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The buying world has changed. You don’t need us to tell you that. Consumers think and act differently than they did even just 10 years ago. Humans are a constantly evolving species that develop new trends — and ride them. Currently, online shopping is the way of the foreseeable future. eCommerce sites are providing a new shopping experience that can’t be matched by in-person stores. The power of the web has allowed these sites to play to numerous strengthens, which have caused the downfall of the “American mall.”
Today, eCommerce sites are putting brick and mortar stores out of business because they provide a 21st-century shopping experience. Now customers can:
Have full access to a store’s inventory
See product reviews and information
Just these three elements alone, have changed how shopping is done by the average American consumer. It is estimated that 80 percent of Americans have made an online purchase in the last 30 days. This stat underscores two things:
Americans like shopping online
Competition in the eCommerce world is intense
The Strategy For Your eCommerce Site
In order to create an effective strategy, you need to break it down into phases.
What makes a successful eCommerce site is consistent traffic, followed by consistent sales. This process isn’t always linear, and it will require continued readjustment as you test out your finalized strategy.
An eCommerce site needs to have their target audience nailed down. The only way to make sales is to connect with the right people. During this phase, market analysis needs to be conducted on what your ideal customer looks like, thinks like, and acts like. Other evidence that needs to be found includes:
Who are your competitors targeting?
How are other websites providing a good user experience?
What are our key selling propositions?
This phase is critical to truly understanding who your business is, and who you’re trying to sell to. Don’t just assume you know your audience, because, without serious hyper-targeting of the right people, you’re going to blow your marketing budget.
Product Care Phase
Something a lot of eCommerce stores get wrong is that they try and do too much too quickly. It is important to do one thing really well first — then move onto the next. In this phase, you need to decide what product you want to run with and then iron out any wrinkles. Ultimately, your product is what people are looking for and will judge you upon (if they buy). Therefore, know your market and plan to get traction with one product line before you diversify. In the meantime, be thinking about how you will deploy and support your future products as you see positive results.
User Experience Phase
An eCommerce site won’t stay afloat if page visitors hate it. From navigation to content — your site needs to be tailored to stimulate your audience from the second they arrive on your domain. It’s going to be hard to convert visitors into customers if your website doesn’t provide them with a favorable shopping experience.
Easy and fast navigation
High-quality product images/videos
Quick and simple checkout process
Consumer Nurturing Phase
So let’s assume you got someone to your site, and they like your product(s). They want to buy. How can you push them over the top? It is important to not just assume that your product is going to “wow” every potential buyer and that’s enough to close the deal. You need to be conscious of nurturing your buyer into believing that purchasing this product is indeed a good decision.
Ways you can continue to support a consumer’s buying decision:
Checkout add-ins (free shipping, additional goodie, next sale discount, etc.)
Social media links
Customer review pop-ups
You're reading How To Create An Ecommerce Strategy
Content is the most critical component for search engine discovery and ranking of a site.
But all the organic traffic in the world is meaningless if that traffic does not convert into paying – or otherwise monetized – customers.
On February 20, I moderated an SEJ ThinkTank webinar presented by Michelle Robbins, founder and principal consultant at BetaGirl Consulting.
Robbins shared a framework for creating a long-term content strategy that focuses on acquisition instead of eyeballs.
Here’s a recap of the webinar presentation.
Content is the key to organic search acquisition. But before embarking on a content marketing campaign, you need to make sure you understand who your converting customers actually are.
Look at your analytics and zero in on what types of content drove your existing customers to convert and then you can begin formulating a strategy to scale that success.
You’ll also want to segment out your audience by value (i.e., who are the people directly influencing your bottom line).
For most companies, traffic in and of itself is meaningless. Conversions form the ground truth for success.
Conversions can be:
A newsletter subscriber.
A product or service purchase.
An asset download.
Any other customer acquisition as determined by your own business model.
Making significant changes in how you analyze your data can have interesting results and surface important insights.
Pageviews can be a relatively easy metric to influence especially for a publisher. But what matters is not that people come to your site, it’s what they do when they arrive.
Sign up to your newsletter?
Buy a product?
