.
To succeed in affiliate marketing, there are a number of crucial steps you must take before you earn that first affiliate profits. And these steps are, well … not passive.
The good news is that if you’re determined to make this work and are willing to put in the time and effort, you’re already well on your way to affiliate marketing success.
All the work you put in is to help you make your first affiliate marketing sale. There is nothing like a first sale to motivate you and make you keep at it. When promoting affiliate offers, just make sure you are fully aware of all the terms and conditions attached to your affiliate program. Some programs can be strict about how they allow you to promote their products. For example, some may limit you to banner ads and links only, while others will allow you to use paid advertising, but won’t allow email marketing.
So, what do you need to do to get started?
7 Steps to Earning Your First Affiliate Commission
1. Choose your niche.
2. Research different affiliate programs and products.
3. Build a site.
4. Produce excellent content.
5 . Build an audience.
6. Promote your affiliate product(s).
7. Repeat steps #4–7 on a continual basis!
Put in the work, and you’ll soon be reaping the rewards of your first sale. Your ongoing work as an affiliate marketer will be to repeat steps 4 – 6 on a continual basis. Building a site up to a point where it can make you consistent income takes a bit of work and you must be willing to constantly create, promote, market, innovate and of course, sell.
Most common asked questions
How much money can you make as an affiliate marketer?
In simple terms, affiliate marketing means selling goods or services from another person or company. Nine percent of publishers surveyed produced more than $50,000 in affiliate income.
What is affiliate marketing and how does it work for beginners?
Affiliate marketing is the process by which an affiliate earns a commission for marketing another person’s or company’s products. The affiliate simply searches for a product they enjoy, then promotes that product and earns a piece of the profit from each sale they make.
Can affiliate marketing make you rich?
Yes, affiliate marketing can make you rich. But you need to exert a lot of time and effort. Sorry to say this, but affiliate marketing isn’t a get–rich-quick scheme. … If you think you‘ll earn easy money with affiliate marketing, then you are bound to fail.
How do affiliate marketers get paid?
Pay per Sale: In this program a merchant pays you a percentage of the sale price when the purchase is completed.
Can I do affiliate marketing without a website?
There’s a certain stigma about affiliate marketing that led people to think that they cannot do it without a website. Truth is, you actually can become an affiliate marketer even without a website or blog. … There are plenty of ways to do affiliate marketing even if you don’t have a website.
Do you feel overwhelmed about making that first affiliate sale?
If you want start an affiliate marketing business in 30 days or less without a website.
How can I get more clients? Building a healthy client list can seem like an overwhelming task. Try these 7 steps to help get more clients for your business.
As a business owner, you’re no doubt keenly aware that your client base is the lifeblood of your company. A steady stream of new customers allows you to grow your business and fulfill your company vision.
It turns out that a seven-step approach works best for attracting new clients.
1. Identify Your Ideal Client
It’s easier to look for customers if you know the type of consumers you seek. Without a composite of your ideal customer, you probably wouldn’t know where to start looking.
“Have a crystal clear picture in your head of exactly who you’re targeting,” says former OPEN Forum community member Nicole Beckett, president of Premier Content Source. “Think about what makes those types of people happy, sad, scared, relieved, and then think about how you can make their lives a little easier.”
Narrow down the focus of your ideal client and avoid making broad target market statements, such as every woman, every man or all baby boomers. Few products appeal to that vast of a group of people, and overstating your market will prevent you from developing viable targeted strategies for attracting clients.
2. Discover Where Your Customer Lives
With your targeted customers in mind, “identify those places where they are likely to be found (media, online, offline, mail, etc.), and then create messages for them.
Where you look for customers will depend on the nature of your business. Some good online locations include forums and social media pages, including your own and those of similar or complementary businesses. Offline, you can meet plenty of potential customers at conferences and conventions in your industry.
3. Know Your Business Inside and Out
Thoroughly understanding your industry and having a firm knowledge of your product or service is critical to being able to attract interested clients. When you know your product backward and forward, that fact comes through. The people who would be interested in your offerings can see how knowledgeable you are and will seek your assistance.
