Whether selling on Amazon, Google, E-bay, Etsy or other, the opportunities to utilise the digital medium for business expansion are vast however, so are the potential pitfalls. In this post I explore some of the emerging trends and practical tips for making the most out of digital as an online seller.
Are you an established online seller, or looking to take your first online selling steps with a new Amazon Store? The information here caters for both, and many other scenarios too. Here are my top tips for digital growth in 2017.
Seeing the Data Driven Decisions that Count
Whatever platform you decide to market your products and services on, a primary step to take is to ensure that you have data capturing in place. Directly on your website you should add code snippets to your template files (to ensure code is present on every page of your website) for Google Search Console and Google Analytics.
Both software data gathering tools are free for personal and commercial use, and form the foundation of the data driven decision making process.
Once you have the data capture in place, you need to be able to prioritise your time so that within a few minutes each month you can inform your marketing strategy through the data – generating insight from information.
The core items to consider each month are untapped opportunities for acting on, and new threats to your current business model and marketing approach.
An example of an opportunity you can look for today within your Google Search Console (GSC) data are high impression terms and low click terms where you can create audience driven content to increase brand awareness and drive new traffic to your website.
You can find these by going to you GSC account; Search Traffic, Search analytics – and check queries, past 30 days, impression, clicks and click through rates. From this data you can look for opportunity anomalies – for example high impressions and low clicks.
Using this data you can create content you audience is looking for and increase traffic as well as brand visibility within the niches that matter most to your business.
Making One Medium Work First
A repeated common failing of online sellers is that very often businesses will attempt to toe dip into several new business mediums at once, with the belief that one will work to a degree to cover the financial or time investment, and early stages burden of the others. In fact this scatter gun approach to digital marketing tends to undermine the chances of any medium being as effective as it could be with deeper and targeted focus from the outset.
Whilst deciding if an Amazon Store may be better than an E-bay Shop for your company, or whether Display Advertising could be more suitable to your business positioning than Paid Social Media spend, a tip at this stage is to invest into your website first, then branch out and expand in the knowledge that everything landing on your website will be maximised.
Regardless of your omnichannel intentions, it is likely that the most common interaction (and most frequent sales attribution) will always come back to, or include your website (often through organic, direct, and referral traffic). This can be due to brand exposure and natural website ranking, as well as supplemental search behaviour within the decision-making process, but before spending more externally, always put your website consideration first.
When prioritising your website, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) would be the often-natural choice for ‘making a medium work first’. The logic behind this includes the variety of expertise focus plus the potential impact covering both the user and the business. In addition to this SEO also aligns with the focus on both internal and external opportunities and threats as previously discussed.
An example of practical actions of SEO in practice include:
Improving technical website performance and functionality – fixing things like broken links (404s), using data to decide what to prioritise (site speed, mobile friendliness etc.), and making sure that the user experience leads towards ends results (sales, contact forms and more).
Making content work harder – Through data driven content creation you know that resource spent is focused on topics that matter. By using the data to refine existing content, expand the depth and value of it, you can extend content value, reflect the current search behaviour, and target new opportunities in search engines like Google Answer results.
Be unique and ubiquitous
There is not a shortcut to trusted, expertise driven, authoritative websites. It is more important to take care and attention and time creating one website page that stands out from the competition than several hundred that are shallow, copied, or very similar to everything else.
From a well-positioned and authoritative page you can gather engagement, social sharing, and buzz. You can also confidently pay to drive traffic to a landing page that works (drives the user journey towards an end result, makes sales, and provides the visitor with everything needed to act/purchase).
Whenever creating a new web page (be it a blog post, new service page, or other type of content item) consider the:
- purpose of the page
- current ranking competition
- standalone value of the page
- trust/expertise/authority you provide
- intended actions and end results from the page
- push and pull marketing opportunities
Extra tips for online sellers
The following tips provide practical next actions which you can apply in isolation to boost your current digital expansion plans, or within a more structured roadmap covering the next few months of business resource and task allocation.
- Once a month look at the slowest pages on your website and make them quicker to support improved bounce rates, engagement and mobile performance
- Check your top performing blog posts / content pages and update them to include new statistics, user questions and answers and more
- Update your website adverts regularly to generate more clicks and sales from the same levels of visibility
- Expand your product/service offerings to reflect audience and industry change as well as external competitor updates
- Add calls to action on every page – a call to action can be to watch a video, share a post, and make a sale (plus much more)
- Engage in social media platforms without promoting content or products to get your brand associated as experts on key topics
- Thank your social sharers and brand evangelists, share new products and services with them first, and make them feel appreciated
- Maintain your website; fix broken images and links, check pages are being indexed, and improve the user experience
- If you invest heavily in content creation look at paid remarketing to generate extra income from turning single content digesters into repeated readers and ‘will be’ purchasers
Note: Screenshots taken by the author at the date of writing this article.