Request a demo?
One-and-done bounces are the least valuable visits you’ll get.
You want to eliminate that kind of traffic and focus on tactics to generate valuable ROI-producing customers.Rethinking Your Content Strategy
Focusing on quality over quantity is the path to getting valuable conversions.
This may seem obvious, but in competitive spaces, it’s easy to get on a treadmill of constantly pushing out content without considering the overall value proposition of that content for both you and your customers.
Putting time and resources into publishing low-quality or redundant content doesn’t really benefit anyone in the long run.
There are many ways to drive a quick spike in eyeballs to your website. But unless you’re effectively monetizing those non-targeted eyeballs, it’s a short-sighted way to approach your content strategy.
Before you undertake any new initiative or change of tactic, ask these questions first:
Do I (or my client) need to do this?
Will it positively impact ROI or will it drain resources better spent on other ROI-positive efforts?
Does it address the market realities we face?
Are there other, even more effective channels for getting the same result?
Asking these questions first will keep you and your team focused on the goal.
Also, remember to always focus on the content and audience first. Search engine algorithms come second.
All the rankings on organic traffic in the world don’t count if there are no conversions.Creating a Content Framework
Armed with your data analysis, the next step is to put together a content strategy framework.
This will help keep you and your content team focused on the same page and most importantly will keep things consistent.Step 1: Define Topics
In this step, you want to define your core content topics based on your first-party data about your audience and what you already know about your customers.
This data can come from multiple sources such as:
Site traffic and analytics.
Ad campaign data.
Your social media engagements.
Understand what type of content drives conversions first and foremost.
If you have insufficient first-party data, you can utilize third-party data through keyword and topic research.Step 2: Classify Categories
Once you’ve defined your topics, the next step is to classify your content categories.
These categories will inform the type of content you’ll create for your campaigns. While this will look different for every business, classifying types of content you’ll be producing will help:
Maintain consistency across your initiatives.
Give structure to your content strategies.
This is particularly important when you start deploying initiatives and introducing measures of leverage.
If you’re a marketing publisher, you may categorize your content as:
News Content (Need to Know Now): This type of content involves time-sensitive information. As a result, the shelf-life of news content is relatively limited.
Contributed Content (Need to Know How): This is primarily provided by practitioners in the field who offer tactics and deep dives into a specific area of marketing.
Featured Content (Need to Be Thinking About): This type of content includes thought pieces, trends to watch, and resource compilations that tend to be more in-depth articles.
These categories will work nicely for a publisher, but depending on your business model, your content categories could be product information, how-to content, or FAQs.
The final category we’re going to talk about is evergreen content, which is the most comprehensive and valuable content.
This category ultimately provides the most leverage and channel distribution opportunity to any organization and can be created by all types of businesses.
Evergreen content can be kept current or updated as needed. Its relevance is not bound by time and trends.Step 3: Define Requirements
Next, you’ll want to define the requirements to be applied to each initiative.
Here’s a sample set of requirements for a publisher:
Unique information or new point of view.
Credible sourcing and supporting data.
Provide a benefit to the reader.Content That Converts: Process
After you’ve established the framework for your content strategy, you’re going to want to develop your process. Underpinning content strategy success is a process that demonstrates a commitment to playing the long game.
Again, a solid content strategy is not about SEO or search engines, it’s about customers.Produce Evergreen Content
Evergreen content is key to playing the long game. Time and resources are well spent producing high-quality core topic focus pieces that can be shared, promoted, leveraged, and kept current.
The overall goal of evergreen content is to produce a resource to drive customers and brand loyalty while also cementing topic authority.Maintain an Editorial Calendar
Also central to the process is having an editorial calendar. An editorial calendar is the foundation of operationalizing your content strategy.
It keeps resources focused and allotted on an ongoing basis and enables you to create a repeatable rhythm to content creation.
Ultimately, the best system is always the one that you and everyone involved in your content projects will use consistently.Leverage Multi-Purpose Content
The final step in the process is all about cementing authority around a given topic by creating a content initiative that can scale across multiple channels and is repeatable.