4. Position Yourself as the Answer
Give potential clients you come into contact with a good reason to try your services, which is your first step to making them loyal customers.
“Provide value and establish yourself as having an in-depth understanding of the problems they are looking to solve,” he says. “This takes the form of creating content via webinars, blog posts, guest blogging, and getting out there and physically networking with people. From all this you will start to attract a following, and as long as you have a structured sales funnel setup, you will be able to convert the followers/fans into paying customers.”
5. Try Direct Response Marketing
Your best bet for reaching out and touching customers is to use tactics to encourage them to complete a specific action, such as opt into your email list or request more information.
Create messages directed at your target market. “Learn to create ads that attract your ideal clients by giving them something of value for free to get them started in your funnel. Learn all you can about direct response marketing practices, because they will teach you to focus on results that matter. Create compelling messages that tell your ideal audience why they’d have to be a fool not to work with you. Show them you understand their pain, and can make it go away faster and cheaper than they could without you.”
6. Build Partnerships
Teaming up with businesses that offer complementary services offers you the opportunity to take advantage of synergy, which can be very effective in building a business.
When all is said and done, nurturing relationships, either with other business owners or customers, helps you create a client base, Beckett suggests. “Focus on building human relationships. The stronger your relationships are, the more likely your customers will be to tell their friends about you. And, the more likely they’ll be to come back.”
7. Follow Up
After your efforts to bring in business, always remember to close the loop. Remember to set follow up tasks (follow up to sample sent, etc.), and execute your plan. So many leads and great conversations are wasted because you forget to follow up.” Doing this simple step is sure to get your client base to grow.
1. Research Ecommerce Business Models. 2. Start Ecommerce Niche Research. 3. Validate Target Market and Product Ideas. 4. Register Your Ecommerce Business & Brand Name. 5. Finalize Your Ecommerce Business Plan. 6. Create Your Online Store. 7. Attract Customers To Your Ecommerce Website.
How much does it cost to start an ecommerce business?
The average costs for eCommerce stores include: Professionally-built eCommerce website – $5,000 to $10,000. Domain name – $2 – $20 per year. Hosting – $300 per month. You can also start an drop-shipping eCommerce business for less than $2000
Is E Commerce profitable?
Global ecommerce sales are expected to top $4.2 trillion USD in 2020 and reach more than $6.5 trillion by 2023. More than 2.1 billion shoppers are expected to purchase goods and services online by 2021. … One reason the company quadrupled sales year-over-year, is its decision to localize.
How do I succeed in ecommerce?
8 Tips to Make Your Ecommerce Business Wildly Successful 1. Don’t rush the launch. One of the biggest mistakes unsuccessful ecommerce entrepreneurs make is forcing or rushing the launch of a website. … 2. Put the focus on the user. … 3. Test absolutely everything. … 4. Work closely with social. … 5. Incorporate social elements. … 6. Go mobile. … 7. Stay on top of SEO. … 8. Collect information.
What are the 3 types of e commerce?
There are six basic types of e–commerce — Business-to-Business (B2B), Business-to-Consumer (B2C), Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C), Consumer-to-Business (C2B), Business-to-Administration (B2A) and Consumer-to-Administration (C2A) — and all of them represent a different purchasing dynamic
Is Ecommerce a good business?
There are many great reasons to start an ecommerce business. If you’re interested in being your own boss and selling products you are passionate about, it’s something worth considering. If you want to speed up the process, you could even buy an established business instead or start a drop-shipping ecommece business.
Do you want to boost conversions on your website? As smart marketers know, your design can make all the difference. In this post, we’ll share 11 web design principles that will boost your conversion rate.
Many marketers harp on the importance of SEO, social media, creating lead magnets that convert and the like, yet building an excellent website to start with is so often overlooked. While all of these components do matter, your web design isn’t just a “pretty face.” Web design can actually make or break your conversion rates.
According to research from Stanford University, 46.1% of people say a website’s design is the top criteria for deciding if a company is credible or not. So it’s extremely important that your design looks professional.
Whether or not your website is aesthetically pleasing also plays a big role in conversion rate optimization. Given 15 minutes to consume content, two-thirds of people would rather read something beautifully designed than something plain (according to Adobe). So if you want people to read your blog posts, they need to look attractive.
