With 8 out of 10 American consumers shopping online, and 15% of those consumers buying online products on a weekly basis, it’s clear to see just how powerful ecommerce have become in today’s digital marketplace. However, if ecommerce brands want to optimize their marketing, they’ll need to follow a few best practices to attract and convert more online shoppers. Below, we’ll tell you all that you need to know about ecommerce inbound marketing so that you can maximize your results and drive more sales.
Ecommerce Inbound Marketing vs. B2B Inbound Marketing
Though the general principles of inbound marketing are the same across industries and business types, there are just a few key differences between ecommerce inbound marketing and B2B inbound marketing. With B2B inbound marketing, businesses use organic channels like search engines and social media to attract potential customers and convert them into leads. However, this conversion does not necessarily mean a sale.
Most B2Bs have longer sales cycles where they need to take time to nurture leads through communication and strategic content. For these types of businesses, there is rarely the option to buy immediately, as the complexity and expenses involved with these B2B products often necessitates intervention from a sales person.
In a B2B inbound marketing strategy, there are four different phases in the sales funnel:
- Attract – The attract phase is where you bring new visitors to your site through engaging content such as optimized blog posts or social media.
- Convert – During this stage, businesses provide an opportunity to turn visitors into qualified leads, typically with some sort of offer, such as a ebook, infographic, or other piece of gated content.
- Close – This is the stage where leads become paying customers, which usually occurs after a company has nurtured these leads.
- Delight – The delight phase takes place after someone has made a purchase, providing additional value to the customer through guides and other helpful resources.
It makes sense that businesses with longer buying cycles would need to spend more time nurturing their leads. But what about ecommerce businesses that have low consideration buying cycles?
For some ecommerce businesses, this traditional inbound strategy just doesn’t work. Most consumers don’t have to (or want to) spend time reading a variety of content about clothes or home goods before they make a purchase. Ecommerce businesses that operate in this way need far less top of the funnel content and more ecommerce inbound marketing strategies focused on strategic promotions aimed at the bottom of the marketing funnel.
For businesses with short buying cycles that are looking to make a quick sale, the content used during inbound marketing campaigns is more focused on the product itself than the challenges that the consumer faces. This content might include product videos, images of products, information about how to use products, and anything else that might help convince a consumer to make a purchase on the spot.
How to Move Leads Through the Marketing Funnel Faster
One of the biggest challenges for ecommerce brands is figuring out how they can quickly take consumers from the attract stage of the marketing funnel all the way through to the final delight stage without losing them along the way. This is especially important given the average consumer’s short attention span. In fact, 95% of website visitors don’t buy anything on the first visit.
So how can companies use ecommerce inbound marketing tactics to speed up the sales cycle? Here are just a few ways:
Ecommerce Inbound Marketing Tip #1 - Take advantage of retargeting.
A more traditional inbound marketing strategy focuses on nurturing leads over time with quality content. However, ecommerce brands are often selling more commoditized products, which means that an ecommerce inbound marketing strategy needs to use different lead nurturing tactics to convince visitors to return and purchase or make a repeat buy.
One of the most effective lead nurturing tactics for ecommerce brands is retargeting. Retargeting, or remarketing, is the process of reaching back out to leads who have previously visited your site and left without making a purchase.
There are a number of different ways that ecommerce brands can remarket to their customers. PPC ads and Facebook retargeting ads are two of the most popular. Ecommerce companies can use these ads to put their content in front of people who have already shown an interest in their brand. Not only do remarketing ads improve brand recognition, but they can also be used to remind visitors of what they left behind. For instance, a clothing company might serve ad content to a previous visitor that features the very same products that the visitor looked at the last time they came to the ecommerce site.
Ecommerce Inbound Marketing Tip #2 - Ensure a positive user experience.
Your site visitors are far less likely to convert if they find your website to be confusing or difficult to navigate. That’s why it is vital that ecommerce brands focus on providing a positive user experience for their site visitors.
There are a number of different elements that contribute to a consumer’s user experience. Here are just a few of the most important factors ecommerce brands should focus on when reviewing the user experience:
- Load Times – Does your site take a long time to load? If so, consumers may be clicking away from your site in favor of a competitor with faster load times.
- Navigational Menu –Your site should make it as easy as possible for consumers to find what they are looking for and convert. Use a clearly defined and labeled navigational menu to make it easy to browse.
- Mobile Responsive –As more and more online consumers buy products from their smartphones and other mobile devices, it has become increasingly more important for ecommerce brands to have a mobile responsive site.
Ecommerce Inbound Marketing Tip #3 - Make it easy to convert.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but the fact that most online consumers don’t make it past the first step of the checkout process suggests that many ecommerce brands are not making it as easy as possible for consumers to convert. Review your checkout process to see if there are any unnecessary or confusing steps.
One way to make the process easier is by removing the need for visitors to sign in if they want to make a purchase. Many ecommerce sites will provide the option for the customer to create a log-in or check out as a guest. For those who do not want to create a log-in, the option to check out immediately is much more convenient.
Another way that you can improve the checkout process is by providing a progress indicator on the checkout page. This lets the visitor know how many steps are in the purchase process and how much longer they have until it’s complete. This can help consumers stay on the track to purchase when they are most likely to get distracted.
Ecommerce Inbound Marketing Strategy for High End Products
Not all ecommerce brands are the same, and therefore, they will not always use the same ecommerce inbound marketing tactics. While more product-focused content and promotions works for ecommerce brands with a short sales cycle, those companies that offer more complex or expensive products will have a higher consideration period than the typical ecommerce store. This means that they will have to take a hybrid approach to inbound marketing, using both conventional and ecommerce focused strategies.
For example, ecommerce companies that sell electronics or home appliances will still create product-focused content like videos, images, and product descriptions. However, due to the expensive and sometimes complex nature of their products, they will also need to provide content that goes more in-depth to help consumers make more informed decisions.
Companies that are taking a hybrid approach to ecommerce inbound marketing can use content such as product guides, comparisons, blogs, and whitepapers to provide more details for their audience. This can help nurture leads through the buying process as they start to research the best products and brands to meet their needs.
Are you getting the results you want from your marketing? It may be time to call in the ecommerce inbound marketing experts. The team at SevenAtoms knows just what it takes to help online brands like yours speed up the sales cycle and drive more conversions. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help you transform your inbound marketing strategy.