Posted 2017-04-04 by & filed under ecommerce, Social media marketing.

social-media-to-increase-sales

Not sure if social media is really an effective way to reach potential customers? There are more than 7.3 billion people on Earth; 1.71 billion (and growing) of them are on Facebook alone, so social media is clearly popular. Consumer behavior studies show that 90 percent of buyers get help in making decisions from social media, and 75 percent report deciding to purchase a product from seeing it there.

So, how can social media increase online sales?

1. Use Analytics to Guide Your Social Media Marketing

Business Team Brainstorming Data Target Financial ConceptThe platform options can be overwhelming. By observing your customers’ responses and by using available analytics tools, you can precisely target your content and advertising. You can see, in real-time, what your followers care about most, and you can quickly identify and respond to questions and concerns. Evaluating the demographics and behaviors of visitors to your online store will also help you determine the best platforms to increase online sales. You don’t necessarily need to establish a presence on every social media platform. For example, Snapchat is most popular with teens and millenials; if you are marketing a passive exercise program for over-70s, your return-on-investment there would likely be low, but it would be an excellent choice for selling the newest hot band’s T-shirts.

In general, Facebook provides strong traffic patterns across generations. It also allows you to target your advertising very tightly and includes built-in tools for creating special events and promoting them. Twitter is an excellent platform for customer service, with its real-time communication; you can also narrow the audience for your ads and use an integrated “buy” button for a strong call to action.

Are you offering a highly visual product? Pinterest and Instagram may be top choices, in that case. Pinterest provides remarkably strong referral opportunities and directed promotions, while Instagram is the app of choice for millenials.

2. Build Your Social Commerce With Quality Content

For social media marketing to be its most effective, it needs be more than sales pitches and product promotion. You need to create or curate high-quality content on relevant, interesting topics. Many experts recommend that no more than 25 percent of social media content be directly “salesy.” Providing useful information creates the impression that helping your customers is your primary concern, rather than simply making money, which encourages them to trust you in the future.

You don’t have to start from scratch, either. Pay attention to which posts on your news feed are being shared most often. Take the information in those threads and repurpose it. For example, if a video is headed for viral status, pull the key points out and post them on your news feed as a bulleted list or infographic. Share high-quality articles from other sites on your feed or reformat them as listicles, images, or other forms.

Also, create micro-content — short videos, infographics, mini bursts of text, and relevant images. Information overload is a real problem today, with the overwhelming amounts of information blasted at constantly at busy people who have neither the time nor the interest in reading long articles or watching 10-minute videos. Balance longer pieces with quick, eye-catching posts.

And don’t forget about blogs. They provide you the opportunity to share information and to engage your followers with comments and feedback at the same time. Again, you don’t have to carry the whole load here, either. Work with bloggers to share your services and highlight your products on their own blogs; use analytics to find influencers and invite them to let their followers know what you have to offer.

3. Make Your Social Commerce Content Engaging

Sharing information is an important part of increasing online sales, but you want to offer more than passive, static blurbs. Interact with your customers by asking questions or posting polls to involve them. Encourage them to leave reviews; studies show that 69 percent of consumers check online reviews prior to making purchases, and 56 percent report that even reviews written by strangers are helpful.

Use special offers to engage followers, as well. Make it clear that the offers are available only to those who follow your business page, and create a feeling of urgency with short time limits on them. People like that sense of exclusivity, and they will come back frequently to find the next great offer.

There are many more tricks to using social commerce strategies to increase online sales, but these will help you begin driving more traffic to your store and converting more visitors to buyers.

Posted 2017-04-03 by & filed under Content Strategy, Content Tips, ecommerce.

Buying Guide Content Gap Analysis To be competitive, e-commerce retailers need an understanding of the importance and influence of buying guides. With their potential to improve SEO rankings, increase traffic and create conversions, buying guides are a powerful tool in your marketing strategy. Even if your site already has an extensive knowledge base, there may be opportunities you’ve missed, called content gaps, that could make your company’s buying guides more effective.