But that’s not all. If your website is unattractive, people will actually leave your site altogether. 38% of people, to be exact. That’s a whole lot of lost leads!
So regardless of whether or not design is your forte, you can’t afford to overlook it. Learn and follow web design principles, hire a freelancer, employ a designer, or do whatever it takes!
To start with, here are a handful of important web design principles that will give you an immediate and sustainable boost in conversions.
1. Follow Hick’s Law
Hick’s Law is a popular theory that’s cited by a variety of individuals for different purposes but is frequently referenced in terms of web design. Named after British psychologist William Edmund Hick, the law states that the time it takes for an individual to make a decision is directly proportionate to the possible choices he or she has.
In other words, by increasing the number of choices, the decision time is also increased.
You may have heard of the famous study by psychologists Sheena Iyengar and Mark Lepper where they found that a display table with 24 varieties of jam attracted less interest than a table displaying only six varieties of jam. In fact, people who saw the larger display were only one-tenth as likely to buy as people who saw the small display!
That is an example of Hick’s Law in action: action is lost in proportion to the number of choices being presented.
Boost Conversions by Limiting Decisions
In terms of web design principles, you can boost conversions by limiting the number of choices users have. The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about where to cut back on the number of choices on your website is the navigation bar. Obviously, you don’t want to have too many links to choose from, otherwise, the user will lose interest in them altogether.
In other words, don’t do this:
However, Hick’s Law doesn’t stop there. Think about all the many different important decisions that users have to make on your website, aside from just which navigation link to press.
Here are just a few:
Deciding whether to use the navigation bar or scroll down the page more
Skimming the headlines to see which blog post to read
Deciding whether to download your lead magnet, share your post on social media, or leave a comment
Choosing between making a purchase, reading product reviews, or browsing for more products
These only just scratch the surface of the plethora of decisions that your users have to make. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed trying to figure out where to begin cutting back on these decisions, however, there is a simple way to use Hick’s Law in a pinch…
Add a Fullscreen Welcome Mat
All you have to do is install a fullscreen welcome gate on your homepage. A welcome gate covers the entire screen with a single call to action, so the user only sees one choice available at first. If they want to see more choices, they’ll have to scroll down.
This allows you to minimize distractions on your homepage, while still keeping the functionality of your homepage intact.
Overall, when applying Hick’s Law to your website, it’s important for you to know which actions are the most important for your bottom line. For example, do you want users to opt-in for your lead magnet, or do you want them to put a product in their shopping cart? Every page on your site should achieve one main objective.
The more you can limit your user’s choices, the easier your website will be to use, and your conversions will skyrocket.
2. Leverage the Rule of Thirds
The Rule of Thirds is a popular photography principle that’s also one of the main web design principles to follow. With the Rule of Thirds, you’re supposed to visually divide an image (or website page) into thirds (both vertically and horizontally).
This gives you nine equal squares:
According to the rule, the four middle intersections are strategic places of interest. When objects are placed at these points, it creates the most impactful image or design.
In terms of web design principles, you can place the page’s most important elements at these intersections to get people focused on them, boosting your conversions.
For example, Chris Lema’s homepage has the most important elements (the testimonial and the “Start Here” button) on the two left intersections:
John Lee Dumas’s hero image contains a call to action button right on the bottom left intersection:
Kissmetrics also places their call to action button at the bottom left intersection:
Notice how none of these websites place their navigation bar anywhere near the intersections. This helps to keep visitors focused on the main call to action on the page, rather than leading their eye to navigate somewhere else.
You needn’t design your entire website strictly by the rule of thirds, rather you can use it as a tool to help you place your most important elements.
Try taking a screenshot of your website (just above the fold or just your header section, not the entire length of the page because nobody looks at a website that way), and divide it up into nine equal squares. Then, you can decide if you want to make any tweaks.
3. Respect Users’ Patience
Or rather, impatience. It turns out that people are incredibly impatient, particularly when it comes to surfing the web.
