What aspect of e-commerce marketing do you find the most challenging? If you’re like most business-marketers, there are several areas. Some of the most common challenges today include lead generation, proving ROI on your activities, securing a marketing budget, managing your site and identifying the right technology to meet your needs. If you are getting started with Cloud Store or another e-commerce platform for the first time, these undertakings can seem especially overwhelming at first glance. But once you develop a strategy on how to tackle these tasks, it’s easy to execute and build initial success. We’ve listed out some tips and resources to get you going in the right direction.
Driving Traffic and Generating Leads
E-commerce sites are digital platforms, so digital marketing is the most natural place to start. This can include social media posts, digital ads and email marketing. Include a call to action on each activity that links to your store with a unique URL. This will allow you to track where your leads are coming from and determine which of your efforts are successful.
Content marketing will naturally improve your SEO and drive traffic to your site. Create blogs, host webinars and build out datasheets that establish you as an expert in your industry (because you are). Your blogs and datasheets can link to your store directly, or if the content is especially valuable, you can have viewers enter their contact info before viewing.
Your sales team will also be a considerable source of traffic generation. Your e-commerce site should complement their efforts, rather than compete with them. Align your sales team’s goals with the goals for your e-commerce site, and it will become a useful tool for them to close sales.
Proving Return on Investment
The first step to proving the ROI of your marketing efforts is to determine measurable key performance indicators (KPIs) for each of your activities. A few common e-commerce metrics include revenue, seats, traffic sources, click-through rates, conversion rate and site traffic. Pick what is most important to you and align your e-commerce KPIs to individual employee goals. You already know about the benefits of aligning your sales teams’ goals with your platform goals—this concept extends to everyone in your organization, from operations to your receptionist!
Define a hierarchy for your e-commerce metrics. This will set you up to easily prioritize updates to your strategy after seeing where KPIs fall short. We recommend using a single platform to measure KPIs. Google Analytics is a widely used tool that is free for basic features. You could also look into paid platforms if the metrics you are monitoring require different tracking features. It’s important to note that you should not adjust the KPI if you fall short. Instead, focus on adjusting your marketing activities and strategy to reach your set goals.
Securing a Marketing Budget
Marketing spend is frequently on the chopping block when looking at where to cut back expenditures, so fighting for an incremental marketing budget can be particularly difficult. If you are driving traffic through marketing activities and proving the ROI of these activities, you can build a solid case for an increased marketing budget. Use your proven ROI to forecast revenue you will generate by increasing your marketing budget and it will be hard to argue with those numbers. If you are trying to secure a budget for new marketing activities, you’ll need to do a bit more groundwork. Estimate the amount of leads generated and use your average conversion rate to calculate the expected revenue from these activities.
If the money just isn’t there to begin with, you can build a case to increase your budget based on performance. Execute activities that don’t have hard costs like email marketing or contact forms for content downloads, and request a percentage of the revenue generated from these activities be invested back into marketing.
Identifying the Right Technology for Your Needs
If you are still determining what e-commerce platform to use, there are a few factors to consider. Each e-commerce platform on the market offers a different range of customization and features that require a different level of engineering and maintenance. Ingram Micro’s Cloud Store is a low-maintenance option, whereas our Odin Automation Essentials, Odin Automation Premium and Ensim platforms allow for much more customization. List out the features that are most important to you along with the resources you have available to work on your platform, then grade the technology you are considering on each of these factors. Using a tool like a weighted decision matrix can help to quantify your decision.
Whatever you choose, make sure to focus on customer experience. B2B buyers expect a smooth and easy purchase experience just like they do for B2C purchases. Your site should be intuitive and follow a logical process to move from step to step. Redirect your web visitors from product pages on your site to the same product pages in your store, or you could even send them directly into a shopping cart (you can do this with Cloud Store).
Keep your branding consistent with your website and other marketing materials. If you don’t already have brand guidelines established, doing so will help make all your marketing endeavors uniform so your customers have a consistent experience with your brand.
Managing Your Site
If finding bandwidth to manage your site is a challenge for you, Cloud Store can help solve this problem. After initial setup, Cloud Store requires little-to-no maintenance. Features like recurring billing management, 24/7/365 level 2 support for services consumed, a single, flexible control panel and the ability to receive payments for services consumed directly into your payment merchant accounts help to automate and decrease time spent on maintenance, allowing to you to continue to spend more time focusing on growing your business.
If you’re interested in learning more about Cloud Store, you can request a demo with our team to see if it is the right tool for you.
You’re probably starting to envision what all this looks like for you. Remember, think through what content you’re going to build, what KPIs will be most important to you, what your e-commerce site will look like and what platform to look into first.
As you build out your strategy, remember that we’re here to help. Please reach out to us with any questions you may have on your e-commerce journey.