The goal is to maximize channel distribution of a single content asset and then you simply rinse and repeat.
You don’t need to roll out a new piece of content every week or even every month if you’re able to leverage as many channels and modes as possible.
Your editorial calendar could focus on one topic per quarter rolling out the distribution into the different channels throughout that quarter.
It’s far less daunting to undertake a comprehensive content strategy when you adopt a framework, create a process, and leverage the available channels.
Depending on your topics, you can simply update and reroll out existing pieces of evergreen content on an annual or quarterly or you semi-annual basis, whatever makes sense for that topic.Key Takeaways
Play the long game.
Reduce, re-use and refresh your content.
Have a framework and process, and be consistent.
Beware of shortcuts.
Hire professional writers and editors.[Video Recap] From Pageviews to People: Don’t Just Drive Traffic, Drive Customers
Here’s the video recap of the webinar presentation and Q&A session.
View the SlideShare below.Join Us For Our Next Webinar! KPIs, Metrics & Benchmarks That Matter For SEO Success In 2023
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This is a sponsored article and was made possible by Picmote. The actual contents and opinions are the sole views of the author who maintains editorial independence even when a post is sponsored.
You could make them yourself to save time and money, but this can look unprofessional unless you have some design skills. Paying designers to make bespoke banners is the best way for businesses to present themselves well on the Web, but what if you can’t afford it? Templates and clip art just won’t cut it.
Now there’s a web service that puts quick and simple plug-and-play promotional graphic design into the hands of non-designers, in a form that’s customisable by anyone.Web Banner Engine
Picmote has over 1000 smart promotional graphic templates, covering all seasons and a range of styles, and lets you customise them by replacing or tweaking every single element of the design. The interface is simple to use and lets you change fonts, choose design elements like images and text from a gallery, or choose your own graphics and photography.Smart Banners for All
This is where Picmote comes in to create or freshen your banners each time they go out on social media, making it look like your business has its own design team, which in a manner of speaking with Picmote, you do.Impressive Range
But it can also can create custom-sized designs from a range of templates which work at those sizes. Most users will be using the default size templates, but it’s good to know if you get a request for an odd-sized promotional graphic that you can deliver it quickly and professionally.
The templates are really fun and fresh in their design, and the range of moods, seasons and styles is impressive. All graphics share a common DNA, so all the different graphics will not look out of place on the same page or site. But they can be made different enough with tweaking so that they are not too similar or repetitive. Picmote has ploughed a lot of effort into providing you tons of choices, with more being added through time.
There are not many cons to this service. There’s only so much you can do with customising before you break the design of course, but if you use taste and don’t fiddle too much, the result will always be pleasing.
And, of course, it’s a web app, so you need Internet access to use it, but you can save your designs to the app for use next time you log in.Conclusion
Phil South has been writing about tech subjects for over 30 years. Starting out with Your Sinclair magazine in the 80s, and then MacUser and Computer Shopper. He’s designed user interfaces for groundbreaking music software, been the technical editor on film making and visual effects books for Elsevier, and helped create the MTE YouTube Channel. He lives and works in South Wales, UK.
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Voice assistants are usually found in sci-fi and are often complicated pieces of tech. In the real world, they can provide automation and entertainment. For Amazon’s own line of voice assistants, you’re able to create an “Alexa Skill” – a fundamental building block of how the device interacts with users.
In this post we discuss what an Alexa Skill is, then run through how to create one without coding knowledge!An Introduction to Alexa Skills
For the uninitiated, an Alexa Skill is how a user interacts with Amazon’s Echo line of voice assistants. It’s a cloud-based service that takes input from the user – in this case their speech – runs it through code, and returns a result.
To offer a real-world example, take the NASA Mars Alexa Skill.
You start the Skill by using a unique “invocation name” – there are usually a few ways to do it. In this example, you could simply state, “Alexa, open NASA Mars.” Alternatively, you could ask a question “Alexa, ask NASA Mars how big Mars is.” You’ll then get a spoken response.
