Ecommerce Marketing Strategies:  Tips & Ideas for Selling Online
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Ecommerce Marketing Strategies: Tips & Ideas for Selling Online


– Hi everybody, Scott Yoder here with eCommerce Marketing 360, talking to senior marketing
executive Bobby Shell. And we’re just gonna review
some of the main ideas that you wanna know
about if you’re looking into starting an ecommerce business and developing an ecommerce website. So Bobby, let’s jump right in. Kind of a big question with this, can anybody get into ecommerce? Can anybody do this? – I’d say yeah. I think anyone can do this. One of my first ecommerce clients, he was selling some
products out of his garage. And now he’s a multi-million
dollar business. – Really? – Yeah, I think with the right work ethic, ecommerce, you can definitely do it. – And why is that? What’s making it easier nowadays? – Well, nowadays, compared to just, say 10, 15 years ago,
where you had to focus on inbound marketing that
you could not quantify and actually figure out in terms of ROI how things are working, mailers, billboards. – Catalogs. – Catalogs, some of these words are even foreign at this
point to me. (laughs) But building an inbound strategy when you can just target
people who are looking for a specific product,
it’s much more effective. – Okay. – We found that, yeah. – Good, so I think a lot of times one of the things we’ve seen is that having a niche is important. You can’t just go out and hope to sell shoes against Nike. – Yeah. – How do people develop that niche? How do they find that marketing space that allows them to be profitable? – Yeah, I think when
it comes to determining that marketing space,
one of the big factors is just remaining relevant
in people’s minds. And one powerful tool is retargeting. So whenever you’re on ecommerce, there’s a bubble, almost, with ecommerce, where there’s so much room and then there’s so many competitors. And so some of the things we do is we will focus on inbound paid ad. We’ll focus on SEO, as
well as retargeting, bringing customers back that
are familiar with your brand. But I’m sure something we’ll talk about a little further into this
kinda meeting together- – Yeah, we will. – Is email marketing and other areas. – And we’ll come back to remarketing. But even to just stick with
this a little bit more, in terms of the product niche, the importance of that and
how you kind of feel that out, what have clients done that have helped? Like you mentioned the
guy with the garage. What kind of thing tends
to be successful with this? – Yeah, I think the
word niche is important. And I think a lot of times what it is is people will try to
stretch a little too far. So I had a gentleman
once who sold anything in relation to wheels and tires. After the first year, we realized wheels was our best option. We started getting better supplier costs, and then that increased our margin. We were able to create
more sales on wheels, where tires the margin was a lot smaller. And it just wasn’t
profitable for us long term to go after that. But one thing we can do,
and I think Apple does well, not to go on a rant, but they’ll
sell you a computer, right, and then they get you with the accessories and the other items that tie to that to make that experience
better, like the phone or your charger, getting
a new charger, your iPad. So for instance, a wheel client who’s selling wheel products will then create email marketing campaigns with just crazy discounts on tires, which are typically replaced more often. But also anything, thinking
about the repeat purchases and thinking about the
lifetime value of a customer is gonna be your best option. – So there’s still a lot
of followup, obviously. After you sold somebody the first, that’s just the beginning of the journey. – That’s the beginning of
the relationship, yeah. And then from there, we have
a journey, a lot going on. – Okay, good. So talk a little bit about
some of the platforms that exist. We work with BigCommerce, Shopify. There’s a lot of options
out there, obviously, when it comes to ecommerce. Amazon is big, Ebay. How can somebody getting into ecommerce kinda get a grasp on
what the best tools are? – One of the biggest
things I would say is, like you said Shopify,
BigCommerce, Ebay, Amazon. Amazon’s a big player, obviously. They’ve been making
people millions for years. And the last couple years I’ve had a lot of ecommerce guys who have been literally buying homes, living their dream, come to a bit of a halt due to MAP pricing and distribution channels
changing, things like that. So BigCommerce and
Shopify are great options. Amazon becoming less of an option because you now are not
leveraging your brand. You’re leveraging Amazon. You don’t have as much
pull with your customer, because they’re relying
on your Amazon store for those repeat purchases. It’s all about repeat purchases and building that
relationship with a customer. So BigCommerce and Shopify
are great examples. There’s also Magento and many others, but those are two common ones. – So with, for example,
a BigCommerce site, that’s your website. That’s your store, unlike Amazon or Ebay. You really have the most
control over the sale, over the relationship. – Yeah, yeah, so with Amazon and Ebay, retargeting’s huge. Certain percentage of customers aren’t gonna buy from you the first time. We’ve started to dial that in to 90-plus percent of customers. Nine out of 10 people are
not gonna buy from you. We’re sensitive people. We’re looking for the best price. Am I getting free shipping? How quick is it getting here
even with that being said? So people do rely on Amazon a lot. But with some of these