According to a study by the Aberdeen Group, a mere one-second delay in page load time results in a 7% reduction in conversions!
So when it comes to page loading speed, every second counts. In terms of web design principles, this means you should check your page speed and troubleshoot any issues, run your site through one or more of these free tools:
In web design, whitespace is often referred to as negative space. Positive space is the space that contains all the elements on your site, whereas negative space is all of the empty space in between.
Despite the name, negative space is actually a positive thing in web design; without it, your website would be unreadable and unusable.
Negative space doesn’t just refer to the space between the larger elements on your page, such as the space between your header and your content, or space between your sidebar and your content. It also refers to the space between all the smaller elements on your page, like the space between paragraphs, the space between lines of text, and even the space between letters.
Paying attention to all of the forms of negative space on your site serves to keep everything legible, scannable (very important, because that is the way people read websites) and easy on the eyes. And of course, all of this leads to increased conversions.
Flat.io uses a ton of negative space on its homepage to keep the focus on their main call to action, which is to sign up with Google or Facebook.
Tips for Using Negative Space
The smaller your font is, the more space you need in between letters.
Your line-height (defines the space above and below lines of text) should be approximately 150% of the font size for body copy (in CSS, this would read: line-height: 1.5;).Image via Pearsonified
However, smaller fonts need more generous line-heights. Note the difference that a larger line-height makes in the two paragraphs below:Image via W3.org
Break up large blocks of text into smaller paragraphs to increase the negative space in between them and make your blog posts more readable.
Add white space in between the larger elements on your site (sidebar, header, body, footer, etc.) using ample margins and padding.
5. Consider F-Layout
Researchers have found that a user’s natural behavior when browsing the web is to read the screen in an “F” pattern.
Here is a heatmap that shows where the user’s eyes typically land on a webpage:
And here is what that looks like as a wireframe:
As you can see, people first look from left to right at the top of the screen. Then they scan the page downwards, making small forays into the content. The area of a page that gets the least amount of visibility is the bottom right.
So what does this mean for boosting your conversions? Well, you can take advantage of this behavior by placing the most important objects and calls to action along the F-shape lines, and placing objects of less importance in lower visibility areas.
For instance, you can place your main call to action at the top of the page towards the left-hand side because that is where the user will look first.
6. Color Matters
“Colour is an often underrated aspect of web design but it can play a very important role in usability as well as convey the overall meaning of a brand as well as the overall mood of the website,” says designer Tom Kenny. “Different color combinations can evoke different emotions and reactions.”
When choosing a color scheme for your website, make sure to choose a combination that evokes the emotion that you want your brand to convey.
One practical way to do this is by curating a Pinterest board with images that reflect your vision for your brand. Then you can upload a few of those images to Adobe’s Color Wheel using the camera icon on the upper right-hand corner of the screen.
Once the image uploads, it will automatically create a color scheme for you based on the colors in the photo. You can also move the selections around if you want to tweak the individual colors.
Once you’ve created your color scheme, there is one important thing to keep in mind which will make or break your conversions:
Use contrast to keep text, headlines, and call to action buttons noticeable and readable. In other words, your font and button colors should be in high contrast with the background (e.g. white background with black text), and the elements that you want to highlight (e.g. subscribe buttons) should be in a color that stands out from the rest of your site.
So if we were to use the color scheme we created above, we would want to make shades of blue the predominant color, and use the bright yellow sparingly as a call to action color (since it provides the most contrast).
Let’s look at an example. Which elements of this site draw your eye?
Well, of course, the image in the center with the woman is very eye-catching, however, the two orange call to action buttons are really attention-grabbing. That’s because they are in stark contrast to all the blues on the rest of the page.
When it comes to choosing the right colors for your buttons, you may want to check out our article on which color button converts best (here’s what research shows).
7. Remember to K.I.S.S.
You’ve probably heard the “Keep it Simple, Stupid” mantra before. Well, it’s one of the most important web design principles as well.
Simplicity is super important when it comes to driving conversions. Any time you’re creating a page, ask yourself whether there’s a way to make it simpler. The result is usually more aesthetically pleasing, and it almost always converts better.