Much like the Web itself, there are Alexa Skills running a gamut of applications, including games, educational content, and much more.Why You’d Want to Create an Alexa Skill
Voice assistants are widely used. The Amazon Echo is a market leader on a quarter-by-quarter basis, and part of this is down to the number and variety of Alexa Skills available.
On a basic level, creating something dynamic (i.e. that responds to user input) is a driving factor for many hobbyist programmers. However, plenty of other developers and companies have also looked to monetize their Alexa Skills.
For others, simply offering entertainment or educational value is a driving factor. In short, there are plenty of valid reasons to want to create an Alexa Skill.
What’s more, developing for the platform is straightforward, regardless of your experience. In fact, you could even create an Alexa Skill without coding knowledge, as you’ll discover in the next section.How to Create an Alexa Skill without Coding Experience
There’s very little you need to create an Alexa Skill. The main requirement is an Amazon Developer account. There’s no charge for this, but you’ll need one to access the Alexa Software Development Kit (SDK) and essential tools and interfaces.
When you’re ready to create an Alexa Skill, the basic steps are as follows:
1. Choose a name for your Skill.
2. Decide on an interaction model, such as “Flash Briefing,” “Smart Home,” or “Music.”
3. Choose a hosting method for your Alexa Skill. Amazon’s free hosting is often adequate.
4. Create your Alexa Skill’s fundamental functionality (more on this shortly).
5. Test and deploy your Alexa Skill.
Of course, developing the Skill itself could take up most of your effort and time. Under normal circumstances, you’d need considerable coding skills to create this sort of application.
However, you can create an Alexa Skill using “Blueprints” – pre-built blocks that help you piece together your Skill without opening a code editor:
However, once you’ve developed one Alexa Skill, you may get the itch to create another. Fortunately, there are a number of resources for helping you along the way.Your Next Steps for Creating an Alexa Skill
We mentioned monetization, and if this interests you, you’ll want to first check out Amazon’s guide on In-Skill purchases. From there, researching real-world examples of developers who have earned income from Alexa Skills is a good idea.
If you’d like to explore the world beyond using Alexa Blueprints, check out Amazon’s specific tutorials. However, you’ll notice that coding will become a requirement sooner rather than later.
In short, Python is a top-notch language for both beginners and experienced coders, and it’s fully supported for Alexa. We’d suggest diving in and learning the basics before attempting to create an Alexa Skill again.Wrapping Up
Amazon’s Echo devices can provide plenty of helpful and fun ways to enrich your life. However, if you wish to create an Alexa Skill, you’ll be providing plenty of value to other users and may even be able to monetize your efforts. Alternatively, if you are just getting started with Amazon Echo, you may want to check out some of the must-have skills before you create your own.
Tom Rankin is a quality content writer for WordPress, tech, and small businesses. When he’s not putting fingers to keyboard, he can be found taking photographs, writing music, playing computer games, and talking in the third-person.
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So, you’re interested in building an online shop and need to know the average eCommerce website cost.
The cost of an eCommerce site varies wildly; however, this guide will assist you in deciding which type of site you need and where you should invest.The Value of a Top Performing eCommerce Site
Modern customers expect ease and accessibility with their shopping. They have little patience for inefficient sites or lack of online shopping options. There are currently more than 24 million eCommerce sites active worldwide. At least in the United States, around 90% of internet users have made online purchases. For all of these sites, the main goal is to usher customers from the search page to the shopping cart in as little time as possible.
Businesses that can do this successfully stand to bring in serious revenue from the eCommerce market.Factors of an eCommerce Site’s Cost
There are two popular methods for developing a functional eCommerce site. They are as follows:Pay For An eCommerce Website Builder
A site builder offers a set package with select options for design, hosting, payments, and other eCommerce site necessities. They typically require month-by-month payments to continue running your eCommerce site.
Examples of popular eCommerce platforms include Shopify, Wix, and Squarespace. eCommerce software can be an excellent option for:
Businesses with some technical know-how
New businessesHire Professional eCommerce Developers
A professional agency offers customized eCommerce services. Their prices vary not just from developer to developer but also based on the services you require. What you get with an expert is the assurance that your eCommerce site will be ideal for your product and services.