tighter Amazon regulations, we’re becoming more reliant on creating our own brand over the last few years, which you can do over your own website. And then with that being said, now you have retargeting lists, which you can’t always
leverage on Amazon and Ebay. So now people across the web, whenever they’re on
Weather.com, Pandora.com, they’re seeing your brand
and not seeing an Amazon ad, which builds a lot for your identity. – That’s awesome. Is it complicated in terms
of managing the inventory, the transactions, having it
tied into a merchant account and the payment process? I know people who are just
starting out with this are always looking, how do I
get all of this to take place? How do these tools work? Is some of it automated? What do you guys do? – Yeah, in terms of automating that, BigCommerce has some awesome options. I mentioned a wheel client earlier, a gentleman who sells wheels, and he automates a lot through BigCommerce where when we needs to fulfill an order or contact a customer, he
has it automated to his email or to whatever platform he’s using. So that’s very helpful. Amazon and Ebay obviously
have that infrastructure. But in terms of building your own brand, which is most important
at the end of the day, we have options just to allow you to scale that infrastructure
of your own business so that you can do that
successfully, yeah. – Good. Talk a little bit, if you will, about how customers find
these websites, then. So you’ve got the underlying
idea of search marketing. There’s paid search,
there’s organic search. How do you guide clients into using those avenues the best? – Yeah, a good bit of
search is done over Google, so we’ll use Google Shopping, which is the most cost-effective option at the beginning, being able to set bids on Google Shopping. And if you’re not familiar
with Google Shopping, you type in pink shoes on Google, you’re gonna see four to eight options in the top right of your web browser. That’s Google Shopping. A lot of times the clicks there can be 50 to 200% cheaper. So you can really manage your costs, make your dollar stretch further to reach more customers so that you can build
this retargeting list, which follows users around the web so you can show your
advertisements to them when they leave your site. So it’s a great way to
build brand recognition and to get more visibility for yourself. Now, outside of the Google Shopping ads, one thing that supports that performance that’s not very costly are text ads and the organic ranking. So optimizing your onsite experience, creating a better onsite
experience for customers that retains them on your site and keeps them there longer, Google views that as incredibly positive. They’ll actually rank you higher, and then now with this
feedback we’re getting, good site experience, we’re creating an easier experience for
our customers, right? Now it’s easier for them to check out, and all of that correlates
to just your success. – And so that’s another
thing where the niche comes in, as well, right? If you have a little bit
more of a niche market, you’re able to optimize for those keywords and have a better chance to be found. Obviously if you just
have some general term, it’s gonna be much harder to rank for that type of thing. – Yeah, yeah, that it is. So in terms of ecommerce,
like if we’re just talking about a product, like wheels and tires, that’s very broad. There’s so many models. You might have a niche product that’s just 12 less products, 20 or less products, where you only have so many options. With that, it can be challenging in terms of scaling as far as organic and ecommerce, because you don’t have 2,000 options for Google to decipher. You only have these 12. So that’s whenever, excuse me, whenever we’re talking about having less products, that’s where optimization
becomes a bit more important, because now you need to be more visible due to you having a lack of inventory. So there’s different
approaches for each one. We might dive into that later, but. – Kind of a segue into
that, and simple question, does someone with an
ecommerce site need to blog? Do they need to blog? I’m selling tires. Do I need to blog about tires? – Yeah, yeah, I think blogging, social media, all these things that directly relate to
that organic component is incredibly important, especially selling tires. For my guy who sells tires, we’re mostly, tires and wheels, we’re focusing on younger guys, typically in between the age of 25 and 45. And this isn’t one site in
particular I’m talking about, but a lot of the times we’re trying to target this group of people. So there’s a certain voice we wanna have. And our blogging makes
us discoverable for that and obviously connects with our customer so that we can reach their interests, what they’re into, you know? So I think it’s very important to have a blogging but
also a social component tied to your niche business. – So that ties into interests. That ties into information, which then leads into selling, ultimately. – Yeah. – Okay, good. What about the importance of all of this being able to take place on my phone, the mobile part of the market? – Yeah, mobile’s huge. We talked about, in a previous video, how mobile has exceeded desktop in terms of search in
10 different countries. So the mobile experience, number one, typically generates that
interaction with a customer. We also talked before about a bounce, bounce rate, where 90-plus
percent of customers do not close the first time. So one thing Google’s identified in the last few years,
they’re called micro-moments. And to make that more digestible, just for us as people, is we always hear this joke about us being zombies always on our phone, right? Well, we’re always on our phones because we’re always digesting these bits of information in any moment. People are texting and driving. People are in the store looking at prices. We’re at work on lunch break trying to figure out the best solution, say, for our family situation. So these micro-moments that are happening throughout the day ultimately lead to that buying decision. So it’s very important