Remember Hick’s Law? That comes into play here, but simplicity is more than just limiting the options. It’s about creating a clean overall design that is uncluttered and minimizes distractions.
Similar to Hick’s Law is the fact that people can only handle so much information at one time. Visually, if we see too much stuff all crammed into one page, we get overwhelmed and it bothers us. Creating a great user experience on your website means getting rid of anything that isn’t absolutely necessary to the design.
Apple is one of the greatest examples of simplicity in web design, and it is so effective that countless other brands have followed suit.
8. Use the 8-Second Rule
The general rule of thumb is that you have a mere 8 seconds to get a visitor’s attention because that is the length of the human attention span. Yes, it’s shorter than the attention span of a goldfish!
You only have a very tiny window of opportunity to engage a user when they first land on your site, so make those seconds count!
Here are some tips for grabbing attention and boosting conversions within the first 8 seconds:
Use a large, benefit-driven headline that is brief and to the point.
Use eye-catching imagery that conveys the main point or purpose of your page and draws the eye towards your main call to action.
Make signup buttons large, simple and clear.
Use power words to make your copy more enticing and engaging.
Incorporate multimedia such as video, audio, or other interactive content.
Use hover effects on your buttons (e.g. make them change color on mouse-over) to make them more satisfying to click.
Use animated exit-popups to re-engage visitors who lost interest.
9. Remember the Gestalt Similarity Principle
The Gestalt design principles can be summarized by this one statement from Gestalt psychologist Kurt Koffka: “The whole is other than the sum of the parts.” Basically, the human eye and brain perceive a unified design in a different way than they perceived the individual components of that design.
The first Gestalt principle is the law of similarity, which says that the human eye/brain likes to group similar objects together. It’s a mechanism that allows us to make sense of things, and to organize noisy environments.
In terms of web design principles, you can leverage this law by grouping items that you want to be associated with one another, such as testimonial boxes, conversion buttons, or images.
For example, if you have an amazing testimonial and you want to use it to boost conversions on your opt-in form, you could place it directly below the form. Even if the testimonial wasn’t written specifically in regard to your lead magnet, the user will associate the two because they are in close proximity.
The law of similarity is also important for the user experience. By grouping all of the main elements of your signup form together (the headline, description, and opt-in button), and keeping them far enough away from the other elements on your page (using negative space), the user’s brain will be able to process the information quicker and more efficiently.
This, of course, is great for conversions, especially because, as we said in the previous point, people have a very short attention span!
10. Use Faces to Increase Familiarity
People love human faces. “When we see a face, we are automatically triggered to feel something or to empathize with that person,” says designer Sabina Idler. “If we recognize content on a website — such as a problem, dilemma, habit or whatever else — we feel connected and understood.”
Make sure to incorporate faces into your articles, case studies and testimonials, opt-in pages, and landing pages for a boost in your conversions.
If you are the face of your brand, this is simple to do. Get a photoshoot done, and make sure the photographer takes plenty of horizontal shots with negative space on one side of you. That way, you’ll be able to place a call to action or some text there.
However, if you aren’t the face of your brand, you can still use faces on your website by hiring models, or using stock photos. Just make sure the faces you choose represent your brand accurately so that the user will be able to relate to the face.
Vendeve, a social network for female entrepreneurs, does a great job of this by using faces that reflect their target demographic:
11. Source High-Quality Images
If there’s one thing that can really drag down the quality of a blog post or piece of content, it’s low-quality images.
In fact, images can make or break a deal. Bright Local found that 60 percent of consumers are more willing to consider search results that include images, and another 23 percent are more likely to contact a business showcasing an image.
Specifically, you should avoid using lifeless stock photos that are irrelevant and bland. Research from Skyword found that if your content includes compelling images, you’ll get an average of 94% more views!
So instead of using bland images, source high-quality photos that develop positive associations with the content and that feel personal. Remember: people like brands that they feel are similar to themselves. If your imagery is too “stuffy” or “corporate”, you’ll turn your visitors away.
Where to Find High-Quality Images
Here are some of our favorite places for finding free stock photography that is high quality and personal:
Every online store wants to increase traffic and conversions. But even after you’ve put together a basic strategy it can still be challenging to decide on which marketing tactics you should try.
