So you’ve set up your online store, it’s beautifully designed and all of the back-end processes are in place. Now, how do you tell potential customers you’re there?
When considering the importance of online discoverability, it’s vital to first understand the behaviour that drives online shoppers, according to Dominic Gluchowski, client services director of online marketing agency Total e-Strategy.
“Often they’re people who have already decided what they want to purchase,” says Gluchowski. “They have an intent to purchase and they know what they’re looking for – they’re just doing research to find out more about it. So, if you’re an electronics retailer and they are searching for LCD TVs but they don’t find you during their Google search, you just lost a sale.”
Of course, the sale almost always goes to the business that does appear on the first page of the search engine results. Gluchowski says successful web businesses today include Kogan (his client), which utilises SEO and paid search extremely well, and Appliances Online, which has a very strong social media strategy and good comparison shopping engine strategies.
Strategies for online visibility
So, what are the steps to improving online visibility? Gluchowski, who also runs the website “i love coupons”, discusses his top tools of the trade.
Search engine optimisation (SEO): This is a process that ensures that, when a potential customer does a web search for something you offer, your site comes up in the main results of the first page. Those results are trusted more than the results that come up in the advertising section.
Paid search: There is an option to pay Google per click that you get to your website. This is very effective because SEO takes time and effort to put in place. But paid search can be used whenever you need it, for instance if you want to clear certain stock.
Email marketing: It is very important for online retailers to build an email-marketing database. For a lot of my clients, their email marketing campaigns are one of the biggest revenue drivers. As your business grows, your email marketing should grow too, meaning you make more sales from repeat customers.
Public relations: Hire a really good PR agency with the right contacts to achieve the results you want. For some of my clients, PR is the biggest driver of sales. It comes down to brand building. If customers recognise your brand, they are more likely to click through to your website and trust you.
Content remarketing: This isn’t used much in Australia but is enormously powerful. Users who have visited your website, after they leave, are shown specific ads wherever they go on the internet as long as they are using Google advertising on those websites. So, if they go into a furniture site but are then distracted and leave the site, when they leave they will see the furniture store advertising everywhere they go. It is extremely powerful for brand building as well as for closing those sales that didn’t happen.
Comparison shopping engines: Constantly compare price and monitor your competitors’ pricing and maybe just have a few products that you have high margins on.
Affiliate marketing: You receive free banner advertising on a large network of sites and you only pay for a percentage of sales that result from the ads. If the ads result in no sales then the advertising is completely free.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and the interviewees, and not of Australia Post.
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