Every online business starts out the same way: as just an idea. The idea may be to bring something totally new to the marketplace or perhaps the idea will disrupt a market by offering rock bottom prices or a new spin on an old favorite (essentially what MP3s did to albums, then what iTunes did to MP3s, and now what streaming is doing to iTunes).
Whatever the idea may be, it most definitely needs a spark to gain momentum. And generally, that spark comes from marketing, especially when you have an online store.
The numbers here are clear: most potential customers (61%) will find your site via a search engine, so it is imperative that your SEO be top notch. Of course, SEO isn’t the only way to get the word out about your business. In fact, word-of-mouth marketing is 92% more effective than any other type of marketing (inbound, SEO, etc). That means people trust recommendations from friends and family above all other types of marketing or advertising. For your business, this means that every single customer you impress will be referring along a line of additional customers looking for the same experience, with high-expectations as well as high loyalty if you deliver.
Sure, marketing your business is no walk in the park. It is hard work to keep up with the ever-shifting digital marketing trends, much less optimize on them. Not to worry, though. As the internet saying goes, “There’s an app for that.”
Below are my top picks and recommendations for ecommerce apps that will help to spread your brand awareness and pull in potential new customers.
ReferralCandy was built with one objective in mind: make word-of-mouth marketing work in the digital realm. In other words, ReferralCandy helps to get your already existing (and happy!) customers to refer their friends to your store. Given that word-of-mouth marketing is so effective, it’s likely that if you increase the amount of times current customers recommend your store or products, you’ll also increase revenue.
With time in mind, this ecommerce app takes care of the details including tracking referrals, managing discount codes and keeping an eye on any fraudulent activity. Starting at $25/month, ReferralCandy comes with all the out-of-the-box functionality you need and offers a 30-day, risk-free trial. In other words, there’s no harm in at least trying it out.
S Loyalty: Refer-a-Friend
S Loyalty: Refer-a-Friend is another great app that incentivizes your customers to take action through and beyond their transaction to let the world know that they’ve just made a purchase from your store. S Loyalty takes a unique approach in leveraging email addresses to help grow your list size while facilitating the referral.
S Loyalty provides an array of metrics and helps bring your VIP customers to the forefront, providing you with a more meaningful B2C relationship.
In other words: this app helps you to identify your happiest, most vocal customers so that you can be sure to impress them again and again, and continue gaining that valuable word-of-mouth marketing.
Lumiary, a marketing intelligence platform, interprets customer behavior and purchases to provide deeper insights into your business. Through its elegant backend, Lumiary provides actionable information bubbles. Within these bubbles are alerts, such as particular customer spend milestones and trending product alerts. The platform can provide you with key information about your store that you may otherwise miss.
This app is particularly helpful in better understanding your customer lifetime value, and can even allow you to build a strategy around it. By identifying those customers which surpass particular milestones, you can nurture loyal customers differently than first-timers or low-spenders, increasing the likelihood that those loyal, high-spenders will refer their friends and family.
Setting up your Bigcommerce SocialShop should be among one of the first actions you take after your store goes live. With a few clicks, you’ll be up and running selling on the platform.
Facebook is one of the bigger social commerce platforms, and the company has been making recent strides toward increasing their social commerce dominance. Indeed, 85% of orders from social media sites come from Facebook and the average order value for those orders is $55. For sites selling products in the following categories, having your products also available on Facebook is especially important.
The following categories see a high percentage of social orders from Facebook:
- Photography: 98% of social orders come from Facebook
- Sports & Recreation: 94%
- Pet Supplies: 94%
- Dropshipping: 93%
- Jewelry & Watches: 92%
- Clothing & Apparel: 87%
- Food & Beverage: 86%
- Home & Garden: 83%
In all, adding your Bigcommerce store to your Facebook Business page will not only provide relevant content for your followers, it will also help you to sell more.
Google AdWords is hands down one of the best ways to get more traffic to your site. After identifying your key phrases, you can bid against your competition for placement at the top of the search results. You can set budgets for particular ads, right down to the individual item. If you’re in a highly competitive market, it could mean all the difference between your customer buying the item from you or a competitor.
If Google AdWords seems daunting, there are plenty of agencies that can help you develop your spend strategy. Either way, here are a few stats to prove to you the importance of search engine marketing:
- 44% of online shoppers begin by using a search engine.
- The average click-through rate for paid search is about 2%
- 50% of all mobile searches are conducted in hopes of finding local results, and 61% of those searches result in a purchase
- SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound leads (such as direct mail or print advertising) have a 1.7% close rate
Pinterest has proven to be a game changer for e-tailers since its inception. In fact, Pinterest is now the 3rd most popular social network in the U.S. in terms of traffic and the platform is retaining and engaging users as much as 2-3 times as efficiently as Twitter was at a similar time in their history. Plus, the average order volume of customers coming to an ecommerce site from Pinterest is $58.95 –– higher than Facebook’s average order value of $55.
With a carefully constructed Pin, you can send your product out to your followers in an easily digestible format. If you have product verticals or campaigns, you can employ the use of multiple boards to create a really dynamic product catalog. Plus, you can embed your Pinterest boards on your blog to help you create shoppable posts without any extra coding work. Then, use your social channels to promote the board, pull in inbound leads and help customer discover your Pinterest presence.
Ultimately, ecommerce apps can help you gain visitors, increase conversion, and drive revenue. With low cost and minimal setup, you’ll have a SaaS marketing department essentially working for you full-time. All you have to do, then, is focus on customer experience once your potential new customers begin funneling to your site.
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