The Internet has gone through a number of fundamental changes in the last few years, the social media revolution being the most prominent. People in general are slow acting to change and this means that whenever there is change there is opportunity. In the world of online marketing in the e-Commerce space there is a lot of opportunity. In this post I offer 7 different online marketing strategies that are designed to take advantage of the social web as it is today and help you take your business to the next level.
1. Content is the name of the game
There is a content war going on today. One of the outcomes of the social media revolution is that content is now brought to us instead of us going out and looking for it. This means that in order to capture some of the time that people spend online you need to produce and share content through the social web.
The best ways to do this is through your social profiles. It is easy to share useful articles, news, media and your own content through these social channels. Tools like Buffer and SproutSocial make it easy to schedule and share content with your online communities on the fly. Try and post at least once on day on Facebook and 5 times a day on Twitter. If you are not leveraging social media channels like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram to increase your brand awareness and to cultivate a community then you are way behind in the race.
2. Leave no engagement left behind
Try and imagine the following scenario. A potential customer walks into your small store on Main Street and after a few minutes of browsing comes up to you and asks for your help in locating something specific and instead of helping them you ignore them entirely. Now imagine you are that customer. The chances are that you would never visit that store again and tell your friends about the horrible experience. Not answering an email, tweet, comment on Facebook or your blog is the Internet equivalent of the example I gave at the start of this paragraph. One of the easiest ways to make a massive impact among your customers and fans is simply caring enough. Remember: Leave no engagement left behind.
3. Become more than just a brand
Every niche has its own level of complexity. It’s obvious that computer hardware fanatics have a much more sophisticated niche than knitting enthusiasts but even in the knitting world there are online authorities that are seen as the go to locations for resources and info. In which ever niche you operate you should aim to become an authority. This can be done easily at first through a blog on your site and later expanded into all kinds of unique content for download and even through book publications.
There are many benefits to becoming an authority but the main one is that through the social web and word of mouth, your brand will get a lot of exposure which essentially is free marketing. Other advantages include:
- Backlinks from other sites that reference your high quality content (great for SEO)
- Shares by others in your niche of your content to their social media channels (free traffic)
- Extra exposure will bring partnerships, free PR and other opportunities
4. Supercharge your word of mouth marketing with social reviews
Word of mouth marketing is by far the most powerful type of marketing for e-Commerce sites. The problem with word of mouth marketing is that there aren’t many services and tools out there that help generate useful user generated content and make it easy to spread the word among potential leads and fans.
Thankfully there is a service which can help SEOshop users super charge their word of mouth marketing both automatically and entirely for free.
Yotpo Social Reviews is a plug and play social reviews solution for online merchants. Yotpo helps store owners generate tons of product reviews and makes it easy to share these reviews with your online communities through your business’s Facebook page or Twitter account.
The magic behind Yotpo is in its mail after purchase emails which are automatically sent to your customers after a certain number of days after their purchase. Customers can then fill out their review right within the email and this results in many reviews being generated.
5. Optimization has become easy
The Internet is packed with case studies, infographics, and other publications on a wide range of elements which affect the effectiveness of your social marketing. One great example is timing. Most marketers don’t even consider time as part of the process of publishing content on social networks but if most of your audience is a sleep when you are publishing your posts then your engagement level will be very low.
Start approaching your marketing from more of a scientific angle and use the data you have to optimize your efforts. Sometimes the smallest changes in how you post and when will dramatically improve your engagement and growth of your online communities. Remember: Data is your friend.
6. Go the extra mile
Do you remember when you were a kid how you would visit the butcher with your mother and the butcher would have your mothers order ready waiting for her. The butcher knew that your mother walked into his business every Friday and ordered the usual steaks and pork sausages. The butcher also understood the importance of going the extra mile to satisfy a recurring customer.
The reason this story is so powerful in today’s online marketing landscape is because the average businessman feels that as long as the order gets to the paying customer it’s enough. For a small business like your own you have the capability to go the extra mile and leave a lasting impression on your customer. Below is a list of some of the easy ways you can go the extra mile.
- Place a coupon within the packaging of your product
- Send a hand written note thanking the customer with each order (try and be as personal as possible)
- Print out some of your most useful articles (see strategy #3) and place it in your order
- Follow up with your customer after a month and ask if everything is alright with the product
- Follow your customers on social and engage with them
- Stalk your customers on Twitter/Facebook
- Organize a meetup for your customers in a specific city
7. Stand out to be noticed
When it comes to deciding which marketing activities to implement online most marketers play the “follow the leader” game and decide on activities that the competition are using. In some regards this practice is important, take social for example, if you notice that every company in your niche is using social and you aren’t you better wake up and get with the times.
It is however important to be a leader sometimes and not a follower. Try at least once a month to implement a marketing campaign that is very fresh and different from what your competition is doing. Often unique guerilla style marketing activities get the most coverage and have the best chance of going viral which is the Holy Grail for most marketers.
Some ways you can stand out:
- Produce video (Vine, YouTube etc) content
- Invest in creating a very helpful, high quality piece of content (think infographic, industry report)
- Run a Twitter treasure hunt
- Host a Reddit AMA
- Create a super exclusive invite only VIP club
The Internet space is changing at an incredible speed and it is important to constantly shape your marketing strategies and practices around the shifting landscape. I hope this post provided you with some tips on implementing new and fresh strategies that will allow you to stand out from your competition and leverage the full capabilities of the social web.
Justin Butlion is the Content and Social Marketing Manager of Yotpo. Justin loves to blog about e-Commerce, online marketing, web development, and entrepreneurship. Check out his latest posts in the Yotpo blog or contact him directly at [email protected]