What is a Buying Guide?

E-commerce sites use buying guides as useful information to help consumers make authoritative decisions. For example, if an individual needs a space heater, a buying guide on that topic can outline the various types of space heaters available and the pros and cons of each. As a retailer, you have the opportunity to provide your customer with objective, useful and unbiased information that helps them make an informed purchase. Buying guides lend credibility, foster trust and position your company as a brand authority. Details like product and technology comparisons, specifications, and customer reviews lend further credibility to both your business and your content.

The SEO Value of Buying Guides

SEO for Buying Guides

Buying guides allow you to share specialized information. They also provide a unique opportunity to embed crucial keywords which drive traffic to your site. Buying guides give you the space you need to create a long article with a variety of keywords relevant to a specific topic. Using the space heater example, targeted keywords such as “infrared space heaters” and “energy efficient space heaters” can pull in customers searching for those terms. Buying guides therefore serve a dual purpose: Positioning your company as a trusted authority on a number of different products, and greatly improving your search engine rankings. To get the most from keywords:

  • Ensure 1-2 percent keyword density
  • Space out keywords evenly; no more than one keyword string per 100 words
  • Use keywords in H1 and H2 headers

Buying Guide Content Gap Analysis

Product links are crucial ingredients in your buying guides, moving potential customers from discovery to purchase. Properly embedded, buying guide links can persuade a casual reader to invest in a targeted product. To promote conversions:

  • Verify that all product links are current
  • Perform regular keyword updates to existing buying guides
  • Remove any broken links
  • Archive older material if it’s still relevant
  • Include embedded links to other articles on your site

Buying Guide Tone

Buying guides should be neutral and impartial. Avoid using marketing language. While it’s acceptable to embed links to specific products, be careful not to promote any one brand or technology. Infographics, charts and tables which compare different types of products are extremely helpful and engaging. Any calls to action should be subtle and should only come at the very end of the article. Use conversational language and a knowledgeable, friendly, supportive tone.

Buying guides should present neutral information. Neutrality helps the customer make a personal buying decision which does not feel influenced or biased by your information. Focus on the benefits of different products. Define and demystify unusual or foreign technological concepts (this is extremely important with consumer electronic pieces, like external hard drives, laptops, smartphones, and computers). Avoid comparing brands and, instead, define the features and operational elements for each product category. In the space heater example, you might discuss safety elements, the different types of heating technologies, and the effectiveness of various types in large or small spaces. In doing so, you never have to complete a side-by-side brand comparison, which ensures that the information stays neutral.

10 Buying Guide Tips

The outline below provides a good basis for writing clear, concise and relevant content for your shoppers.

  1. Create a Title using the phrase “Buying Guide”
  2. Introduce the topic in a clear manner
  3. Make sure the buyer knows early on that this isn’t a marketing piece
  4. Attract attention with bold H2 headings that include relevant keywords
  5. Write distinct sections that cover different topics
  6. Educate and inform, don’t market and sell!
  7. When possible, use third party statistics and charts
  8. Create infographics, charts, and tables that illustrate product differences
  9. Include a list of benefits or advantages when applicable
  10. Include customer reviews and testimonials thoughtfully

Buying guides are one of the most important elements of your content marketing plan. They reinforce a trust relationship with your customer and brand you as an authority in several product areas. Creating a consistent knowledge base marks your site as a go-to for current and future customer purchases. Identify content gaps in your buying guides to increase the overall performance of your site.

Posted by & filed under Content Strategy, Content Tips, ecommerce.

Content Gaps on SKU pages

SKU pages need to do more than merely describe products. Product pages act as your virtual salesperson, highlighting and positioning the most important and intriguing features and benefits. In order to remain as competitive as possible, your product language needs to go beyond marketing copy to increase your conversion rates and decrease abandoned shopping carts.