That’s why we put together an overview of effective marketing tactics and ecommerce tools along with ideas to help you implement each approach. The ideas themselves run the gamut from straightforward acquisition to generating more repeat purchases from the customer base you already have.
Try to implement one of these ideas every day for the next few weeks and take stock and figure out which tactics worked best to drive new sales.
What is ecommerce marketing?
Ecommerce marketing is the practice of using promotional tactics to drive traffic to your online store, converting that traffic into paying customers, and retaining those customers post-purchase.
A holistic ecommerce marketing strategy is made up of marketing tactics both on and off your website. A sound marketing strategy can help you build brand awareness, drive customer loyalty, and ultimately increase online sales.
You can use #ecommerce marketing to promote your online store as a whole or to drive more sales for specific products. Below is an overview of a few practical ideas to try.
17 ecommerce marketing ideas to increase online sales
1. Upsell your products
Most of us have heard some variation of the famous, “Would you like to supersize your order?” It’s an example of upselling, or the approach of selling a slightly more premium product than the one the customer was originally considering.
For many businesses, upselling can be more effective than acquiring a net new customer. Sometimes your customers don’t know that a premium product is available, or they may simply need more evidence to understand how an upgrade (or package) is a better fit for their needs.
For example, is one of your product models made of slightly better leather? Or does one carry a special component that’s handmade? Make sure to emphasize the difference and ask, in the right places, if the customer might want to upgrade.
There are two main considerations when using upselling to increase sales:
Make sure your upsells are related to the original product
Be sensitive to the anticipated price range of your customers
Your product has to fit the customer’s original needs, and they may not be enthusiastic about a higher price point once they have an anchor price in mind. An anchor price is often the first number a customer sees, and it’s the number against which they compare other price points. The new product must be a discernibly better fit than the original for it to be worth the additional cost.
Anyone who’s ever purchased a computer is familiar with the screen below. Once you’ve selected a particular model, companies will usually highlight upgrades for performance (upselling) or additional accessories (cross-selling) for you to consider.
2. Integrate Instagram
With over 500 million daily active users, Instagram is one of the fastest growing social apps around, connecting consumers, influencers, and brands.
If you take compelling photos, use hashtags strategically, and post at the right times then you’re well on your way to building a large Instagram following of people who are interested in your products. The key to mastering your organic Instagram presence is engagement with your followers.
What are some ways to engage with your audience on Instagram? You may try running contests or going behind the scenes to showcase your product development process. You can also pay to play on Instagram. For ecommerce marketing, adding products to your Instagram posts and stories gives your followers a direct path to purchase, which is key for increasing your online sales.
Check out this example from GoPro to see shopping on Instagram in action:
3. Reduce abandoned carts
Harsh truth: You’re losing money every time a visitor abandons their cart without purchasing.
This phenomenon is well-studied. Visitors add items to their carts, but abandon their carts during the checkout process. According to the Baymard Institute, 69.23% of shopping carts are abandoned.
It’s worth directly addressing as many hesitations as you can because some shoppers who abandoned their carts could have been reminded to complete their purchase. Perhaps they could have been persuaded with a discount or free shipping, for example.
One simple and effective ecommerce marketing idea to reduce the frequency of abandoned carts is an email recovery campaign, which can convince your visitors to make a return visit and complete their original purchase.
The folks at LUSH use quirky subject lines and emails with additional product suggestions to try to get customers to return to their carts.
Craft an email that entices your visitors to return to their carts by reminding them of what they considered purchasing in the first place, and why.
4. Launch a Facebook store
Although Facebook has undergone a number of changes, it remains a viable platform for social media and ecommerce marketing.
It’s fairly straightforward to start making sales through your Facebook store. Better yet, your Facebook store can integrate directly with your Shopify store so you don’t have to keep a separate inventory.
5. Capture more email subscribers
Dollar for dollar, email marketing is one of the most effective channels at your disposal for making sales and generating repeat customers. Roughly 17% of digital marketing spend happens in email, but it contributes 24% of revenue
There are too many tweets and Facebook posts for us to keep up with, and email can offer a more intimate interaction. People are still more protective of messages sent to their personal inboxes versus their social feeds. Plus, email gives you the space to say things that can’t fit into a social media post.