to be mobilely optimized and to have a good mobile strategy. That way we’re discoverable and then ultimately make the dollar from the customer and get them the best solution they need. – That is huge. I know an example of the micro-moment that I’ve seen from Google is somebody’s in their bathroom,
they’re drying their hair. All of a sudden, their hair
dryer goes on the fritz. What happens? They can immediately,
right there and then, start shopping for a new hair dryer, start comparing hair dryers,
start comparing prices. That’s the kind of arena that
you’re in with ecommerce. – Yeah. – Talk a little bit about website design, how that works in terms
of kind of building trust and getting people to
commit to a purchase. And then also we’ll
talk a little bit about some of the data that we look at to help improve
performance on the website. – Yeah, absolutely. So one thing, I’ve been on the web since I was a kid, so I’ll
kinda tap into what I see. Like I saw sites 20 years ago where they had Comic Sans,
which is a very playful font, very childish font, versus nowadays, where there’s more serif, sans serif fonts that are cleaner, easier to read, especially for, say, a more elderly eye on all these different devices. But one thing is looking professional right on that first interaction. We’re talking about micro-moments. These are what builds
trust to bring people back. So I think having a good experience where it’s easy to read
no matter your age, it’s easy to go through your site and find what you need with
the correct call to actions and just guidance into what
you’re trying to find, right? So one thing we’re responsible
for is your landing page. That’s ultimately,
whenever you click an ad or a page on the web,
that’s where you end up. We want that page to be quality. So that site experience is ultimately like your very first
impression with a brand new, just acquaintance or
potential partner in business. – Good. So tools like Marketing
360, Google Analytics, they gather a lot of data on how people behave on your website. What are a few of the key things that you look at that you can recognize and then act on to help improve sales on an ecommerce website? – Yeah, so one of the big things people just tend to talk
about is the bounce rate, like when someone bounces. And I like to make the
analogy of a basketball. If you just throw a
basketball on the ground, it’s gonna bounce back. So bounce rate has to do with,
how sticky is your website? When someone hits your
site, do they stick, or do they just bounce away? – So bounce, then, is somebody goes on, they are only on one page on the site, and they exit the site, right? – Yeah. – That’s what a bounce is. – What would create a bounce
is you do not interact and click into another page. So you land on that page,
you don’t click anything, and then you just leave. You didn’t find anything
relative to your needs, so you left. So in terms of site experience, that’s one of the biggest metrics. Next would be, if we’re
moving past the bounce, obviously we’ve gotten that
first interaction, right? So what’s next important
is how many pages deep are customers diving? So from there, we can start to see where people go. And then if they’re
falling off at that point, say they’re engaging with three plus, four plus pages, and
they’re still falling off, there’s some issue to be solved in terms of, are we getting people, are we that discoverable onsite? Now that we have them, are
they finding what they need? – Good, yeah. So obviously confusion is gonna kill sales. – (laughs) Yeah. – What types of promotions,
call to actions, some of those short bits of content have you found really work well to encourage people to
buy on an ecommerce site? – So with ecommerce, it’s
all dependent on the market. We’ve had customers
where we can do the popup right when you enter the site, and you can get a free
coupon, that can be helpful. Some people, it’s annoying. It’s all dependent on that business. Sometimes it’s when you exit the site, you wanna give them a
coupon then to retain them. But also in terms of
that, the retargeting, which is very effective,
bringing customers back now that they’re aware of your business, those costs can be two
thirds less versus paid ads. – So if they leave, you haven’t lost them. – Right. – You can still remarket to them, so they’ll see your
advertisements or your offers. – Yeah. – Do you recommend free shipping, usually? – Is that a question, Scott? – Yeah. – If you don’t have free shipping, people are gonna ignore you. And this is one of the
battles we face every day, ’cause honestly, adding free shipping to the scope of a business can be hard. You have your prices defined. You have your shipping. So now whenever we add free shipping, a lot of times it is actually adjusting your cost
and your shipping model to fit that in. That way, you don’t
cannibalize your own sales, but the customer has this perceived value of free shipping. That’s incredibly important. – Perceived value, yeah,
that’s a good way to put it. Definitely. Talk a little bit about reviews, product reviews, and how those play a role on influencing buyers on ecommerce sites. – Oh, baby, good reviews. Oh my gosh, it’s like, if
you’ve ever been on a date, been on a blind date, you were obviously set up with a good review, right? That can help close the deal or not. But my whole theory
is, one thing we’ll do, especially for this wheel client I keep referring to,