This option requires much less technical know-how from businesses themselves. In addition, a professional agency can offer individualized custom development and will work with legacy systems and existing eCommerce sites moving off of a builder system.General Factors Influencing Cost of an eCommerce Website
The following lays out some universal costs of building an eCommerce website.Hosting
Your hosting costs depend on numerous factors, including the level of traffic your site gets and your specific needs. Hosting costs are necessary for any site build as quality hosting services ensure your site is secure and can run efficiently daily.
The average cost of a hosting plan may range anywhere from $30 a month to thousands of dollars a month.Payment
Payment processing is a vital component of your eCommerce site. Unfortunately, accepting payments through your site will cost you, so be sure to budget payment costs into your website planning.
Payment platforms like PayPal and Stripe will take a set percentage plus a small fee for every sale. For example:
PayPal Domestic Checkout Fees: 3.49% + fixed fee
Stripe Domestic Checkout Fees: 2.9% + 30¢Design
Potential customers expect a certain level of aesthetic quality in every site they visit. eCommerce sites have become highly competitive, so a poorly designed site sets you behind competitors. Additionally, designing for your audience requires in-depth consumer knowledge and the ability to execute a functional design.
Box builders like Shopify offer ready-made design packages that are easy to launch. A design like this can be limiting and only vaguely customizable. However, this can be a promising option for an eCommerce business with limited funds. Professional designers offer a highly targeted custom design experience. The higher price tag may be worth it for business owners trying to outpace competitors.
The average eCommerce website design cost can range from around $20 a month to thousands of dollars in setup.Growth
This requires many eCommerce sites to transition to a professional development company. These agencies can create a custom eCommerce site poised to adapt as you grow.
The cost of growth is extremely dependent on a business’s unique situation. Oftentimes, a professional agency can offer valuable insights on where a site needs adjustment and how to build a site for future growth. This can save funds in the long run.
Many professional agencies charge hourly fees for a website rehaul ranging in the hundreds per hour. Additionally, many will consult or offer expertise before a rehaul or before creating a website. If possible, always consult with the experts before launching an eCommerce site independently.Other Costs To Consider
Product photographers and editors typically charge by the hour, and fees usually range from $75 to $500+ an hour. Prices depend on the skill and experience of the photographer.
Content services typically range in the thousands of dollars per month. However, pricing depends on the exact content services you require and the experience of the content specialist or agency.
A custom app can run you anywhere from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Clearly, this is a serious investment in your eCommerce business with potentially high rewards.
The main cost estimate consideration you’ll need to make is for your overall business budget. A quality eCommerce site can bring in a sizable jump in revenue, but it also requires a significant upfront average cost. Consider what funds you have and where you want your business to be in 5, 10, and 20+ years.The Elevato Strategy
As a professional agency, our experts work in creative solutions and innovative processes. We sit down with you and run a deep dive into where your business is now and where you want to be. Quality website building sets your eCommerce business up for success now and in the future.
We are not an out-of-the-box solution, nor do we create basic sites. Our clients get custom development and attentive care. Typically, our solutions involve a bare minimum of about 100 hours of billable project time. At Elevato, we focus on billing by the hour, so the customer only pays what it takes to build the site exactly how you want it.
We offer top-tier teams in all the following areas of eCommerce services:
From Search Engine Optimization to revenue-driving content to stunning paid media – our marketing team offer tailored services to give your eCommerce site a competitive edge.
The Elevato developers provide holistic solutions for an online storefront that’s perfect for your business. We can launch a variety of systems for an adaptable site that can handle a plethora of functions and grow your business.
Our integrated hosting services give businesses peace of mind knowing that their online business is secure and ready for traffic.
Build a competitive eCommerce website with Elevato. Contact us today.
Marketing automation industry is currently
valued at $1.65 billion
, and the majority credit for this jump in value goes to the introduction of AI in marketing automation; more-so the AI-enabled chatbots that are taking marketing automation industry by storm
Here we will go over three significant reasons for why every brand should consider a chatbot while framing their marketing automation strategy.