To get started with email marketing, actively promote your newsletter, blog and any other email capture efforts to get as many subscribers as you can. Take a look at Huckberry, which makes signing up for its email list the central focus when you first visit their site.
6. Improve your email campaigns
It’s not enough to simply capture a bunch of email addresses. You then need to send regular, valuable emails for the channel to be an effective ecommerce marketing activity.
There are many occasions that are perfect for sending emails that your subscribers will actually appreciate:
Send a welcome email as soon as a customer makes a purchase.
Provide exclusive promo codes and free gifts.
Send regular newsletters to alert subscribers of new discount offers, product tips, and, when appropriate, company news.
Share relevant content to help customers get the most out of their recently purchased items.
Run a BOGO campaign in time for the holidays to promote self-gifting during the season, too.
Thank your highest-value customers. Send a personal note expressing your appreciation for their business.
Solicit feedback. If someone visits your site but doesn’t make a purchase, ask about their experience and how you can improve it.
Take a look at this simple email from Uncommon Goods. For Father’s Day, they sent a last-minute email to remind subscribers of the occasion, and to provide a service for the procrastinators on their list. The subject read, “The Gift that Will Save Father’s Day.”
7. Send wishlist reminder emails
One final type of email to add to your list of ecommerce marketing ideas: the wishlist reminder email. The wishlist reminder email is closely related to the abandoned cart email. Both are designed to convince shoppers to take the final step in purchasing the products they have shown intent to buy.
Has it been a while since someone checked in on their wishlist? Have an item on sale that’s been put on a lot of wishlists? Is it selling out? Send out an email to let your customers know.
It may just be the trigger they need to finally purchase the item. ModCloth alerts shoppers when products are nearly out of stock. This motivates shoppers and helps minimize regret—no one wants to accidentally miss out on a product they’ve been eyeing.
8. Make it easy for your customers to get what they want
If your store is poorly designed, then you’re losing customers. But what exactly does a poorly designed store look like?
Besides appearing untrustworthy, the store could be suffering from some combination of the following: lacking a clear value proposition, hard-to-read font, or confusing navigation.
Even when you’ve improved the dimensions above, you could still be making a few design mistakes. Are you properly segmenting your products or are you putting too many products on a single page? Have you figured out the right balance between text and visuals? These are just a few of the many things that you should consider.
There are many examples of beautiful ecommerce websites, but consider DODOcase in particular. Take a look especially at how clearly products are segmented.
9. Engage online store visitors with live chat
There are other high-impact ways to engage with site visitors and customers outside of email. For example, you could use live chat to engage with shoppers on your site.
Many live chat tools let you target browsers on certain pages, after they’ve been on your site for a certain length of time, or even after they’ve arrived on your site through an email newsletter. Live chat also enables you to have direct conversations with your customers so you can answer and address customer concerns right while they’re planning to buy.
Luxy Hair uses live chat to engage prospects and inform current customers of their order status, without having to contact their support team over email.
10. Anticipate future sales
If you have the ability to expand your product line, then you should evaluate market demand and see if it’s worth the cost. You can do that through a variety of approaches: keyword research, geographic validation, social media trends, etc. One more creative way to test out your market? Pre-sell items to see how many people place orders.
If you’re trying to decide which of three to-be-released products to sell, for example, create pages for all of them, making sure to use quality product photography and compelling copy for each one. Then list them as “out of stock” and see which product gets the most attention in terms of back-in-stock notification requests. That’s the one to sell.
In footwear and apparel especially, there are times when certain size or color variants are temporarily out of stock. KEEN, which sells hiking shoes, gives shoppers the option to receive an email when the product of their choice is available again.
11. Start a content marketing program
Every ecommerce store should consider blogging regularly to connect with customers and to rank better in search engines. If you’re already creating content, consider actively featuring your blog on your online store.