we use Top Rated Local, a third-party review source, to generate reviews, build trust not only with people trying to scope out what we do who might have a little deeper, just they’re nitpicky, right? Some people do their research. Some people buy immediately. When people do research, we
wanna do our due diligence up front to reflect the
quality our brand does. We can do that. So the reviews are huge, onsite but also, some folks, especially
when your brand grows and you’re getting 20, 30,
100,000 visitors a month, people are gonna type in your brand name and the word reviews online. And whenever you’re visible and you’re showing there
with these great experiences, people will then come directly back, buy from you, and that closes the deal. So that kinda reiterates, it’s never on the first interaction
people are buying with you. They’re doing price research
and review research. It’s huge. – And the platforms like
BigCommerce and Shopify have tools to gather
reviews and place reviews on the product pages, as well, right, so your previous customers who bought a particular product
can write up a review, and then you can place it there to have a hopefully positive review that new buyers can see. – Yeah, yeah, absolutely. BigCommerce and Shopify have reviews on the products, and one thing that’s important also are
just overall brand reviews. So having reviews on the actual page is very impactful for that
individual product sale. But a lot of times we’ll find customers actually researching the brand name and looking for reviews on that. So that’s why we also
leverage Top Rated Local and the brand reviews at the same time. – Good, can you talk just a little bit about the actual web design process. Like here at Marketing 360, what are some of the initial steps, and how long does it take? People are often wondering that. Just a little bit about how we develop ecommerce sites on the
BigCommerce, Shopify, and other platforms. – Yeah, yeah, so we have about 10 to 12 different designs that we have utilized over the last six years or so. And they’ve been through many iterations of what’s gonna be best, right? ‘Cause we’re always trying to work on what’s best for the customer’s experience. So one of the things we’ve done is we’ve created eight
to 10, 12 designs total that create the best
user experience onsite for ecommerce in terms of
starting at the home page, dialing into your product, and then lastly, you found the product you wanted, the cart, the checkout. An ecommerce website design typically is, we have a series of questions. And that leads us into how
we’re gonna design the site, the logo, the colors. From there, it’s about 10
to 15 business days total. So less than three weeks, and
the site’s typically live. – That’s awesome. How much does it cost? How much does it cost to
market an ecommerce website? – You know, we obviously wanna put you on a plan that’s gonna
make you successful. We don’t wanna give you
too high of a budget or too low, where it’s
just money lingering, not enough to make you successful. But minimum, four, five years ago, we could get someone started
on a 500, 600 dollar plan monthly just being
invested in your business. In the last few years, people are spending more money, realizing the value
of the Google advertising, driving inbound business. – And depending on the
competition, I assume, as well. – Yeah, yeah, the competition is one of the biggest components
that actually determine how much you need to invest. But yeah, over time, people
are obviously investing more, so there’s more
competition, like you said. But ultimately, we wanna do
research on the competition, see what they’re investing. That way we can actually
make you competitive in that space. – And how long does it take, once everything gets set up, the marketing gets turned on, how long does it take before I can start seeing some sales and
start making some money? – Yeah, sales can be pretty immediate. With paid ads, you can
have them the same day. That’s why we do set up Google Shopping, the text ads, all these
components on the front page, but also that retargeting list that will grow for as long
as you set that list up for. We could build multiple lists for a year or shorter amounts of time. – How long until it really
kinda starts to peak, til all this comes together? – You know, I’ve had folks where within one month we have complete sales. A lot of that’s dependent
on the customer service. A lot of phone calls are
happening nowadays on mobile. Sometimes it can take a month or two. But typically within three to four months, you’re getting really good results. And by month six is whenever
everything’s working. Say you have a brand new site. You’ve never done SEO. What is SEO? SEO’s starting to make a move. And now your paid ads are
being much more effective, and they’re actually
collaboratively working to create more sales. I think the biggest thing is making sure you leverage every
opportunity for your success, from paid ads, organic, to remarketing to reviews to just your
social media presence. So I just encourage everyone to tackle all of those with full force, and you will be successful. I can promise you that. – Thanks, everybody. I encourage you to browse our site, check out some of the tools on eCommerce Marketing 360. You can see the platform. You can see some of the
different search strategies and get a feel for how we
can help you be successful. Bobby, last thing, to
get that passion going, get the blood flowing, and really think about getting out there
and being successful, what song would you recommend somebody jam to really get in the state of mind. – I would say Steppenwolf,
Born to Be Wild, ’cause you gotta be wild
about what you’re doing in order to be successful. – Great. That’s embedded at the
bottom of this page, and a little bit more information. Thanks for watching.

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