The first breakthrough was the introduction of social media within marketing automation strategy. Marketers started using various tools and software to make the maximum out of their social media activities. Things took a more substantial leap when artificial intelligence made way into marketing automation strategy. The simple concept of making repetitive marketing tasks easy got a new lease of life with predictive analysis and personalized marketing. With AI, marketing automation became more human.
Fast-forward to present time; AI is driving the digital transformation. A recent analysis from McKinsey Global Institute revealed that AI automation is predicted to increase global productive rates by 0.8-1.4% annually in the next 50 years’ time. With this speed, AI is predicted to unify marketing automation campaigns, customer conversion analytics, CRM and content curation in the coming days.
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“By 2023, most sales and marketing communications will be between humans and AI. It can be a support bot, a personal assistant, or a lead evaluation algorithm- AI will take the lead virtually regarding sales and marketing; at the same time, it will increase back-office productivity manifold times.” – AI report from Woodside Capital Partners.
Not all chatbots have had a smooth run till date. For instance, Microsoft’s Tay was a disaster regarding picking up human language and learning to converse like a human. Yet that has not stopped marketers from exploring the potentials these chatbots have when it comes to creating a unified customer experience.
3 Reasons why Chatbots are a mandate in your next marketing automation strategy
Chatbots are not new. They have been in existence since 1966, when Eliza, a chatbot, managed to pass the Turing artificial intelligence test. From 1966 to 2023, chatbots have had a long run, becoming more and more intelligent over the years.
It isn’t as easy as it sounds. But with chatbots assisting you, you can focus on more important things like creating marketing campaigns, studying campaign performances, aligning sales and marketing efforts, and understanding the overall ROI. Meanwhile, here’s how chatbots can help you with your marketing automation strategy.
1. ChatBots are taking lead in communicating with website visitors
Surprisingly, surveys show that customers appreciate this form of communication. For instance, Econsultancy reported that 57% of customers voted for live chat, while another survey by Ubisend reported half respondents to answer in favour of messaging as compared to email or phone.
If your bot is not replying with relevant answers, it will turn the tables against you. Your potential customers will leave and never come back because your bot did not help them proceed on their buyer’s journey.
Most bots have names which are nice. You can set up your bot with a generic name and image, but it always works better if you can use the real name and image of one of your sales rep or someone within the company. Even if your customer is talking to a bot, the real image and name will give them a feeling of talking to a real human [even if it’s not].
The key to proper lead qualification is to have a bot do the blunt work while you or any sales rep come in soon after to close the deal. A bot alone cannot do the entire closing for you. They will do the monotonous tasks of bringing in the lead and finding the right product or service for them. After that, it HAS to be a human taking lead!
3. Improve and personalize the overall user experience
Not just that, customers love personalized experience across all platforms at any given time. If you are not providing a unified customer experience across all the platforms, then you could be losing out your customers to your competitors.
Bots can help with personalization. For instance, bots can play come up with series of questions to get things started. Many bots are programmed to collect data from users and then use it for personalization. For instance, the CNN bot does this on Facebook by sending out relevant news feeds based on the list of options.
This is an example of how a little bit of personalization can help in building a brand image. CNN is touted as one of the top news platforms for a reason.
Bots are not just for the website. They can be added to all the marketing channels and set up for personalization. The idea is to give users series of options and program the bot to send out relevant content based on each option chose by the user.
This allows a complete personalization at every stage for your customer. If you haven’t tried bots yet, you can get started because believe it or not, bots are nice. They won’t replace you; rather they will help you in getting better results with your marketing efforts.
Bots do so much more than these. It is amazing how technology revamped how we connect and communicate with brands.
But some things can never change despite technology reaching its peak. Customer experience can never be compromised.
Your customers want great experience across all the platforms and screens. Even if automated conversations have made things easy, it is not a replacement for a human. Bots can reduce the workload on you, making marketing process a bit more smooth. But it will never have the human emotion or human touch that is mandatory to provide a great customer experience.
You have to think human when dealing with your customers at every single buyer’s stage. Only then will your bots talk like you.
If you are considering using bots for your marketing strategy, great but let your bots stay grounded. What is your experience with chatbots? Has it affected your marketing automation strategy positively?
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