Leveraging Product Content Gap Analysis

Every SKU page should feature the same basic elements to ensure the highest rate of conversion. The following worksheet can help you identify content gaps in both new and existing product pages and landing pages.

Write Long and Short Product Descriptions:

  • Define the three to five most important product details.
  • Include those points in a short description as a bullet list that consumers can easily scan.
  • Feature those same points in a long description (100-150 words) in an easy-to-read narrative style. Think of your long descriptions as a direct conversation with your buyer.

Include all Technical Specs for Your Products:

  • Define those specs clearly if they’re unique to your product.
  • Use charts and tables to show how those specs compare to other products.
  • Include infographics that highlight vital product details.

SEO Tips:

  • Identify long tail keywords for every page.
  • Include at least one keyword in H1 and H2 headers.
  • Feature keywords at least once in both your long and short descriptions.

Other Key Page Features:

  • Include any warranty information.
  • Define availability and estimated shipping times.
  • Include several high-resolution, high-quality photos with the product from as many angles as possible. Treat every SKU page as a virtual showroom.
  • Highlight positive customer reviews.
  • Update your SSL certificates and all of your company’s trust badges (e.g. SSLValue, BBB Accreditation, TRUSTe, etc.).
  • Feature 60- to 90-second product videos.
  • Promote social media sharing buttons throughout your site and product pages.

Define your Product Content Strategy

Product Content Strategy

As your content marketing continues to evolve, build in steps to tweak and improve your optimization strategy for all of your product pages. When writing your descriptions, remember that the customer is shopping for a reason. As a marketer, ask yourself:

  • What are the pain points that this product is solving?
  • How can this description inform and educate the customer further?
  • Who are the people most likely to shop for this product?
  • Does this language address that audience directly?
  • How does this language demonstrate the company’s expertise about this product?

Create your Buyer Persona

Create a simple buyer persona for your site. If you reach more than one customer audience, create a persona for each type. For example, if you sell automotive products to the trade, you’d use technical specs and a professional tone. If you’re selling to the general public, the tone might be less formal and highlight user-friendly features. With a clear and well-defined image of your typical buyer, you can better communicate using a targeted product content strategy.

Just the FAQs

A brief FAQ builds trust and reinforces customer confidence in your site and products. Look for key areas where they can be featured and update them regularly with the most common questions your customer service team receives. Eventually, your FAQ will evolve into an interactive knowledge base for new and existing customers, which increases your site’s overall searchability.

Your product pages are the backbone of your site. Take the time to create SKU page content that enables buyers to make safe and informed decisions about every purchase.

Posted 2017-02-08 by & filed under Content Strategy, ecommerce.

E-commerce Problems and SolutionsLike any business, e-commerce has its share of trials and tribulations, especially when it comes to content. For an online shopper, product descriptions must paint a picture and make up for the inability to touch feel the product – this makes content paramount. Obviously, when it comes to e-commerce, it’s content that impacts sales, drives traffic and creates brand loyalty.

So, while good content will give you a boost, bad content can jeopardize your online retail business. But what makes e-commerce content such a troublemaker? Here is a look:

Content is Exhaustive and Expensive to Create

Among the various issues in e-commerce, content is number one. Why you ask? Because content isn’t free and is writing that needs to be fresh, contextual and unique. It also needs to reflect the brand’s ideology and be accessible to search engine crawlers. This is why an effective content strategy needs writers, editors, keyword researchers, and quality analysts. This can be an expensive proposition, for example hiring a content writer can cost you from $400 up to even $20,000.

Content Needs Constant Refreshes and is Recurring in Nature

So you got your e-commerce content strategy ready, and you think that’s enough? Sorry but it’s not. Content is recurring in nature. It needs to be constantly tweaked and refreshed to stay up to date. You can’t just write a piece and forget about it. This means that you need someone to perform regular overview and research. This can be done by the internal staff, or you may need to hire a freelancer. For all these reasons content can’t be a one-time investment, it has to be constantly reviewed and edited.