Don’t forget, there are more ways to take advantage of content marketing than simply blogging:
Start a podcast to feature your expertise or build a stronger community
Guest post on other websites and blogs to build awareness and generate backlinks, which also help with SEO
Create long-form content and guides to help customers use your products more effectively
One unlikely brand that has used content marketing to increase online sales is River Pools and Spas. Their company blog has earned them kudos from New York Times, but they don’t just stick to blogging. In time for the 2018 summer season, they have a downloadable guide featured on their homepage to help customers buy the right fiberglass pool as well.
12. Embrace personalization
Personalization is another effective marketing tactic to drive online sales. Using behavioral data, personalized experiences are served to the visitor, according to their past actions and preferences.
According to BCG, personalization can lift sales as much as 10%, but the opportunity is greater than that. Only 15% of companies are using the technology to its fullest extent.
You can also account for location in personalization to create an experience catered to where your customers are in the world. Someone in southern California may be looking for bathing suits in October, while your Maine customers probably need coats, for example.
Alloy Apparel shows a “what’s popular” carousel of products for online shoppers, but personalizes it with trending items local to the visitor.
13. Leverage user-generated content
User-generated content (UGC) is a great way to generate social proof. When prospective customers see that people just like them are regularly purchasing your products, they’ll feel more confident in doing the same.
According to Salesforce, 54% of consumers trust information from online reviews and recommendations from their peers, compared to the 20% who trust the brand itself.
UGC can take many forms. Technically, even product reviews are UGC. One of the most effective types of UGC is pictures of customers actually using your products. Pepper, a store that sells bras, features lots of pictures of happy customers in their products.
14. Think local
Brick-and-mortar businesses aren’t the only ones who can jump on the local movement. Online retailers can also take a local approach to their ecommerce marketing tactics to increase online sales.
To figure out what local means for you, here are a few ways you can look at it:
Identify where you have large concentrations of customers and run a promotion for that location. Look at which products those customers are buying and other spending behavior indicators, and consider local events or seasons to appropriately time a promotion.
If you have a warehouse or multiple warehouses, consider a promotion with free, discounted, or expedited shipping to customers in the vicinity. This’ll be easier for your operations team to execute and also help you promote sales in a cost-effective manner.
15. Optimize your product pages
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the practice of optimizing your website for on-site conversions and increased sales. Practicing CRO helps you identify problem areas on your site.
Where are you losing sales? Who’s dropping off and why? What can you do to capture those missed opportunities? This process is done through both qualitative and quantitative research, so you get a holistic and unbiased view of how conversion-oriented your site is.
Once you’ve conducted your research to identify challenges and opportunities, you can develop hypotheses and tests to see which approaches generate the most sales.
16. Optimize for mobile
By 2021, more than half of all online shopping is expected to happen on mobile devices, according to Statista. Optimizing your store for mobile means more than having a responsive design. It means you’re designing your site with mobile visitors in mind from start to finish.
Perhaps you have a bigger add to cart button on all mobile product pages, making it easier for the visitor to add to cart without zooming in, for example. You might also present your images in a different format, making it faster for mobile visitors to load product photos and easier to zoom in.
FrankBody sells body scrubs and skincare products. When a mobile visitor lands on a product page and scrolls down, the “add to cart” button appears at the bottom. This saves the visitor from having to scroll all the way back up, likely losing their spot on the page.
17. Reward your loyal customers
Focusing on customer retention is a cost-effective way to increase online sales. Return customers account for 22% of a retailer’s revenue, while making up just 11% of the total customer base, according to Stitch Labs. They also spend 15% more over the course of a year.
One way to reward loyal customers and big spenders is through a customer loyalty program. There are many ways both your customers and you can benefit from a loyalty program. They give customers extra incentive to make a purchase and they keep your brand top-of-mind through automated reminders.
You choose how to reward customers, how frequently and for what actions. For instance, you might have a point-based program, which has its own point-based currency that can be redeemed for discounts, free shipping or free gifts.
Outdoor brand REI has a robust customer loyalty program. Members pay a one-time fee ($20) to join the program, and they receive access to exclusive online (and in-store) sales and events. They also receive coupon codes and a portion of what they spend over the course of a year back in store dividends.