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The pandemic has spawned an e-commerce boom. According to the Drum, there’s been a 58% growth in the number of UK consumers using e-commerce brands. There has equally been a huge hike in B2B online sales. McKinsey’s April survey of global B2B sales leaders says they rate digital channels as twice as important as before COVID-19. The knock-on effect of this is being felt throughout the economy. We’re seeing companies which previously paid little or limited attention to their online sales channels now prioritising them. They want advice on how to promote an e-commerce business.

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When companies ask for our advice on communications strategies which will deliver online traffic many are surprised to hear that a lot of the old communications tools and techniques are still highly relevant. For instance:

Brand-Building

Brand building is still critical. Highly successful e-commerce businesses are highly dependent on the online buyer going directly to their site - either by putting the company’s URL directly into the browser or putting the brand/company name into Google. Yes, search engine optimisation and pay-per-click also drive traffic, but the best online businesses have strong brands. Brand building – and that means among other things, profile building via the media, bloggers, vloggers, influencers, and social channels is crucial. What’s more, if carefully thought through and skilfully executed, that online profile building activity will boost your SEO too – as our work with Wellers vividly illustrates.

So, if you are looking to promote an e-commerce business so that your traffic rockets, you can’t simply switch all your attention to new techniques, old-school profile building really matters.

Social Media’s Limits

Social media activity will build your brand, but it will not deliver you masses of web traffic. In a typical e-commerce business, the channels probably account for 1.5% of total traffic to the site. If you are expecting social media to be your web traffic saviour, you will be sorely disappointed.

Repeat After Me

Repeat customers account for 8% of the typical customer base in an online business but 40% of its turnover – yes you read that right, 40%. So that little old thing known as direct customer communication is critical. Yes, there are lots of online tools and techniques you can deploy to sharpen it, but fundamentally, you need to be able to turn that one-off shopper into a raving fan. Someone who returns time and again, and better still recommends you to others.

To effectively promote an e-commerce business so that it gets valuable traffic requires a real mix of skills, knowledge and experience, and some new thinking. But a lot of the core fundamentals still hold true.

On Tuesday, 2nd June 2-3 pm, I’m running an hour-long seminar on how to promote an e-commerce business. This will cover off buyer behaviour online, the communications essentials for both B2B and B2C companies, the mistakes to avoid, and 10 quick wins which you can instantly apply. You can reserve a place here.

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