Content has the Power to Ward the Customer Off

According to stats, 30-percent of consumers abandon the shopping cart due to poor product descriptions; 40-percent of consumers return due to poor content quality, and around 87-percent lose brand trust due to inaccurate information. This means that quality and veracity of content are key areas in e-commerce content marketing. While it’s obvious that the retailer would want to provide correct information about the product, sometimes even the best product content management, due to various management layers, can have a mix up that undermines the consistency and integrity of the data. This creates havoc that is unpredictable and something that is easy to resolve.

Content has to Change with Changing Communication Needs

With the ever-changing environment, the need for change in content strategy is vital. You might have 10 products to sell today, but tomorrow you may increase to 15. You may even feel the need to change your brand voice. These are some cases that require a change in content. This involves research and content writing that is niche writing and time-consuming. This means money and time.

As you can see, content is an important marketing tool. This is true for both retaining loyalty of existing customers and attracting new customers. While some e-commerce companies use existing staff, others onboard contractual or freelance writers. This is a tricky business and needs effort and money. Content is a problem for both big players and small retailers alike. While the former has to struggle with the volume of content regarding inventory and time, small players get crushed with the weight of time and budget. However, with training, readable URLs, unique headlines and careful research, content can be created in a structured manner and with fewer chances of duplication.

Posted 2017-02-02 by & filed under Business & Entrepreneurship, ecommerce, Marketplaces.

Reduce Paypal FeesThe fee structure for sellers at eBay continues to remain one of the top complaints. The following article includes some ways that can be easily implemented to lower these costs, thereby improving the profitability of the business.

1. PayPal Merchant Discount

Those who sell a high volume on eBay are most likely to get some merchant discount on PayPal fees. To see if you qualify for this, log onto your PayPal account and apply. You can do this from the PayPal’s fees page. Merchant discounts typically offer savings of up to 2 percent on every transaction.

If you are processing quite a good amount, as much as $3,000 or $5,000 per month via PayPal, you can reduce the Paypal fees against your account considerably. PayPal merchant rates, however, vary between countries

To Apply for Merchant Rates with Paypal

  1. Login to your PayPal account
  2. Go to your Profile
  3. Click on Merchant fees
  4. Click the Apply button

2. Reclaim Non-Paying Bidder Fees

If a buyer does not make the payment for any item he or she has ordered, the seller can claim back the eBay final value fee for that item via eBay’s unpaid item process. This can be done up to 45 days after an item closes.

When any case gets opened for an unpaid item, the buyer is given four days to pay. After the payment is complete, the case closes automatically.

If the buyer doesn’t pay the bill after four days, the unpaid item gets recorded in the buyer’s account. The item can then be relisted. The seller and the buyer may mutually agree to cancel the transaction as well.

If the seller wishes to the fees refunded, they just begin the process and forget about it. eBay will credit the canceled final value fees back to the seller automatically.

3. Tweak the Starting Price

A small tweak in the starting price can drastically decrease listing fees. For example, a starting price of $49.99 incurs a fee of $1.20, and a starting price of $50.00 would cost $2.40. As you can see, adjusting the start price can save quite a lot in fees, especially when you have a bulk to sell.

4. Pay Suppliers with “Mass Payment”

In some countries, PayPal has a payment method known as mass payment, which is not widely advertised, and the merchants are not made aware of. This allows merchants to send money to the suppliers against a set fee, while the recipient doesn’t have to pay any fee at all. This is an effective way to reduce PayPal fees. A fixed fee of approx $0.30 is charged to the merchant. However, the charge varies according to the transaction volume and the country of registration.

5. Avoid eBay listing fees

eBay’s inbuilt “Listing Designer” adds themes to your eBay listing and costs $0.30 per listing. However, it doesn’t allow optimization for listing and sales. Though statistics show that custom designed eBay listings sell more, it is advisable to invest resources in the seller’s online presence as well as the eBay listing designs. CrewMachine can help the sellers with an effective listing process that’s professional and mobile optimized.